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Thread: Why Digimon over Pokemon?

  1. #1

    Default Why Digimon over Pokemon?

    I'm just curious as to why some people adamantly like Digimon over Pokemon. I'm a Pokemon fan, and a few days ago I got curious enough about Digimon to watch the first episode. And I apologize to all the Digimon fans out there, but Digimon in every aspect just seems to be a rip-off of Pokemon.

    For one thing, it came out a couple of years after Pokemon, and it's almost entirely the same concept, which leads me to believe that Digimon just jumped on Pokemon's bandwagon.

    Except not only did Digimon jump on the bandwagon, they took the idea and made it worse in my opinion. First of all, for whatever reason they felt that whenever anything even remotely important happened, they had to show a reaction shot of every single character. And when you have like 14 main characters, that got very old very fast. Also, the dialogue was even cheesier and more predictable than that of the early Pokemon episodes. Plus, Digimon's opening theme seemed to just be an electronic voice repeating the same two meaningfully-shallow sentences over and over, which also got boring very quickly.

    The only thing that Digimon has going for it is the fact that Digimon can talk. And that just seems like something they used deliberately to put themselves above Pokemon. "Hey, their creatures can't talk? Well ours can!". And even then, Pokemon do talk. They just talk in a more subtle manner than perfectly fluent human speech (with the exception of a few cases like Mewtwo-- which only serves to make the talking experience seem that much more valuable).

    I'm sure that the series must get better as it progresses, but it definitely did not make a good first impression. I am genuinely curious as to why anyone likes Digimon over Pokemon, so... thoughts?

  2. #2


    I haven't wacthed Pokemon in years (about 12 years) but even as a child I knew digimon was just a cheap ripoff.

  3. #3


    I personally prefer digimon over pokemon, but I shall make no attempt to disprove your assertions. The thing for me is that while pokemon were treated like smart pets, digimon were partners. They were a reflection of their human tamers and evolved with them as they both grew to know each other. At the time, the more, for lack of a better word, mature feeling of the series appealed to me.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by Alphacore View Post
    I personally prefer digimon over pokemon, but I shall make no attempt to disprove your assertions. The thing for me is that while pokemon were treated like smart pets, digimon were partners. They were a reflection of their human tamers and evolved with them as they both grew to know each other. At the time, the more, for lack of a better word, mature feeling of the series appealed to me.
    I think this is a good summation. Digimon and Pokémon are vastly different in a very key way: Digimon has character growth.

    Ash never really changes from the first episode. His job is to collect badges and go to the Pokémon League. You can miss a whole season, and when you pick it up, Ash is the exact same person as he was last time you saw him. The only real character growth that I can think of is when Charizard stopped treating Ash like crap. Sure, he's got new Pokémon and new people, but you only need to watch one episode to really catch up on what's happened. Plus, Ash is an idiot. Ground type? Electric attack. Didn't work? Get more electricity. Even when I was a kid I thought he was being an idiot. That, and Pikachu is all over the place. In one episode he'll take down a Dragonite in a Pokémon League, in the next episode he can barely hold his own against a Piplup. Some people might like that there is no real ending and they can watch forever, but I like following the story. With no end, there's nothing to look forward to. The main plot points are predictable (Ash WILL get the badge), but everything else is totally random, and mostly irrelevant. There's no feeling of "what will happen next?".

    Digimon has an important continuity. If you miss 5 episodes and try to watch you'll be completely lost. Usually even one episode is enough to be like "wait, what the heck is going on?". The characters at the end of a season are COMPLETELY different people than they were when they started.

    And having watched Digimon and liking it a lot better (Pokémon has better games, so I'm not completely biased), they are quite vastly different. There's one Digimon per tamer, there's no unrealistic goal to "catch 'em all" (unless you're Ken...), the Digimon and the tamers usually have an established antagonist, whereas Pokémon has Team Rocket as canon fodder, but ultimately there's no bad guy. Ash's not saving the world, there's no ultimate need that he is going to fulfill, it's just glorified dog fights. I haven't watched since he was in the Orange Islands, and I can tell you most of the main plot points. Digivolving is a temporary power-up, but evolving in Pokémon is permanent. If you watch different seasons (aside from the first two, each have completely new characters), the differences become astronomical.

    Yeah, I'm sure Digimon was heavily influenced by Pokémon, but so what? I definitely think it's different enough to stand on its own.

    P.S. The cheesy lines never go away, but that's what I like about the show.

  5. #5


    Firstly, Digimon and Pokemon have essentially nothing in common outside of being mons series that originated around the same time period. The concepts are fundamentally different, the executions are fundamentally different, and the ultimate results bore almost no resemblance. Any claim that one "ripped off the other" is not only blatantly false from a historical standpoint (the two were developed entirely independently) but flies in the face of even a cursory knowledge of both franchises. Such a statement is essentially always made out of either ignorance or blind fanboyism, and I'd advise you to avoid such in the future.

    Now, I'm not going to get into the whole "Agumon is so much better than Pikachu" nonsense because I'd like to think that I have at least a portion of a brain. The "coolness" of the mons is pure subjective nonsense with about as much bearing on the quality of the respective franchises as their theme songs. As I'll discuss later, Digimon isn't really about the "cool monsters" anyway - that's part of the initial appeal, sure, but unlike Pokemon, Digimon dared to place most of its value past that and in actual content.

    So, let me jump right into some analysis:

    I'll get something out of the way right off the bat: the pokemon games are fantastic. They were an invaluable part of my childhood and I still enjoy them today. They're well-crafted (if repetitive) RPGs with entertaining gameplay and endless replay value, and possibly unmatched in induced nostalgia.

    However, there's a flip side to this. The pokemon franchise is clearly about the games. Those same things which makes the games so great cannot at all be said about the show that accompanied them. The anime existed as a mere subsidiary to the games, and was never the primary emphasis of the franchise. The plot is a throwaway excuse for the monster battles, which while entertaining serve little ultimate purpose other than what is immediately visible - they're flashy and entertaining, but fluffy and with little depth. The characters follow in the same general mold. It's ultimately a flat and unrewarding viewing experience, and not one I'd ever care to repeat. I may have enjoyed seeing pikachu zap enemies over and over again with little purpose or variation when I was a kid, but there's no damn staying power there. There's nothing that will ever leave a lasting emotional impression, just vacuous regurgitation of the same cheap appeal with no substance behind it. It is, simply put, shallow as hell.

    Now, Digimon. I will be discussing Digimon Adventure here, because it is generally agreed upon as the best series - most of what I say here can (minus the specific examples) can be applied similarly to the other good ones (though the third series is probably deserving of its own analysis, given its much darker and unique direction).

    Firstly, let me take issue with your incredibly superficial evaluation of the merits of the series. If you think "the only thing going for it" is that the mons themselves can talk, you have quite clearly missed why they can talk, and more importantly why the two series have almost nothing in common. Really, criticisms of the theme song, of all things? If you watched it for things as utterly unimportant as the theme song, it's quite clear why you'd prefer Pokemon. After all, Pokemon's theme song was longer, and much more suited to viewer participation! But this is not why Digimon exists. Digimon was not some excuse for formulaic battles between faceless, uncharacterized mons (though there were a quite a few of those, every series does have filler, regardless of quality).

    No, Digimon was about the characters. Yes, the characters. You complain that there were about 14 main characters, and again this speaks to your lack of appreciation for the depth of the show. What Digimon did was transcend the expectation of a shallow showing of battles and trivial one-off Monster of the Day encounters in favor of a beautiful web of character interactions and development. Most obviously, of course, you have the children, who are by the first few episodes thrown into an unfamiliar situation against their will and forced to cope. And, boy, do they need to cope; why, within the first few episodes of the series we already see conflicts (realistic ones) and relationships between the characters, both pre-existing (Matt's strained relationship with T.K.) and emerging (Joe's gradual transition from ineffectual worrywart to one deserving of the crest of reliability). Not only that, but these continually develop throughout the series and form the core of the narrative; the series is about the children finding themselves perhaps even moreso than saving their world from destruction - just listen to the speech given in the final episodes when the kids finally embrace their own nature and literally will themselves back into existence. Of course, then you have the partner mons themselves, again this leads right into the fantastic writing. These are not faceless entities existing only to fight each other, these are fully-fledged partners, each with a unique relationship with their respective child. You have the foil of Gomamon's comic zaniness to Joe's care and worry or Tentomon's grounded reason to Izzy's fanciful intellect, or the straight-up matching of Tai and Agumon's "go-get-them" attitude and leadership. This type of writing was found nowhere in Pokemon, at all. There was no room for it, nor was there ever an attempt to surpass lame puns and visual gags (which Digimon did better, by the way, in addition to the actual substance in the writing).

    Past that, then, you have the plot itself. Of course, the plot feeds of the character interactions, and impacts them - just look at the real world series for a great example of a plot turn profoundly impacting all of the characters in realistic, interesting ways (Izzy's initial interactions with his adoptive parents alone are far more subtle and moving than perhaps all of the Pokemon anime put together, and something like it was done for nearly every one of the children at some point in the series). Even ignoring the depth, though, on the surface it is far superior. You have seven children (eventually eight), transported to another world with no knowledge of where they are or how to get back, who eventually must save that world and their own. Cheesy, perhaps, but it certainly trumps Pokemon's throwaway (and hardly even referenced) backing story of "becoming the ultimate pokemon master." In execution, you have numerous unexpected twists and turns, and a superbly paced succession of villains which perfectly builds and releases tension right up to the finale. It's superbly handled, and is something I enjoy enough to come back to time and again. Pokemon, needless to say, can't compare.

    Finally, you have the maturity of the content. While for a kids' show this might seem like a goofy thing to bring up, it again plays right into the entire divide right between the two series: depth. How often is the concept of death handled in the pokemon anime? And how frankly? Perhaps the most defining characteristic of Digimon is the relative ubiquitous nature of death compared to its contemporary shows. Hardly ever is "never say die" played straight; death is not only common, it is one of the driving plot points for a large portion of the series. Hell, Izzy's parents are revealed to have died in a car crash in perhaps the most emotional scene of the entire series, and Wizardmon's brutal murder is the plot device that spurs the (initial) defeat of Myotismon. It's to-the-point, direct, and effective. Hell, the first movie had several of the children tasked with saving Tokyo from a nuclear fucking missile. Tell me how often you see *that* in children's anime? Past that, you even have more subtle and perhaps relevant issues to the audience; Matt and T.K.'s relationship stems from and is developed based on their parents' divorce. It's a touchy subject for any show to get right, and harder still for a kids' show to approach in a tactful and moving way. But it's there, and it's well-done. The strain in Matt's relationship to his mother isn't hidden. The world isn't perfect, and Digimon never attempts to make it so; while Pokemon strives for happy resolutions and flat, faultless characters, Digimon dared to touch upon a much more realistic representation of people in general, and was the better show for it.

    Of course, Digimon wasn't perfect (hell, the aforementioned scene involving Izzy is very nearly wrecked by some out-of-place comedy about two seconds after it). But it was damn good, especially for the constraints of the genre within which it was working. Yes, people revisit it for the nostalgia, but more than that people revisit it because it's a damn good show. Pokemon boasts absolutely none of the complexities which make Digimon so enjoyable and, ultimately, rewarding.
    Last edited by Axiom; 09-Jun-2012 at 07:48.

  6. #6


    Pretty much what LazyAB said

    Now I have an urge to go re-watch Digimon; it's been ages. I got into both Pokemon (mostly the games and minimally the first season of the TV show) and Digimon when I was around 14, so.... like 12 years ago, lol. It does not seem like that long.

    As a show, Pokemon got repetitive and had roughly zero character development; Digimon went a bit deeper. Even the general plots speak to this difference: Ash defeating trainers and getting badges and almost always coming out on top vs. a group of kids with their own issues and flaws thrown into a strange world that they learn is linked with their own--and they must somehow save both. I found the whole 'digital linked with the real' world thing sort of interesting, since the show started in--what, 2000/2001?--when the internet was really well on its way to being a huge medium for communication, almost a world of its own.

  7. #7


    Just gonna throw my hat into the ring
    Both shows have good and bad points.
    I find that Pokemon has some episodes where there is character development but to me they are few and far between compared to digimon where there is some on most episodes

    The games I prefer Pokemon as there I'd more replay value compared to digimon

    As I said they both have good and bad points

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2

  8. #8


    I watched Digimon a long time ago, and Pokémon a little bit - sure, the base concepts are similar. The difference? Digimon has plot. There is a grand evil that must be defeated. In Pokémon, it's just 'battle more pokémon and keep beating Team Rocket'.

  9. #9


    Can I make a suggestion? Don't judge the anime by the shitty writing job Jeff Nimoy & Co. did for the dub? Most of the cheesy dialog and moronic jokes werent in the original.

    Also, I'd like to point out there is some assumptions being made about the history of the Digimon franchise that aren't entirely accurate (but Wikipedia has some incorrect info in that area as well...)

    Personally I preferred Digimon, but I have a certain bias that I can't discuss without violating a few NDAs :P

    Oh, and just because this will bug me if I don't say it. While the US movie was okay, i can't take it seriously. They made too many plot and dialog changes to force the first three Japanese films to work together to make it watchable to me.

  10. #10


    If you're going to ask for input, you should also be willing to CONSIDER that input.
    Instead, Catperson, this has been an excuse for you to solicit people to abuse, insult, attack, and ultimately ignore the very perspective you CLAIMED you wanted.

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