Bandai announced today that an English localization of the 2020 Digimon Card Game will launch in January 2021, with a “special booster” that combines Booster Set 1: NEW EVOLUTION, Booster Set 2: ULTIMATE POWER, and Booster Set 3: UNION IMPACT into a single 187-card base set titled Special Booster 1.0.

Printing only 187 cards from those three sets leaves out 152 cards, which will be included in a follow-up Special Booster, 1.5. Bandai put out an official Facebook page for the game, along with a new “” domain, different from the “” domain used for the game’s Asian-English website.

Special Booster 1.0 booster packs have double the number of cards of a Japanese pack, with 12 cards in every pack. Booster boxes still contain 24 packs each, for a total of 288 cards per box. It has not been stated how many boxes are in one wholesale carton, but if it’s also 12 boxes as per the Japanese edition, then that’s 3,456 cards per carton—exactly double the number of cards in a Japanese carton. The price per pack is also doubled from the Japanese release, $3.99 before tax versus 180 yen.

The Starter Decks Gaia Red, Cocytus Blue, and Heaven’s Yellow will launch in English simultaneous to the Special Booster. A special prerelease sale will be held at select stores in November 2020 where all four products will be available ahead of their street date. An English version of the tutorial app is also in the works.

The Starter Decks do change the game’s recommended age rating—in Japan the decks are labeled for ages 9 and up, while in North America the decks are labeled for ages 6 and up.

The launch trailer for the English card game notably uses the name “Tai Kamiya” for Yagami Taichi, even though the official subtitles for the 2020 Digimon Adventure: anime use “Taichi Yagami”—the card game preserves a 20-year-old misreading of the 八神 kanji.

The 2020 anime reboot leaves Taichi’s name uncensored.

However, the Starter Deck names have gone unchanged, despite having dubbed equivalents—Gaia Red, Cocytus Blue, and Heaven’s Yellow are named after their respective Digimon’s attacks Gaia Force, Cocytus Breath, and Heaven’s Knuckle, which are normally dubbed as Terra Force, Metal Wolf Claw, and Hand of Fate.

As a translation of the Japanese game, the Digimon Card Network will continue to use the correct names.

…Not this time, anyway!

In mid-May, right as BT01 was launching, I moved into a new house. AT&T was supposed to handle the internet installation, but found damage to the fiber line. They finally sent a repair crew out in early June; they never repaired the line, and I’m currently staring down a big hole in the yard. After two months of calling and calling-back with AT&T and their subcontractors, I did the sensible thing and dialed up Xfinity. I had to settle for cable internet, but it was installed the very next day.

(Even so, I don’t actually recommend them. But if you have limited choices, try researching the prices and plans ahead of time and say exactly what you want when you call.)

That’s two months of card reveals, news, and tournament results I need to make up lost ground on. In that time, Bandai has put out an Asian-English “translation” page for the TCG targeted at South East Asia. Unfortunately there are numerous inconsistencies and obvious errors, like the rulebook referring to Rest as Rest and Active as Active while card effects call them “suspended” and “unsuspended”, keywords like michizure being left completely blank in translation, every card having “Digivoluve” printed in the effects section, inconsistent use of “Trash” and “Recycle Bin” for the area discards go to, among other issues. I’m not going to treat these as official English translations. There appears to have been copious use of machine translation and a lack of quality checking going on behind the scenes.

Well, BT2 is up.

Some notes about recent translation choices on-site:

  • 道連れ (michizure) – Fatal Bond: The keyword Purple Digimon use to destroy the Digimon that destroyed them in battle, meaning “to force someone along unwillingly.” Some dictionaries call it “fellow traveler,” but that’s a loaded word in English because it’s used for Nazi sympathizers that were willing but informal members of their regimes. (e.g. Leni Riefenstahl.) I considered more indirect localizations like “Dead Hand” or “M.A.D.” but settled on “Fatal Bond” to get the “connection between destroyer and destroyed” across in a way that would be intuitive. Incidentally, Pokémon translates michizure as “Destiny Bond.” (And their first use of this word is also in a TCG…)
  • 退化 (taika) – Degenerate: The keyword Black Digimon use to remove the top card of an opposing Digimon’s stack, effectively devolving it. “Degenerate” is an official English translation from the DS Digimon Story games, where taika is used in Japanese. (It is also the literal meaning of taika, to regress to a previous state.) Due to the wonders of the English language, I suspect at some point we’ll start wondering if “degenerate” is degenerate.
  • 再起動 (saikidou) – Reboot: The keyword Black Digimon use to Activate at the start of the opponent’s turn. I know this word has some trauma associated with it for Digimon fans, but saikidou is the same word you would use when asking a Boomer if they’ve tried rebooting their computer, so it’s an appropriate translation.
  • 吸収進化 (kyuushuu shinka) – Absorb Evolution: A keyword exclusive to the Algomon line for now, this indicates Resting one of your other Digimon to reduce Algomon’s evolution cost. This translation is literal. Algomon is one of the initial antagonists in the 2020 Adventure anime, first manifesting as a swarm of smaller Algomon that absorb data from cyberspace, causing electronics in the real world to go haywire. (Yes, this plot is deliberately evocative of the two Diablomon theatrical films, where Kuramon absorbed data to evolve into higher forms. You really should start watching the new series if you haven’t already.)

That should cover it. Back to work.