Yuri Anime: Digimon Tamers (English)

September 14th, 2004

You are probably sitting there, at your computer, boggling. “Digimon?” You are asking incredulously. “Did I read that right?”

Let me begin with the beginning. The first season of Digimon is really the story of a little girl, called Hikari in the Japanese original and Kari in the English language version. There are some older girls in the series, Mimi and Sora, but they don’t interact as much as one would hope. But in the second season, Hikari and Sora have a kind of relationship, partially through themselves, partially through their Digimon. I personally did not see what they has as a “relationship” if you know what I mean, but many, many people did. There is a fair amount of Kari/Sora stuff out there, if you care to look for it.

But what I really wanted to talk about was the third season. Known here in America as Digmon Tamers this season came on TV and went and barely left a trace. In every way, this Digimon series was the *best.*

Right off the bat, the main female lead, Rika in English, Ruki in Japanese, pinged every gaydar alarm I have. She’s tough, she’s intolerant, she’s an ice queen, she wears utterly butchy clothes. She’s better at the Digimon game than anyone else (they call her the “Digimon Queen”…uh-huh…) in the story. Inside that icy exterior, of course there is a fragile and lonely (read: codependent) girl. Her mother is a top model and only wants Ruki to be cute and doll-like, ignoring the obvious signs of babydykeness in her daughter.

Ruki’s Digimon is “Renamon,” a fox-creature. If you know anything about female fox spirits, this will make you smirk, since foxes are reputedly very sexual. At first Ruki only thinks of Renamon as a fighting animal – Renamon lives to serve, like all good butches – so fight she does.

As the series goes on, Ruki is worn down by Renamon’s loyalty, friendship and ultimately, love. From about 1/4 into this long season, Renamon and Ruki are *so* a couple, it’s rather frightening at times. Their conversations sound like actual conversations lesbian couples have…it’s a little creepy really. ^_^

Renamon digi-volves into progressively cooler forms. From Renamon, she becomes the nine-tailed fox-spirit Gyuubimon, the short-lived Viximon, and the way very cool and mystic Taomon. But it is in her final form that she and Ruki really, quite literally, merge. Together they become Sakuyamon, a priest-warrior female fox-humanoid thing. Trust me, it’s pretty cool. :-)

In order to leave to fight the final battle, Ruki is forced to “come out” to her mother, about herself, about Renamon…and her mother accepts her for who she is (and buys her a great big clunky belt buckle for her dykey belt, a sort of ritual acceptance of her daughter’s inevitable butchiness. ^_^)

The end of the series is, IMHO, tragic. Ruki and Renamon do not live happily ever after. I was really bummed at the end, as Renamon and the other Digimon are forcibly devolved and sucked back to the Digi-world, leaving their human friends alone and crying hysterically, but determined to get back to the D-World to find them again. Sob…

So, yeah, the ending sucked, but overall this was a really good series. By far and away the best of the whole bunch. Ruki and Renamon are an incredibly well-played couple…and I have to hand it to the American voice actors – they didn’t even suck. Mari Devon’s gruff Renamon was as close to on par with Orikasa Fumiko’s Renamon as I could hope to expect from a dub and Melissa Fahn was pretty spot on an angry babydyke Rika.

Now, if only they would release it on DVD – I’d so buy this series….


Character – 9
Story – 9 (Really…this was a decent story with a real plot…and the kids’ parent weren’t totally clueless, etc. etc.)
Animation – 7
Music – who can tell? The American version uses some heinous made-up theme. Bleah)
Yuri – 8
Overall – 8

Seriously. It may be a kid’s show and all about dumb monsters…but Ruki and Renamon rock and the story’s not bad. ^_^

2013 Update: You can now get the entire season of Digimon Tamers on DVD! (Dub only.)

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12 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only fan of this show! :-) I’m usually no furry fan, but even I have a real soft spot for the Rika/Renamon couple.

    Speaking of Rika’s family, whilst I totally agree that her mother was completely clueless most of the time, I thought that her grandmother probably knew about Rika the whole time. The old biddy was a rather good character actually.


  2. I’m totally with you about Grandma. She was a smart old biddy. :-) When Ruki/Rika had her big coming out scene, she just stood there and smiled benevolently, like she know it all the time – which she did. She at least knew about Renamon.

    I’m glad *I’m* not the only fan of this series. I’m also not into furry, but there was just something so endearing about Ruki and Renamon…

  3. Anonymous says:

    hi, huge digimon fan here. just a note about season 2, you mentioned some stuff about hikari/sora. not that hikari/sora is a non-existent pairing, but i’m thinking you probably meant hikari/miyako(aka yolei) from your description. cute couple, if you like that sort of thing, which i guess i do. but hey, what do i know, i sort of like ruki/juri too. on an odd note, a friend of mine said that the german dub had renamon as male, which i thought was… weird, considering the evolved forms and whatnot.


  4. Brinstar says:

    Whenever I happened to see Digimon on TV and spotted Rika/Ruki and Renamon, I always thought the pair was pretty awesome. Ruki was definitely the mosot interesting character I’d seen on that show. I quite like the artwork on Digimon. Too bad I didn’t tune in that often.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, for posting so late, but I’ve been a bad fan and haven’t been reading your journal lately. =P Anyway, I just wanted to mention that you shouldn’t worry about the tragic ending. I was sad about that, too, but then I found one of the movies. I don’t want to spoil too much (I already kinda am, so I’m sorry about that), but it’s nice to know that things turn out well. The show was a guilty pleasure of mine awhile ago. ^^

  6. Anonymous says:

    You know, if you wanted to see Renamon and Ruki together again, I would recommend seeing the sixth Digimon Movie cause that focuses on Ruki’s past during one scene (Not telling where though). The link to the english fandubbed version is here: http://www.digibros.net/~fet/ .

  7. Connor says:

    Thank god! I thought I was the only one who loved this show!

  8. Robby The Perv says:

    Interesting review.
    I always liked the Takato/Rika paring best; but this one is fun too.
    One of the things I hated about season 2&3 was the random pairings of certain character’s that don’t mix at all.
    Such as Matt/Yamato and Sora, All the time hinting Tai/Sora and she take’s it up the butt for the blond in a band!?
    Other one I hated was Rika/Ryo, she hated his gut’s with a passion, most likely because she somehow sensed something off about his partner and by affiliation him; maybe because his Partner absorbed Millinumon(AKA the Time traveling Demon/god Digimon who created one of my most hated time travel overly complicated mind-Fu#$’s of all time).
    Takato was a sweet kid who was the only other character aside from Renamon who was able to have interaction with Rika without backing off.
    anyway I like the Rika/Renamon paring but more then that I like Rika/Renamon…/Takato~

  9. Lady_Rufus says:

    Sorry for the rather late reply, but i was amused to find out that i was not the only one who got those vibes from Rika and Renamon (i was convinced i was the only one seeing it, lol). Defo the best season of Digimon, and I think you should check out the sixth movie (Runaway Locomon). It confirms that yeah, the two aren’t seperated for long. It’s actually centred on Rika, and unless my memories deceive me, the whole Rika/Renamon thing was high in it. It’s short anyway.

  10. @Lady_Rufus – Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll definitely take a look for it.

  11. vivi says:

    …looks like I’m 9 years late to the party.
    I remember watching Digimon on German tv when I was little and of course I didn’t notice Ruki/Renamon back then. Now I am rewatching seasons 1-3 and I see lilies in every scene with Ruki and Renamon. (I also caught myself shipping Mimi and Palmon a little in season 1) I was already worried about myself (shipping humans with “monsters”) but I’m glad I’m not alone :)

    I think I’ll take a look at the movies people mentioned in their comments. Thanks for this review, it helped me discover some hidden gems in a childhood series :D

    P.S. Sakuyamon’s evolution sequence is probably the best thing that was ever animated.

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