Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters Thoughts
One episode in, this doesn't look like any Digimon series I've ever seen before. There's a Digivice, there's a kid wearing a goggles, there are Digimon, but that's about where the relations stop. The familiar faces you're looking for, the ones that tie all the disparate Digimon series into a loosely connected "universe"? For right now, they appear to all be gone--from Agumon to Leomon, the lore you're used to relying on as comfortable touchstones have vanished.
And I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I hate to be one of those "original is the best" type of people, but ultimately most of the Digimon series I've seen have too much of the same going on for them not to have a continuing, grander story at play. And at the same time, this series feels more...relevant? Digimon is basically Pokemon but with a strong technological component--they are Digital Monsters, after all. Which means, much like technology they should really be constantly changing and adapting as we develop new technology. But Digimon still feels like a relic of early 2000's tech, like there's always a possibility that a Geocities reference is waiting right around the corner.
But Digimon Universe's seeming desire to rebuild the mythos from the ground up makes the show feel more fresh and modern. The idea of Digimon being "apps" just flat out makes sense, and the first episode's antagonist being basically a bunch of hacked messenger appmon that are releasing everyone's private information feels amusingly relevant for our tech-consumed world. When I first heard they were giving Digimon a make-over of sorts I was pretty against it--like most fans I'm pretty turned off by major change--but having seen it for myself I feel like this makes more sense than anything I've seen out of Digimon since the original 01+02 combo.
...Of course, I reserve the right to withdraw all of this if everything breaks down into a typical Digimon series within the first five episodes.
*This will probably be a part of Anime Weeklies when it returns.