Digimon Tamers

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The third anime series of the Digimon franchise, Digimon Tamers was the first installment to set itself in a different canon entirely, setting the standard procedure for the rest of the franchise to come. Gone were the characters and world of Digimon Adventure, instead introducing a new cast, new mechanics for pretty much everything, and a very different interpretation of the Digital World. Its universe was intended to be much more grounded in reality than its predecessors, partly achieving this by using a version of the Digimon franchise as a Show Within a Show[1] of which the main cast are fans, and by giving the Hyper Colosseum card game an important role in mon-to-mon combat.

The series' hallmark is being Darker and Edgier than its predecessors (and indeed, every other Digimon canon since (with one possible exception), and is significantly more cerebral, psychological, technologically minded, and becomes one hell of a Cosmic Horror Story by the end. It tends to be described as "Neon Genesis Evangelion with Mons," or "Serial Experiments Lain for kids", and for good reason - series head writer Chiaki Konaka was also the man behind Lain and is reportedly a big fan of Evangelion.

Much as you'd imagine as a result of its alternate canon, Tamers was the first of many causes of dissent among many fans; though Tamers is certainly one of the most popular Digimon series among the fanbase, it certainly has its detractors who consider the Adventure canon to be the superior works. Even so, it still stands alongside its predecessors as one of the most popular installments in the franchise - if one were to ask on a Digimon board about peoples' favourite Digimon series, the bulk of answers are almost guaranteed to be either Tamers or Adventure.

Its predecessor was Digimon Adventure 02, and it was succeeded by Digimon Frontier, which continued the trend of rebooting into a new universe and presented a radical shift in concept.

Digimon Tamers is officially available in its original Japanese with English subtitles (of dubious quality) on Hulu, Crunchyroll and the PlayStation Store, but only in the US and Canada.

Compare Narutaru for a similarly brutal deconstruction of the Mons genre, and Neon Genesis Evangelion, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Bokurano and Serial Experiments Lain for similar Deconstructor Fleet anime series in other genres and Digimon Savers and Digimon X Evolution for other very dark Digimon shows.. Contrast... well, the rest of the Digimon franchise.


Tropes used in Digimon Tamers include:
  • Absurdly Youthful Grandmother: Rika's grandmother looks rather young to be a grandma. Justified in that Rika's mom was just 17 when she had Rika.
  • Accidental Kiss: Hirokazu and Kenta had one.
  • Actor Allusion: Possibly to Bridget Hoffman, the voice actress for Jeri, also worked on another Chiaki J. Konata production, voicing the eponymous Lain. Definitely in the case of Yoko Asada, who voiced Juri in Tamers and Alice in Lain.
  • Adaptive Ability: D-Reaper
  • Adults Are Useless: Less so than in its predecessors, the adults in Tamers made winning against the Big Bad possible, but in the end it's only the kids that can and do all the fighting.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Inverted, in that all the good Digimon (and all the evil ones who turn good when the Big Bad shows up) are the ones going beyond their programmers, while the Big Bad (D-Reaper) is just doing exactly what it was programmed to do.
  • Alice Allusion: Alice McCoy, the mysterious, possibly dead Deus Ex Machina. She's also a blonde goth-loli, for extra points. Writer Chiaki J. Konaka favours this trope.
  • All Deaths Final: The only Digimon continuity (except, maybe, the games) where nothing comes back from death. There isn't a Village of Beginnings. Also, Digignomes, Digimon, and humans (military, bystanders, car drivers) die both in the series and in the movies.
  • All There in the Manual: Ryo only makes sense as a character if you play the games in which he stars. Also, the epilogue, from the CD dramas. Furthermore, Chiaki Konaka's website explains virtually everything that went on over the course of the series. And Chiaki Konaka's short story, Digimon Tamers 1984, a quick little bit about the team that created the Digimon.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The English version uses a remixed version of the rap of the first two seasons.
  • Animal Motifs: The three key Mons take their influence from real-life animals (lizard, dog, fox), while the twelve Devas are based on the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac. The four Sovereigns are also based on the animals of the Four Symbols in Chinese astrology: vermillion bird of the south; black tortoise of the north; blue dragon of the east; and white tiger of the west.
  • Animation Bump: episodes 30, 38, 44 and especially the Tamers' first movie (Battle of Adventurer's) were all supervised by Naoyoshi Yamamuro and feature some of the best animation on this series; later on he would supervise the animation of the Digimon Frontier movie.
  • Apocalypse How: The D-Reaper will cause a Class 5 or 6, both on the Real World and the Digital World.
  • Arrogant Kung Fu Girl: Rika doesn't see Digimon as living creatures, just tools for fighting. She quickly grows out of this.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Clockmon constantly lives this trope (in the dub).

Clockmon: (To Renamon) That's why Megadramon is interested in your data. He's a scoundrel, he's a beast, well he's not all that bad.

  • Ascended Extra: Riley, one of the two virtually interchangeable Hypnos operators is revealed to be Yamaki's live-in girlfriend halfway through the series.
    • Chiaki Konaka has stated that he took the writing staff completely by surprise when he revealed Riley was Yamaki's girlfriend.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Most of the cast. Guilmon was born from Takato's fanart, Rika is known for her Digimon Trading Card Game prowess, Henry had a computer game, Kazu and Kenta would play the card game with Takato every morning before school. Even Jeri is a fan.
  • The Atoner: Impmon, after killing Leomon, spends the last quarter of the series trying and failing to do the right thing by helping Jeri. She forgives him in the end.
    • Yamaki starts out insisting that Digimon are dangerous data anomalies that need to be deleted lest they cause irreparable harm to the real world, later specifically citing the Tamers as troublemakers since Digimon, both good and evil, were far too dangerous to be left in the hands of children. After getting fired and having his building collapse around him, he finally rethinks his position and spends a fair bit of time trying to make up for the fact that his obsession with deleting Digimon from the real world may have done far more harm than good (in fact, it may have been his messing about that let most of the dangerous ones in in the first place). He even repeatedly defends the Tamers and insists that others trust them to handle a problem. And he is the one who essentially destroys the Big Bad in the end.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Various Digimon (both good and bad) and several of the D-Reaper's agents fall into this category. Vikaralamon is one of the biggest enemies to attack.
  • Badass: Beelzemon. He starts out as a Badass Biker, but becomes even more badass when he becomes The Atoner, changes from black to dark grey, and later grows wings in his Blast Mode.
    • Gallantmon/Dukemon in Crimson Mode.
    • Megidramon, whose mere existence threatens the stability of the Digital World itself.
  • Badass Adorable: Guilmon and Terriermon.
  • Badass Longcoat: Rika. Trinity from The Matrix was an early inspiration, according to Chiaki Konaka.
  • Bait and Switch Credits: With two exceptions, they're actually quite accurate to what occurs in the show. So what's missing? Kenta doesn't appear in the opening, but a hundred random kids with Digivices and Digimon partners do. Ultimately, Kenta gets a Digimon of his, while the only other kids to get a Digivice of their own are Ai and Mako (who also don't appear in the opening).
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Used to its full effect for the Biomerges, because otherwise, that would just have been the last straw.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Invoked by Jeri about becoming Leomon's partner in the English Dub [2]
    • As Takato is talking on the phone with Henry while Jeri chases Leomon:

Takato: Wait, I'll ask. Hey Jeri! Are you sure he's your partner?!
Jeri: Yes!
Takato: How come?!
Jeri: Cause it's DESTINY!
Takato: Ok, thanks!
Jeri: You can't escape destiny Mr. Leomon!

  • Berserk Button: Impmon is a bundle of issues to begin with and gets worse as the series continues.
    • Bad stuff, and I mean BAD, happens when Takato is pushed too far. Remember SkullGreymon? The giant skeletal Dark (Digi-)Evolution of Greymon without a mind with a nuke on his back? Meet Megidramon, whose MERE EXISTENCE causes the Digital World to begin to collapse. The one time we see him? Beelzemon just pissed Takato off and he's outright ordering WarGrowlmon to evolve to Mega level. He does. Beezelmon STILL almost kills him.
  • The Berserker: Cyberdramon pretty much all of the time (the reason why Ryo keeps a tight leash on him) and Terriermon during his first (digi-)evolution to Gargomon would be the main examples out of the Tamers' Digimon.
    • Also Megidramon (see above), pretty much the only reason Beelzemon is able to fight him on equal footing.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Kazu and Kenta of all people in the final episode.
  • Big Fancy House: Rika's Japanese-styled home.
  • Biological Mashup: The first season to have the Digimon merge with the children.
  • Birds of a Feather: Takato and Henry got along perfectly fine and avoided the Rule of Drama, the only lead males in the Digimon franchise to do so. In a broader level, all the children were fans of Digimon.
  • Bishounen Line: Gallantmon/Dukemon. Justified by the the fact that Guilmon merges with his tamer to achieve it. Renamon does this twice, with Taomon and Sakuyamon.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Digimon are forcibly returned to the Digital World along with the D-Reaper, permanently separated from their teary-eyed Tamers, and the gate that Takato finds at the end of Tamers is found to be too small to bring to travel to. However, if the kids work for it then they may eventually be able to reunite with their partners.
  • Blood Knight: Cyberdramon. "Are you my enemy?"
  • Bloodless Carnage: There isn't a single drop of blood on this series, making it suitable for 7 years old children and above.
  • Boisterous Bruiser / Cute Bruiser: Terriermon
  • Bowdlerization: Rare. The Disney adaptation of Runaway Locomon skips over the part where Gallantmon stabs Parasimon in the eye... but, since the last act of the movie is basically the mass destruction of invading Parasimon after Parasimon, certain hands appear to have been tied.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Usually the smaller a Digimon is, the more obnoxious it is (see: Terriermon, Impmon, Calumon).
  • Break the Cutie: Jeri, meticulously and horribly.
  • Bridge Bunnies: Riley and Tally serve this function at Hypnos.
  • Broken Masquerade: Hypnos tries to be an enforced Weirdness Censor, trying to keep the existence of Digimon out of the public sphere (by killing them on sight). Post-Vikaralamon, however, the Masquerade hasn't just been broken, it's been crushed into a billion pieces under a boar the size of a football field. Contrary to Yamaki's fears, however, once the existence of Digimon becomes public knowledge, people adjust to them fairly quickly. Though the D-Reaper showing up soon thereafter might have helped a bit.
  • By the Power of Greyskull: "Biomerge Activate!" / "Matrix (Digi-)Evolution!"
  • Call Back: "Here We Go" is on Rika's MP3 player in the dub. "Bolero" also happens to be Reika's ringtone.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The second movie was made without the consultation of the original writer Chiaki Konaka. It gets Retconned in the CD Dramas where the children never got to meet up with their partners, and instead sent out voice messages to them promising to find a way to see them again. Said CD Drama takes place a year after the end of the TV series (the sixth movie takes place sixth months later).
    • Chiaki has said on his website that although the second movie doesn't fit into the timeline of the series, he is happy with the way the directors and screenwriters stayed true to the psychological nature of the TV show and expanded on Rika's character.
  • Canon Immigrant: Ryo Akiyama rarely appears in the Adventure universe (not counting the games) but is very important to the story. He literally immigrated to the Tamers universe in Brave Tamer. Also Davis as the narrator for the english dub.
  • Car Fu: Attempted by Jeri's dad against the D-Reaper. It doesn't work.
  • Casting Gag: Nami Asaji, Takato's teacher, is voiced by Lara Jill Miller, who voiced Kari Kamiya in the previous two series. Kari became a teacher when she grew up, and Ms. Asaji bears a striking resemblance to her.
  • Cat Smile: Suzie, all the time. People unfamiliar with the trope think something's wrong with her because of it.
  • Catch Phrase: All together now -- "Moumentai!"
    • "Aw, nuts!"
    • "Walk all over him/her/it."
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The contrast between the first time the Kids go to the Digital world filled of dreams and hope (Set to upbeat Shonen music, no less) and the later episodes is appalling.
  • Chain of People
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The song "Primary Colors" even references this.
  • Comic Books Are Real
  • Common Knowledge: According to Word of God, the in-universe franchise is not Adventure/02 (though unfortunately the dub tends to further this idea with Takato saying "Digi-Armor Energize" in his sleep).
    • The dub seems determined to make Adventure into the Show Within a Show that everyone's a fan of, there's constant references to its characters and themes.
  • Cyberpunk: Most Digimon series tend to focus on Post Cyber Punk. Tamers is closer to the flip side of the 'punk spectrum, exploring traditional themes of the genre: A government conspiracy is conducting dangerous experiments and monitoring everything. Young youths befriend A Is, and do battle in the urban jungle. They end up opposing the conspiracy and other dangerous A Is. Society is on the edge of radical change, and questions about "How do we define life?" arise. Compared to previous series, Tamers is darker and cynical.
  • Cyberspace: Obviously.
  • Darker and Edgier. You've got to wonder who thought it was a good idea to give a children's show to the scriptwriter of Hellsing, no matter how enthusiastic he was about the project.
  • Death by Adaptation: In both the Japanese version and the English dub, The D-Reaper is devolved into its most basic form. In the Japanese version, it is said to be indestructible and presumably remains in that form forever, while in the dub, in which no such line confirms this immortality, Janyu clearly states that it "disappears forever".
  • Deconstruction: It's not just Darker and Edgier, it plays with most of the Tropes and ideas in Mons series, as well as the Digimon franchise in general. You know what should have been citywide devastation in the first two series, how the streets and buildings usually ended up unharmed? Well, this series has no qualms with that, showing and detailing the damage with the buildings. It also shows how terrifying Digimon can or could be if they were real, even if they're well intentioned.
  • Defictionalization: While for the most part, the cards that the Tamers use in the anime correspond to actual cards in the Japanese card game, there are some original ones. Those cards were then released in an anime-based booster for the card game.
    • Also, the actual Digimon in-universe. Played not entirely straight in that this continuity's Digital World does not exist as a direct result of the fiction.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Delivered by a girl named Alice and her partner Dobermon, a messenger from The Four Gods. They pop out of nowhere and give the Tamers the power to Bio-Merge in the real world.
    • How did the amazing Ryo get this power when he wasn't there to receive it? Who knows!
      • Milleniummon has warped reality when it comes to Ryo before...
    • Episode 35: Beelzemon using the attacks of Digimon he had absorbed. Excusable, since it makes sense (it is data), and it is an important plot point later, but it still looked a little too convenient. It does set up his epic "Fist of the Beast King" later.
  • Discontinuity Nod: As it says under Canon Discontinuity, Message in the Packet retconned the movie. However, [3] there's a brief scene of Rika humming the same song she sings at the movie's climax.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Sakuyamon gives her powers to Justimon, she ends up stripped of all her clothing, and the sword on his arm grows to twice its size. Really subtle, guys.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: "Destiny" was a big buzzword for Jeri. As Leomon lay dying in episode 35, he told Jeri it was probably his destiny. In the dub, however, he said to her that a part of him would always be with her, and that she had "a lion's heart." Yet the dub still had Jeri say, when she referenced the scene five episodes later, that Leomon had called his death "destiny."
    • Renamon's gender. In the original, she started as a genderless Digimon. The "defining moment" for her, more or less, was a scene in episode 49 where Rika's mother told her she was definitely female and belonged in Rika's all-female family. The dub retained the essence of this scene, but it made little sense, as Renamon had been acting very feminine throughout the season.
    • The dub staff merged the voices of the Bio-merged Digimon and their partners, and their conversations can be heard clearly. However, the rest of the cast failed to recognize Ryo and Takato during their first battles as Megas. Oops!
  • Eldritch Abomination: The D-Reaper; also referenced with the names of the Hypnos' programs
  • The End - or Is It?: In the final episode, it appears that the kids will be permanently separated from their Digimon.The appearance of a red light in a gazebo for the last few seconds at first suggests that there may be a way to change this, but when they analyze it, they find it too small and not powerful enough to enable the Tamers and their partners to reunite.
  • Excited Episode Title
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: generally averted. For example Takato has an Imagine Spot in episode 8 of the police shooting Guilmon
    • Beelzemon's weapons don't look that real but quite clearly fire real bullets, except for his Death Slinger, but then it's an upgraded form of a toy ray gun given to him by Makoto.
    • Another shot features police men with realistic looking guns, but dialogue was added stating that they were not loaded. Japanese Self-Defense Force soldiers can be seen later on armed with assault rifles (specifically the Howa Type 89 used by the real-life JSDF), but are never shown firing them on-screen.
  • Final Death: Every single Digimon that dies in Tamers will never come back as a Digi-egg.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Foreshadowing
    • Takato and Guilmon have a conversation about Guilmon one day digivolving and becoming a different digimon. Guilmon assures him that will never happen because he will always be the same digimon in the inside. Takato even says he wishes he could digivolve in the same conversation...
    • Once they reached the Digital World, but even before then, most conversations between Jeri and others takes on new meaning if one knows in advance that Leomon dies and there's an impending Break the Cutie session.[4]. It really is just not fair.
  • The Four Gods: The Digimon Sovereigns.
  • Freudian Trio/Power Trio: Rika as Id, Henry as Superego, Takato as Ego.
    • The digimon partners also fit this trope with Renamon as the Data type and Superego, Terriermon being Vaccine and Id, and Guilmon being Virus and Ego.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: Growlmon gets tickled while being painted in an attempt to hide him.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: The dub changes sake to "milkshakes" in the tale of Orochi(mon). Orochimon's Sake Breath attack is likewise changed to Inferno Blast. Jeri being a server at her parents' restaurants is left in, as is her knowledge that enough "warm milkshakes" will get Orochi tired. Also, Jeri and Rika can tell milkshakes from a distance by their distinctive scent...
  • Full Boar Action: Vikaralamon
  • Fusion Dance: Takato, Henry, Rika and Ryo all merge with their partners when it comes to Mega level.
    • Gallantmon merges with Grani in the second to last episode to become Crimson Mode.
  • Genre Savvy: Deconstructed. Since the main characters all have experience with the Show Within a Show version of Digimon as well as the card game and video games, they have varying degrees of expectation on how things are meant to go when it comes to taming Digimon. However, it turns out to be harder than they thought due to a lot of fine print--the protagonists of Adventure never had to worry about de-Digivolving their Digimon for example, but in the first story arc of Tamers it's a recurring problem. Also, Rika must know about The Power of Love being needed to digivolve at the very first episode, without learning this as Character Development.
  • Genre Shift: Slice of Life with Mons becomes a Post Cyber Punk Cosmic Horror Story.
  • Gentle Giant: Growlmon.
    • Also, Antylamon the Rabbit Deva. In the episode where he/she first appeared, she was playing with Henry's kid sister, Suzie. Heck, she even defended her from Makuramon, the Monkey Deva. Suzie eventually became a Digimon Tamer and Antylamon officially became her companion after being devolved to Lopmon.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Tamers is infamous for this in its American broadcast on FoxKids. Somehow, the dubbers managed to keep things in the show that the network probably wouldn't have allowed before. Including the three main characters & Sixth Ranger naked (Barbie Doll Anatomy was in full effect of course, but still).
    • Also, see the section on Family-Friendly Firearms above.
    • It includes the most explicit, not to mention heartbreaking, killing of a main character seen in a Digimon anime, all with an established All Deaths Final rule in place making a return of the killed off character impossible.
    • The teacher quite obviously had a hangover in one episode, but was just shown as inexplicably frustrated and rubbing her head. Then there was the clearly drunk man in the subway helped up by a cop, who instead ate a questionable ham sandwich.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Takato, of course. Subverted when he really does use them underwater a couple of times, as well as when he enters a digital field (which manifests as a cloud of fog).
  • Gone Horribly Right: when Takato in a fit of rage orders Guilmon to evolve to mega, he does exactly that. Takato regrets it almost immediately.
  • Good Parents: For most of the main characters. Even Jeri's dad, who told her to find her own way home since she left on her own, breaks down when he sees what's happened to her and realises his part in it.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: This series has many of these in order to keep the rating appropriate for kids. Examples can be seen as early as the first episode when the camera pans out before a digimon get crushed alive. The scenes where Renamon rips holes in enemy digimon with tiny white shards are either skipped or out of focus, and the audience is also spared from the sight of military personnel getting sickled by the D-Reaper's agents. Naturally, this makes the few times that the series averts this (like ep 34 and 35) especially memorable.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck: Dukemon got a moment in the dub before soaring off to help free Juri from the Kernel Sphere. It would have been pretty Badass if he hadn't said it in Guilmon's voice:

'Beelzemon: "I'm gonna get you outta here, Jeri, if it's the last thing I freakin do!"

Kazu:(Calumon)'s about as tough as butterscotch pudding.
Calumon: It's not like I'm butterscotch pudding or something.

  • Jerkass: Impmon, although he's trying to prove that he doesn't need a human partner to be strong.
    • Rika and Yamaki were also this before they came around.
  • Joshikousei: Rika, though she's not in high school
  • Jumped At the Call/The Unchosen One: Every Tamer in this season (except Ryo, it's complicated) got a Digimon because they wanted one, but unlike the previous two seasons nothing was expected of them -- the kids made the active choice to involve themselves further and ultimately save the world.
  • Kaiju Defense Force: The Japan Self-Defense Force tries to get involved in the battles against some of the Devas and the D-Reaper later on in the series, with predictable results.
  • The Kid with the Remote Control: Unusually for the genre, this is actually one of the major themes of Tamers, and it is Takato and Guilmon who better explore this trope.
  • Killed Off for Real: Leomon.
  • Lady of War: Renamon and her (digi-)evolutions.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: Hypnos, inside the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: A remix of Biggest Dreamer plays during the final episode when the protagonists square off against the D-Reaper.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: When Guilmon's pupils shrink, you know something's going down.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Everyone has winter clothing and school attire, but everyone usually wears the same thing day in and day out.
    • Justified when they go to the Digital World, though.
  • The Little Detecto: The D-Arc.
  • Little Miss Badass: Rika, whose debut has her rocking a Badass Longcoat and Cool Shades.
  • Love Bubbles: When Takato tries to tell Jeri that Guilmon won't de-evolve, she thinks he's got a girlfriend. Cue pink bubbly background as she envisions this.
    • MarineAngemon's Kahuna Wave releases 'bubbles' in the shape of hearts. They also heal D-Reaper affected data and allow travel within it as well.
  • Lull Destruction: The English dub, in a similar way to the previous series.
  • MacGuffin Mon: Culumon. Could be a boy...it's hard to tell.
    • The Digi-Gnomes partially act as MacGuffin critters themselves, as it's revealed that they were the ones responsible for the Tamers and their Digimon meeting each other.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: SaintGalgomon / MegaGargomon
  • Magic Skirt: Jeri
  • Mechanical Monster: MegaloGrowmon (WarGrowlmon), Rapidmon, SaintGalgomon (MegaGargomon), Guardromon
  • The Men in Black: The entire Hypnos organization.
  • Mind Control Eyes: Jeri. Also Rika in the sixth movie.
  • Mind Rape: Boy, did poor Jeri suffer through this.
    • J-Reaper partially succeeds using her mind scan (obviously should be named mind rape) attack on Takato, just before deploying her wings in the park, in episode 45.
  • Mood Whiplash: Despite the dark tone, the series can sometimes skip over into jokes, normally involving the characters snarking.
  • Mukokuseki: Zigs and zags all over the place. Henry and his dad are drawn with obviously chinese features, but his sister has... purple hair. Kenta and Kazu look Japanese enough, and Takato is even passably - but there's no telling what Jeri and Rika are supposed to be. The adult secondary characters don't help swing it one way or another, either.
  • Multiple Head Case: Ebonwumon
  • Mythology Gag: In an early episode of the dub, a couple mistakes the digital fog for the Northern Lights. The original Digidestined of Digimon Adventure mistook the lights they saw before being taken to the digital world as the Northern Lights as well.
    • Kari/Hikari from Adventure and Adventure 02 wanted to be a teacher (and became a Kindergarten teacher in the epilogue). In the English dub of Tamers Takato's teacher is voiced by her actress Lara Jill Miller.
  • Never Say "Die": One way to distinguish good guys from bad guys (at first at least) is their attitude to the destruction of a Digimon. Good guys who consider Digimon to be true life forms will call it dying or being killed, bad guys who consider Digimon to be mere freaks of technology will refer to it as "being deleted".
  • The Nicknamer: Ebonwumon, Mr. Analyse McTroperton.
  • Nightmare Dreams
  • Ninja Maid: Renamon, Lopmon
  • No Antagonist for the first 13 episodes. One of the reasons this series is unusual; the protagonists initial struggle is in how to deal with the fact that Digimon are real, and this may have been one of the reasons why the start is widely considered to be slow.
  • No Biological Sex: All of the Digimon, although the more human-looking ones often have gender identities.
  • No Export for You: The official Japanese language, English subtitled simlucast on HULU is only offered to those who live in America.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Guilmon, Renamon, and Impmon get one each at some points in the series. The cast as a whole gets it even more.
  • Non-Serial Movie: As stated above the second movie was made without the involvement of the original staff, and aired in theaters weeks before the last episode aired on television in Japan.
  • Not Quite Dead: Vajramon manages to hold on after what looked like death.
  • Numerological Motif / Rule of Three: The number three:
    • This is the third television season of Digimon.
    • There are three main human tamers.
    • There are three backup human tamers (And Ryo).
    • There are three core members of Hypnos.
    • Yuggoth is conceptualized as three interlinked spheres.
    • The Devas all have three horns on their heads.
    • Beelzemon has three eyes.
    • The three main Digimon have a team attack called Trinity Burst.
    • The Crystal Matrix on Calumon's forehead and Rapidmon's Tribeam attack are both triangles. Not to mention the triangular shape of the Digital Hazard symbol on the chest of Guilmon et al.
  • Off-Model: In one episode, Beelzemon was missing his tail twice.
    • In general, the animation of Digimon Tamers has more off models than the others when faces are concerned. Eyes are very often drawn out of place, and inconsistently. This results in some Uncanny Valley moments. To be more precise, there is an animation team [5] out of 9 that consistently has a low quality. The most glaring examples are episode 15 as well as the last episode. This is especially obvious when compared to the best animation teams, which are noted for having realistic shading everywhere (see Animation Bump above).
  • Oh Crap: The Chrysalimon against Beelzemon after the ladder fires a few shots at them.
  • Older Sidekick: Yamaki, Riley, and Tally (Post Heel Face Turn), and the Wild Bunch/Monster Makers. Hilariously enough, once he's convinced of their maturity, Yamaki seems to get along better with the kids than most other adults.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: In the Japanese version, Impmon calls Makoto "Mako-chan." The dubbers must not have realized it was a nickname/term of endearment because everyone, even people who don't know him (like Henry's sensei), calls him "Mako" in the dub. Impmon even introduces him as "Mako" to Takato and the gang.
  • Orochi...mon.
  • Out of Focus: Impmon's Tamers, Ai and Mako, show up in person in a total of 4 times in the entire series, two of them without dialogue.
  • Out-of-Clothes Experience: The Tamers were completely naked when merged with their Digimon and during a soul-searching experience before Biomerging in the real world for the first time. The dub, surprisingly, retained these moments.
  • Phantom Zone: The Digital World.
  • Playing Against Type: "Guilmon's VA in the English dub is who?!"
  • Power Copying: A human running a digimon card through a digivice results in his or her partner temporary gaining the attacks of the digimon depicted on the card.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The D-Reaper is scary enough even before you realize that it runs on the misery of a depressed little girl.
    • And it does everything in it's power to increase said misery, going (arguably) beyond NGE levels.
  • Precision F-Strike: An unusual Gosh Dang It to Heck example in the dub:

Beelzemon: "I'm gonna save you Jeri, IF IT'S THE LAST THING I FREAKIN' DO!"

  • "Previously On...": Davis does the narration in the dub. Rika would do the same for Frontier.
  • Prophetic Names
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Devas. They run the gamut from laughably pathetic (Kumbhiramon, Pajiramon), to credible threats (Vajramon, Indramon, Vikaralamon), to outright Magnificent Bastards (Makuramon, Caturamon). And one Heel Face Turner (Antylamon)
  • Real Place Background: Not just the iconic Tokyo Metropolice Goverment Office Building, but many other locations from Digimon Tamers exist in real life Shinjuku, such as Guilmon's hideout, Henry's apartment building, Takato and Henry's school, The street Takato lives, and the park Takato, Kazu and Kenta played in.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Beelzemon first appears, he has red eyes and is bent on eliminating the tamers and their digimon (though later gets green eyes after his about-face). Somewhat subverted with Takato; while he's generally the kindest and most innocent of the three main tamers, God help you if you -do- make him mad...
  • Red Herring: Impmon factors ominously in the early promotional material (as seen above), but proves to be rather pathetic as a villain...until he Takes A Level In Badass and became Beelzemon.
    • Further justified by the fact that Impmon as Beelzemon was originally planned to become the Big Bad of the series.
  • Redemption Demotion: When Antylamon turns against her master, the Sovereign, she de-digivolves to Lopmon. However, in the face of a mutual enemy, she is allowed her digivolution back. In the midst of getting over Honor Before Reason, when Andromon becomes Kazu's partner, he de-digivolves to Guardromon.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Almost for Beelzemon. While desperately trying to save Jeri to atone for killing Leomon, he suffers a fatal attack to his back. His data disintegrates, and he plummets into the D-Reaper mass. Grani manages to save him, and he instead reverts to Impmon.
  • Redemption Equals Life: Antylamon turns against Zhuqiaomon, and is the only Deva to not be destroyed.
  • Redemption Promotion: Not a "redemption" per se, but when Impmon agrees to serve the Sovereign, he recieves a Betrayal Promotion. A bit more involved than If Friendship Then Upgrades.
    • Then he gets a true Promotion after making amends with his Tamers.
  • Redheaded Hero: Rika
  • Refuge in Audacity: How does Takato take Guilmon out for walks around the city? He just does, he walks around with him. Right next to him. In plain view. He tells a couple of curious kids that Guilmon's actually just a really good cosplayer; other then the occasional odd stare, nothing ever comes of this.
    • Subverted in the case of Henry and Terriermon, due to the latter's insistence on being a Head Pet. In one episode Henry remarks that people are giving him weird looks due to Terriermon being on his head.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Sandiramon is the only Deva who uses his last words to taunt his enemies. Guilmon gets a pass from this trope by being a dinosaur, although he is a virus-type nonetheless.
  • Rescue Arc: The second major arc begins with the Tamers entering the Digital World to get Calumon back the Devas.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Calumon, Guilmon, Terriermon, Lopmon, and MarineAngemon.
  • Rocket Jump: Gargomon uses his canons to do a Rocket Jump to the top of a skyscraper.
  • Running Gag: Guilmon or Takato wondering if Takato can/should have redesigned him whenever a problem occurs (ie, needs longer legs so he can run faster).
  • Sacrificial Lion: Once again, Leomon. Man, what's with Digimon and killing off Leomon?
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Renamon's Ultimate(Japanese) / Mega(English), Sakuyamon, is named for Konohanasakuya-hime, the cherry blossom princess which keeps Mount Fuji from erupting. Sakuyamon takes the form of a humanoid clad in fox themed garments that makes use of Onmyodo magic, neither of which Konohanasakuya-hime was associated with.
  • Save Both Worlds
  • Scary Shiny Glasses:
    • This is Yamaki's defining trait through out the first half of the season.
    • Takato's googles make him scary (really!) when they shine. Just watch one of his card-slashes (or digimodify) closely, or even in slow motion.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: "Not As Seen On TV"
  • She's a Man In Japan: Lopmon
    • Renamon is voiced by a man in Germany, which starts looking rather bizarre in its Mega-level.
  • Ship Tease: There appears to be a slight but long-running one between Renamon and Impmon in the series' second half.
  • Shout Outs:
    • This series has several shout outs to H.P. Lovecraft, including names like Hypnos and Yuggoth. Yamaki's obsessive tendencies and resulting occasional flirtations with madness strongly resemble Herbert West, protagonist of Herbert West - Reanimator, and a TV expert is chyroned as hailing from good old Miskatonic U.
    • Justimon, the Mega form of Cyberdramon, is a fairly obvious shout out to Kamen Rider and even has some of the Rider's abilities - especially Riderman's interchangeable arms.
    • And Gallantmon's head is modelled after Mazinger Z's.
    • Henry Wong's sister's name is Suzie. As in The World of Suzie Wong.
    • Let's not forget the title of Episode 26 in the dub, Kazu and Kenta's Excellent Adventure, most likely a nod to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure in which two wild and crazy guys also explore foreign lands. Party on, dudes!
  • Show Within a Show: The dub explains the new universe by implying that the first two seasons were in fact just a TV series watched by the kids in this show. The Japanese version just mentions that Digimon is a card game and a series of video-games, never confirming a TV series based on (but never denying it either. All ambiguity is on purpose).
    • The lead-out narration is provided by Davis of the second season, implying that Tamers is a show in their world.
  • Silence Is Golden The original japanese dub, in which there are several scenes where the audience can only guess what the characters are thinking.
  • Sixth Ranger: Ryo
  • Slice of Life: This is what Chiaki Konaka wanted, and succeeded spectacularly, at introducing in the series.
  • The Slow Walk: Done by Gallantmon
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Henry and Suzie, due to being half Chinese.
  • Spoiler Opening: Everyone's evolutions are previewed-- Gallantmon, MegaGargomon, Sakuyamon and Beelzemon (even worse, Blast Mode) all appear in the opening of the very first episode, but they're obscured by shadows until the start of the Digital World arc at which point, all bets were off. Jeri, Kazu, and Suzie are shown with Digivices--again, this would eventually happen; Beelzemon is teased as a major threat--and boy-howdy is he ever; right after his appearance The D-Reaper is shown taking over the Hypnos building. It even correctly predicts Jeri and Kazu getting Leomon and Guardromon as Digimon partners--even when Konaka had no intention of involving them in the story beyond bit parts.
  • Starfish Aliens: Digimon have always been this, but Tamers introduces the D-Reaper and Digignomes.
  • Stationary Wings: Judging from the visuals, it would seem that Digimon with flight abilities can accelerate air across their skins.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Yamaki, even in dark rooms.
  • Sure Why Not: Konaka gave this response when confronted with the fan theory that Alice is a ghost.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: One episode featured an anomaly of the Hypnos mainframe that manifested in a tunnel and abducted Guilmon, keeping him bound in web-like strands in a white void inside itself.
  • Synchronization: Bio-Merging again
  • Take My Hand
    • Culumon.
  • Talking to Himself: Aoi Tada as Terriermon and Lopmon; Yuka Imai as Renamon, Rika's mother, and Rika's grandmother; Steve Blum as Guilmon, Kenta, and Yamaki. (all except the latter are in Japanese version)
  • Terms of Endangerment: IceDevimon. It's scary.
  • That Mon Is Dead: Beelzemon about Impmon.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: "Yuuhi no Yakusoku" in the second movie.
  • They Look Like Us Now: Happens twice. The first time is Makuramon's human disguise--it doesn't really pass muster, and falls into Uncanny Valley territory, even in-universe. The Tamers know there's something wrong with him, they just don't catch onto what is wrong until it's too late. The second time is even worse. The D-Reaper's copy of Jeri was perfect except for her creepy mannerisms, which are written off as her simply being broken with grief. Again, Takato doesn't clue into what's really going on until she sprouts wings and nearly Mind Rapes him.
  • This Is Digmon's Drill
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Renamon's reason for not helping Impmon fight Indramon
  • This Is Sparta: In both the dubbed and original versions, Beelzemon calls Leomon's Beast King Fist in such a halting manner. "Juu! Ou! Ken!"/"Fist! Of the! Beast King!"
  • Those Two Guys: Kazu and Kenta.
  • Tokyo Tower: Actually it's Tokyo's ominously-designed city hall that's featured prominently throughout the series.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Rika and Jeri
  • Transformation Name Announcement
  • Trouble Follows You Home: Sweet Jesus, did it ever!
  • True Companions
  • Turned Against Their Masters: One of the underlying themes of the show (particularly in regard to the adult characters) is the responsibility that comes with creating life, and what happens if that life you created turns against you, of which Zhuqiaomon and the D-Reaper are examples.
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: According to Konaka, the series is set in 200X.
  • The Unfought: Technically speaking, although he plays the largest villainous role of all the Devas, the Tamers never fight Makuramon, aside from Leomon charging after him and taking the force of his attack, and Antylamon fighting him off to protect Suzie (before she becomes Suzie's partner). The only damage Makuramon ever receives before Beelzemon kills him is when Suzie bites him.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: One early episode had Takato taking Guilmon out in public just to see what the reaction would be. The kids thought it was awesome, the adults passed it off as animatronic or something.
  • Verbal Tic: Lampshaded by Steve Blum about Guilmon: "How often do you get to call everybody '-mon' at the end of everything you say?"
    • "Culululu~"
    • In the Japanese version, geko.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: Beelzemon could perform the attacks of the Digimon he absorbed, including Leomon's Fist of the Beast King, which he uses to try to break Juri out of the D-Reaper Kernel Sphere.) In theory, any Digimon could do this, but Beelzemon's the only one who does on-screen.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: The show has LOTS of references to the history of Computing, the Internet and Programming. It stands out more because, after all, this is a children's show. View the Analysis page for more details.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Yamaki gets closer and closer to this as the series goes, culminating when Juggernaut does not work as planned and he actually grabs Henry by the throat before stumbling away and yelling at himself. He does not, however, go through one when he's fired after his building is destroyed. Instead he mopes in his apartment until Riley says something that snaps him out of it enough to do a Heel Face Turn.
  • Villainous Rescue: Makuramon shuts down Hypnos when Juggernaut is about to destroy WarGrowlmon, Rapidmon, and Taomon. Granted, his intent may have been to save Vikaralamon, who was also under attack from Juggernaut, but WarGrowlmon killed Vikaralamon shortly after.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Zhuqiaomon and Yamaki.
  • Wham! Episode: "Lionheart". The kids are on an adventure in the Digital World! Jeri's even got her own partner, Leomon! They've fought some bad digimon along the way, but everything always turns out all right... then Beelzemon kills Leomon, Takato's rage causes Guilmon to digivolve into the mindlessly-destructive Megidramon, and Jeri suffers an Heroic BSOD that will take her the rest of the series to snap out of. The group's innocence is quite violently lost. This is the point when it gets Darker and Edgier.
    • Even the first episode counts, since it starts by having a digimon who was hunting down another ending up crushed alive by a third one. Afterwards, the cute digimon who was being chased enters the human world and wonders why there isn't any fighting. Later on we are shown a 10 year old coldly ordering her digimon partner to kill and absorb (in another words, eat) the remains of an opposing digimon, without any justification. On the other hand, a new digimon is created, and it turns to ashes the first lifeforms it sees (a few rats) and the episode ends with him noticing the (understandably) terrified 10 year old next to him. Adding to those events a radically different type of atmosphere, characterization and storytelling meant that audiences got a rather unique kids show.
  • World of Cardboard Speech: The tamers reflect upon their histories and adventures before their first biomerges in the physical world. All three speeches have elements of this trope, but Henry's speech in particular has him come to the realization that he has to stop holding back if he wants any chance of winning.
  • X Meets Y: Neon Genesis Evangelion/Serial Experiments Lain meets Digimon.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After Dobermon's sacrifice, Alice begins to feel glum. The light show that was once Dobermon reforms into its head, licks her face, and sticks around long enough to hear her say "Oh Dobermon, you came back?" before exploding again.
  • Zeroes and Ones: Apparently, it's actual ASCII code. (Yamaki is infuriated by this.)

Notes

  1. In the Japanese version, the Show Within a Show isn't Digimon Adventure, but it is in the dub.
  2. originally Takato asked Jeri if Leomon was her first love, which she denied. The dialog below doesn't make any sense because the word Destiny/Fate is to Juri/Jeri most definitely not a good thing, being to her virtually synonymous with death, which she obviously doesn't want to happen.
  3. because the series head writer liked the ideas put forth in the second movie though he outright said that that wasn't the reason why Rika was so cold at the beginning of the series.
  4. the reason Juri/Jeri chases Leomon around like a madwoman is because she is that desperate for a bit of fantasy that would make all her problems disappear. Furthermore, in episode 24 nearly all of Juri's parental issues are revealed in the way she rudely ignores her mom (who feels noticeably guilty, as if that attitude was justified), shows her brother holding the hand puppet in his sleep (explaining why she first started using the hand puppet) and most importantly, a picture of baby Juri/Jeri being held by her real mom thus revealing that the woman downstairs was her stepmom
  5. (toshio degushi's)