So, this isn’t really gonna be a review. Actually, I don’t think I’ve actually written a review on this blog, but whatevs. This is just gonna be us–sitting here, talking about Digimon Data Squad. That sound good to you? Sounds good to me. Let’s talk.
This is the fifth season of Digimon, and it’s quite a deviation. That’s clearly seen at the beginning. Digimon are winding up in our world, and the Data Squad (aka DATS) sends out special agents to defeat them so that they may be returned to the Digital World. They have a bit of a Men in Black thing going on,too, since they erase the memories of anyone who comes into contact with a Digimon. Also, each member of DATS has a partner Digimon.
Our first three Digi-Destined (yes, I know they’re not really Digi-Destined, but that’s what I’m calling them) are quite a bit older than our previous protagonists. Two 14 year old dudes and an 18 year old girl. Right there, it’s a bit odd. I don’t really understand why they made Marcus Damon (red oni) and Thomas H. Norstein (blue oni) 14 and not 18 or closer like Yoshino Fujieda. Just odd. Especially since they look a lot older anyway. A very minor problem I had with the series. Other than that, I like the characters.
Thomas is the rich “I’m better than you” character, but he has a moral code and deep love for his sister (not the Oreimo kind, thankfully) that keeps him pretty grounded. Yoshi starts off as just the chick or damsel in distress. I wasn’t looking forward to her being an afterthought since I thought she had potential, but that potential is realized. She overcomes her inferiority complex and becomes a very useful part of the team. In fact, I think she’s only the second female Digi-Destined to reach Mega level. That’s pretty awesome. The fourth main Digi-Destined to join the team is Keenan Crier, and I really like the idea behind him. A kid who was accidentally sent to the Digital World as a baby, and thus raised as a Digimon. I’m honestly surprised that hasn’t been explored before. His speech is, of course, caveman-like (you know what I’m talking about), but I genuinely love him referring to humans as “hu-mons.” That’s just neat. Now, on to our main protagonist, and this guy…this guy is awesome.
Marcus is great. That pic? That’s how he gets his Digimon. He doesn’t even know what Digimon are at first. He just sees some dinosaur on his turf and decides to fight it. That’s it. And it’s a draw. Agumon declares Marcus is “Boss,” and he decides to follow him from then on. Marcus’s epicness doesn’t end there, though. See, in this series, not only do the Digi-Destined need a Digivice to allow their Digimon to Digivolve (yes, I purposefully wrote this sentence so I could use all them “Digis”), they also have to use Digimon Natural Ability (aka DNA)–a sort of aura–to empower their Digimon. Every other member of DATS just auras up and charges their Digivices with it. But not Marcus Damon. Oh, no. Marcus actually has to punch the opposing Digimon to charge his DNA. Really. Be it a Rookie, Champion, Ultimate, or Mega, Marcus punches them. Almost without fail. It actually hurts them, too. I love this guy.
The other members of DATS are just kinda there. They’re cool, but they really are just there. That’s probably another of my complaints. The Digimon, as always, are great, though. Watching this season and the tri. movies made me realize Digimon Frontier‘s greatest flaw–they didn’t have partner Digimon. I’m one of the first who’ll jump to the defense of Frontier. I loved the characters, lore, and it legitimately has some of the best designed Digimon in the franchise, but having the humans actually turn into the Digimon was a mistake. When a human and a Digimon become partners, it’s a bond for life. Marcus and Agumon get into another fight at the end of the series when the Digimon decide to return home (as all Digimon series must end), and Marcus is heartbroken because it’s like a brother is abandoning him. The other DATS members react in similar ways. That relationship is one of the main draws of the anime. That’s why I’ve dreaded the last episode of almost every season.
As always the Digimon are the perfect partners for their humans. Agumon loves to fight, Gaomon is a reserved badass, Lalamon is playful, and Falcomon is a protective ninja. Marucs, Thomas, Yoshi, and Keenan couldn’t have asked for better. Especially Thomas. As much as I love the Grey family of Digimon, Gaomon has the coolest Digivolutions in this series. Bar none. Well, there is one other Digimon I like more than the Gaomon line, but I’ll get to him later. For now, I want to talk about the villains, which will also mean addressing the story. Two Biyomons with one Gotsumon (get it?!).
The fist ten or so episodes are just oneshots that deal with Digimon coming to the real world and running amok. Well, there’s also a two-parter that sees Marcus and Thomas chase a Drimogemon who’s escaped to the Digital World, but that’s the only one that really breaks the norm. All these random adventures do allow them to realize Digimon are using the emotions of humans to become more powerful, though. But yeah, eventually a Biyomon finds its way to the human world and chooses Marcus’s sister Kristy as his partner. What ensues is a scene that really surprised me. See, if Biyomon stays, then Kristy will be forced to join DATS as an agent. In order to protect his sister from that danger, Marcus battles Biyomon one-on-one to send him back. It’s a pretty heartbreaking scene. This is all interrupted by the arrival of the first major antagonist–Merukimon (pictured above).
Guys and gals, escalation is a real problem. Off the top of my head, I don’t recall any team of Digi-Destined having to contend with a Mega level Digimon this early on. Merukimon shows up in full glory in episode 12. A quarter of the way through the series, and their first actual threat is a Mega level. For reals? Merukimon hates humans since they’re responsible for the “Digital World’s darkest day,” which saw dozens of Digimon permanently deleted (killed for realsies) by a group of humans in the Digital World. This is actually the incident that leads to Keenan hating “hu-mons” as well because his surrogate mother Frigimon was killed in this attack. Merukimon doesn’t really want war, but he does want humans to leave Digital-kind alone.
One of his Mega level contemporaries doesn’t see it that way, though. SaberLeomon (A Leomon, everybody! Guess what happens?) takes it upon himself to attack the human world, but he is killed (of course) by a mysterious Digimon. After SaberLeomon’s invasion, DATS goes into the Digital World to stop Merukimon before all hell can break loose. Meeting with him again, though, they realize there are some misunderstandings going on, which heralds the return of the mysterious Digimon who killed SaberLeomon, the man-made Gizumon, and the reveal of the second arc’s antagonist, Akihiro Kurata.
Kurata is easily one of the most vile, despicable villains in all of Digimon. In fact, he might actually be the biggest bastard of them all. Kurata’s grand plan is to destroy the Digital World and every Digimon on it. See, he was part of the first group of humans to journey there along with Marcus’s father Spencer (who’s been missing ever since), Keenan’s parents (who were looking for him), Richard Sampson (the future head of DATS and Kudamon’s partner), and Homer Yushima (Sampson’s future superior and Kamemon’s partner). All was going well until Kurata opened fire on a Digimon, claiming it attacked him first. The Digital World then turned against the party, and most of them barely escaped. The only one who didn’t was Spencer who stayed behind to ensure everyone else made it.
This incident is what leads Kurata to invade the Digital World later and permanently kill every Digimon he could find with his Gizumon army. The dude is twisted. After his villain reveal, he kills Merukimon, has DATS shut down, blows it up, erases the memories of the Digi-Destined (it didn’t stick), creates human and Digimon hybrid beings (who are all, admittedly, pretty cool-looking), uses Thomas’s little sister as blackmail, fakes a Digimon invasion, murders ElDradimon (a giant Digimon with a city on his back) along with countless others, and awakens Belphemon–one of the Seven Great Demon Lords whose ranks include Lucemon (the big bad of Digimon Frontier). And that’s just off the top of my head. The dude is irredeemable. Thankfully, he makes the mistake of merging with Belphemon which leads to one of the best moments of the series.
Yes, Marcus punches Kurata’s giant face in Belphemon’s chest while ShineGreymon Burst Mode punches Belphemon. Friggin’ awesome. This is the end for Kurata’s grand schemes…almost. Even in defeat, Kurata had one last dastardly move to make. He destroyed the barrier between the human and Digital Worlds. As with the original Digimon Adventure, the Digital World is then seen in the sky coming towards the human world. It’s going to kill everyone. There’s no way to stop it. Or so one would think. Enter the majestic beast known as BanchoLeomon.
BanchoLeomon had been around before. He taught the Digi-Destined how to reach Mega level with their partners, and thus defeat Kurata’s bio-hybrids. He’s that cool, mysterious teacher that I thought wouldn’t play that big of a role, but I was wrong. The Digital World is about to fall onto Earth, but Bancho–MFN–Leomon runs to the top of a mountain and stops it. Yes. This Digimon catches a world. Like…what? Sure, he’s using all his life force, but damn. He catches an entire planet! You do not get cooler than that. If it were not for BanchoLeomon, the Gaomon line would probably be my favorite Digimon from this series. But BanchoLeomon is too friggin’ epic.
Anyway, this is what leads to the third, and final, arc of Data Squad. The team journeys to the Digital World to find King Drasil and see if he can stop what’s happening. Well, he doesn’t want to. King Drasil actually wants to destroy the Earth so that the Digital World can live. Also, he’s Marcus’s dad. Sorta. Just so I can get this out of the way, King Drasil is inhabiting Spencer’s body while Spencer’s soul resides within BanchoLeomon. Okay, that’s out of the way. Enter, the Royal Knights!
The Royal Knights are the most powerful, elite group in the Digital World. And for fans of the show, this is extremely evident since you can see Magnamon, Gallantmon, and Omnimon–three of the most powerful Digivolutions past heroes ever achieved–among their ranks. They work for King Drasil, which means they become the main antagonists for the last third of the series. My jaw dropped when I realized this. One does not simply fight a member of the Royal Knights. These guys are a gathering of trump cards. They are the best of the best of the best, sir! Somehow (i.e. through Burst Mode) the heroes defeat different members and win the remainder to their cause. Craniamon even takes BanchoLeomon’s place in holding up the Digitial World so that he can go help the Digi-Destined. Guess what. BanchoLeomon sacrifices himself. Yep, two Leomons in one season. Data Squad upped the ante.
King Drasil winds up just being there in his final form, especially when it turns out he’s just a rogue AI. It was awesome seeing all the Digimon come together to hold up there world and all the humans channeling their DNA to them. In the end, Marcus and Agumon defeat King Drasil, the barrier is sealed once again, Spencer gets to return to his family, and DATS shuts down. It’s sad to see the Digimon decide to go back to the Digital World, but it was great seeing Marcus join Agumon so that they can keep peace over there. Everyone else goes on with their lives, and that’s the end of Digimon Data Squad.
Wow, I wrote a lot. As I said in the beginning, this isn’t a review. I really did just want to talk about this series. I enjoyed writing about the second tri. movie, so I wanted to give this a shot, too. This was pretty fun. If I had to give a quick review, I’d say I didn’t like how the other DATS members outside the main four were relegated to the background hard, especially since Sampson’s partner Kudamon belongs to the Royal Knights. The size of the Rookie Digimon was jarring, as well. Agumon is almost as large as adult humans, and that weirded me out. King Drasil was also a weak final villain. Not in terms of power, but he followed Merukimon and Kurata who were both fantastic antagonists, with Kurata even being one of the most evil in all of Digimon. A few of the Burst Modes were also lacking. MirageGaogamon’s was fantastic, but Rosemon’s was just a palette swap. Other than that, I loved everything. The main four Digi-Destined were really cool, their Digimon were great, most of the villains were “Oh, crap!” worthy, and the story was the darkest and most mature since Digimon Tamers.
If you haven’t checked out Digimon since the first few series, then you’re missing out. Frontier is probably the weakest season I’ve seen so far, but that doesn’t stop it from being a pretty darn entertaining Super Sentai show with a damn catchy opening theme. And Data Squad is even better. Fans of the old seasons would probably enjoy this one. It’s got that throwback feel while also breaking new ground. Check it out, y’all. It’s prodigious.