A live script at DigiFes 2021 featured a sequel for Digimon Tamers- with the cast facing off against Political Correctness and Cancel Culture.
Digimon Tamers, simply known as the third season of Digimon in the west, broadcast across 2001 and 2002. It saw three children save the world from Digimon, who they had only known as a card game. Using their Digivices and cards to modify and strengthen their partners, they try to save the real world, and later digital world, from a threat far greater than both worlds.
The series head writer was Chiaki J. Konaka; best known for Serial Experiments Lain and Texhnolyze. Tamers was also noted for bringing in more mature and dark themes, along with Lovecraftian motifs. However, the Tamers have now fought their greatest foe yet; political correctness.
At DigiFes 2021 (which took place August 1st), the Japanese cast reunited for a live script reading of a brand new adventure. The story would act as a sequel to the prior audio CD drama, Digimon Tamers Original Story: Message in the Packet.
Fan-subbing group The Wild Bunch included a content warning with their subtitles; warning viewers “This program promotes far-right politics and conspiracy theories.” The disclaimer quickly drew attention on social media. The content of the story which hit social media shows a character discussing dark clouds threatening to engulf the world, stripping humanity of its free values.
These “clouds” are seemingly extreme political correctness, also threatening to remove anyone who objects or has different opinions, and terminate online accounts. The gang also fight some sort of creature with an attack even called “Cancel Culture.”
Across Twitter, Reddit, and ResetEra, it would appear some have been offended by the content of the story, or at least the screenshots of certain subtitled scenes. While some have pointed out writing a story about fears of being silenced then being spread to a sizeable fan-base as hypocritical; none have seemed to discuss how they themselves are refusing to acknowledge another perspective.
You can find a summery of the events in the live script reading below.
Editor’s Note: In the following segment, we will be using the English dub names for the characters where available.
Watching the fansubbed live-reading; prior events were summarized. Seventeen years after the Tamers stopped the D-Reaper (and the Digimon returned to the Digital World). Mitsuo Yamaki, leader of government agency Hypnos, formed NYX to deal with the next threat.
The group called upon Henry and Rika. Takato was brought back from the Digital World, albeit seemingly “another version” of himself still the same age as when he left. Guilmon and Terriermon were also found, but Renamon could not.
Yamaki’s prediction was correct, and an “evil autonomic computer program” dubbed Malice ventured from the Digital World to attack Tokyo. Its physical form, the Malice Bot, looked exactly like Renamon. It was eventually defeated.
Three years after this is when the live script begins. Renamon is still missing, Henry is now the Chief Officer of NYX, and now has gone missing as well Guilmon is as well. Calumon and Jeri also join the group, the later still talking to the older Takato trapped in the Digital World.
Yamaki enters, lamenting a threat is on the horizon, and that the government’s Digital Reform Bill considers the handling of personal information a secondary priority. The threat is “the worst possible disaster that has struck the Internet and media”
Yamaki describes- in an impassioned and seemingly metaphorical manner- how it has cast a “dark shadow” over the Internet, and the “dark clouds” are approaching. “At this point, people’s daily lives are controlled by information in the Internet!” This is none other than political correctness.
Henry also agrees how the “paradox of tolerance” is a serious problem; but NYX’s mission is to investigate and counteract negative influences from the Digital World that affect the real one. Takato, ignorant of such things, asks what the threat is. Yamaki continues his impassioned speech, even calling on the Tamers and their Digimon to help.
The older Tamers seem reluctant to get involved with Yamaki’s ramblings, only for Impmon (and his voice actor) to suddenly appear. Impmon had been watching the group, and berates the Tamers for “thinking that you can’t do such embarrassing things anymore because you’re all grown up now?!”
Impmon eggs on the Tamers, but Yamaki rejects Impmon’s help. Suddenly, a computer alerts the gang that something has materialized over West Shinjuku. While Terriormon can digivolve, Culumon and Impmon cannot- the latter due to his partners not being around. He asks to be Jeri’s partner for the day instead.
However it seems Yamaki’s fears were not just metaphors, as the object manifesting over West Shinjuku is “Political Correctness.” Terriormon and Impmon Digivolve to Gargomon and Beelzemon respectively.
Gargomon’s attacks damage the ceiling, revealing Political Correctness overhead (the creature’s form is never described). Beelzemon’s attacks hit, but seemingly do nothing. The Political Correctness then prepares its Cancel Culture attack, but flies off when Gargomon attacks.
A transmission from the Digital World is then sent to Takato; none other than Guilmon. Guilmon reveals he does not know where he is, but that he is with Renamon. The signal then breaks down.
Japanese manga and light novel authors have expressed their concerns about Japan’s freedom of expression being eroded by foreign influence. Record of Lodoss War author and creator Ryo Mizuno has expressed concerns that his works may be banned, after the “dark elf” episode of Community was removed from Netflix due to blackface.
Manga author Ken Akamatu (Love Hina) was invited to speak to the Japanese government; expressing his concerns of manga being “regulated by overseas standards,” while praising Japan’s “freedom of expression.” He expressed this concern once again during an online conference, adding his fears of political correctness.
Kadokawa President Takeshi Natsuno also recently appeared in an interview; discussing Japanese gravure idols. Therein he stated that manga had content that was more “extreme” than what is seen with gravure idols, and “This and other factors prevent Japanese manga from being reviewed by Google and Apple. […] I feel that we need to recreate standards that are appropriate for this Internet age, including such things.”
Later, Kadokawa themselves apologized for their President’s comments; stating they did not reflect company policy. Natsuno also offered 20% of his monthly salary as an apology.