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"My name is Taichi Yagami. I don't know why, but a few days ago, I found myself here in the Digimon World..."
The first serialised manga in the Digimon franchise (though technically, there was C'mon Digimon before it, but that was a one-shot), and also the longest-running. Digimon V-Tamer 01 contains elements which feel like an alternate universe counterpart to Digimon Adventure, which actively based elements of itself (most prominently protagonist Taichi Yagami) on V-Tamer. However, it differs wildly from its anime counterpart in art style, plot, writing, mechanics, and the fact that there's only one hero and his Digimon, as opposed to the traditional chosen many. It's a pretty large case of Older Than They Think in many respects - it did a human antagonist before Digimon Adventure 02, and it portrayed Digimon as a Show Within a Show before Digimon Tamers did. Even today, one trait unique to it is that most Digimon characters have personal names.
Our story starts with Taichi Yagami, an avid and experienced player of the popular-in-universe Digimon virtual pets. However, Taichi has a Digimon that nobody else has, and he isn't allowed into a V-Pet tournament because he is told that the Digimon in his V-Pet isn't recognized as a real Digimon. After the tournament is over, Taichi challenges the winner of the tournament, a boy named Neo Saiba, and their battle ends in a tie - something that is supposed to be impossible. Later, Taichi is summoned to the Digimon World by a being called Lord HolyAngemon, and there he meets the mysterious Digimon in his V-Pet, Zeromaru the V-dramon (Zero for short). Taichi and Zero travel to Lord HolyAngemon's castle with the aid of Gabo the Gabumon, and there Lord HolyAngemon begs Taichi to find the five Tamer Tags and defeat the evil Demon, who has disrupted the peace of the Digimon World.
However, Demon has brought in a human tamer as well - none other than Neo Saiba, who feels insulted by merely tying with whom he considers a weak opponent. Demon gives Neo the task of raising the Digimon that will hatch from the Super Ultimate egg Demon is raising; Neo accepts, but with entirely different intentions, if no less sinister...
Digimon V-Tamer 01 contains examples of:
- Art Evolution: The very first scene highlights it, with Taichi even commenting on seeing a real Greymon.
- Art Shift: Constantly, as demonstrated above. One panel, you may see higher-detailed art and properly-sized characters for more serious moments, the next panel, everyone is now Fun Size and dancing comically. And it works very well as one of this manga's various quirks.
- Awesomeness Is Volatile: In Ryo's cameo chapter, Taichi and Ryo exude so much hot-bloodedness that the sheer heat overwhelms Vikemon, an Ultimate-level Digimon (if an ice-element one).
- Book Ends: The series starts with Taichi being turned down from entering the D-1 Grand Prix because V-dramon is not a known legitimate Digimon, and it ends with Taichi being turned down from the D-1 Grand Prix because UlforceV-dramon is not a known legitimate Digimon.
- Brains and Brawn: Zero is kind of dumb, but smart enough to follow Taichi's orders. That's all that's really needed.
- The Cameo: Bonus chapters feature non-canon cameo appearences from Daisuke Motomiya, Takuya Kanbara and Ryo Akiyama (focused on his Wonder Swan appearances, not the Digimon Tamers one). Also, in Daisuke's chapter, the Digimon Adventure 02 version of Taichi makes a single-page cameo when Daisuke realises how similar the two Taichis really are.
- Calling Your Attacks: At first they don't, then they do, then they go back to not doing it. Even if the attack isn't called there will be subtitles to let you know its name.
- Character Development: Lots; even the guest characters got when they showed up! (Some might even argue that Daisuke and Takuya were developed more here than they were in their own anime series ...)
- Curb Stomp Battle: UlforceVeedramon Future Mode Vs. Demon Super Ultimate form. Demon is killed in one strike.
- Defictionalization: This was inevitable. Many Digimon introduced in this series said not to be available in the V-pets were made available in the V-pets and video games before it was finished, most obviously V-dramon.
- The Determinator: Taichi and Zero, the latter willing to be bloodied and broken until the opponent is defeated.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The last time in pretty much the entire franchise this is averted. Instead of being called by their species' names, Digimon actually have their own individual names and nicknames.
- Expy: Quite a few characters in the Digimon anime series seem quite like expies of V-Tamer characters. The clearest are Ryouma Mogami and Airu Suzaki of Digimon Xros Wars the Young Hunters Leaping Through Time, who are partially expies of Neo and Mari, and V-mon of Digimon Adventure 02, who is basically V-dramon as a Child-level Digimon (and in some works canonically evolves into V-dramon). On the opposite end of the spectrum, this manga has been acknowledged by Word of God as drawing plenty of expies from C Mon Digimon - Taichi is based on Kentaro, V-dramon is based on C'mon's interpretation of Greymon, and Neo is based on Shinichiro.
- Fan Service: In the pre-chapter pages of Takuya's cameo chapter, the authors decided to make up for a scrapped plotline involving a Plotmon by throwing in a fully-body drawing of Angewomon.
- Finishing Move: Every time Metamorphmon changes shape, his damage recovers. His strategy is to tire out the enemy and then kill them with their own move at full power.
- Five-Bad Band
- Goggles Do Nothing: Initially played straight, but then subverted by Taichi, who uses the goggles when riding on Zero's back in flight like a pilot would.
- Gratuitous English: Alias III at first seems like a logical nickname, but judging by how they use "alias" it's clear Neo was looking for "allies". He lucked out as far as symbolism is concerned. Alternatively he didn't care, because "alias" sounded cool.
- Heel Face Turn: All three members of Alias III. And Neo himself in the end, after realising what a jerk he's been.
- Heel Realization: Happens to the above examples as well.
- Heroic Build:Common among Ultimate level monsters.
- Hot-Blooded: The cameo chapter with Ryo parodies this for laughs... A Vikemon, a Digimon of the highest level, is overwhelmed and defeated by the sheer heat of Taichi and Ryo's hot-bloodedness.
- I Let You Win: Omegamon took Zero's Dragon Impulse on purpose and didn't let Hideto jogress Warg and Melga, because he realised that Taichi and Zero really were good guys.
- Kick the Dog: Neo Saiba does this constantly, partly to remind us that he's gone off the deep end, morally speaking.
- Man Behind the Man: Did you honestly think Demon would be the real villain of this series? Actually, he is.
- Manipulative Bastard: Neo Saiba. Or at least he thinks he is. Demon is the real manipulator here.
- MacGuffin: The Five Tags.
- Mighty Glacier: Babamon reasons the level of mental focus required to adequately control beast spirits leads to a loss in speed. Takuya doesn't connect the dots.
- Zero skirts the line at first, and leaves it for good when he evolves to the Perfect level.
- Mobile Menace: Alias III and Neo.
- No Body Left Behind: Digimon who self terminate leave behind eggs of the same species. Those killed in battle do not. There seems to be another way Digimon get eggs to maintain their population but we're not shown how. Regardless, this topic has Lord HolyAngemon and his allies fretting for the Digimon World's future, especially after Demon starts the war.
- Not So Similar: Neo ensures everyone that Arkadimon can't be compared to any other monster, especially to Zero. Hideto ensures Taichi that he and Neo are Not So Different.
- Playing Possum: Leo and Neo both fall for this at different points
- Plucky Comic Relief: This is the role of Gabo, Pal and Pul, and Igamon.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Alias III.
- Rapid-Fire Typing: Sigma and Neo do this to a degree that surprises everyone else
- Running Gag: The one time the franchise-wide one is averted, if only because V-Tamer predates it: Leo the Leomon survives.
- Shout-Out: Quoth Zeromaru to a Cyclomon extending its arm in Chapter 18:
"Did you eat a Gum-Gum Fruit?"
- Spell My Name with an "S": Magnum Crash or Magnum Clash? Gotokuji, Goutokuji or Gotojuki?
- Starfish Aliens: Digimon in this comic appear to humans as forms they can understand, but they lack internal organs and many external organs are for show instead of use. Flying digimon don't need wings to fly for example, but wings may be used in special attacks.
- The Power of Friendship: In Daisuke's cameo chapter, he gains the Digimental of Miracles by calling out to the tamers absorbed by Parallelmon, who in return manage to send their strength to him through their Digivices. Much asskicking then ensued.
- Those Two Guys: Well, does two Digimon, one guy and his sister, count? Pal and Pul certainly fit the part regardless.
- Upgrade Artifact: The Super Ultimate Digimental, possibly the most powerful in the entire franchise.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Neo Saiba, ever so much. He seems like a colossal prick, but he has genuinely noble intentions, just taken way too far. He's doing it all for his sister Rei, who is incapable of walking in the real world, and wants to make a world where nobody can get hurt ever again. Turns out Demon was playing him like a fiddle the whole time. Hideto Fujimoto is also like this at first for pretty much the same reasons, mostly out of sheer guilt over the accident that cost Rei's legs.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: Zero firmly believed his basic move could see him through everything so long as Taichi developed a good plan for it. Unfortunately, he was in the wrong franchise for this kind of thinking.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy: Neo Saiba.
- Your Size May Vary: Besides the above mentioned art shifts, Digimon tend to be smaller here than in the shows.