Well, it might not be a Tamer’s review, but I thought that this might be a good intro to Digimon (my review at the moment has a lot of backstory and it that reason why I haven’t posted it yet). For this, I’m reviewing the Digimon Franchise and its pros and cons over its rival, the Pokémon Franchise.
I should note, before I cover the games, I have only played (and still working on) the DS games, Digimon World DS, Digimon World Dawn and its counterpart Digimon World Dusk so my review might be a bit biased. That being said, the Digimon World games haven’t held my interest like the Pokémon Games have. The plot is pretty simple, you’re a kid who has either been sucked into the Digital World (the world of the Digimon, they are digital monster’s after all) or has been living in the Digital World already (these are for the before mentioned games so intro might be different depending on the game). For World DS, because your being sucked into the Digital World, you can choose your partner, who are the three “In Training” forms of the partners in the, current at the time of release, main members of DATS, the organization in Digimon Data Squad, more on that latter. From there, you complete objectives to improve your Digimon’s residence, collect information about other Digimon and raise your Digimon so that they can “Digivolve”. Dawn and Dusk’s plots might be similar to the late game as DS (again, haven’t played that much of it yet at the time of post). You are a member of one of two organizations (depending on which version you play) and you have to stop something from causing havoc on the Digital World using the Digimon you already have and anymore you collect on the way. While I haven’t played a lot of the games, I do like the evolution method the games use. When your Digimon reaches a certain level and has a specific number of special experience based on the species (Insect, Machine, Dragon ect) it can Digivolve to the next level. In order, these are Baby/Newborn, In Training, Rookie, Champion, Ultimate, Mega and some species have the ability to go further, but I’ll explain latter. What makes this better then Pokémon for me is that most Digimon can Digivolve into multiple forms depending on the circumstances. Take the “mascot” for example, while I won’t explain how, Agumon can turn into either Greymon and from there it can turn into Metal Greymon and then War Greymon, or it can turn into GeoGreymon, RiseGreymon and then ShineGreymon (this is a basic toned down version but you get the point). This gives the game a lot more replay ability because you could choose the same In Training Digimon but get a different Mega.
For Pokémon, on the other hand, you’re a 10 year old kid who gets either a Grass type, Fire type or Water type Pokémon as your first Pokémon (unless you’re playing Yellow in which case you get Pikachu). You go out, get 8 gym badges from other cities, take on the Elite 4, champion, enter hall of fame and congratulations, you’ve beaten the game, go onto post game if you wish. While it might seem that I’m hating on the plot of the games (and I am) for some reason, this keeps my interest unlike the Digimon Games. My guess is because, to me, Pokémon gets to the point faster and lets me play faster than the Digimon World games have. I prefer games that get to the actual gameplay fast (which is why I dropped Skyrim after I left the first town…). It could also be 9 years of playing Pokémon to 2 years of Digimon but I digress. The Pokémon games are much easier to get into unlike Digimon because all the Pokémon games assume you don’t have prior knowledge of games (which is good until you see the “How to catch a Pokémon Tutorial for the 50th time which often resorts to myself saying to the game “I’ve been catching Pokémon since before you were programed”. I guess the nutshell is, Pokémon is baby’s first RPG with Digimon being the next phase up, they are worth a look but you have to have knowledge of the series (for Digimon’s case anyway) to understand what you’re getting yourself into. One of the things I like the most though in Pokémon is that it feels a lot more like a world then the Digimon games ever did, but I’ll explain why latter.
And now for the ne thing that people remember the most when it comes to Digimon, the anime. I will be looking at the English Dub’s for this so to fans, I apologies. That being said, I really enjoy the anime, it does a lot of things that the Pokémon Anime would never do. For example
1. Changes the main character. While Ash is STILL the protagonist of the Pokémon anime, the Digimon anime changes its group of lead characters at the end of almost every season and even then, the group is generally larger than the Pokémon series. While there are 3-4 primary characters in Pokémon every season, Ash still gets the most screen time trying to flesh out a character that has run dry in my opinion. Granted I still like characters like Misty, May and Dawn, its primarily due to their personalities and how they grow as trainers. The Digimon group has 3-8 characters per season and they all have decent air time and fleshed out characters by the end of their series. Because of the new characters, it is understandable for them to get information on all the Digimon, even if it is just for the viewers but for Pokémon, it is becoming harder and harder to take ash seriously because he is using the Pokédex on older Pokémon, THAT HE HAS ALERADY SEEN AND IN SOME CASES CAUGHT!!!
2. Darker themes. While yes, Pokémon has gotten away with some dark themes, a lot of those episodes have gotten banned as a result. Remember when Ash got his 30 Tauros, I don’t. What about when Castelia City was destroyed, nothing comes to mind…. The only dark theme that I remember in the anime was in the first move, in the “Try not to cry, cry a lot when you first see it” scene where Ash dies (And after almost 20 years, spoiler warnings are thrown out the window). But in the Digimon series, they cover death quite a lot in all the seasons. The “Digi-Destined” also have to learn how to live with their decisions “when is it alright to kill”. Family is mentioned constantly in the first season. Digimon Tamers has been regarded as one of the darkest seasons to date for several reasons. In the past seasons, when Digimon “die” their data is reconfigured and they are reborn in a special area of the Digital World. In tamers, that is never mentioned so it is assumed that if someone dies, their dead for good, so when one of the heroes, Leomon is killed, on camera, uncensored (he slowly breaks down into raw data and dissolves, the equivalent of bleeding to death) and then the famous line by the leader of the group “I’ll make you hurt, I’LL MAKE YOU PAY”, which then leads into the final ark where the villain uses the hero’s mental states against them…
Probably my only complaint with the Digimon anime is the fifth season, Digimon Data Squad and its really just a personal opinion. In the past, it has been shown that Digimon are based off of kids imaginations (hence why you can have a giant dinosaur that fires missiles out of his chest) so it seems weird to me to see late teenagers-early adults being Digi-Destined. While yes, the cast of the first two seasons are shown to have matured and become adults while still having their Digimon, they got them when they were kids so I’m willing to let that slide. Again though, its just a personal thing to me
In conclusion, I highly recommend giving both a shot, to get your own opinions on both franchises. I haven’t covered anything about the other aspects of the franchises, including the toys ect and that’s just because of a lack of experience.