Pokémon vs Digimon: Why Digmon is the Superior Childhood Anime
Growing up in the mid 90's was amazing for someone as obsessed with television as I was.
The mid 90's gave us amazing programs: Gargoyles, Pinky and the Brain, Ducktales, Dexter’s Laboratory, and those are all projects from the states. The 90's also saw the beginning of the West importing Eastern anime. Ask anyone out on the street and they’ll definitely tell you that the mid 90's were a golden age for cartoons.
But when it comes to cartoons, which one reigns supreme?
Ask Sasha Kavesh of Gongsters.com, and he might argue that Pokémon was the best 90's anime cartoon.
This man is a liar.
The undeniably best 90's cartoon anime has to be Digimon Adventure. This cartoon was overshadowed by its rival franchise giant Pokémon, mostly due to their similar concepts and themes.
Digimon Adventure and Pokemon were both shows that starred young children and their monster companions as they travel their respective worlds, making new friends and overcoming adversity.
The similarities between these two shows only helped strengthen the rivalry between fans, so much so that it’s often the cause of many internet debates, such as a popular death battle video by ScrewAttack!.
Personally, I get really annoyed when people consider the two shows the same. I’ll explain why.
Pokémon are pets, Digimon were companions
Pokémon are small creatures that litter the world of Pokémon. Many of them have powers that could easily kill any human being too unfortunate enough to come across one unprepared. However fear not, as you can capture Pokémon in special containers that brainwash them into doing your bidding.
This is true for most Pokémon in the show. It’s very rare to find a Pokémon that acts friendly without it having been caught before. This is a fundamental difference that’s often brought up in this very debate time and time again.
In the lore of Digimon, the “Digital World” is a separate dimension that exists parallel to our own, powered by the digital waste of our world. Every selfie you take affects the world of Digimon.
When our chosen child heroes visit the world of the show, they are totally ignorant of everything around them, and are helped by their partner Digimon, a creature that is a manifestation of data given sentience.
The heroes of Digimon learn about the world through their partners, and their partners learn about the human world through the heroes themselves.
This give and take is important, just as much as the heroes are training their monsters in battle, the heroes themselves are also learning from their monster friends.
DIGIMON CAN TALK!!!
What the hell Pokémon?! This might be a bit of a nitpick, but you can only say your name?! What kind of bull is that? Digimon have the ability to comprehend and speak human language from the get go.
Yeah sure, Meowth can talk, but if anything that only proves my point even further. If a fucking Meowth can speak, what’s stopping other Pokémon from following his example?
Even literal GOD POKÉMON have to resort to telepathy to speak to people. Stop being lazy and take some language classes.
Digimon Isn’t Afraid to Let go of the Past
Pokémon has been airing for a whopping 20 years since its original air date on April 1st of 1997, and they have yet to change the main character.
Ash Ketchum, aside from small cosmetic changes, has remained unchanged in those 20 years. Ash is still a 10 year old overly optimistic child with a heart of gold and adventure, FOR 20 WHOLE YEARS, and the formula for Pokémon has hardly changed.
Ash travels a region with his favorite pet Pikachu as he goes gym to gym collecting more pets to gather badges for a tournament battle he knows he’s gonna lose. Seriously, in the 20 years since Pokémon’s first episode, Ash has challenged 8 different regions for title of Pokémon master, and has lost every. single. one.
Your first loss I can forgive, I can even forgive a second loss, but 8 TIMES?! Ash go do anything else, you’re not super great at this.
Digimon has had a different main cast for each of its 7 seasons. Each character has their own challenges they have to overcome, and they overcome them.
*Hey Pokémon, you can have a new character go on a new adventure from time to time.*
The formula also changes from time to time. For example in one of the most popularly discussed seasons, there are no partner Digimon, but instead, the cast transforms into Digimon themselves. It’s one of my favorite seasons.
The Legacy is Remembered Better
Pokémon have their 20th anniversary, and they release a small 90 minute straight to tv movie that faithfully recreates the original games.
Digimon have their 15th anniversary celebration, and we get 6 theatrical movies over the course of 3 years that act as a new original story involving the original cast of characters. Do I need to say more? Yeah? How about re-releases of the original toys with better materials? Anything?
Credit Where Credit is Due
While I can sing praises of the Digimon anime, I’ll have to admit, Pokémon just has better games. I haven’t bought a Digimon game in years because they get average to awful reviews.
Pokémon video games since the very first release of Red and Blue in 1996 have gotten nothing but critical acclaim, and for good reason. Its got a fun battle system, and good character design that make each game an expansion into a world you thought you knew everything about.
Too bad everything else about Pokémon is bad. Sasha Kavesh just has bad taste.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.