Whether it was a questionably placed bit of inappropriate humor, or an odd storytelling quirk that does not quite make sense with the overall narrative, Digimon has had its share of WTF moments since its inception in the late ’90s. Those who have not kept up with the franchise in recent years may have written this cult hit off as a relic of millennial nostalgia that has failed to maintain its place in the public consciousness, unlike the series’ monster-centric counterpart, Pokémon, which is continually compared by fans and critics alike. However, Digimon Tri – a slew of ongoing films that act as a direct sequel to the original series – as well as a handful of moderately successful imported video game titles have sparked a franchise revival in the Western world.
In celebration of this property’s resurgence, we are counting down some of the most off-the-wall, WTF moments in all the Digimon anime series. Comically awful jokes, odd retrospective observations, and a number of head-scratching plot holes you may have missed all lie ahead.
Here are the 15 Most WTF Things That Happened on Digimon.
15. Where Are They Now?
At the end of Digimon Adventures’ second season, the entire main cast is featured in a where are they now sort of recap. For fans, this was a nice way to close out a saga that had continued on for over 100 episodes, but oddly enough, numerous careers did not appear to fit the characters that viewers had spent so much time with.
For example, fan-favorite character Matt was always portrayed as a musician, either spotted with a harmonica in hand or as the lead man of his high school rock band. However, cool guy Matt and his partner Gabumon teamed up as the first human/Digimon duo to land on the moon. On the other hand, DigiDestined leader Tai became a diplomat as an adult, while he was always seen with a soccer ball in his youth. We understand that not every middle school kid obsessed with soccer ends up becoming a professional athlete, but a political career seems pretty far removed from this character’s sensibilities. Davis becoming a noodle cart owner, however, makes perfect sense given the characters off-the-wall demeanor. You really nailed that one, Digimon.
14. Our Apartment Doesn’t Allow Pets
The English dub version of the Digimon anime (especially early on) never misses an opportunity to insert a joke or two. Seriously, if you thought the Marvel Cinematic Universe had a quipping problem, then you may want to revisit some early episodes of this children’s series for perspective’s sake.
Apparently, Western distributors were nervous about how Digimon would be received outside of Japan and thusly, translating teams were forced to insert some additional humor here and there. These jokes did not always land, however, and sometimes, they didn’t even make any sense.
When Kari (the mysterious eighth DigiDestined child and Tai’s younger sister) discovers that Gatomon (a cat-like Digimon) is her partner, she jokingly asserts that her apartment does not allow pets. This off-handed one-liner was not even that funny to begin with, but when you take into consideration the fact that Tai and company spent the last couple of episodes chasing her lost pet cat around town, it becomes quite the head scratcher to say the least.
13. The 8th DigiDestined Storyline
The backstory for the eighth DigiDestined child (as well as the other seven DigiDestined children for that matter) storyline is given in the beginning of Digimon: The Movie, and while it is considered canon, it does serve to cause some timeline hiccups that have never been resolved. Still, as shaky as the timeline is, the film offers the most concrete history that we have.
Digimon: The Movie begins with a young Tai and Kari meeting a Koromon (the pre-evolution form to the more recognizable mascot Agumon) which later results in a monumental battle in Highton View Terrace that is alluded to on several occasions throughout the anime series. Despite this fairly notable moment in the lives of all eight main characters, only Kari manages to remember (for some unexplained reason) when she is later identified as the mysterious eighth DigiDestined child. The fact that all eight DigiDestined witnessed this real world battle does serve as a thoughtful connection but it is all undone by some questionable writing choices toward the end of the first season.
12. Gatomon’s Digivolution Line
Digimon has never been the most logical show, but even in regard to the series at large, Gatomon’s evolution (or Digivolution) line never made that much sense.For those who are unfamiliar or even those who simply forgot after all these years, Digimon has six main Digivolutionary stages: Baby, In-Training, Rookie, Champion, Ultimate, and Mega (in that order). Most Digimon turn from wolves into werewolves, or dinosaurs into even bigger dinosaurs with rocket launchers strapped to their chest (that’s basic biology), but some other creatures don’t make any sense.
Gatomon, for example, is a Champion-level cat-like Digimon. Her Rookie form is Salmon, a puppy who later evolves into Angewoman, who is, you guessed it, an angel. And she later becomes Magnadramon, a giant pink dragon. It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that these four things don’t go together, but oh well, she is still one of the unequivocal fan-favorite Digimon characters after all these years.
11. BlackWarGreymon Gets Weirdly Deep
BlackWarGreymon is like that one guy from every party who wants to talk about politics or philosophy. Everyone is simply trying to enjoy their weekends when Mr. Buzzkill himself waltzes in to discuss depressing, real world issues.
Sure, BlackWarGreymon had it tough. He was created from pure evil, and never felt as though he belonged. From the beginning of his life, this villain/anti-hero was designed to be a tool for death and destruction, but even so, his deep, introspective conversations with Agumon felt madly out of left field in this children’s show.
BlackWarGreymon is a fan-favorite villain, but his brooding personality could use a little overhaul. Luckily, this character was constantly matched up in scenes with Tai’s partner, Agumon, who added a bit of levity that these scenes desperately needed.
10. Apocalymon Only Eats The Crust
As alluded to earlier, the show’s writers were rarely tactful, opting for any opportunity to insert a joke or two, even if it wasn’t necessarily warranted, and Apocalymon might be the best example of that fact. The entire first season has led to this encounter; the Digidestined versus the ultimate evil. Enter Apocalymon. For a Digimon who was forged from the pain and misery of used up data that was excreted during the Digivolution process (this all somehow makes sense when Izzy explains it), he’s actually pretty funny.
After facing the likes of more serious villains such as Myotismon, Piedmon, and the always intimidating Machinedramon, it was a bit off-putting to hear the series’ big baddie cracking so many jokes. The ridiculousness of this encounter arguably peaks during Apocalymon’s metaphorical monolog when he utters the following lines: “Why do you get to taste the best life has to offer, while all I do is choke on its leftovers? Answer me this! Why do you get the pizza while I get the crust?”
9. Digimon Crushing on a Middle School Girl
No matter where the DigiDestined children end up, one thing is certain, everybody loves Mimi. This sweet girly girl is as likable as she is kind, making friends wherever she goes.
However, a pair of vile Digimon – Sukamon, a golden poop-looking creature, and Chuumon, a pink rat – offer the young girl some unwanted attention. Episode after episode, the duo bombard Mimi with repeated requests to go out on a date with them. These advances never go past a place of lightheartedness, intended to be humorous, but even still, it seems a little weird looking back. No judgments here, but perhaps both Sukamon and Chuumon should find someone their own age and maybe even their own species.
8. No One Ever Remembers Digimon Attacks
No matter how many times a wild Digimon attacks a metropolitan Japanese city, it seems as though these events are forgotten in a matter of episodes. The reaction to digital monsters in the real world has become a recurring theme in Digimon Tri, an ongoing series of movies that serve as a direct sequel to the anime’s first and second seasons, but this was simply not the case for the longest time within the anime.
Children hiding their Digimon partners for fear of scaring the public was common in early episodes, and even the parents of these children seemingly forgot that Digimon existed in later episodes or seasons. We’re not sure if this is simply due to a lack of continuity within the universe or something else entirely, but it seems weird that seeing a Digimon in the real world is still similar to witnessing a UFO or a ghost. Even after news reports along with video footage of decimated cities, people – even those with first-hand experience – just do not seem to believe that Digimon are real.
7. Etemon, Just Etemon
Villains in the Digimon universe range somewhere from whimsical to intimidating. Etemon, however, managed to toe the line between the two pretty well. The giant sunglasses-wearing monkey served as an antagonist for a short arc in the first season and returned later as MetalEtemon.
In each iteration, the character maintained his affinity for the theatrics – specifically, his B-level Elvis impersonation. With a guitar and microphone, Etemon took his aggressions out on the unsuspecting DigiDestined children and asserted himself as one of the franchise’s silliest, albeit most capable baddies. As a child, this character may have served as a fun villain with a few jokes, but as an adult, the entire character design from top-to-bottom more or less earns the WTF moniker.
6. Season 3 Gets Super Meta
The third season of the series – entitled Digimon Tamers – is widely known for its more sophisticated themes and storytelling, but it is also considered to be quite meta as well. Takato and the rest of the series’ protagonist grew up watching the Digimon anime just like the third season’s respective viewers. Tai, Matt, Kari, and the rest of the DigiDestined are considered legends to the Tamers just as they are to us.
In the third season’s universe, the Digimon franchise provided children with a television program, various toys, countless movies, and various video games just as they have for the franchise’s fans. There was a lot of different avenues the writers of the series could have gone with this new season, but the decision to proceed with an overtly self-referential narrative is perhaps one of the more interesting creative choices of the entire franchise.
5. Parents Let Their Children Go to the Digital World
No matter the season or series within this franchise, growing up and dealing with life’s everyday challenges are a major part of the Digimon, and usually, these various struggles revolved around the children’s home lives and their respective parents.
In the aforementioned season three of the anime (Digimon Tamers), the children decided to travel to the digital world and search for their lost friend. To avoid worrying their parents and teachers, the kids decide to sneak out leaving nothing more than a note. This, however, does not work out as planned as their parents end up finding out beforehand. This results in an interaction in which the children convince their parents to let them go, and without too much convincing (or information really), the parents eventually cave in.
In order to advance the plot of the various series, these kids often must travel to other worlds but any semi-responsible parental figure approving of this dangerous endeavor simply does not feel realistic.
4. Death and Depression as Recurring Themes
As alluded to earlier, the Digimon animated series can be quite grim at times. The children characters within the show often deal with heavy, real-world issues, and while this serves to make them more relatable, the series ends up appearing somewhat grittier as a result.
The third season is widely considered the most serious of the lot, and this is largely due to the themes of death and depression. Jeri, who lost her mother at a very young age, looks for friendship with a Digimon by the name of Leomon. The ferocious sword-wielding lion unwittingly becomes her partner and their friendship quickly blossoms. However, things end abruptly when Lemon is killed in the line of duty. Tone goes from upbeat to bleak in a matter of episodes as the rest of the series revolves around Jeri’s deep depression. While dealing with loss and sadness can be good lessons for children to learn, Digimon Tamers might be laying it on a bit too thick toward the end, garnering a well-deserved WTF.
3. Jeri’s Nightmare
As a kid, images on television and film can appear scarier than they actually are. Sometimes, as adults, we revisit these shows and movies that terrified us in our youth, only to find that they are not all that terrifying after all. That being said, Jeri’s nightmare sequence in the franchise’s third season is still kind of messed up – even as a full-grown, tax-paying adult.
Digimon Tamers, the aforementioned third season, is widely recognized by fans and critics alike as the anime’s darkest entry by far. Scarred by the death of her Digimon partner, Jeri falls into a deep depression, which is, of course, utilized by an evil entity in order to take over both the digital world as well as the real one. The nightmare sequence that occurs within this arc is something out of a horror movie, and while those above a certain age may not sleep with their lights after watching, it can be terrifying for younger audiences and even a bit unsettling for more seasoned viewers.
2. Digimon Can’t Hold It
Okay, so we are aware that all living things must excrete waste – or in other words, everybody poops – but, the Digimon television series (as well as the game franchise for that matter) address this issue far too much. However, Digimon having to use the bathroom provides fans with, arguably, some of the funniest moment in the entire series.
Finally making their way back from the Digital World, the original seven DigiDestined children are trying to hitch a ride across town. After numerous failed attempts, the group is finally successful as Sora’s cousin spots the gang on the side of the road. Sora’s older male cousin is not all that kind to the DigiDestined (specifically the boys) and matters are only made worse when it is revealed that Tai’s Digimon partner, Koromon, cannot hold it. With little notice, Koromon relieves itself in the back seat of the car, leading the children to be interrogated by Sora’s elder black sheep cousin.
1. Strip Poker
On a later Season two episode of Digimon Adventure, the new crop of DigiDestined are enjoying a friendly Christmas get-together before ultimately attempting to seal the forces of evil for good. While sitting on the floor of former bad boy Ken Ichijouji’s bedroom, Davis – the leader of the group – begins to recommend that they play strip poker but is cut off mid-sentence by an urgent phone call which is brought to their attention.
This was obviously designed to serve as an adult joke that would evade the understanding or attention of smaller children, but it is so blatantly obvious that it becomes almost cringe worthy. This one-liner may feel more at home in a series that is known for a crude brand of humor, but for Digimon, this left field remark does not appear to fit at all and becomes something for older fans to laugh at rather than with. And again, this all took place during the second season’s Christmas episode. Seriously, is nothing sacred anymore?
What are some of your favorite WTF moments from the Digimon series? Make sure to let us know your picks in the comment section.