The US release of the 20th Anniversary V-Pet we first found out about quite awhile ago, without getting actually solid info for it for a number of months.
But when we did get solid info, it was a bit of a fun surprise. It’s a new release of the Version 20th V-Pet from 2017, with a few tweaks for our market. At a pretty low MSRP! Plus very often they call it a Digivice in materials (realistically because the term Digivice is far more associated with the brand than V-Pet… plus a lot of people call it that anyways… so yeah…)
This includes the various quality of life improvements introduced with the Japanese release of the 20th Anniversary V-Pet, such as raising two Digimon, single device battles, raising speed being modified which makes it more pleasant and quicker for the modern world.
Not to mention that this contains the entirety of the original run of 5 V-Pets on a single device, plus that lineup being expanded with Mega level Digimon, and a number of extra eggs.
After waiting for stores to get it, and it coming out early in Australia (with a little Bandai Australia sticker on it), it’s been showing up in the US in the last few weeks based on where you ordered from (with many people still waiting for theirs.)
This is the first standard western release of a Digimon V-Pet (and/or LCD toy) in many years, with the only exception being the Digimon X which came out earlier this year (and the X2 which can be pre-ordered now) from Premium Bandai USA (which was just the Japanese release with a sticker.)
Bandai went ahead and sent a package so we could check it out, and here we are…
Quite a bit of fun stuff to go over for this one… so first up, the packaging…
I thought they were going to send a V-Pet, maybe two. They actually sent a full case that included the retail packaging. 8 V-Pets, 2 of each color, sit in a reinforced display box. It’s surprisingly solid, and actually stronger than you’d expect. In fact, it came with a bit of a cardboard spacer to help protect the hangtags even.
A scan of one of the sides, and a closer up photo of the back of the box. Everything looks nice, but we’ll get into the overall theme of the packaging in the next section…
The box for the V-Pet itself!
People who got the original US release of the Digimon V-Pet over 20 years ago will recognize a bit of branding we haven’t seen in a very long time.
The box itself is based on the packaging for the original US release of the V-Pet. It has a lot of things we haven’t seen in a long time. The packaging uses a tri-language style overall, but the packaging just looks entirely like what the brand used in the US prior to the anime. The only big change is they don’t have a flap like the original did. It uses old terms like Dock ‘n Rock, and while not on the box, marketing text even used old terms like Megalithic Mainframe.
The back of the box has some basic product info, along with showing a number of Digimon included, even including the old ‘From the makers of Tamagotchi’ text.
A decent amount of imagery on the box appears slightly pixelated. I’m taking this to be just using older branding materials where not everything got updated for modern printing methods, rather than a purposeful choice. It’s noticeable on high resolution scans, but not really when you look at the box (and elements like the old style Digimon logo don’t show this regardless.)
A layout photo showing everything included with the V-Pet along with a photo of the back of the box.
It’s worth mentioning, despite the relatively low price, this thing isn’t gonna get knocked around much during shipping, the plastic shell inside the box holds the V-Pet really well
Then we have the manual…
The front shows off Zubamon, the Digimon introduced for the 20th Anniversary of the brand a few years ago, who was the signature new Digimon for the V-Pet in Japan.
Then we have the rest of the booklet…
The manual is small, and I left the scans bigger than I normally would for something of this size for extra readability for the text, which is why things aren’t that sharp.
While small, it’s not overly tiny… but the manual is annoying. A tri-language manual makes sense, but it feels like it would have made more sense for each language to run on it’s own so you get as much content on each page, and it’s easy to read thru.
This means you get matching content on each page, which is interesting to look thru, but a bit annoying to actually read the manual in your language of choice.
The manual feels like it could have had a few extra passes to clean it up, as different text elements are a mishmash of pre-anime elements, anime elements, Japanese V-Pet elements (where it isn’t always clarified they are talking about a Japanese release), and even stuff from Digimon Fusion.
The most obvious of these is having everything after ‘Digi’ be capitalized, even though the brand hasn’t really done that in a very long time. Calling the new V-Pet a Digivice likely muddies up the water for anyone not paying attention when it brings up actual Digivice LCD toys it can connect to.
In addition, character artwork is used in various places in the booklet, but is rendered in a very low resolution pixelated style. I’m taking this as being done in purpose to look more akin to a low resolution LCD display, but it’s a bit hard to tell.
Despite some very noticeable issues, the manual gives a lot of information that will be helpful to people playing with the V-Pets
The V-Pets all have the appearance of the original V-Pet shell, and while there is some iffyness in the manual, the V-Pets themselves all feel reasonably solid.
The 4 colors from left to right- Brown, Gray, Navy Blue, and Yellow.
Depending on who you talk to some of the colors have had alternate names either for clarity, or just based on what people see:
Brown may also be known as: red or brick
Gray is sometimes referred to as light blue, and occasionally even some shade of green.
Navy Blue has been referred to as dark, rich, and bold blue (and sometimes just blue.)
Yellow is… yellow.
Each has a relatively solid chain and there shouldn’t be to much of worry of them breaking with normal usage.
Normally I’d scan them for a nice close up crisp look, but there was an issue this time…
Due to the V-Pets being slightly rounded, they would sit angled, creating an odd look to each one (feels M.C. Escher-y), as you can see in one of my test scans. I may go back later and make a clear platform for them to sit on, but the photos work well for now.
The background to the V-Pet. The left image is a perspective corrected scan, while the right is a photo.
The back, top, and bottom of the V-Pets.
As mentioned before, it’s solidly put together. If you remove the silver screw towards the middle bottom of the device, you can open up the battery compartment. It uses a standard CR2032 battery and one comes installed.
After removing the battery, if you remove the 4 darker screws in the corner, you can open up the shell to get a look at the circuit board…
Opening the back you get the back of the circuitboard (left image.) The board is mounted to the case via the four silver screws with circles drawn on the board.
The board is labeled as an April 2019 V2.0 revision, likely to identify it as an update of the original Version 20th board.
When the screws are removed the board just comes right out and you can see the front (right image.) It’s not a very complicated device, with the primary thing of note being the gloptop covering the main elements that run the V-Pet.
Jumping/bridging various things can cause unexpected (and expected) things to happen on the V-Pet, but it’s recommended to not do these unless you know which you are bridging, their effect, and any potential risks.
The only other thing of note is that plastic around the V-Pet connector is a self contained plastic piece and is attached to the board.
When reassembling, it’s also worth mentioning you won’t be able to tighten the screws as much as they were when you removed them. They were machined in, and if you try and force them on that hard, you likely will crack the shell.
A few last things of note. It’s effectively a 1:1 western release of the Japanese Version 20th, with only a few small changes.
The V-Pet doesn’t output D-1 Grand Prix codes. Since V-pets after the Version 20th in Japan don’t have these either, removing them actually brings the product in line with newer Japanese V-Pets.
Also, anything that needed to be translated has been, although a few oddities have been reported by people. Omegamon has been corrected translated to Omnimon, but Omegamon Alter-S is still ‘Omegamon’ instead of Omnimon.
There were 5 unique Japanese versions of the Version 20th. Each of these were identical minus a digital flag identifying it as Wave 1 or Wave 2, along with each of the 5 having an exclusive egg.
The exclusive eggs show up as such for Version 20th’s, based on what is available now:
Japanese Brown- Anime Agumon
Japanese Gray- Anime Gabumon
US Brown and Navy Blue- Anime Agumon
US Yellow and Gray- Anime Gabumon
The above, US and Japan are marked as Wave 1s.
Wave 2 in Japan included:
Omegamon (White)- Coronamon
Zubamon (Gold)- Meicoomon
Alphamon (Black)- Lunamon
Unlocking the exclusive eggs require you to connect to other Version 20th V-Pets.
No announcement has been made for any Wave 2 equivalent in the US, but the programming remains, and connecting to a Japanese Wave 2 seems to work as expected.
Connecting a Wave 1 and a Wave 2 unlocks Dorumon.
The 20th V-Pet/Digivice is a really nice release for fans at a great price. Some of the marketing/manual text is a bit off, but when the worst thing you can say about their first try in years is the manual could be better, it shows just how hard it is to find real issues.
Hopefully we continue to see more of these from Bandai, as it’s been done really well, and the Wave 2 and the 20th Pendulums would likely be insanely well received by fans, especially if the price is kept.
An additional plus is, unlike the Japanese release a few years ago, this is a standard release that is just being carried by Gamestop, Amazon, and other stores, and doesn’t require any hoops to jump through to purchase.
We have a discussion thread for the release of the V-Pet, where you can talk to others who have it, get tips, or just discuss it (or based on where you are, keep track of it actually coming out, since many are still waiting for shipments.)
The Digimon 20th Anniversary V-Pet can still be ordered at Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Thanks again to Bandai for sending out the case of V-Pets. Also, thanks to humulos for confirming a few details.
The scans (and photos) are small compared to the master scans I did (the work and backup folder structure for the scans and photos ended up being 15.9 gigs.)
Lots of Digimon stuff is coming out soon and supporting us via our Patreon or donations would be greatly appreciated so that we can do more breakdowns and improve the site. Feel free to join us in the Discord if you want to chat about the figure.
More to come…