Let's do this colossal nerd next! Gabumon's most basal baby form is Punimon, a lumpy little slime with really cool, intense eyes. Like many baby digiblobs, I really love this little thing all on its own.



The second stage in this line is, in my opinion, the goofiest looking Baby II in the entire franchise. I mean, it's a furry mammal head with one huge horn sticking out of it. It's ridiculous, but it's trying its absolute best to look cool, which sums up this Digimon quite well.



And here he is, the UTTER dork that is Gabumon, and actually one of my three favorites of the lead hero Digimon, though that wasn't always the case. In fact, I kind of completely overlooked him the first time I watched the series as a kid, writing him off as just "the cool one that's sort of a funny looking wolf."

This is perhaps because Gabumon was dubbed with a fairly serious, less nervous, less goofy voice and personality than he has in Japan, and also perhaps because he was partnered with "Matt" or originally Yamato, the brooding loner and sometimes antihero of the kid group. I kinda found this type of character just plain forgettable and sometimes even grating when I was in the target audience, but as an adult who pays more attention to the subtleties of character writing, I now appreciate that this kid's pessimism stems from some excellently written fear and anxiety you don't see often enough in these fantastical adventures.

He seems like a badass, even kind of a jerk on the outside, but he's really just afraid and wants to do his best, and that's actually a direct reflection of Gabumon itself, because that's another thing my younger self completely and totally missed....

For YEARS into adulthood, I was absolutely fooled by Gabumon's ruse. I thought he was just some kind of strange, fat canine that happened to have an extra pair of arms, a horn on its head and a dinosaur tail. It's not as if that would have been unusual for a Digimon design, right? But no. Gabumon is only DRESSED like a canine. It's an awkward, doughy lizard creature wearing a "pelt" that comes into existence when he digivolves (much like other Digimon weapons and accessories) so he can appear like something fuzzier and scarier.

I know, there's an entire scene in which he takes the pelt off in an episode to keep his friend from freezing to death, but we never get to see what he looks like, and I just brushed off his ability to remove his fur as some sort of "cartoon logic," rather than a design characteristic.

As an awkwardly designed, calm and collected wolf creature, Gabumon was just sort of "okay" in my book. As a shy, dumpy salamander who spends his life larping as a wolf, Gabumon is hilariously weird and adorably sympathetic.



So perhaps you think I'm going to dislike Garurumon on the grounds that it's a full-blown giant wolf and not a pudgy gecko in a funny costume, but no, this is precisely what Gabumon wanted and I 110% support him following his dreams. You just have to wonder which came first, though; is Gabumon a creature that began imitating the more powerful Garurumon, or did Garurumon come into existence because a weirdo newt really wished it was a dog?

Both are just as possible in Digimon canon; these are creatures of "living computer data" who can and often do evolve according to their emotions, desires and many other possible influences.



On the other hand, it's explicitly stated that a lot of Digimon are born from our own world's computer data, such as programs, video games, viruses, image files and entire websites, so uh, yeah. I doubt anyone involved with Digimon thought of this at the time, but by their own rules and simple logical deduction, it's entirely likely that Gabumon and its evolutions are living manifestations of the internet's furry fandom presence.

Take that any way you want. I'm neither a furry nor somebody bothered in any way by furries, but I think even most furries themselves would have to admit that a lonely naked lizard in cosplay could easily be their entire subculture's mascot.

So, as Weregarurumon, our little buddy finally takes his roleplay to its logical conclusion.



...Aaand then just becomes another robot from there.

Ah well. I liked the scary werewolf thing better, but becoming a robowolf does seem like the next step for this hopeless wolfaboo.

Godspeed, Gabumon. You at least know what you want out of life.