Digimon, digital monsters, Digimon are the champions!
Or at least, they were. Anybody that didn’t grow up in the early 2000s is most likely going to be really confused when hearing about this for the first time.
“Mom, I’ve heard of Pokemon, but what’s a Digimon?”
For those of us that remember, Digimon were the coolest things around, next to our favorite Pocket Monsters, of course. With an excellent anime, a few video games, and a slew of trading cards, these two giants went neck and neck. But what exactly happened? Nobody talks about these Digital Monsters anymore, and considering how many Pikachu costumes were worn for Halloween this year, nobody cares either (apart from a select few of course).
Digimon were awesome and had a vibe entirely their own. Their anime surpassed that of Pokemon at times, and their card game was fairly robust. Figuring out what exactly caused this franchise to slowly fade out of existence is a number of factors in combination with speculation and rumors, but one easily recognizable factor are the creatures themselves. Don’t get me wrong, Digimon has some really good designed characters, but for every great design, there was another that either made us scratch our heads or plain made us uncomfortable. Sure, Pokemon has their fair share of poor designs, but never quite to the extent or frequency that Digimon did.
Don’t believe me? Well, hold on to your nostalgia, because we’re going to explore fifteen weird Digimon that prove why Pokemon is better.
One of the things that needs to happen when creating critters for kids to play with is making them unique while not stretching your creative boundaries. Unfortunately, the makers of Digimon did not get the memo with Betsumon. Right away, it looks like a regular Gatomon, but there is something horribly wrong with its face. It resembles some creep forty-year old man who likes to spy on people while they go to the restroom. Apparently, Betsumon is supposed to be a cosplayer (personally that’s an insult to cosplayers if you ask me), and it dresses up as various types of Digimon throughout the series. If you think that’s bad, wait until you hear one of its attacks. Cold Gag is an ability where Betsumon tells a bad pun that is so stupid that it paralyzes its foe. So now we’re adding Dad jokes into the mix as well. What makes Betsumon so horrible is that even if they succeeded in the direction they wanted to go with this creature, the end result still would’ve been something that kids never wanted to have a trading card of- and that’s saying something.
The 90s is notorious for giving a lot of childrens’ entertainment a much new spin- everything had to be extreme. From the show Rocket Power to over-the-top rap commercials, there was nothing that marketers couldn’t make even more extreme (even its hands and feet are disproportionately extreme). Apparently, Digimon got in on this trend as well. Etemon is a combination of a stereotypical 90’s gangster and a monkey. Naturally, you can imagine how horribly strange that would end up. What makes Etemon even weirder is the fact that he’s not actually a monkey. He rather wears a monkey suit that supposedly protects him from all attacks. He does have a bit of saving grace though. Etemon is so excellent at combat that not only has he labeled himself the “King of Digimon”, but he can take on just about any opponent that stands in his way. Sure that may feed into the whole “extreme” persona, but who doesn’t love a character that can fight his own battles with a little bit of finesse? That being said, Etemon is still a creepy puppet monkey rapper thing, and if I were to see it in a dark alley, I’d probably run the other way.
Psychosis is a real issue today, people. With the killer clowns roaming about and Trump and Clinton fighting to rule our country, there is no shortage of intelligently impaired individuals in the US (you know who you are). Don’t feel too bad though, because Digimon has no shortage of that either. Want proof? Look at the picture above. Chuumon looks like a mouse that was possessed by a demon with very large feet. Mice are generally cute little guys (no matter what pest control says), and I don’t have a problem with them. This however, gives mice a bad name. Chuumon is like Pinky and the Brain on the crack, and it only gets worse the longer you look at it. Apparently one of its attacks is supposed to trick its foes by speaking to them in a very calming voice. Look, I don’t know about you, but something that looks like that couldn’t entice me to do anything, no matter how soothing its voice is. Just think that kids in the early 2000s had to grow up seeing this abomination. If one look didn’t give any five-year-old a nightmare, I’ll be thoroughly impressed.
Some of you may be thinking that Pokemon has some penguin-based monsters too; I will agree with you. However, Empoleon is one of the most rad starters I can remember, and it looks terrifying. Conversely, Daipenmon, really doesn’t. Part penguin, part machine, Daipenmon is everything you’d want in a flightless bird, I guess. What makes this thing really silly is simply how its shaped- it looks like a feathery gum drop, and that’s not a compliment. Granted Daipenmon doesn’t look as inherently bad as some of the other Digimon on this list, but the way that it fights allowed it to earn a spot here. As you’ve probably noticed, Daipenmon wields two popsicles. It has two attacks where it can dip one in blue syrup, and dip the other in red syrup. For some reason, this is supposed to increase damage or something (I only see it increasing stickiness). What’s even stranger about its weapons is the fact that it can temporarily fly off the ground by flapping them both. Have the designers ever looked at a bird before? Or even studied physics for that matter? As far as memorable penguins go, Happy Feet will easily come to my mind before this thing.
A lot of you Digimon defenders out there are probably thinking that I have no grounds to say that Pokemon has better character designs. After all, Trubbish and Garbodor exist! While you’re on to something there, I would instantly counteract your argument with Garabagemon (at least Pokemon went with some name creativity there). In a not-so-subtle knock-off of Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch, Garbagemon is as nasty and gruff as they come. Apparently it originated from the Recycling Bin we all have at the bottom right corners of our desktops. Eventually, a bin gained sentience and became Garbagemon. Again, this character design is not as bad as some of the others on this list (I’m looking at you, Chuumon), but it’s one of those things where it gets worse the longer you look at it. For example, it has a peeled banana for hair. Its bazooka is somehow made of cans taped together. It wields the trash can lid as a shield. It has a tattoo of a cockroach on its shoulder. And to top it all off is a design that resembles a goblin from The Lord of the Rings more than anything else. At least they got one thing about Garbagemon right: it belongs in the trash.
When I was a young kid, before smartphones and laptops, the best way my siblings and I entertained ourselves was through board games. For the most part, I enjoyed a lot of the games we played except for one: Monopoly. For some reason, I could never quite get the hang of that game, and still suck at it to this day. Why is this important you ask? Just look at Ganemon. Someone please tell me why there would be a Digimon based off of a business tycoon who is literally made out of gold? I’m not sure what the vibe was with this creature, but it seems to strike all the wrong notes. What exactly is it supposed to attack with? After all, you’re not going to win a fight by making someone go into debt. Unless Ganemon is hiding something in that briefcase, the odds are not in its favor. Probably the worst part about Ganemon is how it closely resembles the Monopoly Man to a fault. One look at this thing and I’d be more inclined to not pass GO then challenge it to a battle.
This is one of those Digimon that you have to look at more than once to fully grasp what it’s supposed to be. And there’s no guarantee that you’ll figure it out even then. Monitamon is allegedly supposed to be a small ninja with the head of a television set. Why this was ever considered to be a good idea I’ll never know, but regardless, we have something that belongs in an obscure anime.
Now imagine this while keeping the image of this creature fresh in your mind: you get off of work after a late shift and walk to your car. Suddenly, you turn behind you and see a small Monitamon watching you from a distance. After thinking nothing of it, you slowly see more and more appear around you, attempting to hide in the shadows. They don’t jump you or anything, just simply watch as you go about your business.
You see, Monitamon are known for being the best of stalkers. According to the Digimon Wiki, if you see one Monitamon around you, it’s safe to assume that there are dozens more watching. And if that doesn’t irk you enough, just imagine its lifeless TV head following your every movement. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.
8. Toy Agumon
Many kids who grew up with Digimon also grew up with the most popular toy franchise known to man: Lego. I didn’t know a single kid that didn’t have any of these building blocks, and because of its popularity, many cartoons and ads tried to capitalize on it. Digimon did this as well. The result was Toy Agumon, and it’s not hard to see how it got that name. You could sit here and argue that ice cream Pokemon exist, but I have yet to see a Charmander built out of Legos. The whole thing just reeks of a marketing ploy and there’s nothing inspiring in its design. From the first glance, you understand what it is, and that’s pretty much it. It is said to have been created by children fooling around on the Internet (in universe), and I suppose that would explain the lack of originality. Still, it’s a poorly-designed character and doesn’t give me any incentive to get it over a regular Agumon that can Digivolve into the beastly Greymon. But hey, if Mega Bloks ever picks up Digimon licensing, at least they’ll know which character to make first. Yeah, I’m a “glass half full” kind of person.
If you were to ask me to describe Sakkakumon in one sentence it would probably be a little something like this:
“WHAT THE HECK IS THAT THING?”
If you want to talk about nightmare fuel, try unseeing this image when you go to bed tonight. Sakkakumon is one of the most genuinely weird and horrifying things I’ve ever seen in my life (and I watched the Trump/Clinton debate, so that’s saying something). To be honest, it looks like a secret boss I’d find in a game like Kirby Super Star- no offense to Kirby Super Star of course. What makes me even more confused about Sakkakumon is that it’s somehow designed after a symbol of Judaism (a sephirot for those of you that are interested), yet it still keeps that horrendous mouth on the very top eye, head thing. Overall, Sakkakumon is yet another failed attempt at keeping Digimon targeted at children. No one at the age of five would, in their right mind, ever try to get a card of this freak of digital nature. Personally, neither would I, even at my age.
Let’s face it: a boxing kangaroo is not something out of the ordinary. Since it has been a major symbol in Australia, we’ve seen a fighting Kangaroo in many types of media since then, including games like Tekken. So it’s not the fact that it resembles a boxing kangaroo that makes Kangarumon so bizarre. It’s what they added to it that makes it stick out in a negative way. First off, I would like to point out that the picture above portrays it as a bit disproportionate, especially in the lower half of its body. Then it bears some kind of Speed Racer helmet to make it more extreme I guess. But then what really doesn’t make any sense is the joey in its pouch. You’ve probably noticed that it’s not a joey. Instead, it’s some kind of demented puppet thing with boxing gloves. It sits lifelessly in Kangarumon’s pouch. The thing about Kangarumon that makes it strange is that there’s such a lack of direction. There isn’t a lot of clarity on what it’s supposed to be. Yeah it’s a boxing kangaroo, but it also has a metal helmet and a puppet that sits in a pouch which is actually a zipper. That’s a mouthful to explain in and of itself.
If Shrek gave a good name to ogres everywhere, then Grumblemon is about to give that all up. At first glance, you can tell that there’s something just not right about Grumblemon, but you probably can’t quite put your finger on it. I don’t know, let’s start with the fact that it seems to consist of nothing but balls, so much so that Sakkakumon may even get a bit jealous. Then there’s the fact that its face is entirely composed of its nose. How does it even see while fighting? Then there is a spike ball at the tail end of its hat. Adding to that is the fact that it has “tattoos” all over its body (that’s extreme). To wrap it all up in a nice little bow, Grumblemon doesn’t even look like an ogre (which is its official description). It looks more like a combination of a goblin and a gnome. If ogres are like onions, Grumblemon is a rotten pickle and I don’t want it to come anywhere near me, and no talking donkey is going to convince me otherwise.
Sometimes it’s funny how, when you’re a kid, you grow up seeing certain Digimon characters that you don’t have a problem with. Then when you get older, you realize just how horribly weird they really are. That’s pretty much how I feel about Numemon. I mean just look at it! I don’t even know where to begin! Let’s start with those giant, lifeless eyes that just sit on their own with clear veins popping out. Those are attached to decrepit antennas that look more like rotten tree trunks than anything else. Then its mouth is equipped with giant teeth that look like they belong to a grown man. Lastly, you have a tongue that’s so long, it could give Gene Simmons a run for his money. To be honest, I don’t believe I have to go into much more detail for you to see why Numemon is on this list. It looks like a radioactive slug on drugs. Get this though, its only attacks consist of throwing its poop at opponents. Were they even trying to create a decent creature here? Luckily for us, it has no power or intelligence, so it shouldn’t bring any harm whatsoever.
Sukamon is on this list for many of the same reasons that Numemon is, except that Sukamon essentially takes it a step further. Where Numemon throws poop at its foes, Sukamon actually resembles a giant, yellow pile of crap. Complete with lifeless, soul-staring eyes, giant teeth, and the tongue of a giraffe, there really isn’t anything to love with this Digimon. However, it at least doesn’t have the creepy antenna that Numemon does, instead it gets these creepy arms and hands that look like tree branches. Yay? Don’t think the poop jokes stop with its appearance though. Sukamon has several poop-based attacks, but the best one has to be Dappun Pheromone, where it releases a pheremone that horribly alters its enemies’ bowel movements (it goes nicely with its other poop-based attacks). Guys, you can sit here and argue all you want that Pokemon has some bad designs, but I have yet to see one as literally crappy as Sukamon. Oh, and making matters worse with Sukamon is that one of its best friends in the Digimon world is the horribly disfigured mouse, Chuumon. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Seeing those two together is one of the worst sights you can imagine.
If you’re still arguing against the case of Pokemon by this point, you still have one card left to play: creatures like Jynx that adhere to racial stereotypes and could potentially offend others. Well, to that argument, I present to you Ponchomon. Bearing a sombrero with maracas on top and a flowing poncho, this Digimon was notably based off of the Mexican stereotype (it doesn’t help that it’s also a cactus). Unfortunately, because Ponchomon is a Digimon, they didn’t stop the weird design with its apparel. Instead, Ponchomon’s face for some interesting reason, resembles a cat, having both whiskers and large canine teeth. Then it even has the long tongue of both Numemon and Sukamon coming behind those large canines. Better yet, it also has these horribly weird man hands wrapped in tape like it’s about to fight a luchador or something (I’m not really sure what they were going for here). Perhaps the greatest offense committed by Ponchomon is that it was designed after Togemon, one of the coolest Digimon. How then could you take something so cool and make it so stupid? It would be like if they gave Charizard the face of a rabbit and dressed it up like Sherlock Holmes.
This list is not ranked any way, but understand that I’ve been saving this one for the very last. One look at Nanimon and you immediately see why he made this list. What the heck were they thinking with this guy? The prefix of its name “Nani” literally translates to the Japanese form of “What?”. Need I say more? This Digimon was literally meant to be confusing, ugly, and bizarre beyond all reason. Everything about Nanimon is so wrong, that I could literally go from top to bottom without missing a single beat. First off, its face is that of a grown man with really crappy shades. It has facial hair and giant lips to compliment its poor looks. Then it has jacked arms (with arm pit hair, mind you) leading to massive gloved fists. Then its legs resemble some kind of Olympic athlete, complete with over-the-top, starred boots at the very bottom. Overall, there’s just something about Nanimon’s design that makes me genuinely uncomfortable. It’s a giant flesh ball (I’ll leave it up to you to figure out what giant flesh ball means) with a man’s face and muscular arms and legs. It doesn’t make sense on any level, and has no business being called a Digimon.