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Digimon fans are well-accustomed to the fact that the monsters depicted in the anime series are digital beings created out of data. They’re not truly organic beings in the traditional sense. Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters takes this information and imparts an exciting and modern twist in this age of smartphones: the Digimon the show follows are actually beings created within the confines of special mobile apps.

The show follows a young boy named Haru Shinkai, who suddenly finds himself the owner of an item called the Appli Drive–which allows him to pair with a Digimon of his very own. While this isn’t much different than the olden days of Digimon where the characters utilized “Digivices” to interface with their partners, the way the show integrates mobile culture with apps is fascinating all its own. They’re called Appmon this time around–and referred to as “Buddy Appmon” when you bring their human partners into the mix.

That’s because each of the main Digimon were actually derived from special mobile apps. Imagine Google spawning its own monster, and you’d get Gatchmon, the star of the show. He’s capable of using a “search function” to learn others’ secrets and enemies’ weaknesses, much like the Libra spell in Final Fantasy. Then there’s Dokamon, derived from an action-based video game. Musimon is from a music streaming app, and Hackmon, whose abilities seem to be derived from his partner Rei, an honest-to-goodness hacker, because you know you need one in this ragtag bunch if we’re going to be talking about modern tech and smartphone convention.

These aren’t the only Digimon that come from apps, of course, but they’re the core set of monsters the series follows. Each Appmon has two cables on its body that it can use to “applink” with other monsters as well as its own Appmon Chip. They’re also sorted into seven different types, such as Social, Navi, Tool, System, Game, Entertainment, and Life.

Interestingly enough, the show attempts to explain how certain Appmon are actually responsible for creating RPGs, such as Ropuremon (obviously wordplay for “role play.”) You also have Appmon that rely on “navigation” tools and literally attack with things like navigation pins a la Google Maps. There are so many different variations on the types of apps out there and it’s part of the fun to watch each week and see what references you catch next. Even some of the cast are references to the real world.

For example, one of the Appmon’s partners is actually a popular “Apptuber,” or YouTuber. He creates and uploads videos to “Apptube” and has become a sensation. The surprising part is that he’s only eleven (most of the characters are actually quite young) and is so popular. But then, that’s exactly the sort of phenomenon we’re seeing in the real world. You have an extremely young set of kids who are becoming more and more proficient with technology at earlier ages every day, so of course it has to be a young group of budding children who partner with the Appmon.

If Digimon were actually to come into the real world from some sort of device, the best way they could interface with us would actually be through smartphone apps, of which there are millions. The idea that Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters has explored this method of partnering with digital monsteres is pretty refreshing. With so many anime series, bizarrely enough, looking backward in many cases rather than forward when it comes to tech, it’s interesting to see that Digimon is at the forefront of keeping things semi-realistic. Because if Angry Birds could spawn a Digimon, you know you’d get something interesting — same for Candy Crush Saga.

Top Image Credit: Twitter

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