It’s hard to believe that Digimon is approaching its 25th anniversary next year. What better time to celebrate this milestone by ranking each season.
There were 9 different iterations of Digimon in total, all with their own different styles, characters and storylines making them unique from one another. Some series are better than others, but it’s fair to say that none of them can be classed as bad.
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There is a lot of great anime out there, and Digimonwas often left in the shadows of the more well known anime like Pokemon, but it’s arguably a better well-built series overall. The franchise started way back in 1999, with Digimon: Adventure and the last season was Digimon: Ghost Game which came to an end in 2023.
9 Data Squad
Data Squad follows Yoshi, Thomas and Marcus as they become members of DATS (Digital Accident Tactics Squad), an organization that protects the world from rogue Digimon.
Data Squad was enjoyable, but the weakest entry in the series. There’s too much focus on the past. The goggle head was the same, and the series doesn’t focus enough on its own identity. There are some interesting themes of friendship and loyalty, but overall, it fails to hit the mark.
The original main cast of Adventure returned for this much anticipated series. The aim of the series was to fill in the gaps between the last time the kids were seen on screen and the Adventure 02 Epilogue.
Many fans thought this season was a disappointment, but it really does have its enjoyable and heartfelt moments. The adventure is juxtaposed with the struggles of the core characters in their teenage years. It acts as a touching love letter to the original series.
7 Ghost Game
The most recent season of Digimon was Ghost Game, and it ran from October 2021 to March 2023. The show’s format is episodic and features a monster of the week that the gang need to eliminate.
This is a bizarre choice to evolve Digimon into an episodic format, especially as the other seasons don’t do this. The series is entertaining, but many fans wish the makers had trusted the Gen Z audience to be able to follow a longer form story arc.
The question remains, will Ghost Game be the last we see from the Digimon television franchise? Surely not with the 25th anniversary just around the corner.
Digimon: Fusion earns the accolade of the most episodes out of all the iterations of Digimon. It was the sixth entry in the franchise, and it largely delivers on its promises. It feels fresh as its focus is on the digimon through a different lens.
War was a main plot point in Fusion, and it showcased its main characters as the ultimate heroes to the Digital world. This is a dark theme to portray on a children’s show, but it definitely works in the overall narrative, and doesn’t feel out of place for a Digimon series.
Frontier was an unexpected gem in the series. In a twist, the heroes became the digimon through something known as Spirit Evolution. The plot revolves around Takuya Kanbara, a kid from the city who receives a text message telling him to board a train towards his destiny. He’s whisked off into the digital world and the rest, as they say, is history.
The season largely works well alongside its predecessors and offers up something new to attract first time viewers. It appeases older fans as well with the franchises usual unique style.
Tamers marked the first time the series took place in a new setting separate from the first two seasons. Not only that, the show exists within a world that the Digimon franchise is known about. The plot is based on Takato Matsuki, a fan of the Digimon card game, who finds a Blue Card, which turns his reader into a D-Power Digivice. His D Power scans his drawings and his Digimon creation, Guilmon, turns into real life.
Tamers had its work cut out for itself, being the next series to follow the highly successful and beloved Adventure, and Adventure 02 seasons. But it does well because it plays with the formula whilst also creating a highly entertaining series that earns its place in Digimon folklore.
3 App Monsters
The formula was changed significantly again for App Monsters, the seventh season of Digimon. The cell phone is arguably the most important invention of the 21st century and Digimon: App Monsters acts as a commentary on this particular subject. The world is a totally new one and the Digimon are based on phone apps like camera and navigation.
Changing the formula of the long-running show was a welcome break from the usual norms, and makes it stand out as an excellent entry in the series. Human characters are treated with reverence as well, which was a contrast to other seasons. The series theme revolves around artificial intelligence. This was way back in 2016, and the show was very much ahead of its time.
2 Adventure 02
Adventure 02 was the follow-up to the original Digimon series. A lot of expectation was on the shoulders of this season because of how good the first one was. Rather than just doing a re hash of the original Adventure, the creative team behind it chose to change the formula. Digi egg Evolutions were introduced which made the possibilities endless in terms of what could happen. This was a good move for the show and fans really seemed to dig it.
T.K and Kari returned as main characters in Adventure 02 which helped to keep some of the familiarity of the first Adventure series intact. The episodes were also jam packed full of guest appearances from members of the Adventure crew.
It’s not quite as good as the original series, but it comes close.
Digimon became a phenomenon when it first hit the screens nearly 25 years ago, and it all started with the Adventure series. The season that kicked off the craze evolved into a piece of entertainment that has lasted for decades.
Children going to camp and being transported to a magical world where monsters are around every corner is a dream that many people have had, and this series portrays it in a wonderful way. One simply can’t beat the original and despite many great contenders, Digimon: Adventure remains the best in the anime franchise.