As far as the English-speaking Digimon community knows, the first-ever Digimon Vital Bracelet Tournament took place on 24th April 2021. As a Digimon fan and Vital Bracelet owner myself, I signed myself up, training my Digimon for this very moment. The historic event happened in GCC – Gaming Culture & Collectibles, a collectible shop in Klang, a town in the state of Selangor in Malaysia.
For those who are unaware, the Digimon Vital Bracelet is Bandai’s newest virtual pet raising simulator that doubles up as a fitness tracker. The Vital Bracelet released last month and despite a lack of English support, Digimon fans around the world still bought the device, raised Digimon and now, organised a competition to determine the top Tamer (in Klang, at least).
As this was the first time I set foot in GCC, I had no idea what to expect. Located on the second floor of a shop lot, the big poster of Omegamon (aka Omnimon) pointed me in the right direction. As I entered the store, the following entered my field of vision.
The man in the banner above is Hassan Marialis, the owner of GCC, the organiser of this tournament and the one who shared this event on Facebook, where I first caught wind of it. Fun fact: Hassan is also Malaysia’s 3-time Yo-yo Champion which explains the certificates decorating the wall. Hassan himself took part in this competition and everyone else can thank their lucky stars that there were no yo-yos involved.
Just like the owner, the atmosphere in this shop was chill and relaxed. There was a group of contestants who were grinding Monster Hunter Rise. Hassan himself was playing on one of the PS4s in the shop, exerting dominance over his opponent in a fighting game. I nearly forgot that the Digimon Vital Bracelet Tournament was happening shortly.
Before long, we had to register our Digimon for the tournament. We simply had to register up to 3 Digimon that we planned to use on a piece of paper. After all competitors have registered and once Hassan set up the table at which our Digimon would be doing battle, the tournament began.
Battles involved tamers inserting their VS Dim cards into the bracelets to trigger a fight. The fights happened in a best-of-3 format, with each tamer having the option to switch their Digimon after each fight.
As a historic event, the tournament was streamed live on GCC’s Facebook page. Other than the virtual audience, the rest of the audience present physically during the competition were the contestants themselves. There were less than 10 of us in GCC, but the tournament was still incredibly exciting.
Imagine a group of grown men huddled around watching a tiny screen the size of a thumb. That was basically the whole competition. It was glorious.
With music from the Digimon anime blaring in the shop, the energy of the room was incredible. It felt like being in the stands, watching a football (or soccer for you Americans) match in a stadium. We winced in anticipation whenever a Digimon performed their attack, praying that the move will miss or hit depending on who you were rooting for. Every single Digimon attack that connected was met with energetic “oohs” and “ahs”. We cheered. We applauded. We were having the time of our lives.
There were favorites and underdogs. Even Omegamon, who is one of the strongest Digimon in the game right now can lose to Kaduchimon, who has lower stats. Fights were exciting and unpredictable. Comebacks happened in many of the battles. Most fights stretched to the 3rd round as both competitors had a victory each before the decisive bout occurred.
Like most sporting events, the Digimon Vital Bracelet Tournament also had a bit of its own drama. Midway into the competition, a glitch occurred, leading to one of the contestant’s Imperialdramon Dragon Mode not returning to its Vital Bracelet after the fight.
Naturally, the tournament was paused and suddenly, the energy and excitement in the room were replaced with worry and concern. It was like an athlete getting injured during the Olympics—friend and foe alike were shocked.
This glitch happened once more later during the competition, this time to a Shroudmon. This glitch prevented the wearer of the Vital Bracelet from getting back their Digimon. Furthermore, it also prevented the “APP” button in the bracelet from working, making it impossible to transfer other Digimon in the Vital Lab companion app into the bracelet.
Luckily, both Imperialdramon and Shroudmon magically reappeared in their owners’ respective bracelets after around five to ten minutes of waiting. The tournament resumed and everything went back on track. Ultimately, the tournament came to its conclusion, and there can only be one winner…
Congratulations to Faizal Lim for being the first-ever Digimon Vital Bracelet Tournament Champion! Faizal and his Kaduchimon walked away RM100 richer. However, the greatest reward is definitely the title of champion and the bragging rights that come with being the top tamer.
Win or lose, the most important thing was that everyone’s Digimon returned home safe and sound. GCC has proven to the world that a physical Digimon Vital Bracelet Tournament can be done. We eagerly hope for more Digimon Vital Bracelet Tournaments in the future.
Once again, many thanks to Hassan Marialis and GCC for hosting this tournament. GCC will be making a video covering the event soon, so be sure to follow them on Facebook and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Even though online battles will be coming in future updates, nothing beats actually inserting a VS Dim card into another bracelet and watching tiny pixels engage in combat on a small screen. If you are eager to take part in a Vital Bracelet Tournament of your own, be sure to check out some of our guides to hopefully increase your chances of winning: