Digimon vs. Pokemon: The Otaku Debate

Digimon vs. Pokemon: Anime Debate


Note: This is only an anime Digimon vs. Pokemon. It is clear that even most Digimon fans will say the Pokemon Video Games are better. I placed the names in alphabetical order.

The debate of Digimon versus Pokemon has been going on for a few years now (15 years now!). I will try to be as unbiased as possible, but for the record I am on the Digimon side. To begin with I will go over the history of both anime’s along with a general plot and then give both sides opinion.

Digimon History & Plot

Tamagotchi’s was the original Digimon. In the beginning they were made to be cute, but soon over time, they became more ‘monster’ like. In March of 1999, Digimon Adventure was released into theaters. It was an animated version of these cute monsters. At first it was only meant to be a short movie, but soon so many requests were given to make it into an animated series for children. The same, the animated series Digimon Adventure began to air in Japan. Digimon spawned five more separate series, each with at least one movie, card games, video games, manga’s, and so much more since the release of the original series. The series is produced by Toei Animation as well as Bandai of Japan.
The series basic plot revolves around Digital Monsters. These creatures inhabit the DigiWorld which is a manifestation of the Earth Network. Each series tells about a group made up of pre-teens and their Digimon partner. They must defend the DigiWorld and the real world from evil. These children carry Digivices which help their Digimon partner to ‘evolve’. Each Digimon can Digivolve into a much stronger Digimon, but can ‘de-evolve’ when needed.

Pokemon History & Plot

Pokemon is a franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1996. It was original a pair of video games released for the GamBoy, Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue. The animated series came out in 1997 as a children’s anime. Including the entire series, Pokemon is split up into five sequences according to the video games. This makes the entire series (so far) 17 seasons long with also many movies, shorts, side stories, and a few spin offs. Since the original release of the video games, Pokemon has spawned an anime series, manga’s, more video games, card games, and many more things.
The entire series focuses on one boy and his adventure to catch all Pokemon. Ash Ketchum starts as a ten year kid who overslept on the day to receive his Pokemon. Due to this he gets Pikachu. Along the way, Ash meets a few people which decide to travel with him as well as catch Pokemon. Along with several enemies (Pokemon and human), Team Rocket also lurks in the shadows attempting to catch Pikachu.

Digimon Side

There are many points why people argue that Digimon is the better show. To save time I will only go over five points; Evolutions, ability to speak, better devices, more indepth story, and better villains.

Agumon Digivolve
The evolution of a Digimon, or Digivolution, is possibly the most used argument for Digimon lovers. Digimons can evolve in two ways, through gaining enough data or through a Digivice used by a Tamer. This evolution, however, is not a permanent thing. If they lose to much power, suffer a great injury, or just done with the battle they can ‘devolve’ back into a lower form to conserve energy. If the Digimon is injured bad enough or ‘killed’ a Digiegg will appear and the process will start over again. They also have the ability to Digivolve into several different stages, some having up to six Digivolutions. It may be a set path of an evolution or it can be a chosen path, depending on the Digimon. Unlike Digimon, when a Pokemon evolves it is permanent. Pokemons evolution is normally set (except a few ie. Eevee) and it depends on level, a stone, trading, or through a reaction of the environment.
Another focal point for Digimon fans is the fact that they can speak. Unlike Pokemon, who say only variations of their names, Digimon can speak. Dialogue is very important to most stories. The character can develop more easily this way. You can often tell if a character is developing by their speach pattern at times. They can have a somewhat ‘baby’ talk but soon comprehend more indepth words. Relationships can also be more easily formed not only with other characters, but with the audience as well. They become more human like and therefore you can connect with them better.

Digimon Crests
The Digivices and Crests are another great argument. They are simply much cooler to use than a Pokedex. While the Pokedex contains all the Pokemon and the information, the Digivice can be used to evolve the Digimon. They help the human character and Digimon to create a connection like no other. They are also specific to each team (ie. Tai had the Courage Crest).
The tone for Digimon is way more serious than Pokemon. Some of the characters actually die (like some major ones) as well the fact the story was more indepth. The series has a good balance between story and episodic episodes. This is good because the story does no have to be wrapped up and can leave the viewer wanting to watch the next episode. Pokemon wraps up with happy endings and light hearted stories. Digimon has light hearted moments, but only to compensate for the darker ones. In Digimon, characters actually died and were hurt pretty badly. No one was immune to life as Pokemon were immune.

The last point for Digimon are the villains. The villains in Digimon were a lot more ruthless than Pokemon. It is hard to compare Team Rocket to Myotismon. While Jessie and James only played tricks to get Pikachu, Myotismon actually tried to kill the Digidestined and enslaved the Digi World. The villains of Digimon were a lot harder to defeat and the Digidestined had to actually evolve their fighting skills to defeat them. They even tried to fight a few times to early and clearly lost, but were spared.

Pokemon Side

While there are many good points to the Digimon side, Pokemon has a lot of advantages as well. The main points for Pokemon I will go over are Gym Badges, Pokemon Collections, Episodic Episodes, and Consistency.

Pokemon Gym Badges
The Gym Badges are an argument that I do not often see being used. Gym Badges can be obtained by any person who defeats the gym leader. In this sense, the Digivices fall short. They are only handed out to select few, mostly Digidestined. They may not be as vital to the users as the Digivices are, but the fact they are more obtainable is quite nice. Gym Badges are actually earned when the person is able to defeat the leader, showing more skill development.

Pikachu Pokemon
Collecting Pokemon is the main reason for the series. Unlike Digimon, you are allowed to own more than one Pokemon. If you wanted Agumon and had patamon, you could not switch. In Pokemon if you have an Eevee and wanted a Pikachu, you just have to trade or go find one. Here Pokemon has the clear advantage. You can own any Pokemon you can catch.

Ash Ketchum Pokemon
Ash is the main character of the series and seems to remain the same age throughout the show. Pokemons plot development is little to none, but this can be a good thing. Watching Ash go along his journey may seem tedious and at times boring, it shows every step of his development. I mean every step. It is as if you are there with him along the whole journey. For children this can be an exciting thing. Their imagination runs much better than adults and can connect to the show quicker. the show is developing, just at a slow pace.
Pokemon remains very consistent through out. Each season revolves around Ash and his journey while Digimon seasons have new characters each time. Pokemon may have the same main character, they add new things with each arc. They try to keep in new with the old stuff. They know what they are doing is working, so why mess with success. Digimon tries to evolve with each child generation and fit in with new over dramatic monsters while Pokemon keeps their same cuteness.

My Opinion

I am a Digimon fan to the core. I love the first few seasons of Pokemon, but the same thing got tiring. In all honesty I have only watched the first two seasons of Digimon and refuse to watch any after that. I love the characters! The story and villians of Digimon are way better and that is what I look for in an anime. Others may look for cute pets and a story you can watch at anytime, but I need action and blood. I like that Digimon can speak and the connection needed from Digidestined and Digimon.

Which one are you?