Pokémon vs Digimon: Why Pokémon is the Superior Childhood Anime
Pokémon is basically a universal term at this point. Renowned by the world over, the word Pokémon would do a fantastic job of describing a lot of my life. My obsession as a child, my secret love during high school (back when being a nerd wasn’t cool yet), and my gateway into friendship in college.
Not to mention, apparently a term to describe every single one of my interests, according to my parents (Mom - “Stop playing Pokémanz and study!”, Me – “…I’m on YouTube, Mom”).
It has its competitors and copycats, but none match up to the original video game/anime powerhouse itself. Francisco Lahoz, fellow writer on Gongster, might say that Digimon was a better anime and concept.
Francisco Lahoz is wrong.
I don’t think they should be compared for their similarities. They aren’t the same, and Digimon is great, but it can’t hold a candle to Pokémon. Yes, they have similar themes and both were accompanied by a variety of video games, card games, accessories, and collectibles, but Pokémon not only had a bigger impact on my life (and the world), it’s just far superior in several ways. Here are some of those ways:
The Video Games
The Digimon franchise has churned out over 40 games since its beginnings in 1997. Many were fighting games, some were action, and a few were even card battling games. Some were good, but none were revolutionary, and none sold all that well. The better ones sold in the hundreds of thousands, while the less successful ones sold only in the tens of thousands globally.
Pokémon, on the other hand, with over 80 games (not including mobile ones like Pokémon Go and Pokémon: Magikarp Jump) has sold far more than a million copies of the majority of their games, if not all. These games cover almost every single genre of video game, making the series accessible to almost everyone.
They have more depth, and simultaneously more simplicity, more breadth, more enticing mechanics, and more attention. Every game is more fun when there are more people playing it.
I’ll admit, Digimon has some kick-ass looking monsters. Agumon’s evolutions always evoked an excited reaction from me, and so many other Digimon looked so cool when they finally reached their second and third forms.
However, Digimon really didn’t know when to stop. A tiny dinosaur is cute, as Agumon and Charmander prove, and bigger dinosaur/dragon forms turn them from cute into awesome. Charizard and Wargreymon make me want to scream cheers at how amazing they look. But Digimon doesn’t just go one step further, it goes four. Eventually most Digimon just turn into giant turrets that some psycho decided to glue hundreds of over-the-top weapons to.
There’s a fine line, when gluing guns to animals, between cool and stupid. Pokémon toes the line, while Digimon pole vaults across it. Also, Digimon names come across as so lazy to me. Every single one is a word (or half of one) and “mon”. I just think it’s a bit boring an uncreative. Not every Pokémon name is a gem, but some like Ekans and Sudowoodo, are actually clever.
Pokémon and Digimon both have their monsters evolve, and it’s awesome every single time. I’ve already addressed that Digimon have way too many evolution choices, but the main problem is that THEY REVERT AFTER BATTLE. Why? Why do something so insanely anti-climactic. It’s like if working out meant that you can get all jacked up for an hour and then you revert TO AN INFANT as soon as the workout is over.
It’s so upsetting for them to achieve this amazing form and just lose it as soon as they don’t actively need it anymore. I’m sure there’s an explanation for this, but instead it should just not exist. When my Magikarp evolves, it better STAY a Gyarados.
It’s hard to say which is better here. Yes, the anime has more consistently released movies and episodes, but I must admit Digimon has some good plotlines. The scale tends to be different in each as well.
While Digimon trainers are attempting to save the world, Ash is usually just trying to protect his own Pokémon and save a town or city. The fact that the Digimon trainers are swapped out for new characters is nice as well. It’s fun meeting new characters with new goals and intentions. Ash’s friends are great, but it does get old.
The Intelligence of the Creatures
Digimon talk and Pokémon usually can’t (for the most part). I gotta say it’s cool that the Digimon can actually converse with their trainers, while Pokémon just yell their own name over and over. Which begs the questions; What came first, the name or the cry? That’s not to say that Pokémon are unintelligent, it’s just easier to progress the story when everyone can communicate.
The Card Games
Does anyone know how to play the Digimon Trading Card Game? Anyone? I honestly don’t know a single person, even amongst my most devout Digimon fan friends. The Pokémon card game is certainly no game of Go Fish, but at least most fans managed to figure it out to some degree.
Overall, Pokémon is superior to Digimon for a multitude of reasons. Each series has its pros and its cons, but Pokémon proves its greatness with each new game, each new movie, and each new year. The effect that Pokémon has had on the world can actually be measured, while Digimon just retains its devout fan base that insist it’s still a rival.
While I certainly don’t hope for Digimon to disappear, I have a strong feeling it’ll be gone with the next 10 years. I know Pokémon won’t.
Which do you think is the superior anime? Let us know in the comments.