Episode- 57 Pokemon VS Digimon
Let’s chat about the Season 2 finale; Pokemon VS Digimon!
The comparisons between the Pokemon and Digimon franchises had always made up a huge chunk of episode suggestions seen from viewers all around, so we were always going to do something like this.The big question was ‘how?’ An all-out brawl between all of each franchises’ characters was a popular suggestion, but that was out of the question. There are hundreds upon hundreds of Pokemon and hundreds upon hundreds of Digimon! There was absolutely no way our time and budget could possibly allow us to pull something that ridiculously ambitious off. Heck, that’s putting it mildly. There’s ambitious, there’s ridiculously ambitious... and then there’s however freakin’ insane you’d have to be to make a piece of quality content featuring a fight between over 2,000 characters!!
Naturally, that was off the table. It had to be narrowed down to something simpler. But plenty of Pokemon could defeat most Digimon, and plenty of Digimon could defeat most Pokemon. So which do we choose? And how would we include Digivolution? Should it be included at all? These were just some of the questions I was wrestling with.
For the longest time I figured we’d do a match between Pikachu and Agumon. However, that didn’t seem to quite fit the grand scope of what this match-up could represent. Sure, it’d be a fight between the two most popular characters from their respective franchises and would easily net us millions of views, but Death Battle isn’t about pandering to what’s popular. If that were the case, we’d always make up reasons for the more popular characters to win. The other option was Charizard versus Greymon, which seemed like a perfect fit, but upon further reflection it felt imbalanced. Greymon needed to Digivolve to achieve his full potential, but Charizard couldn’t do anything like that. Would it be fair to include Digivolution? If we removed it and Charizard won, wouldn’t that be unfair to Greymon, as we purposefully restricted his potential but not Charizards? To some extent these kind of questions come up behind the scenes with every Death Battle match-up, but they were of particular importance here because we couldn’t even settle on a match-up idea without answers.
Fortunately, less than 2 years prior, Nintendo and Game Freak had introduced a new mechanic to the Pokemon franchise. Mega Evolution, which for all intents and purposes works almost exactly like Digivolution! And after Pokemon Origins released, it became pretty clear what we should do.
When this episode released, I know there was some confusion over the title. It’s called Pokemon VS Digimon, but it should really be called Red and Charizard VS Tai and Agumon, right? There were a number of reasons for the title. First off, if we were to name it that, it would imply that only Agumon was fighting. We couldn’t exactly name it Red and Charizard VS Tai and Agumon/Greymon/Wargreymon because that would be incredibly long. Actually, that leads perfectly into the second reason; title length. Insider tip for any upcoming YouTubers out there: your title is the most important aspect to getting your video seen. It’s what populates first in search engines and recommended video options. If your title is too long or too wordy, not only will it be cut off when viewed, but some of the title will be prioritized over other parts. That’s just how YouTube’s algorithm works. Simply put, Pokemon VS Digimon is far more optimized for search engines than Red and Charizard VS Tai and Agumon.
But the most important reason is because of this episode approach. This is one of the few match-ups in which all aspects of Pokemon and Digimon can be applied. A trainer, a DigiDiestined, mega-evolution, digivolution, the power of friendship, strategies between pairings, and so on. It’s unlikely we’ll ever do another Death Battle with this sort of arrangement ever again. The concept just doesn’t fit Death Battle’s ruleset. Just look at Lucario VS Renamon. That’s why this isn’t just a battle between Charizard and Agumon, it’s a battle between everything that makes Pokemon and Digimon what they are. Red’s Charizard and Tai’s Agumon are simply the representatives for their franchises, as they embody all of their series strengths and weaknesses. It was a perfect match-up.
It was only decided to become the season finale mid-way through production. We were in the process of merging with Rooster Teeth, and they wanted us to begin an annual seasonal approach to create a more consistent timeline across episode releases. Even before I knew it would be a finale, I wanted to make sure this episode’s production was special. We got some amazing voice actors for the battle, including Todd Haberkorn as Tai and NateWantsToBattle as Red, who also performed a Pokemon and Digimon mash-up for the fight. It was awesome!
Also, we like to give Torrian a hard time for what he did with the final blows. While discussing how Wargreymon could just annihilate Charizard, we had joked about a horrible ending scene with Red’s legs being broken as he and a bloody Charizard are disintegrated as they cry. It was just a bad joke, and when I handed the finished script to Torrian it had a far less gruesome ending… which he ignored in favor of the blood-fest, complete with a disintegrating 10 year old. I was pretty worried about it, because it gave me flashbacks of the reactions I got from the Ninja Turtles Battle Royale episode. But nowadays it’s just funny to think about!
Just like the scene where Tai kicks Red in the shins. I love that part so much.
With that, Season 2 is a wrap! I’ll be taking a brief break from the blog for the next few days. We’re knee-deep in the last quarter of the current season’s production, so it's getting really busy. I’d like to ensure that my work on the show doesn’t impede my time needed to make sure these blogs have some semblance of quality! So I’ll be back Wednesday (September 5th) right and ready to dive right into Season 3, starting off with Dante VS Bayonetta and Bowser VS Ganon! Thanks, everyone!
-Ben B. Singer
P.S. Is there another Pokemon or Digimon you want to see in Death Battle? What would be the match-up?