Name: Akiyama Ryo ( )
Meaning of name: distant (Ryo) autumn mountain (Akiyama)
Age: Same age as Taichi in the games (11/12), 14 in Digimon Tamers
Appearances: Brief cameos in episodes 23 and 43 of 02, starred in Anode/Cathode Tamer, Tag Tamers, D-1 Tamers, Brave Tamer. He also makes a cameo in the movie 'Bokura no Wargame', and appears in several episodes of Digimon Tamers with Cyberdramon (Seta Ikkei/Lex Lang) as his partner.
Seiyuu/Voice Actor: Kanemaru Junichi/Steve Staley
What's known: Anode/Cathode Tamer (New Year's Eve, 1999): Ryo lives with a mother and father in a two-story house, and has no siblings or pets. His parents are apparently really well off, because they gave him a laptop for Christmas '99. While he's typing away in a chatroom on this laptop, he's sent a digivice, which then transports him to the Digital World. It's there that he meets up with Agumon and, eventually, saves Taichi & co. from Millenniumon. It's here that the fans find out that Ryo has a penchant for chatting online regularly and playing videogames. The difference between Anode and Cathode Tamer is that Cathode Tamer has a different set of digimon to train, mostly aquatic.
Tag Tamers (March 4, 2000): Ryo and Ken have apparently been friends for a while, since the game opens up with Ken ushering Ryo to his room, wherein they witness the whole battle with Diablomon on the internet from the second Digimon movie "Bokura no Wargame". (A note: Ryo's cameo in Bokura no Wargame is different in that Ryo is shown in Turkey). Later, Ryo gets the first D-3 and is summoned with Ken to the Digital World. They learn that one Diablomon clone escaped, then Ryo and V-mon are sent out to defeat him. It's soon learned that Millenniumon is still around and is using Diablomon as a lure, and then he taunts Ryo for a bit before blowing up the mountain. The explosion tears the Digital World in two and freezes Taichi and Agumon. Throughout the game the scene switches between Ryo and Ken, so you do play both. Over the course of the game, Millenniumon's motives seem to change and he's not as rude to Ryo as he is to Ken, foreshadowing the revelation in Brave Tamer. The game ends with the thorough defeat of Millenniumon and the destruction of his body. Before his defeat, however, Millenniumon released his Dark Seeds. One of these aims for Ryo (02 flashback), but Ken pushes him out of the way and gets nailed with one in Ryo's stead. Tag Tamers has an epilogue scene where the Kaiser stands overlooking the Dark Ocean, and further information on that is in Ken's profile.
D-1 Tamers (March, 2000): Shortly after Tag Tamers, Ryo is summoned back to the Digital World by a Holy Beasts to participate in something called the D-1 Tournament. The Holy Beast claims that the other three Holy Beasts have gone evil, and that the tournament was staged to find the strongest tamer to serve as the Holy Beast's partner and defeat the evil Holy Beasts. As the game progresses, digimon sacrifice themselves to save Ryo, Mimi asks Ryo out on a date, and it turns out that the entire tournament was staged to train Ryo to take on a mysterious, soon-to-awaken evil king he had fought before. Ryo goes mute from the betrayal (namely, Taichi is the one to drop the bomb on this whole thing being designed to train Ryo without his knowledge) and doesn't really talk until some time after Brave Tamer. So it turns out that this evil king that everyone refuses to refer to by name is Moon-Millenniumon, Millenniumon's dormant and bodiless spirit. Moon-Millenniumon reveals that he and Ryo are Yin and Yang, neither can exist without the other, that Ryo is the "only random element that makes the impossible possible", and that they share the same power. Upon his defeat, Moon-Millenniumon says that his defeat is also Ryo's defeat and invites him to fly with him in the worlds of time. Moon-Millenniumon's floating continent then explodes. A week later, Gennai tells Ken that they've searched, but there's no sign of Ryo. Ken, refusing to accept that his friend is probably dead, says that they'll surely see Ryo again someday.
The Tag Tamers epilogue presumably happens some time between the end of D-1 Tamers and the beginning of 02.
Brave Tamer: After D-1 Tamers, Moon-Milleniumon exceeds the space-time continuum to send himself and Ryo into opposite ends of the timeline. Ryo is blasted into the primitive beginnings of the Digital World, most of his past forgotten. The ENIAC, one of the founding computers of the Digital World, enlists Monodramon to serve as Ryo's temporary partner. Monodramon speaks for him, as he seldom speaks himself, and aids Ryo as they try to stabilize the timeline, prevent ZeedMillenniumon from destroying the past, and regain Ryo's memories in the process. Though Ryo is the player character, the narrative focus seems to be on ZeedMillenniumon, as this is the first game where he gets more than a few villain lines at the end of the game and is shown with motives beyond what is readily apparent. Go see Mille's profile for further details, because Mille makes this game golden and much of the actual plot revolves around him. While Ryo runs around fending off ZeedMillenniumon's forces and regaining his memories, ZeedMillenniumon seems to be proud of Ryo's skills. He clones the Kaiser and the goggle boys of each season, creates digimon, and sends them to destroy the ENIAC. But even when the ENIAC finally falls, the Digital World remains. Then ZeedMillenniumon remembers a rumor about a computer that predates the ENIAC and traces the true founding of the Digital World to the Atanasoff-Berry Computer. He sends his cloned goggle boys to destroy it, but Ryo manages to save it in time. However, the computers are so weak from the constant onslaught that the timeline is at risk of collapsing. Ryo then has to sacrifice digimon so that the ENIAC can keep the timeline stable enough for Ryo to return from defeating Millenniumon, otherwise he risks being lost in time forever. It's a terrible choice to make and even Monodramon balks, but in the end they manage to find a few willing to make the sacrifice and proceed to ZeedMillenniumon's future. Though ZeedMillenniumon doesn't say so to anyone else, he drops several figurative bombs in how he thinks of Ryo in his monologue before Ryo reaches his dungeon. When Ryo does turn up, ZeedMillenniumon says that they could have been the best partners, revealing why Ryo never had a permanent digimon partner: Millenniumon was his all along. At the end, ZeedMillenniumon is so powerful that only his desire to be Ryo's partner defeats him and Monodramon forces a Jogress with him. The result is an egg with one heatbeat, turned over to the ENIAC until such a time as it was ready to join Ryo. Ryo goes on to the Tamers universe, as implied by the game and Producer Seki Hiromi, as follows:
The games vs. Digimon Tamers canon issue - A recent revelation in the May 2002 issue of V-Jump revealed that the Ryo in the games and the anime are one and the same. The following is a translation of it:
Q: Are the Ryo who appeared in 02 and the Ryo who appears in Digimon Tamers related?
A: They are the same person. Simply put, Ryo was flown beyond space-time as soon as he defeated Millenniumon in D-1 Tamers, and he lost his memory. And this is why he encountered Takato and the others.
(Digimon producer, Seki Hiromi-san speaks)
Digimon Tamers: Ryo is the legendary card player that even Ruki could never beat, and it is rumored that she only won the tournament that named her Digimon Queen because he disappeared. His first episode, 28, is titled "Friend or Foe? Akiyama Ryo the Legendary Tamer", and aired on October 14, 2001 (the English dub version, "Blame it on Ryo", aired February 16, 2002). His partner digimon, is Cyberdramon, the union of Millenniumon and Monodramon as implied by the CD drama "Message in the Packet". His duet album with Cyberdramon is Best Tamers #5, and was released on November 29.