The best greatest page ever written about


A Digimans Review by Jonathan Wojcik

   We've talked Digimon several times over the course of Bogleech's life cycle, but I've come to realize that my adoration for some things is far too bloated for one piddly entry in some list article to properly contain. Especially my adoration for one particular Digimon whom I've expounded upon on no less than five separate occasions before finally deciding it just needed a page of its own, and here we are!

   Out of seven thousand (I'm estimating) monsters in the Digimon franchise, the stinking, rotting, bile-belching Raremon is my number one, uncontested most precious baby. One of those esteemed monsters I'd be happy forever and ever to call my own if only one fictitious beast could ever be brought into reality and would ever put up with the level of attention I would smother it with. There isn't anywhere I can think of that I wouldn't drag Raremon along with me. I don't care if it's something like thirty feet long, it's waiting in line with me at the bank. I'd like to see anybody with the balls to stop me.

   Why does this oozing pile delight me so? It's not easy to express in words. It's superficially similar to a lot of other oozing, pile-like monsters out there, but every little detail feels special, from its absurd snaggle-teeth to its floppy boneless ass. It occupies a nice aesthetic realm between a gastropod and a blubbery sea mammal, or at least what's left of a sea mammal. It's like one of those carcasses that wash up on a beach every so often, so far gone that every bored local journalist dubs it a "monster" and milks it for all they can before a professional takes about thirty seconds to identify it as a sperm whale. You know what they call those? Globsters. I love that.

   Besides its resemblance to a half-eaten elephant seal, Raremon boasts some pretty hardcore body modifications, with circuitry, tubing and electrical wires winding in and out of its ragged skin. The hunks of scrap metal stapled over its lidless, protruding eyeballs are my favorite of its many cutting-edge fashion statements, giving it an irregular, unnatural gaze that's equal parts nightmarish and hilarious. Of course, it's much more than a pretty face; it has a storied history that I need to delve into both deeper and longer than you have any right to care about.

   Our world was first gifted with Raremon in the original line of Digimon virtual pets, where it appeared in version five as a possible evolution of either Gazimon, a pugnacious cat-rabbit, or Gizamon, a hairy toad that looks an awful lot like a Krite. Like their tamagotchi competitors, Digimon required regular sustenance, exercise and removal of their virtual feces, all of which had an impact in determining the course of their life cycle.

   Raremon was, if you can believe it, designated as Version Five's "bad" or "undesirable" monster, generated only when you failed to meet the requirements for any other form and allowed Gazimon or Gizamon to wallow in their own steaming excrement. Every device introduced its own unique and lovably odious "junk" evolution, but few could boast an origin story as macabre as Raresy's.

   See, many Digimon are capable of evolving from a fully organic creature to a mightier robotic form, but the transition doesn't always go as planned, and Raremon represents the kind of hideous fate in store for those who fail horrendously to mechanize themselves. Its entire body may be dead and rotting, but it's all held together by unstable cybernetics and just keeps moving, functioning on pure mechanical reflex. It's a seething corpse puppeted around by malfunctioning robotics and just barfing at whatever pisses it off enough. How magical is that?

   Fortunately, these "failure" evolutions were never dead ends; with enough care, each was capable of evolving still further into a short-lived but exceptionally strong "ultimate" stage, usually with a rather jarring resemblance to some colorful, stuffed doll. It was almost as though their pitifully tortured forms brought out some overpowering determination to be accepted. To be loved. To finally earn their neglectful trainer's awe and respect. In Raremon's case, this form was ExTyrannomon, a haunted pink dinosaur, which is pretty damn adorable, but I prefer to think Raremon is still somewhere in there. It certainly wouldn't go against what we know about some of the other "plush toy" monsters.

   Getting back to Raremon itself, its original V5 pixel graphic was a clear homage to Hedorah, the extra-terrestrial ecohazard seen in Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster. Allegedly, Raremon's name was even slated at one time to be Doromon, as in "Hedoro" or "sludge," but I suppose this may have hit a little too close for comfort - not that Hedorah was their only inspiration.

   Raremon's official design ultimately owes the most to Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, sharing its entire body shape, skin texture and unmistakable teeth with the decomposing, barely-functioning husk of the last God Warrior.

   This may just be me, but I also feel like a dash of the mutated Tetsuo from the classic Akira may have gone into Raremon's development, notably the circuit-like patterns and the whole "evolution gone awry" story. What we basically have is a pastiche of putrescent piles. My kind of pastiche.

   A full year after its Virtual Pet debut, Raremon at long last appeared in an episode of the Digimon Adventure anime as one of VamDemon's minions, demolishing a dockside night club in a direct reference to one of Hedorah's best known scenes. From there, it proceeded to chase a cat around Tokyo. It was important!

   Rarity would make a few more sporadic, less noteworthy animated appearances until a more dramatic moment in Digimon Frontier, when an enraged Pagumon, actually the original "baby" stage of Gazimon, skipped straight to festering abomination mode and tried to murder a bunch of schoolchildren.

   Regrettably, this commendable goal was interrupted by whatever the hell that thing is supposed to be, and this is precisely why I could never get as heavily into the later games and series; the first thing that ever struck me about Digital Monsters was how well they communicated the Monster aspect. Even their angels, unicorns and fairies were misshapen and grotesquely detailed, closer to the aesthetics of Ugly Stickers than rival Pokemon. As the franchise has aged, new monsters have adopted an increasingly sleeker, shinier, disappointingly commonplace design principle we see in a majority of anime and manga. At this point, Digimon is populated by twice as many Sparkledog Cosplay Rangers as anything I'd really describe as a monster.

   Luckily, beautiful bastards like Raremon continue to plug along in this glorified furry convention, and in an episode of the more recent Xros Wars series, any Digimon at all can apparently become an oddly human-sized, more upright Raremon when their "data" is "drained," whatever that's supposed to mean. The result is a ravenous, subterranean horde of the globular ghouls, moaning mindlessly for "data" like brain-eating undead! Pity the whole process turns out to be reversible.

   I'm afraid you might have some sort of psychosis if I've held your interest this long, but I promise I don't have that much left to talk about - except for some of Raremon's extended family. As card games, video games, manga and anime come and go, existing Digimon are hooked up with all sorts of weird new evolutionary relationships, and while I won't go into everything Raremon has ever morphed out of or into, there are at least a few I consider more appropriate and interesting than others.

   Digimon World 2 was the first console video game where players could acquire a Raremon, and this time, it could evolve from the already mechanical - and just darling - Hagurumon. It could then evolve further into either Vademon, an effeminate tentacled space-brain (who craves the sweet taste of feces, according to the anime) or the surly Garbagemon, a higher-level "junk" monster with a rad cockroach tattoo and a bazooka that blows wads of crap.

   In Digimon World Championship, Raremon evolves from the tadpole-like Otamamon, which, out of every "child" level we've seen, looks the most to me like it bears some actual biological relation to the pestilent heap. It can once again evolve further into Garbagemon, but alternatively into Dagomon, a Digimon modeled after H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu and named after Dagon. I guess he gave up on the cyborg thing.

   Digimon World Dawn and Dusk does our friend the greatest justice, at least in my book. Here, it evolves again from good old Gizamon, but then into the lovable Nanomon, my favorite of its potential "ultimate" level upgrades. The nasty little brain-bot with infectious nanotech really feels like more organized, but still somewhat unstable cybernetic life form, and I love that one organic eye of his. Beautifully, Nanomon can then evolve further into Parasimon, a tentacled eyeball-spider brain parasite and my immediate second favorite Digimon. Parasimon is also still considered a "cyborg," but seems further organized back into an almost fully organic looking body.

   In the Trading Card Game, Raremon - and every other "garbage" type - can also evolve from Chuumon, the tiniest and weakest of the child-level monsters. This might just be my pre-volution of choice, since apart from Chuumon's adorably freakish design, it also seems like just the filthy, pathetic little wretch who would try so hard - and fail even harder - to undergo a more formidable transformation.

   Sadly, the one and only thing I can't share here is Raremon's official Bandai mini-figure, because my sole evidence that such a figure ever even existed was one that I ran across in 1999, lying in a comic shop bargain bin with the top of its head fucking gone. To this day, I lie awake in bed, a single tear rolling down my face, wondering why I didn't dig through that bin just a little harder, why I didn't at least take home my headless specimen, just to prove to you all that it happened; that somewhere out there in our big, bleak world there still must be a tiny plastic Raremon in need of a new home.

   I sure have said a lot about one god damned Digimonster, haven't I? I think I've reached a point where I just keep pushing to see how lame I can get before the comments explode with tips on how best to terminate my own meaningless existence. I guess I'm no longer in any position to laugh at Deviantart galleries with four hundred pages of Sonic the Hedgehog drawings; I know too well the lure of a blue, bug-eyed abomination of nature.

   You can keep your bishie demons, your metal-plated wolves, your angel-winged dragons. I alone have seen the unblinking, greasy visage of true majesty and grace.

I regret NOTHING.







Art by Witnesstheabsurd