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Digimon Logo.svg
English version logo for Digimon
Created byAkiyoshi Hongo
Toei Animation
Original workDigital Monster (1997)
Print publications
ComicsSee below
Films and television
Film(s)See below
Television seriesSee below
TraditionalSee below
Video game(s)See below
S.H. Figuarts

Digimon (Japanese: デジモン, Hepburn: 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 the eponymous creatures, who inhabit a "Digital World", a parallel universe that originated from Earth's various communication networks.

The franchise was 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 anime series and films based on them have been released, and the video game series has expanded into genres such as role-playing, racing, fighting, and MMORPGs.

Conception and creation

Virtual pet model distributed on the Japanese market by Bandai,[1] that allowed the popularization of Digimon in Japan. It sold 13 million units in Japan and 1 million overseas, up until March 2004.[2]

In 1996, the Tamagotchi was released, created by Akihiro Yokoi, Aki Maita and Takeichi Hongo. The Tamagotchi was one of the inspirations for the first release of the Digimon franchise,[3][4] a device marketed in June 1997[1][5] with the name Digimon,[6] short for Digital Monster.[7][8] Aiming at the male audience and created by Akiyoshi Hongo (a pseudonym that refers to the creators of Tamagotchi),[3] this device shows to players a virtual pet composed entirely of data and designed to play and fight.[1][6][9][10] In February 1998, the DigiMon fighting game, compatible with Windows 95 and developed by Rapture Technologies, Inc., was announced.[11] The one-shot manga C'mon Digimon, designed by Tenya Yabuno, was published in the Japanese magazine V-Jump by Shueisha in 1997.[12][13]

A second generation of virtual pets was marketed six months after the launch of the first, followed by a third in 1998.[14] Each player starts with a baby-level digital creature that has a limited number of attacks and transformations[15] and to make the creature stronger by training and nourishing the creature;[1][6] when the player is successful in a workout, the Digimon becomes strong, when the player fails, the Digimon becomes weak.[1][6] Two devices can be connected, allowing two players to battle with their respective creatures, an innovation at the time,[1] however, the battle is only possible from the moment the creature is in the child level or bigger.[1] 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.[16] 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,[17][18] came from extensive discussions and collaborations between the Bandai company members.[19]

Eponymous creatures

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 evolve 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. There are currently over 1400 Digimon.


Television series

The Digimon anime series was produced by Toei Animation and Bandai of Japan. Beginning in 1999, an anime series was green-lit as the first of the Digimon films aired in theaters. Originally, Digimon Adventure was supposed to be a short film, but after the storyboard was finished, a request for the film to become a children's television series was made.[citation needed] Several anime series have since been produced, with the first six series localized into English for release in Western markets.


No. Title Episodes Originally aired Network
First aired Last aired
1 Digimon Adventure 54 March 7, 1999 (1999-03-07) March 26, 2000 (2000-03-26) Fuji TV
2 Digimon Adventure 02 50 April 2, 2000 (2000-04-02) March 25, 2001 (2001-03-25)
3 Digimon Tamers 51 April 1, 2001 (2001-04-01) March 31, 2002 (2002-03-31)
4 Digimon Frontier 50 April 7, 2002 (2002-04-07) March 30, 2003 (2003-03-30)
5 Digimon Data Squad 48 April 2, 2006 (2006-04-02) March 25, 2007 (2007-03-25)
6 Digimon Fusion 79 July 6, 2010 (2010-07-06) March 25, 2012 (2012-03-25) TV Asahi
7 Digimon Universe: App Monsters 52 October 1, 2016 (2016-10-01) September 30, 2017 (2017-09-30) TV Tokyo
8 Digimon Adventure 66 April 5, 2020 (2020-04-05) present Fuji TV
Total 450 episodes


Several Digimon featurette films were released in Japan, with some of them seasonal tie-ins for their respective television series.

  1. Digimon Adventure / Digimon: The Movie (1999)
  2. Digimon Adventure: Our War Game! / Digimon: The Movie (2000)
  3. Digimon Adventure 02: Part 1: Digimon Hurricane Touchdown!! / Part 2: Supreme Evolution!! The Golden Digimentals / Digimon: The Movie (2000)
  4. Digimon Adventure 02: Revenge of Diaboromon (2001)
  5. Digimon Tamers: Battle of Adventurers (2001)
  6. Digimon Tamers: Runaway Locomon (2002)
  7. Digimon Frontier: Island of Lost Digimon (2002)
  8. Digital Monster X-Evolution (2004)
  9. Digimon Savers: Ultimate Power! Activate Burst Mode!! (2006)
  10. Digimon Adventure 3D: Digimon Grand Prix! (2009)
  11. Digimon Savers 3D: The Digital World in Imminent Danger! (2009)
  12. Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 1: Reunion (2015)
  13. Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 2: Determination (2016)
  14. Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 3: Confession (2016)
  15. Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 4: Loss (2017)
  16. Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 5: Coexistence (2017)
  17. Digimon Adventure tri. Chapter 6: Future (2018)
  18. Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna (2020)[20][21]

Distribution and localization

In the United States, Digimon Adventure premiered in August 1999 on the Fox Broadcasting Company. An English-language adaptation of the series produced by Saban Entertainment (later Sensation Animation), the series was broadcast on Fox Kids. Saban would dub the first four anime series in the franchise, which were collectively retitled Digimon: Digital Monsters.[22] 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.[23]

The Walt Disney Company would acquire Saban during the third series, Digimon Tamers. Reruns of the first three series began airing on the cable network ABC Family, while the fourth series, Digimon Frontier, premiered on UPN as part of a deal between Disney and UPN.[24] UPN aired the series until late August 2003, when they severed their ties to Disney.[24] Frontier aired on ABC Family concurrently, and also aired in reruns on Toon Disney under the Jetix branding. An English version of Digimon Data Squad, produced by Studiopolis, would premiere October 1, 2007, on Toon Disney.

In September 2012, Saban Brands, a successor to Saban Entertainment, announced it had acquired the Digimon anime franchise.[25][26][27] Saban would announce that they would be producing an English dub for Digimon Xros Wars, retitled Digimon Fusion, for broadcast on Nickelodeon in the United States starting September 7, 2013.[28] Saban Capital Group would later sell most of Saban Brands' entertainment properties to Hasbro in 2018 and shutter the division in July of that year.[29][30]

The Digimon Adventure tri. series would be distributed in North America by Eleven Arts. The English dub would utilize localized names from Saban's original dub, reunite several voice actors from the original cast, and feature a remixed version of the English opening theme,[31] while retaining the original Japanese score.[32] Shout! Factory would acquire the broadcast and home media distribution rights for the films.[33][34]


In Canada, the English versions of Digimon were broadcast on YTV, with the exception of Data Squad, which aired in Family Channel's Jetix block. YTV would eventually acquire Digimon Fusion, but only the first 26 episodes were shown.[citation needed]

In the United Kingdom, Digimon first aired on Fox Kids. ITV's children's slot CITV would broadcast Adventure, Adventure 02 and several episodes of Tamers during after school hours from 2001–2002. The rest of Tamers aired on Fox Kids from 2002–04.[citation needed] Digimon Frontier was originally announced to be broadcast on Jetix, but the series was later dropped.[citation needed] The series eventually saw a release on October 29, 2018.[35] From 2011, Digimon Data Squad airs on Kix!. 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.[36] 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.[37][38]


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.

  1. C'mon Digimon
  2. Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01
  3. Digimon Chronicle
  4. Digimon Next
  5. Digimon Xros Wars
  6. Digimon World Re:Digitize
  7. Digimon World Re:Digitize Decode
  8. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
  9. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker's Memory
  10. Digimon Chronicle X

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,[39] 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

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.[40]


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.

Video games

The player battles with three Digimon: Rosemon, WarGreymon, and SkullGreymon in Digimon World 2. The opponent's Digimon are Ninjamon, Centarumon, and SandYanmamon.

The Digimon series has inspired various video games, including the Digimon World and Digimon Story sub-series of role-playing games. Other genres have included life simulation, adventure, video card game, strategy, and racing games.

In February 2010, a website for the MMORPG Digimon Battle Online was launched.[41]

On September 22, 2011, online game publisher Joymax announced the release of an MMORPG game called Digimon Masters, which was developed by the Korean publisher DIGITALIC.[42]

Cardback of the first version Digimon CCG from 1999.
Cardback of the Digimon CCG from 1999, one of several iterations of the CCG.
Cardback of the Digimon CCG from 2000, one of several iterations of the CCG.
Cardback of the Digimon CCG from 2003, the lastest iteration of the CCG.
Some examples of the different versions of the Digimon CCG.

In 2011, a new entry in the Digimon World series was announced after a seven-year hiatus, titled Digimon World Re:Digitize.[43] The game would be released in Japan on July 19, 2012, followed by an enhanced version for Nintendo 3DS released in 2013.[44]

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth was first released in Japan in 2015.[45] It would be the first game in the Digimon Story series to be released in North America under its original title; Digimon World DS and Digimon World Dawn and Dusk were originally marketed as entries in the Digimon World series, with the latter game being the last to be released in the West for nine years until Cyber Sleuth's release on February 2, 2016.[46]

Card game

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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External links