"Capsule Zaurus" the unmade predecessor to Digimon from 20th Art Book

Pepper Rocket

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In the 20th Anniversary Digital Monster Art Book, there is a section dedicated to the "Making Of" Digimon. In it, there is a description of a unused concept called "Capsule Zaurus". While the basic idea carried over to Digimon, there are differences between the two. I hope eventually there is a better, more in-depth translation of all this, but here's my best shot.
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1. The pitch is basically "Tamagotchi isn't just for girls" There is an emphasis put on "Battle" being a selling point for boys.
2. Capsule Zaurus could learn up to 4 techniques and could pass on 2 of them after death.
3. There were three types of food and it would determine growth rate and final evolution.
4. Instead of "evolve" it was "transform". Each stage/level was a "generation" and there was no Baby II equivalent at this time.
5. Battle was mostly the same, but certain phrases, like "Access!", "Connector Up!", or special moves would flash on screen. HP had a number on the win or lose screen.
6. The designs were simpler and cuter than Digimon. The colors were also more straight-forward.
7. At the bottom of the second page, you can see the start of a few Digimon, like Numemon. Girls with animal ears and tails were hidden monsters.

On Twitter, Marc pointed out that it might be connected to an 80s Bandai franchise known as "Pocket Zaurus", though the art book itself doesn't seem to reference it.
 

MarcFBR

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Here are the things I had said to Pepper about Pocket Zaurus on Twitter, since it's relevant to some degree.

It was likely meant to be a spinoff/extension of the 80s Bandai franchise Pocket Zaurus.

Was a series of tiny figures of robot/dinosaur characters that later was expanded into other products, games, etc. And a cartoon series... with music by Haim Saban.

They likely killed it and started over since Pocket Zaurus already had established themes and was more or less dead by that point. Makes more sense to 'start over' than to try and change/launch an established brand.

Pocket Zaurus was definitely a predecessor to Digimon in a few ways, but it's more a general curiosity that they 'almost' brought it back than a more full connection to Digimon. Although it's nice to see confirmation of that. I'm not sure I recall Bandai confirming it before.

Although the irony of course. Unless they mention it in the book, I'm not sure there is a solid connection between the 'proto' Capsule Zaurus and the old Pocket Zaurus. So it's one of those 'well... it looks like it is... but... we aren't sure...'

My guess, they decided Zaurus was a bit to 'cute' for what they wanted, killed it, started over, but chose to include it in the book for a 'this might have been'


I had kept various things brief for Twitter (like not getting into that the Pocket Zaurus stuff wasn't toys, but more stationary/accessory based, etc.)
 

Kingbeemon

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Seems like a ripoff of Pokemon makes sense why it was scrapped.
 

clanc

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Digimon Universe: Capsule Zaurus.
Make it happen! (or rather not, as Kingbeemon said it looks too much like Pokemon)
 

Unknown Neo

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That is interesting. And does remind me of the very early Pokemon designs.
 

Jay Ukyou

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Real talk, I want that zappy-dragoon-thing to be a real Digimon, though.
 

Pepper Rocket

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Funnily enough, on another page that discusses the design process of the Digital Monster V-Pet, there is mention that the word "digital" was used to make a unique identity for the world, as similar products were coming out around the same time.
 

Velocifaptor

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I can kinda see how some of these might have inspired Numemon, PetitMeramon and Gekomon among others.
 

Deep Saver

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This is very interesting! I’m really glad Digimon ultimately went with the visual style it did, since those are some bland monster designs, haha.
 

Jaybird C

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You could package it as a "kiddy game" equivalent in some Digimon universe, use it to spoof Pokemon. Pokemon could use some spoofing.
 

miru

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You could package it as a "kiddy game" equivalent in some Digimon universe, use it to spoof Pokemon. Pokemon could use some spoofing.
Ooh! I like that idea :D

Great idea!

Maybe twisted versions of the Capsule Zaurus could work in the Digimon universe as a new threat?

And could the one in the bottom right corner be the root of Bastemon? It’d be great to have her as a secret Digimon (I Headcanon that XW Bastemon’s Adult was a Raremon).
 

CoDL

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Alright I've decided I need to find that cartoon because it has dinosaurs and I'm all about that. I did a little looking around and according to Wikipedia the cartoon was called Diplodo (does that sound like the one you mentioned Marc?) and only has 24 episodes. I'm gonna try to find it and watch it. Judging from the Wikipedia article which was pretty short and vague, I can still totally see the things digimon took away from it.
 

MarcFBR

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Diplodo is indeed the show.

I want to say it got a discount DVD release under the Jetix brand in the UK a number of years ago.

Also, not super relevant, but...
I also vaguely recall they did a special wave of Pocket Zaurus products when Adventure (or 02?) was airing. It was a few of the original products in clear or metallic plastic, with a new logo that reminded me a bit of the Adventure logo (big Japanese text, small English underneath.)
 

flintlock

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You could package it as a "kiddy game" equivalent in some Digimon universe, use it to spoof Pokemon. Pokemon could use some spoofing.
Ooh! I like that idea :D

Great idea!

Maybe twisted versions of the Capsule Zaurus could work in the Digimon universe as a new threat?

And could the one in the bottom right corner be the root of Bastemon? It’d be great to have her as a secret Digimon (I Headcanon that XW Bastemon’s Adult was a Raremon).



No I'm pretty sure that's Monzaemon. Its next to Numemon, and it would follow the theme of ugly>cute animal thing.
 

DATS24

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the interesting thing is that Numemon first appeared in Yuusha Shirei Dagwon OVA. It was aired around 1996... could it have any relations?
http://i.imgur.com/EuyCSWr.jpg
 

MarcFBR

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the interesting thing is that Numemon first appeared in Yuusha Shirei Dagwon OVA. It was aired around 1996... could it have any relations?
http://i.imgur.com/EuyCSWr.jpg

It's unrelated.


The Dagwon OVA is from the very end of 97.

It's sometimes dated earlier accidentally because the TV show started in early 96 and ended at the very beginning of 97.


The OVA was from after the initial v-pet release. More than likely a staff member had seen a photo, worked on Digimon, or just liked it, and had drawn it in as a nod.


Dagwon had many references like this as I recall (Dagwon was also part of Brave, which had tons of references in general.)
 

DATS24

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the interesting thing is that Numemon first appeared in Yuusha Shirei Dagwon OVA. It was aired around 1996... could it have any relations?http://i.imgur.com/EuyCSWr.jpg
It's unrelated.The Dagwon OVA is from the very end of 97.It's sometimes dated earlier accidentally because the TV show started in early 96 and ended at the very beginning of 97.The OVA was from after the initial v-pet release. More than likely a staff member had seen a photo, worked on Digimon, or just liked it, and had drawn it in as a nod.Dagwon had many references like this as I recall (Dagwon was also part of Brave, which had tons of references in general.)
I see, I thought it was aired before digimon premiere launching hence I was wondering how can Numemon existed before digimon was a thing. So the info from anime encyclopedia such as MAL wasn't true either.
 
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