If there’s one Japanese franchise that stood the waves of time, it has to be Digimon. Since its conception in 1997 as a virtual pet toy, the series has spawned multiple anime shows, movies, manga, trading cards, and video-games. Digimon earned a great amount of following, thanks to its variety of themes, stories, and characters. Truly, we can say that the series evolved over the years.
With Last Evolution Kizuna set to hit Japanese theaters this week, we take a look at the Digimon franchise’s timeline and why the series deserves your attention.
Following the debut of Tamagotchi in 1996, a team of developers started work on a virtual pet device that will cater to young boys and feature creatures that can play and fight at the same time. The result is Digital Monster, a four-button device that allows players to nurture, train, and even battle alongside their pets. Each player starts with a baby-level creature that has a limited number of attacks and transformations. Players are required to do arduous tasks, such as working out, in order to get their pets stronger. The device’s success pushed Bandai to develop follow-up virtual pet toys that featured higher evolution levels, interoperability, and a fusion ability with other players’ pets.
In 1998, V Jump capitalized on the Digital Monster toy and launched Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01. The manga follows Taichi, a V-Pet player who was summoned along with other kids to the Digital World, a virtual realm comprised of various regions and monsters known as Digimon. Taichi and his partner, Zeromaru the Veedramon, are tasked by MagnaAngemon to stop Daemon, an evil entity behind the chaos in the Digital World. The manga ran for 58 chapters and concluded in 2003.
The Digital Monster toy and the V-Tamer 01 manga became successful that Toei decided to create a short film based on Digimon. However, the company saw potential with the film’s initial draft that it requested writer Reiko Yoshida, director Hiroyuki Kakudo, and their team to develop a separate children’s television series set after the events of the movie. Thus, Digimon Adventure 01 was born.
Inspired by V-Tamer 01, the show focuses on eight “Chosen Children,” who were brought to the Digital World to combat a threat that endangers the said realm and the human world. The show became a tremendous success, resulting in a second Digimon Adventure film, and a sequel TV series (Digimon Adventure 02) set four years after 01.
Chiaki Konaka, a Japanese screenwriter best known for her work on the psychological anime Serial Experiments Lain, explored with the idea of depicting the primitive side of Digimon, and the potential impact their evolutions could bring to their partners and society in general. He also wanted a Digimon show that incorporates a realistic portrayal of death, along with an evolution feature that allows the fusion of Digimon and their “tamers.” Hence, the creation of Digimon Tamers, a 51-episode anime series taking place in a brand-new setting apart from Digimon Adventure. The show was praised for its mature themes, a grim atmosphere, and an aesthetic inspired by Lovecraftian tales.
In 2002, Toei announced the development of a fourth Digimon series inspired by the emergence of the mobile phone trend. Digimon Frontier employed the fusion evolution mechanic of Digimon Tamers, but to a great extent, as it depicted children leveraging the power of ancient spirits to become Digimon themselves. Despite a character-driven take on the story, Frontier received a lukewarm reception from the audience.
After a two-year hiatus following the conclusion of Digimon Frontier, Toei released Digital Monster X-Evolution, the first film in the franchise to premiere exclusively on TV. It is also the only entry in the series to be produced entirely in CGI, and feature a cast comprised of only Digimon characters. The movie centers on Dorumon, a child-level Digimon who gets imbued with the X-Antibody, a program that provides its hosts with enhanced abilities and immunity to a deadly system called the X-Program. He finds himself hunted by various Digimon, as he ventures to find the truth about the X-Antibody and the supercomputer known as Yggdrasil.
Unlike its predecessors, 2006’s Digimon Data Squad features an older team of Digidestined and carries over a few elements from X-Evolution. Moreso, the show’s 14-year old protagonist literally fights alongside his partner Digimon through the use of his bare knuckles, a feat unseen in the previous entries of the franchise.
Digimon took another animated hiatus in 2007, but Bandai compensated for the absence of anime material through the abundance of video game releases. Fortunately, the franchise made a splashing return in 2010 with Digimon Xros Wars, just in time for the anime’s 12th anniversary. Serving as a homage to various entries in the franchise, the show centers on Taiki Kudo, a young prodigy who leads a team of ragtag Digimon via the use of the Xros Loader, a device that enables two or more Digimon to combine into various forms. Xros Wars received critical acclaim for its appeal to nostalgia, a diverse cast, and exploration of darker themes.
Toei surprised the fandom in 2015 as they announced a third Digimon Adventure entry. The Digimon Adventure tri. film series is set three years after 02 and follows the original Digidestined as they cope with their teenage lives. A series of distortions between the Digital World and the human realm will reunite the Chosen Children and their Digimon partners as they try to resolve the impending conflict.
While treated as the seventh entry to the franchise, Digimon Universe: App Monsters deviates from its predecessors as it features a slew of new creatures known as Appmon, or App Monsters. It tackles various internet topics in a quirky way and depicts a fun crossover with Digimon Adventure’s Agumon.
In celebration of the anime’s 20th anniversary, Toei announced the final and concluding entry in the original Digimon Adventure storyline. Last Evolution Kizuna jumps five years after tri. and sees the original Chosen Children as young adults. A powerful Digimon named Eosmon robs Digidestined across the globe of their consciousness, and it’s up to Taichi, Yamato, Agumon, and Gabumon to save the world.
It’s been a long journey for the Digimon franchise, and while we cannot tell what lies ahead for the series, we can be sure of one thing: It will continue to evolve along with its audience as much as it can.
What is your favorite Digimon title? Let us know in the comments!
AD SIZE: 300px by 250px
AD SIZE: 300px by 250px
Our Privacy Commitment
TV5 Network Inc. values and respects your right to privacy. We are committed to safeguarding your personal data in compliance with Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
Why do we collect your personal information (as applicable)?
We collect and maintain basic information about you as users of TV5 sites for the following purposes:
Where do we get your personal information?
There are several ways we collect your personal information.
Information that you personally provided.
Most of the personal information we have are those that you have provided us when you:
Information we collect during your engagement with us
We also collect information as you use our products and services, like:
Information we collect from other sources
We also collect your personal information through other activities such as our market research initiatives, when you visit and use our websites and mobile apps, and from our subsidiaries, affiliates, and third-party business partners to whom you have given consent to share your information to us.
When do we disclose personal information?
There are circumstances when we are required to share some of the information you have provided us. In these cases, we ensure that your personal information will be disclosed on a confidential manner, through secure channels that is in compliance with the Data Privacy Act and other privacy laws.
In some instances, we may be required to disclose your personal information to our agents, subsidiaries, affiliates, business partners and other third-party agencies and service providers as part of our regular business operations and for the provision of our programs and services. This means we might share your information with:
How we protect your personal information
We also put in effect the following safeguards:
TV5 will not collect, use, or disclose your personal information for any purpose other than those identified in this Commitment, your Service Agreement or our Terms of Service, and any other purpose that you may have given your consent for.
For greater clarity, unless you provide specific consent, we shall not:
What are your choices?
You are given certain rights in relation to your personal data under the Data Privacy Act. We would like to ensure that we have your consent to continue to collect, use, and disclose your personal information for the purposes that we have identified. We want you to know that you do have choices and can object or withdraw your consent and/or edit your consent preferences at any time.
If you wish to have access to your personal information in our records; or you think that such personal information we have of you is incomplete, not up-to-date, or otherwise inaccurate, you may get in touch with our Data Privacy Officer through the contact details provided below. In some instances, we may request for supporting documents or proof before we effect any requested changes to your personal information.
Data Protection Officer
TV5 Network Inc.
Reliance corner Sheridan Streets
What happens when there are changes in our Policy?
You will always be provided notice if these changes are significant and, if we are required by law, we will ensure to obtain your updated consent.