After reading this review about Digimon:

While the general basis of relationships between the show's kids and their digital companions remained constant over the course of the series, almost everything else went through many makeovers.

Some seasons feature seven human visitors to DigiWorld; others, as few as three. In early episodes, the kids can't get back home; later stories show a new cast of youngsters effortlessly journeying between the two worlds. And while in most stories each kid has his own specialized Digimon sidekick, a full season of episodes featured humans who could transform into the digital beings rather than just summon them for battles.

Youngsters will certainly find this lack of continuity confusing, and parents may be wary of introducing their kids to yet another marketing conglomerate looking to rival Pokemon. (Digimon boasts a similar assortment of tie-in video games, trading cards, virtual pets, and other toys.) And it's worth noting that although the show's violence is mostly of the flashy, fantasy variety and battles are reserved for the digital beings, those who are seriously injured dissolve into pieces that are said to regroup and reincarnate at a later date.

(Emphasis added)

Anime titles that have certain rules like Pokemon's battling system, Bakugan, B-daman, and Yu-Gi-Oh's Trading Card Game; with every season or arc, those anime change the concept a lot but not the "in-universe rules". See Zoids for example. We see different Zoids titles, but they still stay consistent with the rule that there's an MC that has a Zoid as the Mech Pilot fighting other Zoid pilots. Yu-Gi-Oh battle with cards, and Pokemon with its concept of Gotta catch 'em all, battle with other trainers and wild Pokemon and compete in a league.

However, in Digimon, as a season/title ends, they make these makeovers in the story's scenarios and mechanics of the rules of battle.

For example, in the first season of the Digimon series (Digimon Adventure), we see 7 Chosen Ones who were transported to the Digital World. In there, they meet their seven companion Digimons (one partner for each).

The second season continues the first with the 2 veterans and 3 new Digi-destined. Nothing wrong there, then they throw in Frontier in which the humans transform into Digimons (as armor) and they were the ones fighting instead of the Digimons (Power Rangers style).

Also, in Digimon Adventure and Digimon Xros Wars, the "Chosen Ones" were having difficulties returning to the Real World, but the other titles can cross easily between worlds.

Is this because they were being called Pokemon's "rip-off"? Or is it a marketing strategy because like Pokemon, they also sell merchandise and trading cards? Is there any detailed explanation for this?

  • 3
    the "make over" in Digimon i don't see nearly as drastic as Kaiba making up his own VR game, Duke forcing Yugi to play Dungeon Dice Monsters, Kaiba making new rules for Battle City, the Seal of Orichalcos allowing for 2 rows of monsters, Capsule Monsters or the final Shadow Game between Yami Yugi and Yami Bakura. the only real sudden change i saw in Digimon was Frontier however Digi-Spirits could be seen as the natural progression from the fusion-digivolusion from Tamers
    – Memor-X
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 9:51
  • This talks about the "Per Title" basis.. everytime a new title comes up it doesn't follow its own rules and keeps variating unlike Pokemon which sticks to its "purpose".
    – Kym NT
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 10:01
  • 1
    Other than the Adventure series, the other Digimon series like Tamers, Frontier, Savers, Xros Wars take place in alternate universes with their own respective rules, all they have in common is the name Digimon, so obviously they do not have to abide by the rules of their predecessors though they are all Digimon shows. Also, the core purpose of the shows are friendship, battle and triumph over evil, all that other shounen elements, I do not think it has strayed from that path all that much.
    – Astral Sea
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 10:16
  • @AstralSea can you post this as an answer I think you've got a point
    – Kym NT
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 10:19

2 Answers 2


I am incapable of giving a very good answer for this question, but I will try my best. As I have mentioned in my comment, the Digimon series is rebooted every title except for the Adventure series. The reason for this is most likely due to the fact that they feature a ageing cast instead of a Sazae-san type of show, where the characters never age, Pokemon falls into this category, so they follow Ash around for nearly 20 years.

After a little more thought, there is actually a very logical explanation for why Digimon was rebooted every time, it is mainly to keep it fun. For example, Pokemon has kept Ash at 10 so it is relatable to the children of every generation and thus keep it running for years and years, however, the defect is that Ash can never mature beyond a certain extent. Introduce Ash to new region, tell same story.

In Digimon's case, it is different, in every series, a large world threatening evil appears and the children grow and mature into near adults in their journey that spans the entire Digital World, the entire part is important as that means they are exhaustive, unlike Pokemon, which can just give a new region. Therefore, if it was Taichi and his group just going around defeating world threatening evil in a new region as they age, how horribly boring and awkward will that feel. Imagine a 20 year old jumping around shouting: "Me and Agumon will solve this with friendship!"

Therefore, to keep the Digimon series interesting while keeping the part of a world threatening evil and a journey that covers the entire world still existent and thus attract its audience, innovation is needed, so it is rebooted.

Therefore, with every series, they only thing that remains the same is

  • Main character: Stereotypical Hot-blooded Shounen Guy
  • Problem is solved through friendship and all that other rubbish
  • Main Digimon is also a Stereotypical Hot-blooded Shounen Guy that follows main character's ideals

With every reboot, a new creation mythos is made for the show, therefore, each series features a different Digital World with its own unique origins. The traversing part about between the worlds in the shows is actually fixed, the main thing is you need a key or a great enough power in the form of a portal is required to traverse between the worlds.

  • Adventure 01: Portals
  • Adventure 02: D-3 Digivice + digital platform such as a computer = Portal
  • Tamers: Portals
  • Frontier: Trains + Portals
  • Savers: Portals
  • Xros Wars: Xros Loader + Power = Portal

The thing about Frontier is different only in the form of having Humans as the Digimon instead but this is most likely to be an innovation for the show in order to attract a larger group of audience, a cheap market trick.

One more thing, the concept of the DigiDestined is not present in the other series, it is only in Adventure that this concept exists as a plot device. The children in the other series is still referred as such mostly in the west only. Therefore, the point is do not think the other main characters are "chosen" like Taichi and his group. They are just a bunch of random shounen-esque children that had a meeting with the Digimon that forever changed their lives.

  • Main character & Main Digimon: Stereotypical Hot-blooded Shounen Guy didn't thought about that before.but it makes sense. Taichi and Agumon, and the MC in Xros wars and his digimon Shoutmon has this characteristic.
    – Kym NT
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 11:22
  • If you have not watched the other series, all of them are like this. Then, they mature from whiny little kids to serious heroes, this cannot be repeated with the same characters, so they reboot the series and tell the story of new whiny little kids.
    – Astral Sea
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 11:26

Digimon seasons past the first 2 ones (unless when it's Tri and perhaps Adventure Reboot) are more willing to give any human superpowers (Matrix Digivolution in Tamers, Spirit Evolution in Frontier, and so on) as well as having Digital lifeforms when making Digimons no longer only Superpowered Beings that exists in these digimon seasons.

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