Whenever I was a kid, I absolutely loved Pokemon and Digimon. I was not one of the people who found themselves in one of the two camps and then challenged the elitism of the other side on which one was better. They were both equally fun in my childhood mind and I loved watching them on TV and pretending to be the characters as a child. When it came to staying value however, Pokemon is easily the winner. While Digimon slipped from my mind, Pokemon has remain a constant force of entertainment for me.
But after seeing Digimon on Netflix and the subsequent nostalgia boner soon followed, I decided to give it another watch… And boy was I disappointed. I don’t know if years of abscense or the fact that I am older and have more brain cells at my disposal has made me see the series for what it is, but man I was expecting a much better experience than what I got.
Digimon is the story of creatures that live in the Digital World. One day, a group of kids are teleported into this strange new world and are given special devices as well as their very own Digimon as their companion. Together, these kids and their Digimon, dubbed the DigiDestined) have to take on evil forces that threaten the safety of the digital world and real world.
Fun Story that Mixes Cyber Genres and Children’s Cartoons
Ever think you would see a show where they mixed a children’s cartoon with Shadowrun? Well here it is! Okay, maybe it isn’t straight up Cyberpunk meets cute little monsters, but it does walk a very close line. Mysterious devices that seem futuristic and only operate in this world, frequent trips into this ‘digital world’, and constant computer ‘jargon’ that tends to get lost on us, but is simple shit for the computer guy, Izzy. Honestly, all we need is a guy named Decker and we will be set.
It is a sort of thing you don’t expect out of a children’s show and strangely enough the CyberPunk undertones mixed in with the Japanese animation really do work and it makes for an interesting theme to say the least.
The Strong Sub Following
Say what you will about Digimon, this television show has a fierce sub group that will praise it to no end and in a lot of ways I can see where the praise comes from. The show does have a sort of charm to it that shows like Pokemon do not. There is much more of a connection between the human and the one Digimon instead of the army of Pokemon that you can collect, the show focuses much more on strong morals than Pokemon, it tends to have a larger cast of characters that you can relate to, and the television show at first glance did to appear to be a better constructed show than Pokemon. So I can definitely see why many people still flock to Digimon. It is the type of show that would have the strong cult following and its charisma certainly persists.
Digimon is a television show that is forever cursed to obscurity due to its timing and three simple letters, mon. I do not believe that it was in either developing groups plans to either compete or bury one another. I think they just had two products that came out at the same time and it was Pokemon who walked away with the Lion’s Share. It was much more of a coincidence then a blatant rip off like Monster Ranchers.
Overall, the terms ‘Digimon’ and ‘Pokemon’ simply mean Digital Monster and Pocket Monster respectfully in Japan. But due to their close proximity and their names, these two games will be forever linked together in a constant battle of people saying that Pokemon is clearly superior and the fierce Digimon supporters claiming the show to be unjustly overshadowed by an inferior product.
Regardless of which side you fall on, there is no denying that Pokemon is the clear winner of this war. It is tragic to those who are a fan of the series, but Digimon is destined to forever languish in the realms of obscurity, only to be resurrected by those hardcore fans who still cling to its awesomeness.
Has Not Aged Well
Tragically, all of this comparison aside, this show has not aged well at all. The animation, which looked passable at the time, looks downright bad now even for the 1990’s-2000’s standards. It just looks cheap and ‘budgeted’. Something that a much more popular show like Digimon should have been able to avoid. The voice acting is nothing great as well, the script feels more cheesy than anything, and overall the story is just sort of bland. Not to mention, the whole enter the digital world thing wreaks of some of the silliest versions of Cyber Punk out there.
While I can go back and watch Pokemon and still be entertained, I was forcing myself through a lot of Digimon. The story simply wasn’t there and there were very few factors that kept me from clicking on something new from Netflix.
Overall, Digimon is not something that has aged like a fine wine over the years. The animation doesn’t look as good, the story does not keep attention, and beyond nostalgia there is nothing that is keeping casual fans from coming back. While it is fun to give it a watch, you more than likely won’t be coming back for more.
Final Score 2.5/5
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