Monday, February 14, 2022

The 2020 Reboot of Digimon Adventure and the Very Weird and Bad Title That It Has

On April 5, 2020 a new Digigmon anime series premiered. A reboot of the original series with the original art style, old fans had no reason to skip it and new fans were more than welcome to come along. But from the moment it was announced, a major problem was revealed: what the hell is this show called?

The new Digimon series was first revealed January 17,2020 after a leak from a Japanese blog called They were describing an image they saw featuring the original anime cast in what was clearly some kind of remake or reboot aimed at kids today. According to Ryokutya the series was called “Digimon Adventure Ψ”  with the Greek letter read as “Psi.” Which… that’s super duper weird.

Digimon anime titles are often pretty obvious and simple. Digimon Adventure is about an adventure. It’s sequel, Zero Two, takes place in 2002 and is the second Adventure series. Digimon Tamers is about kids who tame Digimon. But then you get titles like Digimon Frontier and Digimon Savers which… what do those even mean? Every series is about saving something. I guess all of them are about adventure and to a lesser extent they’re all about Tamers. But none of them are about the land bordering two countries.

In any case, fans instantly started pointing out what the new name could mean. Some noted the similarities with a kanji that is read as “again” or “repeat.” Others realized the Psi symbol has 4 points and, if you count tri., this is the 4th Adventure series.

Personally I didn’t care either way about the title. Instead, I thought it was a bad move for SEO. If you don’t work in digital marketing, SEO is search engine optimization. It’s why recipe sites have a thousand words of backstory before the recipe or why news about a movie will spend multiple paragraphs listing the entire cast and crew. SEO is essentially how searchable your product is. It’s really hard to search up a show when you can’t easily type its title.

Another issue with the Psi is the symbol itself being generally unpronounceable, especially for the target demographic. I don’t know about the Japanese school system, but I never learned the Greek alphabet until I was 12 and I’m pretty sure some schools in America never touch on it. Imagine being a little kid and seeing a cool new show called “Digimon Adventure: Weird Symbol Thing.”

Well less than 24 hours after the Ryokutya leak, the fandom got a clear look at the new series and its peculiar title. As expected with most Digimon leaks, this was taken from an article in an upcoming issue of V-Jump. A spin-off of Weekly Shonen Jump, V-Jump is a manga magazine published by Shueisha. These types of magazines typically serialize a dozen or more ongoing manga series on a weekly or monthly basis. All of the Digimon manga have run in V-Jump, as have all of the Yu-Gi-Oh! spin-offs. Currently, V-Jump is publishing Dragon Ball Super and Boruto. 

In addition to publishing manga chapters, V-Jump is features some traditional video game magazine features with articles about JRPGs and card games, many of which are often based on manga and anime. There’s almost always a few pages focusing on Digimon and a lot of the franchise’s biggest announcements have come from V-Jump .

From the V-Jump article, we got a closer look at the retro art style and the new character designs. Everyone looked the same but their clothes were given an updated, more modernized look. Everyone noticed Izzy had what looked like a tablet instead of his signature bulky laptop meaning this was most definitely going to be set in the present day. 

The most important detail from this image was the logo. The stylized katakana clearly reads Digimon Adventure, and then a colon, and then what is most certainly a Digivice symbol. 

Many Digimon fans, including those running popular Digimon forum With the Will, quickly realized that the Ryokutya leak either misread that Digivice symbol or maybe they saw a blurry version of it and thought it looked like the Greek symbol “Psi.” And to be fair that does make sense. Why else would it come right after a colon if it wasn’t a pronounceable part of the title? They’re not just going to stick a colon at the end of the title.


Well, of course this is an anime we’re talking about. How many anime franchises have weird symbols and out of place punctuation just in the middle of their titles? Like how do you pronounce  Steins;Gate? What about Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal? What about anything in the .hack franchise? Is Gundam 00 pronounced Zero Zero or Oh Oh or Zeroes? No, it’s Double- Oh??? Speaking of “oh” how do you pronounce the name of the second Digimon series? There’s a reason I always spell it out as Zero Two.

Well, as it would quickly be confirmed the new series was in fact just called “Digimon Adventure:” It’s literally just the name of the original series... and then there’s a colon at the end. Officially speaking the colon is silent so the series technically has the exact same title as the original anime, but with a colon on the end.

Do you see where this is going? Nobody knew what to call the show and to this day - months after the series aired its final episode - there’s still confusion around the title. And that confusion is both warranted and expected. Simply put, “Digimon Adventure:” is a bad title.

How do you talk about this show in spoken conversation where it’s intended to be pronounced exactly like that original series? What about online conversation? 

This image has nothing to do with the title I just really like Muchomon.

Some people call it “Digimon 2020” others just call it “The Reboot.” So the SEO problem I mentioned before is still there. Likewise, colons are frequently used in programming languages which means a lot of websites aren’t sure how to handle a colon at the end of the title. Even Crunchyroll replaces it with a 2020 in its URL. Hulu’s URLs feature a mess of numbers and letters but before that the titles of both this show and the original are the same.

Oh, and remember how I said the name Psi was debunked as a misread Digivice less than 24 hours after the initial leak? There are people who still call it that. And that’s not a matter of confusion around how to pronounce a colon - it’s objectively not what the series is called. I’ve even interacted with people who are aware that the show is not called Psi at all but they still call it that. Why?

That’s mainly a problem with the fans more than the show itself but the official logo still has a colon followed by a Digivice symbol - who would look at that and think they should not pronounce the colon? Not that you can pronounce a colon to begin with. Most titles with colons don’t actually feature colons in the logos so putting it there at all adds more to the confusion.

Even in text-based online spaces where there’s no need to pronounce it and a colon is easy to add to the title, people still add the “2020” as shorthand. Colons are so thin and they’re just two dots so it’s easy to miss, especially on a small phone. Are you starting to see how terrible this title is?

This image has nothing to do with the title I just really like Etemon.

Most importantly: the significance of the colon is completely nonexistent. There is no good reason why it should be part of the title at all. Grammatically, every use of a colon is expressly relevant to what comes after it. A colon can be used to introduce a list, write dialogue, or clarify titles, but  having a colon on its own means, quite literally, absolutely nothing.

What does a colon have to do with this show being a reboot? Or the fact that it takes place in 2020? Is it thematically relevant to the plot in any way? I never watched the last three episodes so… maybe, I don’t know. But probably not.

Now, I want to address the fact that this isn’t the first TV reboot to bear the same title as its predecessor. In fact it’s incredibly normal to give a series the same title when it’s rebooted. Three of the five Ninja Turtles shows all have the same title. Other examples simply off the top of my head include Battlestar Galactica, DuckTales, and Saved by the Bell.

This image has nothing to do with the title I just really like Bearmon.

My point is there’s nothing wrong with the Digimon Adventure reboot simply being titled “Digimon Adventure.” Yes, Digimon has a history of cute subtitles, but it’s not a big deal that it doesn’t have one. What is a problem is that they couldn’t simply call it “Digimon Adventure” and felt the need to add a random symbol and a colon of all things. 

It’s stupid. It’s unclear how to pronounce it or talk about it. It’s unnecessarily dissimilar to the original series. And it’s just plain weird.

I don’t know why they’re like this, but I can only imagine that whoever thought this was a good name for a title regrets that decision by now. Because the new series is simply titled “Digimon: Ghost Game” which… good.