Friday, July 30, 2021

Friday Creature Feature - Agumon

Just like Pikachu is the most iconic Pokémon, Agumon is probably the most recognizable Digimon. That’s why he keeps coming back. Over the course of the Digimon franchise and across the Digimon multiverse, there have been four distinct versions of Agumon in the anime. So in honor of the Digi-Destined’s anniversary of entering the Digital World for the first time, let’s explore the four iterations of Agumon.

Digimon Adventure

The most well-known of the four Agumon is Tai Kamiya’s partner. They met each other when he was a Koromon and then digivolved to Rookie against Kuwagamon with the others. He later became digivolved into Greymon to fight Shellmon, into MetalGreymon to defeat Etemon, and WarGreymon to face VenomMyotismon and the Dark Masters. Finally, as the next spring/summer rolled around, WarGreymon learned to DNA digivolve with MetalGarurumon to become Omnimon and fight Diaboromon. (And somewhere around here Tai and Agumon went to Digimon Fusion universe to fight Quartzmon.

As a new team of Digi-Destined joined the fight, Agumon took a back seat. But along the way he and Tai mentored Davis and Veemon as they learned to lead the new team. For a short time, he was captured by the Digimon Emperor and forced to dark digivolve. Later, after Ken joins the Digi-Destined, Agumon joins the frontlines again to fight in the Digimon World Tour and when BlackWarGreymon attacks Tokyo.

A few years later, Agumon and the others return to the Real World to fight the newly infected Digimon. Despite Tai having doubts about the fight, he and Agumon continue the battle, even when Agumon gets rebooted and Agumon and Gabumon have to destroy Meicoomon to save the world as Omnimon. Years later, Tai approached college graduation and Digi-Destined started disappearing. Agumon and Gabumon were the ones who digivolved to a new form and saved everyone. It meant they disappeared… but years later, somehow Agumon returned as Tai’s partner. We don’t know how, but he came back.

He's hot-headed and childish, just like Tai. This worked well when Tai was younger, but it was one of the things that possibly caused his separation from Agumon in Last Evolution. That being said, he's known for putting Tai in his place too. My favorite part about this version of Agumon is how thoughtful and insightful he is. In Adventure Tri, he never gave up on Tai returning. In Adventure 02, he philosophized with BlackWarGreymon about the meaning of life. Of all the Agumon we've met, the original will always be my favorite because he had depth.

Digimon Data Squad

The second prominent Agumon was partnered with Marcus Damon. They were rivals as much as partners when they joined DATS. This version of Agumon was obsessed with food. As he worked with Marcus, he was able to digivolve into GeoGreymon, RizeGreymon, and ShineGreymon to fight Merukimon’s forces, Kurata’s bio-hybrids. But his power-ups wouldn’t be complete until ShineGreymon reached Burst Mode against the Royal Knights and Agumon reached “Burst Mode” against King Drasil. The final battle would mean Agumon had to return to the Digital World permanently (but Marcus volunteered to go too). And this Agumon would also go to the Fusion dimension to fight Quartzmon with Marcus and the others.

Unlike the Adventure version of Agumon, Marcus's partner is more hard-headed when it comes to handling his boss's decisions. This was evident from the very beginning when Agumon got into a fist fight with Marcus at the park. He also refused to stay stored digitally in his digivice (kind of like a well-known Pokemon). Despite my assertion that OG Agumon is my favorite, the independence that Data Squad Agumon shows, unlike the original, is why I love him. It gets him and Marcus into plenty of trouble, but it's also why they work well together as a team.

Digimon App Monsters

Despite being just a video game character in this part of the Digimon multiverse, Agumon was brought to life in this world. Haru and his partner teamed up with him to fight Uratekumon. Haru’s connection with Agumon from playing the Digimon video game was strong enough that he was able to warp digivolve to WarGreymon to help with the fight of the day.

This version of Agumon is reminiscent of Tai's Agumon in the Adventure series, plus a little extra obsession with food. Brave and loyal, this Agumon had a strong bond with Haru, even though Haru hadn't played Digimon in years. With only a few flashbacks to Haru's younger age, I felt the connection between him and Agumon. Even though he only appeared in one episode, he was written better than our last Agumon, from the 2020 Adventure series. So I guess that's our next stop...

Digimon Adventure 2020

The latest iteration of Agumon is in the ongoing Digimon series. As part of a reboot of the original Digimon Adventure, this Agumon is very similar to the original Tai’s partner. His original digivolution line appears as Agumon digivolves into Greymon to fight Argomon, into MetalGreymon to fight MetalTyrannomon, and into WarGreymon to fight Eaglemon. Unlike the original Agumon, this Agumon also reached MetalGreymon’s Alterous Mode to fight Splashmon and BlitzGreymon to fight MetallifeKuwagamon. And along the way he accidentally dark digivolved into Machinedramon to fight DoneDevimon. As of now, the Digi-Destined have defeated ZeedMillenniummon and are searching for the meaning of the crests. Where this will lead Agumon in the last episodes we don’t know. But you can be sure Tai and Agumon will be there.

The Agumon of 2020 (as well as Tai) have been a center point of the criticism that the reboot series. A disproportionate amount of time seems to be focused on the two of them, as opposed to the other seven kids and their partners. In personality, he's very much like OG Agumon. The problem is that he isn't fleshed out like the previous versions of Agumon (even the one from Appmon). His connection to Tai has felt rushed from the start, but that honestly says more about how Tai was written, not Agumon.

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