English version logo for Digimon
|Created by||Akiyoshi Hongo|
|Original work||Digital Monster|
|Films and television|
|Television series||See below|
|Video game(s)||See below|
Digimon (デジモン Dejimon, branded as Digimon: Digital Monsters, stylized as DIGIMON), short for "Digital Monsters" (デジタルモンスター Dejitaru Monsutā), is a Japanese media franchise encompassing virtual pet toys, anime, manga, video games, films and a trading card game. The franchise focuses on Digimon creatures, which are monsters living in a "Digital World", a parallel universe that originated from Earth's various communication networks.
The franchise was first created in 1997 as a series of virtual pets, akin to—and influenced in style by—the contemporary Tamagotchi or nano Giga Pet toys. The creatures were first designed to look cute and iconic even on the devices' small screens; later developments had them created with a harder-edged style influenced by American comics. The franchise gained momentum with its first anime incarnation, Digimon Adventure, and an early video game, Digimon World, both released in 1999. Several seasons of the anime and films based on them have aired, and the video game series has expanded into genres such as role-playing, racing, fighting, and MMORPGs. Other media forms have also been released.
Conception and creation
In the year 1996 came the Tamagotchi, created by Akihiro Yokoi, Aki Maita and Takeichi Hongo, which was one of the inspirations for the first release of the franchise, a device marketed in June 1997 with the name Digimon, a short for Digital Monster. Aiming at the male audience and created by Akiyoshi Hongo (a pseudonym that refers to the creators of Tamagotchi), this device shows to players a virtual pet composed entirely of data and designed to play and fight. In February 1998, the DigiMon fighting game, compatible with Windows 95 and developed by Rapture Technologies, Inc., was announced. The one-shot manga C'mon Digimon, designed by Tenya Yabuno, was published in the Japanese magazine V-Jump by Shueisha in 1997.
A second generation of virtual pets was marketed six months after the launch of the first, followed by a third in 1998. Each player starts with a baby-level digital creature that has a limited number of attacks and transformations and to make the creature stronger by training and nourishing the creature; when the player is successful in a workout, the Digimon becomes strong, when the player fails, the Digimon becomes weak. Two devices can be connected, allowing two players to battle with their respective creatures, an innovation at the time, however, the battle is only possible from the moment the creature is in the child level or bigger. Playgrounds and subways were where the majority of users of the apparatus were concentrated; The virtual pet was banned in some Asian schools by being considered by parents and teachers as very noisy and violent. The first Digimon were created by Japanese designer Kenji Watanabe, influenced by American comics, which were beginning to gain popularity in Japan, and as such began to make his characters look stronger and "cool." Other types of Digimon, which until the year 2000 totaled 279, came from extensive discussions and collaborations between the Bandai company members. There are currently over 1300 Digimon.
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Digimon hatch from types of eggs which are called Digi-Eggs (デジタマ Dejitama). In the English iterations of the franchise there is another type of Digi-Egg that can be used to digivolve, or transform, Digimon. This second type of Digi-Egg is called a Digimental (デジメンタル Dejimentaru) in Japanese. They age via a process called "Digivolution" which changes their appearance and increases their powers. The effect of Digivolution, however, is not permanent in the partner Digimon of the main characters in the anime, and Digimon who have digivolved will most of the time revert to their previous form after a battle or if they are too weak to continue. Some Digimon act feral. Most, however, are capable of intelligence and human speech. They are able to digivolve by the use of Digivices that their human partners have. A further level has since been used in the video games, even higher than Mega, known as Ultra in the dub.
The Digimon anime series was produced by Toei Animation and Bandai of Japan. Beginning in 1999, the franchise was given an anime as the first of the Digimon movies aired in theaters in Japan. Originally, the Digimon Adventure movie was supposed to be a short film, but after the storyboard was finished, a request for Digimon becoming a children's television show was made, which later became the basis for Digimon Adventure. Several more series were produced after Digimon Adventure's success. The series was dubbed for release in Western markets, with the first four series under the title Digimon: Digital Monsters.
- Digimon Adventure / Digimon: Digital Monsters (Season 1) (1999)
- Digimon Adventure 02 / Digimon: Digital Monsters (Season 2) (2000)
- Digimon Tamers / Digimon: Digital Monsters (Season 3) (2001)
- Digimon Frontier / Digimon: Digital Monsters (Season 4) (2002)
- Digimon Savers / Digimon Data Squad (2006)
- Digimon Xros Wars / Digimon Fusion (2010)
- Digimon Universe: App Monsters (2016)
Several Digimon featurette films were released in Japan, with some of them seasonal tie-ins for their respective television series.
- Digimon Adventure / Digimon: The Movie (1999)
- Digimon Adventure: Children's War Game! / Digimon: The Movie (2000)
- Digimon Adventure 02: Part 1: Digimon Hurricane Touchdown!! / Part 2: Supreme Evolution!! The Golden Digimentals / Digimon: The Movie (2000)
- Digimon Adventure 02: Revenge of Diaboromon (2001)
- Digimon Tamers: Battle of Adventurers (2001)
- Digimon Tamers: Runaway Locomon (2002)
- Digimon Frontier: Island of Lost Digimon (2002)
- Digital Monster X-Evolution (2004)
- Digimon Savers: Ultimate Power! Activate Burst Mode!! (2006)
- Digimon Adventure 3D: Digimon Grand Prix! (2009)
- Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 1: Reunion (2015)
- Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 2: Determination (2016)
- Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 3: Confession (2016)
- Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 4: Loss (2017)
- Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 5: Coexistence (2017)
- Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 6: Future (2018)
- Digimon Adventure: The Movie (temporary name) (2020)
Distribution and localization
In the United States, the series premiered in August 1999 on the Fox Broadcasting Company. It was dubbed by Saban Entertainment (later Sensation Animation), and was initially broadcast through Fox Kids. The first four series were collectively retitled Digimon: Digital Monsters. Some scenes from the original version were modified or omitted in order to comply with Fox's standards and practices. The show also featured more jokes and added dialogue, along with a completely different musical score. As a cross-promotional stunt, 2001 and 2002 saw Digi-Bowl specials co-produced with Fox Sports; NFL on Fox commentator Terry Bradshaw provided interstitial segments in-between episodes as if the episodes were actually a football game.
After Disney acquired Saban during Digimon: Digital Monsters (Season 3), the first three series moved to the cable network ABC Family, while the fourth (Frontier) premiered on UPN due to a deal between Disney and UPN. UPN aired the show until late August 2003, when they severed their ties to Disney. Frontier aired on ABC Family concurrently, and reran (alongside the first three seasons) on that channel and Toon Disney (for the latter under the Jetix branding) for several years after. Digimon Data Squad also had a brief run on Toon Disney/Jetix and successor Disney XD. Toei Animation has however released an official subtitled version of Digimon Xros Wars. Funimation Entertainment has online streaming rights to subtitled versions of Digimon Adventure 02 and Digimon Tamers.
In September 2012, Saban Brands announced it had re-acquired the Digimon franchise. In February 2013, Saban acquired Digimon Fusion for broadcast on Nickelodeon in the United States starting September 7, 2013. After three episodes, the show was moved to Nicktoons starting October 13, 2013.
Digimon Adventure and its two sequels, Digimon Adventure 02 and Digimon Tamers, were added to the Netflix Instant Streaming service in 2013 and 2014 with Japanese audio and English subtitles. Crunchyroll began streaming the English-subtitled version of Digimon Fusion outside Japan in November 2011. The English-localized version of its first season became available on Netflix starting September 13, 2014, followed by the second season on March 8, 2016. After Crunchyroll acquired streaming rights to the dubbed versions and Funimation acquired rights to the subtitled versions, the dubbed versions of Adventure, Adventure 02, and Tamers were briefly removed from Netflix.
In Canada, the English versions were broadcast on YTV, but only the first 26 episodes of Digimon Fusion were shown. The dubbed version of Data Squad aired on Family Channel. In the United Kingdom, Digimon: Digital Monsters first aired in the UK on subscription cable/satellite channel Fox Kids but gained most popularity on terrestrial channel ITV's children's slot CITV from 2001-2002, which broadcast Adventure, Adventure 02 and a small amount of Tamers airing during after school hours. The entirety of Tamers aired on cable/satellite channel Fox Kids from 2002–04. Digimon Frontier was originally announced on Jetix but was later dropped. The series eventually saw a release on October 29, 2018. From 2011, Digimon Data Squad (the fifth series/season) airs in the UK on Kix! (the show's sole provider). According to Fox Kids' (2000–03) and Kix's (2010-) BARB Television ratings, Adventure, Adventure 02 & Tamers have been the most popular series'/seasons in the United Kingdom and was consistently in the weekly top 10 broadcasts for both channels for new episodes. Broadcast rights and merchandising sub-licensing rights for Digimon Fusion in the UK have been acquired by ITV Studios Global Entertainment, Digimon Fusion has aired since Spring 2014 on Digital Terrestrial Channel, CITV.
Digimon first appeared in narrative form in the one-shot manga C'mon Digimon, released in the summer of 1997. C'mon Digimon spawned the popular Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01 manga, written by Hiroshi Izawa, which began serialization on November 21, 1998.
- Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01
- Digimon Chronicle
- Digimon Next
- Digimon Xros Wars
- Digimon World Re:Digitize
- Digimon World Re:Digitize Decode
- Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
- Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory
Yuen Wong Yu manhua
A Chinese manhua was written and drawn by Yuen Wong Yu (余 遠鍠 Yu Yuen-wong), who based its storyline on the television series. This adaptation covers Digimon Adventure in five volumes, Digimon Adventure 02 in two, Digimon Tamers in four, and Digimon Frontier in three. The original stories are heavily abridged, though on rare occasions events play out differently from the anime. The Chinese language version was published by Rightman Publishing Ltd. in Hong Kong. Yu also wrote D-Cyber.
Two English versions were also released. The first one was published by Chuang Yi in Singapore. The second one, which was adapted by Lianne Sentar, was released by TOKYOPOP in North America.
The three volumes for Digimon Frontier have been released by Chuang Yi in English. These have not been released by TOKYOPOP in North America or Europe. However, the Chuang Yi releases of Digimon Frontier were distributed by Madman Entertainment in Australia.
Dark Horse Comics published American-style Digimon comic books, adapting the first thirteen episodes of the English dub of Digimon Adventure in 2001. The story was written by Daniel Horn and Ryan Hill, and illustrated by Daniel Horn and Cara L. Niece.
The Italian publishing company, Panini, approached Digimon in different ways in different countries. While Germany created their own adaptations of episodes, the United Kingdom (UK) reprinted the Dark Horse titles, then translated some of the German adaptations of Adventure 02 episodes. Eventually the UK comics were given their own original stories, which appeared in both the UK's official Digimon Magazine and the official UK Fox Kids companion magazine, Wickid. These original stories only roughly followed the continuity of Adventure 02. When the comic switched to the Tamers series the storylines adhered to continuity more strictly; sometimes it would expand on subject matter not covered by the original Japanese anime (such as Mitsuo Yamaki's past) or the English adaptations of the television shows and movies (such as Ryo's story or the movies that remained undubbed until 2005). In a money saving venture, the original stories were later removed from Digimon Magazine, which returned to printing translated German adaptations of Tamers episodes. Eventually, both magazines were cancelled.
The Digimon series has a large number of video games which usually have their own independent storylines with a few sometimes tying into the stories of the anime series or manga series. The games consists of a number of genres including life simulation, adventure, video card game, strategy and racing games, though they are mainly action role-playing games.
In late 2009, Bandai created a webpage in Japanese showing a new game to be released in 2010 called Digimon Story: Lost Evolution, which uses the same engine as their predecessors Digimon World DS and Digimon World Dawn and Dusk and was released on July 1, 2010. In February 2010, a website for the online multiplayer game, Digimon Battle Online, was launched, showing it to be based primarily in the world of the Tamers saga and its characters.
In 2011, Bandai posted a countdown on a teaser site. Once the countdown was finished, it revealed a reboot of the Digimon World series titled Digimon World Re:Digitize. An enhanced version of the game released on Nintendo 3DS as Digimon World Re:Digitize Decode in 2013.
A new fighting game for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was revealed in the summer of 2014, named Digimon All-Star Rumble. It was released in North America, Europe and Australia in November of the same year. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, a role-playing game in the Digimon Story sub-series, was released in 2015 for PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 in Japan. It has also been released with English subtitles in North America and the rest of the world in 2016.
The Digimon Collectible Card Game is a card game based on Digimon, first introduced in Japan in 1997 and published by Bandai. The third season (Digimon Tamers) utilized this aspect of the franchise by making the card game an integral part of the season. Versions of the card game are also included in some of the Digimon video games including Digital Card Battle and Digimon World 3.
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