Recap, More Like..Recrap: The Best, Dullest, and Worst episode of Digimon Universe Appli Monsters

When Digimon Universe Appli Monsters was first announced I was pessimistic to say the least; the show seemed so different from the Digimon series that I loved as a child and the concept just seemed so dumb and ‘Quick! We need to keep up with YoKai Watch!’. However, from the first episode Appmon surprised and interested me, despite me being not the target demographic. The show quickly captured my heart very quickly with not only a clever and, at times, meta, plot, but endearing and unique characters that made me care from them even if, in Astra’s case, I hated them initially. Appmon really brings you back to the feeling you had when you first sat down to watch Digimon.

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Don't Doubt the Shout: The Best, Dullest and Worst episode of Digimon Xros Wars

Xros Wars is a pretty alright season, it has a lot of great ideas that make it one of the most unique seasons of Digimon, unfortunately, for a season so unique, for the most part it tries to play it safe and ends up being a little ‘just okay’ at times. It gets a lot of slack, especially in it’s third season for being formulaic. However, I still love it for its new ideas and attempts to rewrite the Digimon anime formula.
I should point out that this season has the most amount of episodes as I’m combing each of the three parts. Also third part was never released in English.

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The Great Ghibli Gander #0 – Introduction

I recently got a big ass Totoro tattooed on my thigh and, during the process, I was speaking to the artist about all the different Ghibli films and then I realised that I hadn’t actually seen that many despite owning most of the movies on DVD. This realisation gave me some motivation to actually go through and watch (and rewatch) all of the Studio Ghibli movies.
However, because I’m trying to breathe activity into this blog, I thought I’d write up blog posts for each movie as I watch them.
But before I get into all the movies, I’ll go through a few points first
  • First of all, I will be starting at ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’ (1984) which is labeled as a Studio Ghibli film (and is part of the MadMan Studio Ghibli collection) despite it not actually technically being a Ghibli film as it was released a year before Studio Ghibli was formed. The latest movie is ‘When Marnie Was There’ (2014) which I do not currently own, but hopefully will by the time I’ve watched everything else.
  • I will not be watching ‘Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro’ (1979) as it is not labled as a Studio Ghibli film. I own this on DVD as it was released in the ‘Hayou Miyazaki Collection’.
  • This is a Studio Ghibli (and Nausicaa) watch through, not Hayou Miyazaki, meaning I will be watching all of the Ghibli movies even if Hayou Miyazaki did not work on them.
  • Will I get a tattoo of a character from each movie? Probably actually. I really want a Haku from ‘Spirited Away’.
  • I’m intending to hopefully write down some Japanese vocab from each movie and hopefully write up a few things for ‘Wandering Across the Rainbow Chopsticks’ because I really do enjoy writing those, I just don’t often have ideas for it.
  • I’m not sure how long this will take, it won’t have any scheduled release as this is for fun. I’d hope I’ve watched everything before ‘How Do You Live?’ (2020).
Finally, for reference, here are the Studio Ghibli DVDs that I currently own:
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
  • Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986) ^
  • Grave of the Fireflies (1988) *
  • My Neighbor Totoro (1988) ^
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) ^
  • Only Yesterday (1991) *
  • Porco Rosso (1992)
  • Ocean Waves (1993) *
  • Pom Poko (1994) *
  • Whisper of the Heart (1995) *
  • Princess Mononoke (1997) ^
  • My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999) *
  • Spirited Away (2001) ^
  • The Cat Returns (2002) *
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) ^
  • Tales from Earthsea (2006) *
  • Ponyo (2008) ^
  • The Wind Rises (2013)
Movies that marked with an asterisks (*) means I have purchased them recently and they haven’t arrived yet, but will have arrived by the time I need to cover them. Movies that are marked with a caret (^) means I have seen this movie before.
As for the movies I don’t own because I couldn’t find the Region 4 DVD for a decent price but I will hopefully acquire when I get up to covering them:
  • The Secret World of Arrietty’ (2010)
  • From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
  • When Marnie Was There (2014)
As always, any donations via PayPal, Patreon, or Ko-Fi would be really appreciated.
Hopefully this venture is something that both I and you, the reader, will enjoy!

Shut Up and Take My Digi-Dollars! #6: Digimon Digital Monster 20th Anniversary Artbook

So last month something that I’ve been looking forward to for awhile arrived; the Digital Monster 20th Anniversary Artbook.
I really like artbooks, especially when they contain concept art or anything relating to ‘betas’ of games (eg, I love hearing about the beta versions of the Pokemon games) or concept ideas for the product or franchise.
I also have a fairly large amount of nostalgia for the original Digimon virtual pets as this was my introduction to the franchise since the anime wasn’t really all that popular. I think the only full season of Digimon I watched as it was airing from the first to the last episode was 02, everything else I would only watch a couple of episodes, maybe every few episodes (I started watching Adventure in the Dark Masters arc and when I was watching Tamers, the tv channel decided to take it off the air after like episode 36).
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First of all, the box that it arrived in. Has the logo. Pretty standard.
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Here’s the book! Pretty cool cover design. I think I’ve mentioned a few times on the podcast about how happy I am that they still show Tyrannomon as the poster child for the vpets.
Tyrannomon also struck me as the most famous Digimon when I was a kid before I started watching the anime. He was everywhere! He was on every commercial for the virtual pets and he was on the box for the version one. I thought my virtual pet was fake when I couldn’t get Tyrannomon or even ‘Darkmon’ (which was Devimon’s name on the English versions of the vpets) because I was the only kid with a version 2 (I know six versions were released in Australia but at the time where the fad was huge, only two versions had been released. I came pretty late to the fad).
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More Tyrannomon! I love him! img_20180103_1202561397974341524380893.jpg
Images like these make me pretty happy, I was very happy for this to be one of the first things I saw when I opened the art book.
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Probably the best part about the book is how it has each Digimon that makes an appearance in the ver20th vpets and each page has glorious art and concept art such as flexing Leomon.
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Basically every page (except for a few) features a Digimon eating some of the ‘bone with meat’ from the vpets. It’s always cute, no matter how monstrous the Digimon is.
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There’s also some cute art, such as Tyranomon and DarkTyrannomon hanging out at the beach!
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Airdramon is still the best, no art with Airdramon and bone with meat though, which is weird.
img_20180103_1211588084878298660862064.jpgDrimogemon always gives me a rush of nostalgia. I blame Digimon World.
Also look! He’s in a cave!!
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Speaking of concept art, there’s also information about the original concepts for Digimon (“Capsule Zaurus” maybe some virtual pet version of “Pocket Zaurus”). There are some very interesting initial designs for some of the monsters which look more similar to Pokemon in how they’re kind of cute. At the bottom right you can see a few concept designs for Digimon that we actually know of.
The Digimon shown in the left image on the bottom left page seem to be Tyrannomon, Monochromon, and Seadramon as well as even earlier versions which almost resemble Tamagotchi characters. The concept for Seadramon looks like a cross between Airdramon and Seadramon (rather, it looks like Airdramon without wings).
In the right image, we get a few baby Digimon designs. Concept Koromon looks like Dorumon’s in-training form. We also get a concept Numemon which seems to look more friendly.img_20180103_1213341507400523163041689.jpgThe book also has some pretty neat concepts for the virtual pets. They went through a few designs before landing on the final design. However, I do rather like the flip-phone looking style as well as the design where the pet is actually in some cylindrical cage.
There’s also the evolution chart for the first version! Which is pretty neat!
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One of the most interesting pages is this size chart which compares the size of some of the Digimon.
I never could have possibly imagined how enormous GraceNovamon is – we only get to see her leg!! It’s interesting considering we already know Mugendramon and Examon are huge. They could probably be stepped on by GraceNovamon without her even noticing.
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The images are of pretty amazing quality too. I didn’t use my scanner as my scanner chose not to like me, the quality can still be seen clearly even with just photos from my mobile phone.

This art book exceeded expectations.
I was only expecting an art book and was pleasantly surprised to have such detailed concept art and information (which I had never seen before) as well as that size chart I mentioned earlier which puts some things in perspective (if you had asked me prior to reading this art book, I would have said GraceNovamon was probably twice as big as an adult, maybe three times as tall as an adult, Omegamon’s size maybe).
This book, while seemingly more expensive than other artbooks I have purchased (usually around 40-70AUD), this one was around 100AUD. However, I would definitely say that it is worth it, especially if you:
  1. are heavily influenced my nostalgia
  2. like looking at really high quality images
  3. are an artist and want references for your art
  4. like concept art and information about the background and original designs for Digimon
Cost: $$$
Design: 10/10

I also intend on reviewing the art book that was in the Hacker’s Memory limited edition soon-ish too if people are interested in that. Though the art book for that isn’t as amazing and it’s mainly just art and concept art from other Digimon Story games, it’s still quite a nice art book.

How to buy Japanese products (specifically Digimon) online

Often people ask me where I buy my Digimon merchandise online, and my usual answer is ‘Ami Ami, HobbyLink Japan, Nippon Yasan, and, as an expensive last resort, eBay (usually in that order as this is how I would rate them – HLJ is possibly better than AmiAmi but AmiAmi is cheaper)’, but when it comes to popup shop items and premium items, these sites can be a little less useful (except for eBay but the mark up is pretty extreme – a five dollar keychain going for 50 dollars? No way.)

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Cool Digimon arrivals for October 17th

I also had a few more arrivals besides the Kokeshi Doll Rubber Straps previously discussed. 

First up we have some Appmon chips. I’m trying to complete my collection of Appmon chips. It’s really hard. 
Also pictured is a guide for the Digimon Championship DS Game. It’s one of my favourite Digimon games because it’s just so different. It also has Dracomon. I love Dracomon. 

Next up we have the Digimon Adventure manga books. They’re basically just cinemanga. I’m not sure if there are any others available. The first four cover the file island arc and the second two cover the Etemon arc.
I’ve never seen any Vamdemon or Dark Masters arc ones. It seems to just finish with Taichi returning to the real world like at the end of the Etemon arc. I’m not even sure if any continuation from there exists. 

Next is a new OUTDOOR bag! I previously discussed the Digimon OUTDOOR tote and backpack on this blog but now I have another one! It’s got a nice subtle Digimon design so I can wear it out and people will just think I have a cool blue Camo backpack. I love subtle Digimon things that I can use in public!
I also got the Digimon Adventure Tri Taichi and Agumon figure that nobody likes. Because I felt empty without it. 

Laatly, and this is something I’ve wanted for awhile…

The Mimi Nutella glass!!
I’ve always wanted it and now I have it. Now I can make my Digimon pop-up cafe recreated drinks in a cool new glass!

May Doesn't Like Pokemon Sun and Moon

So, after a conversation during Episode 118 of the podcast, several listeners have requested for me to share my opinions about Pokemon Sun and Moon after I said I didn’t enjoy it. So here is it.
A few things first that should be noted:

  • Yes I love Digimon and I have a Digimon podcast. This doesn’t mean I don’t love Pokemon. I have always loved Pokemon too. I started playing when I was young and was given Pokemon Gold and Yellow for my birthday and was hooked ever since. So no, I’m not being a salty Digimon fan who doesn’t like Pokemon.
  • No I’m not a genwunner. Generation One, in comparison to later games, is not a fantastic game. Pokemon is a series which is improved with each game release (or it should be).
  •  This isn’t the full essay. I can’t find the full version as it was shared on a Slack which deletes messages. These are my points I shared with a friend prior to the full essay. I will expand on points if need be from the original, but mostly, it’s a lesser version.
  • These are my opinions, I’ve spoken to people who say that this is their favourite Pokemon game. You’re allowed to like or even love this game. I just didn’t.
  • I stopped playing after I got to the legendary fight because, after spending that much time with a story I didn’t care about that didn’t try to compel me to play, I just kinda stopped trying to like it. I know I should finish a game before judging it, but, honestly, if I don’t care after over 10 hours of a game is it even worth it at that point? I might finish before Ultra Sun and Moon come out – which I have preordered the collectors edition of. Because I’m rubbish.

So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on why Sun and Moon felt like a disappointment.
First of all, I felt that there were too many cut scenes that I didn’t care enough to want to watch, if I recall correctly, they were also unable to be skipped. Usually I’m fine with cut-scenes, however, in this game it really removed immersion because of how long and often they were. This brings me to another point; nobody shuts up. Ever. I feel like I’m in a ‘talking and walking to next talking event’ simulator. Now don’t get my wrong here; I like the little hand hold at the start of every Pokemon game with one of my favourite songs from the Pokemon Games Soundtrack, however, in Pokemon Sun and Moon, I felt like this was every half an hour or so (and without ‘Come Along’!). I felt like I was constantly being pulled aside to be shown a game mechanic. Again, this really pulled me out of my game space. I felt like the game could have done with an ‘expert’ mode with less hand holding. I’m aware this is a game for kids and not for 24 year olds, but even when I was a kid I would have known some of the things the game was pulling me aside to teach me. Maybe ask a question like “Are you new to this world?” or “Have you played before?” or “Do you know the basics of Pokemon?” when asking for the player’s name and gender.
I also didn’t enjoy the David Cage-esque dialogue choice (e.g, “What do you think, Player Character; cool or cute?” “Yes! You’re right! It is cute and cool!” It feels like obvious lazy writing). I know Pokemon isn’t a choose your own adventure and I don’t mind that it’s not, just don’t try to pretend that it is and not even try to make each response have different outcomes.
My main issues is that this is a game that is trying to be too many things. It has too many new mechanics and doesn’t just focus on one. The new ideas aren’t expanded or even focused on enough because there are too many different new features. For example, I found that Moon (the version I bought) had a stupid premise by having the game offset by twelve hours that does virtually nothing. I like when the day/night system matches up and I felt that there weren’t enough reason to make it offset by 12 hours.
I also found that the majority of trails are boring and I prefer gym battles – I play this game to fight with my monsters, dammit. I feel like it’s trying too hard to compete with Yo-Kai Watch and be trendy with the kids.
While we’re talking about features, I didn’t like the removal of the PSS (a feature I adored and thought was a pretty fun feature). Everything was moved to the festival plaza, which, was okay, I guess, but it wasn’t as seamless to navigate to like it was in Gen 6 (i.e. having it accessible on the bottom screen). Why remove good features to replace features which don’t feel complete?
There’s no 3D, which, I mean, I don’t use 3D too often but it’s nice to see, but, despite there being no 3D, the frame rate still finds a way to drop CONSTANTLY. This is in and out of battle and used to happen in Generation Six with the 3D on and on my old 3DS. This is with the New 3DS!
And here’s the region why I mentioned how I’m not just a salty Digimon fan; the story was not only cliched and predictable, it was too similar to Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth.
Speaking of Digimon games; Poke Pelego seems like a good idea on the surface but Digimon did it ten years ago and it was easier to monitor and used the top screen. Pokemon could have made this accessible with the bottom screen (which was largely unused) but did not.
Lastly, just some points on the story besides it being cliched and predictable as I mentioned above; everything in the story seems like a chore and boring. I didn’t feel compelled to complete the game. I wanted to get to the end not because I cared about the story, because I wanted it to be over. One of the reasons I didn’t care about the story was the fact I didn’t care about the characters. I felt like they had ‘forced personality’, the game doesn’t care to explain why characters are the way they are. They have cute designs, sure, but, I just don’t care. The ‘twist’ you can see as soon as all relevant characters are introduced. I don’t care about them. They don’t shut up and the characters and story are, as I said, cliched, predictable, and bland.
So that’s it. Sun and Moon are probably my least favourite of all the Pokemon games. This position was previously held by Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire which I disliked for the fact it had removed my favourite feature from the game; the day night system. However, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire fixed this and I think Alpha Sapphire is probably my second favourite game. My favourite is Pokemon Heart Gold which expanded upon the fantastic game it was rebooting and added in great features like the PokeWalker, more story about Silver and why he’s a bag of dicks, and Pokemon following behind you (like in Pokemon Yellow, it kicked me right in my nostalgia).
I give this game 4/10.
Predictable, Disappointing, Trying too hard