“Monster Friends to the Boys and Girls” – Hey Digimon By Paul Gordon/Shuki Levy/Kussa Mahchi
August 14th, 1999. I had gotten home from school and finished what little homework I had when I sat down to watch tv and noticed the cable was out. My dad wheeled out of his room and said: “Cable is out, do you want to watch TV in my room? I have the rabbit ears hooked up.” So I took him up on his offer. He went to the fridge and got his ice-cold glass from the freezer and poured himself a coke and brought me a can. He wheeled up to the bed and slid in and I sat at the edge. We tried to get KTLA5 to come in but, couldn’t so we settled on FOX11, and then it came on the television… Digimon: Digital Monsters. I asked my dad if we could watch it and he was nodding off and said “sure” the first episode was about halfway done when he asked: “Why don’t the words match their lips?” I turned to him and said “Oh I thought you were asleep.” he laughed and replied: “No this show is weird so I’m watching it too.” At the time I didn’t know it but we found OUR show.
Every day I would come home from school and watch the Digi-destined try to save the Digital World. My dad would be there waiting for me, ice-cold glass of coke and the rabbit ears set up. (Eventually, the cable was fixed.) We would just enjoy the show for what it was. Watching these kids bond with their Digimon and helping them to evolve to something more. Something they needed to overcome the challenges they faced. When Etemon showed up he was my dad’s favorite. Right off the bat, he would say: “Weak ass Elvis!” I was like “umm okay” not even remembering what Elvis sounded like back then. My dad asked me “What Crest is yours?” Being a teenager at the time, I replied with “Courage is dope” and he said “Health.” I laughed because that wasn’t one of the 7.
Then as the season went on, the kids needed to find the 8th child. I thought was Kari from the start but, my dad at that point was getting less interested in the show and more into resting than anything. When we watched “Gatomon Comes Calling”, he said: “you were right.” That would be the last episode we would watch together. On December 29th, 1999 my dad passed away. I lost my Digimon partner that day and I didn’t even realize it. He was always in my corner and always trying to do things with me even when he was sick or getting sicker. He fought to the end and it was reassuring knowing he was no longer in pain. For weeks I didn’t know what to do, say, or even how to act. Then reruns of season 1 started up and I sat watching intently because it reminded me of our time together. The season started to air new episodes towards the end of January in 2000 and I would come home, get an iced cold soda, and sit on his bed and watch it. It was routine for me at that point but it helped me more than anyone I would ever know.
The Digi-Destined faced off against Myotismon at the end of the arc I would dub ”Return to Earth” but only by going to a level never mentioned before in the show until well, it was needed. Funny how those things tend to happen. There he stood in all his chrome Digizoid armor. Wargreymon is the mega evolution of Agumon. My favorite Digimon was introduced along with MetalGarurumon the fully evolved form of Gabumon. They would go on to crush Myotismon who digivolved into VenomMyotismon. (Or did they?) At that point and then started the ”Return to the Digi-world” arc with a fight against the Dark Masters. (Piedmon, Machinedramon, MetalSeadramon, & Puppetmon)
This arc would test each of the 8 Digi-Destined. It would test Tai and Matt more than others but each of them had their own thing they needed to overcome to beat the 4 deadliest Digimon they had faced at that point.
Tai learned what it meant to have courage and to be a leader that the rest could look up to. To me, it was trusting his team to do what was right and learning to let go of leadership when need be. His love for his sister Kari showed that he valued his family a lot and now the Digi-Destined as well.
Matt being slightly overprotective of his own sibling, TK showed he had to learn about true friendship not just with himself but with everyone else. He turned on Tai earlier and thus cost the team against Puppetmon. His lesson was simple, let TK show him that not only was he his little brother but also his friend. Okay, so maybe Joe helped him a bit with that too.
Speaking of Joe, his reliability helped the team in the end because he was there for each member of the team when they needed a voice of reason. Joe would bounce around to each member of the team and showed them why they were chosen for this task to save the Digital World.
Mimi decided early on in the fight against the Dark Masters that she just didn’t want to fight at all. Instead, she focused on gathering allies they had met along their journey. This leads to what I have to think is a running theme.. the death of Leomon. (That guy can’t catch a break..hah.) Mimi then found her courage and rallied the allies she gathered to assist in the final fight.
Sora and the crest of Love were tested when she couldn’t find love anymore and needed her friends and Biyomon to help her out of a cave. A cave that also took Matt to a dark place of thought. Joe and Matt were able to show her that her love is her strength in taking on the Dark Masters.
Kari’s Crest of Light showed the way. When all was dark she was the light to lead everyone together again. She has a power no one can fully understand. To be honest, the Digital World uses Kari as a vessel to speak to the team quite often. Kari’s light is what turned Gatomon away from evil and helped her digivolve to Angewomon back on earth.
Then there is Izzy. He proved to be the brains of the team often telling Tai he was being a jerk. Something that showed Tai what he needed to stop and realize that his actions weren’t helping anyone let alone Kari. (Who was sick at the time.) Izzy is often the one explaining the rules of the Digital World to others but is always willing to learn as well.
Matt’s younger brother, TK, is the bearer of the Crest of Hope. TK’s hope is what finally defeated the Dark Masters. Angemon digivolved to MagnaAngemon in the final moments when all was lost, even when Kari had lost hope. It was TK who still believed. TK was me in the end. When I lost hope after my dad passed it was TK who showed me that I have much more to live for, to be around for. At 16 years old i looked to TK for hope. MagnaAngemon defeated Piedmon with his move Heavens Gate. Thus ending the Dark Masters saga and starting a short 2 part ending vs Apocalymon that turned out to just being everyone vocalizing what they’ve learned from through out the season.
The season finale had me realize some hard truths as a teenager that have stuck with me through adulthood. Those kids went on an adventure together and even though they had to say goodbye to their Digimon, they were better for having the journey than not. I lost what was the most important person in my life at that time. I thought I was done. How could I overcome the grief I was experiencing? What would my next step be? I failed school, friends, family and didn’t want to talk to anyone. It was the Digi-Destined and their Digimon that showed me that while I’m here on earth that I do have friends, family, and people who wanted to help me heal what was broken. They showed me how to digivolve past what I was feeling and channel that into something positive. I’m forever grateful to this series and the lessons it taught me.
This is the start of a multipart series of me covering each Digimon season up to season 5 and how it’s been apart of my life in some way shape or form. Thanks for reading!