1. Rank the seasons from favorite to least favorite and explain why.
Tamers > Adventure > Adventure 02 > Frontier
This is difficult, because Adventure and 02 are the ones I grew up on and revisited repeatedly (I watched about half of Tamers as a kid before I couldn't keep up with television in general due to schoolwork), so I naturally have an affection for/attachment to them that's different from Tamers. But I'm able to revisit them and see where there were bumps in the road in terms of storytelling (especially in 02), unbalanced character development (especially in 02), and intriguing concepts that are either don't go explored enough or are dropped altogether (especially in 02).
A lot of this can be attributed to circumstance--the writers were clearly struggling to do their best to gauge a good story and characters out of a virtual pet franchise before finally hitting their stride in the Myotismon/Vamdemon arc. And then they had to come up with a sequel that would air a mere week after Adventure's completion.
Tamers, however, had no such repercussions that I'm aware of, and it shows. It's consistently good from start to finish, the main players are given an equal amount of attention and development, the minor characters are given a remarkable amount of attention and development, and I loved the way the adults and familial relationships were used and written throughout. Every intriguing concept went fully explored (well, except perhaps one; and Ryo, who had the misfortune of his character development being confined to a series of games exclusive to Japan on the WonderSwan), many loose ends that didn't need to be explained were satisfactorily given explanation in a way that didn't take away from the Digimon mythos (such as why only children can become Digidestined/Chosen), and it had an excellent grasp on how to balance out the light moments to charm the audience and the darker moments to give them a good scare.
I also enjoyed how unpredictable it was when introducing concepts like evolution and distributing the character-centric episodes--even as a kid, before I was able to let go of my attachment to the Adventure series, I was impressed that they pulled things like having the leader character's Digimon being the last (of the Champion line) to evolve. For once, I couldn't easily predict how the fights and evolutions were going to go down.
And...yeah, the list goes on. I loved Rika/Ruki's arc and how they avoided going down the route I dreaded they would (instead of "discard your 'fake tomboy' identity and be more like your mother," it's Rika's mother who has to come to respect her daughter's individuality, and they both reach a mutual understanding of each other), I loved Jeri/Juri's arc, I loved Impmon's arc, I loved the music, I loved the evolution sequences, I loved the ending...
But enough gushing about Tamers! I rank Frontier as my least favorite not because I hate or even remotely dislike it--in fact, I'll name some things I liked about it. I liked all the children, I liked Koichi's plot, I thought the ending was really touching, and the "kids becoming Digimon" premise is one I can get behind. But it was such a chore to watch--long before even the infamous Royal Knights arc, I couldn't get invested in the story for the life of me and, in the end, I mostly completed it completion's sake. Good characters are usually enough to carry a weak plot, but this is the one exception that sticks out for me.
2. Favorite digivice?
The D-Power from Tamers. What can I say? It has a nice, simple design and the hook (?) at the end of its strap makes it look like it'd be easiest to carry around and keep track of.
3. Favorite human character?
Hikari, Hikari, Hikari. Ever since I was a kid she endlessly intrigued me. I've rambled about her here, here, and here, and it looks like I'm going to ramble some more. I love the interesting little differences between her younger and older self. She has this eerie-yet-warm otherworldly presence about when she's younger, she seems to welcome anything potentially dangerous with little mind and seems free of insecurities. In 02, she's still warm and gentle, but she now has enough wisdom to know when to question when something or someone may be dangerous, while maintaining a sympathetic outlook on them, her carefree outlook is replaced with insecurity she keeps locked away, actively hurting her and possibly drawing her to dangerous places, and her brother complex with Taichi has only gotten worse. The latter is never given proper closure to my knowledge, but all the knowns combined with the unknowns just make me love and ponder about her character all the more. Lara Jill Miller's voice work in the English dub also contributed a lot to my love of the character.
Honorable mention here would be Ken, post-Emperor/Kaiser. I might have seen "villain-turned-good" storylines in a passing as a kid, but I don't think they went to quite the existential lengths that Ken's did, so his character was really unlike any I'd ever seen before. I think of it as a sort of precursor for to Evangelion in terms of vocalizing some of grievances experienced by young adults and teens, and how cathartic and assuring that can be. Some knock the dub for getting hammy during his episode and including hilarious lines like "It's amnesia!", but the impact remained the same. In general, however, I just enjoyed his shy, gentle nature that endeared me in a similar way that Hikari's did. Also building off from Hikari, Derek Stephen Prince's voice talent in the English dub played a part in endearing me to the character.
4. Favorite non-human character?
Wizardmon, of course. It'd be easy to leave it at that--Wizardmon! Everyone loves Wizardmon, no question.
But I'll try and elaborate further for those who don't understand why such a short-lived character gained such a fanbase. It's definitely part of the "bad guy-turned-good" appeal, though we never see Wizardmon really acting the part as the bad guy, even as he works alongside Myotismon/Vamdemon--he seems to be more of a neutral party throughout it, with the wellbeing of his friend Gatomon/Tailmon being his main, driving priority; everything he does, right down to working with the villain, seems to be for her, and given their past together, that's to be expected. But his goodness is also shown to be genuine, and not simply for Gatomon/Tailmon's sake--apart from complete lack of scenes where he's acting maliciously, there's also a nice, minor scene where he heals Lilymon. He has no reason to, she isn't one of his or Gatomon/Tailmon's allies, but he does it anyway.
And, of course, he gives his life to protect Gatomon/Tailmon and Hikari, his last words being that he has no regrets because he met Gatomon/Tailmon, which won many fans and tears on his behalf. He has a humble backstory to his humble character, and it works. Robert Axelrod's work in the English dub also helped a lot.
5. Do you think there should be a sequel to any of the existing seasons?
Not really. Please adapt the WonderSwan games, Toei.
6. Favorite villain?
Vamdemon/Myotismon. This is partly because I'm a fan of Hikari, Gatomon/Tailmon, and Wizardmon, and he played a crucial role in their stories, but he also the most memorable of the Digimon villains--being the first one to go as far as to travel to the real world and pose a brand new threat, killing off his minions when they outlived their usefulness, trying to kill a little girl, et cetera. But then that brings me to...
7. Least favorite villain?
Vamdemon/Myotismon, his evolutionary form and appearance in 02. Seeing him go from this elegant villain to a gigantic saliva monster was always an "Uhhhh" development to me and I'd rather they have gone for just an entirely different character, because he felt like one. And then he got an even worse design in 02, on top of being unnecessarily reused when we had a whole roster of villains that could have been used instead (DAGOMON).
8. Favorite character in your least favorite season?
Koichi. I forgot to bring up in my mention of Ken I'm sucker for characters who are wielders of darkness ("darkness" being some great unknown) that are on the good side and may have some reservations about their power. And his plot was so unexpectedly fucked up for a season that was trying to get away from the prior, darker Tamers tone.
9. Least favorite character in your favorite season?
I don't really have a least favorite in Tamers. I guess maybe one of the Devas? Makuramon?
10. Whose death do you think was saddest?
Leomon's in Tamers, especially when you know what his original line was in Japanese, how it mirrors the death of Juri's mother, and just how much it fucks her up.
11. Saddest moment?
Despite my above answer, I'd say Wormmon's death, which I mostly attribute to memory of seeing it as a kid. I remember watching the whole Kimeramon arc on Fox Kids, the big battle culminating in Wormmon's sacrifice, and ending on this extremely somber note for Ken. And then I'd wait for next week's episode, only to find out we wouldn't be given any further closure on until the week after, and that was kind of agonizing.
12. When did you get into digimon?
Some time when it started airing in America; the second episode was the first one I watched with my cousins and we were all just in awe of what a Pokemon ripoff it was*. Patamon is a ripoff of Pikachu! Agumon is a ripoff of Charmander! They all evolve just like Pokemon! They even have -mon at the end of their titles! And from then on I went on this obsessive quest to "prove" Pokemon was better than Digimon, even going as far to take a poll on the playground and find out which kids liked better (Pokemon won!! Yeah!!!)...only to find out I secretly loved Digimon.
*Disclaimer: I'm referring only to my past, 10-year-old self, this does not reflect my views of today and yes, Digimon came before Pokemon.
13. Favorite digimon song(s)?
From the original Japanese:
- "Biggest Dreamer"
- "Brave Heart"
- "One Vision"
- "Target ~akai shougeki~"
From the English dub:
- "Going Digital" (MY JAM)
- "Here We Go"
- "I Turn Around"
- "Let's Kick It Up"
- "Run Around"
14. Sub or dub?
Hard to say! The English dub is the one I'm best acquainted with and the one I've seen in full, but I know there were some plot points and characterization that went lost in it (Mimi in Adventure getting the worst of the damage), and a lot of dialogue that's just...better in the original Japanese. But I kind of enjoy those differentiations, I see them as retellings rather than inherent "butchering" of the story.
15. Do you ship anything?
Ken/Hikari was my OTP before I knew what an OTP was. I remember seeing them interacting in episode 31 and thinking, "They should be together, they understand each other." I think I even reached that conclusion discussing it with a friend. It didn't hit me again until later in my teenage years, and now here I am at 25, scouring the internet for content of them...
I also like Wizardmon/Tailmon and Renamon/Ruki, as well as some stranger ones like Angewomon/Hikari and LadyDevimon/Hikari.
16. Are there any ships you just can't stand?
No. And I'm completely neutral on the Taichi/Sora vs. Yamato/Sora debate.
17. Do you/have you played any of the digimon video games?
I played a good amount of the first Wonderswan game (the only game available in English) on an emulator. The gameplay requires patience.
18. Favorite attribute (data, vaccine, virus, etc):
I don't really have one.
19. Did you ever own a digimon vpet?
Yes, I had TK/Takeru's D3. I'll never forget how thrilled I was when I got Wormmon on my team...
20. What's the most you'd pay for a digimon-related item?
21. Do you/did you collect digimon cards?
I used to collect some of the cards--never got as into it as I did collecting Pokemon cards.
22. What kind of digimon merchandise do you own?
As of now, none, apart from the DVD sets.
As for what I used to have as a kid, however...the aforementioned D3 and cards, Greymon-to-MetalGreymon transforming figure, Flamedramon/Fladramon, and that's all I can remember I had for sure.
23. Favorite fresh digimon?
24. Favorite in-training digimon?
25. Favorite rookie digimon?
26. Favorite champion digimon?
27. Favorite ultimate digimon?
28. Favorite mega digimon?
29. Favorite goggle boy?
Takato. Again, even as a kid, when I didn't care for Tamers, Takato was one of the main things I liked about it. He wasn't hotheaded, he was gentle, he was kind, he was nerdy, he was terrifying on the rare occasions he was angered, and he matured into a fine hero and leader.
30. Favorite character(s) of each season?
Adventure: Hikari, Wizardmon, Gatomon/Tailmon.
Adventure 02: Hikari, Ken, Wormmon.
Tamers: Rika/Ruki, Renamon, all of the adults.
31. Least favorite character(s) of each season?
Adventure: Puppetmon/Pinocchiomon, because he took up one too many episodes.
Adventure 02: Davis/Daisuke. akatokuro's discussion of "shounen heroes" (and how Umineko effectively deconstructs them) got me thinking, and it kind of nailed the reason why Davis/Daisuke could never win me over as a character, be it in English or Japanese.
Frontier: Mercurymon/Mercuremon, something about him really grated on me.