Ranking the Digimon Anime and Movies from Worst to Best


Ranking the Digimon Anime and Movies from Worst to Best

Not so long ago, we’ve provided you with the ultimate guide to watching all the Digimon anime series and movies. That guide included a detailed overview of all the material, all the episodes and movies, and an explanation of all the relevant arcs and series, but without dwelling into the quality of the content itself. This is why we have decided to bring you yet another guide to the Digimon franchise, but this time by ranking the anime series and movies based on their quality. We’re going to include all the material from our first guide, so keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

Digimon, which is short for Digital Monsters, is likewise a Japanese media franchise created by Akiyoshi Hongo (which is the collective pseudonym of a series of unknown individuals) in 1997. Digimon started off as a series of virtual pets, akin to—and influenced in style by—the contemporary Tamagotchi, which was a global hit.

The Digimon franchise focused on Digimon, creatures that were created and evolved as sentient beings thanks to the development of human digital networks. They inhabit the Digital World, where human children usually come to save it, and along with it, their own world. The Digimon franchise started off quite small, but once the anime series became a global hit, it slowly expanded into other video games, trading cards and other merchandise. The franchise is quite possibly one of the earliest globally popular examples of the isekai genre, which revolves around a normal person from Earth being transported to, reborn or otherwise trapped in a parallel universe or fantasy world, which also speaks of its historical importance.

Introductory notes

Before we actually give you the list, we wanted to explain to you the criteria which we used in creating it, and also give you some explanatory remarks that might answer some of the questions you might have.

The first thing you need to know is that there is no inherently bad iteration of Digimon. Some were better, some were not as good, but there really isn’t any iteration we could describe as horrible, inherently bad or unwatchable. The concept has changed and the series and movies have changed along with it, but change is not necessarily bad – it’s just different. This is why this list isn’t actually a list with any “worst” title, but rather a list that goes from good to best. We thought we needed to clarify this before you actually start reading it.

Due to anime and movies often being very different in tone, length, concept and quality, we have decided to split the two groups and bring you a separate list of the best anime series and the best movies, so as to avoid any confusion. Don’t worry, though, both lists are still going to be in this one article.

As for the criteria, we have tried to be as objective as possible and rank our series based on their overall quality and reception (by both the critics and the fans), their historical importance, the quality of execution (tone, music, production, animation, etc.), the characters and their developments, the quality and meaningfulness of the story and how much it brought to the franchise and its development. The criteria have not necessarily been applied in the order they were listed in the previous sentence, but they are the criteria we’ve used while constructing our list.

And a final note. Digimon Adventure:, which is still airing, is not going to be included on our list because we don’t know how it is going to end and we don’t want to presume anything before we see the whole story. Also, we’ve decided to exclude the two 7-minute CG films – Adventure 3D and Savers 3D – because they don’t really fit in anywhere and don’t merit any proper explanation. They’re relatively fun tie-ins/spin-offs, but they don’t really contribute much to the whole franchise. Also, since Digimon Adventure tri. is one story serialised through six movies, we’ve decided to list it as one movie rather than six.

The list is going to include some basic info on each series and movie, a short synopsis and a rationale explaining its position. Enjoy!

Anime series

7. Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters

Title: Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters (Digimon Univers: App Monsters)
Original run: October 1, 2016 – September 30, 2017
Number of episodes: 52
Original network: TV Tokyo

Synopsis

In the year 2045, technology has finally evolved to a degree of prosperity for the world. The World Wide Web has become a world for “App Monsters” or “Appmons”, artificially intelligent beings born within mobile apps. The series focuses on Haru Shinkai, an everyday Junior High Student. One day, he discovers an Appmon lurking in his Smartphone, which reveals himself to be Gatchmon and the two become partners. Haru also learns from Gatchmon that the artificial intelligence Leviathan is creating viruses to turn all Appmons evil, and the two join forces to stop them. As the series progresses, Haru gains the help of the rookie idol Eri Karan, the famous AppTuber Torajirou Asuka, the prodigy hacker Rei Katsura, who is in search for his younger brother that was kidnapped by Leviathan and Haru’s best friend Yūjin Ōzora, each one partnered with their own Appmon to help in the fight to defeat Leviathan and restore the balance between their two worlds.

Rationale

Appli Monsters was advertised as a spin-off from the main franchise and it duly delivered on its promises. The concept was drastically different than that of any preceding Digimon, including the fact that the monsters weren’t even called Digimon, but Applimon (or Appmon).

This wasn’t bad per se and the series did have its moments – especially the one where Agumon appeared and Digivolved to WarGreymon while Ayumi Miyazaki’s “brave heart” plays in the background – but it was just so different that we think that it doesn’t merit a proper comparison with the main series.

The story of Haru’s relationship with Yūjin had actual depth and it was an emotional narrative that raised the quality of the whole show, alongside Rei’s character and his search for his brother, despite the theme already having been present in the previous series (primarily through the Yamato-Takeru relationship). But, the series was so fundamentally different that it took some time to get used to it and when you did, you still didn’t get the feeling it was an actual Digimon series. And it was; a spin-off, but a Digimon spin-off that was so radically different that we could hardly connect it to the main franchise.

All in all, Appli Monsters is not a bad series, but it has little to do with the main franchise and this is why it doesn’t work that well as a Digimon series; as a stand-alone series, it could work pretty solidly, but the issue is that it’s not a stand-alone series and this is why we had to place it where we did.

6. Digimon Savers (Digimon Data Squad)

Title: Digimon Savers (Digimon Data Squad)
Original run: April 2, 2006 – March 25, 2007
Number of episodes: 48
Original network: Fuji TV

Synopsis

The Digital Accident Tactics Squad (DATS) is a government organization established to maintain the peace between the Real World and the Digital World, transporting any Digimon back to the Digital World. Marcus, a junior high school student, becomes one of the members for the organization. He learns that the Digimon Merukimon is opposing mankind. However, the past is revealed that scientist Akihiro Kurata was responsible for invading the Digital World. He gained the support of the government to oppose all Digimon species, claiming they were a threat to mankind. When Kurata uses Belphemon, Marcus defeats them. Before dying, Kurata uses a bomb to make the Digital World merging with the human world. While the Digimon BanchoLeomon prevents the collision, Marcus meets King Drasil (Yggdrasil), the supreme ruler who attempts to protect the Digital World by destroying mankind, since they cannot exist in both dimensions. Marcus learns that his father, Spencer, was trapped in the Digital World for ten years, because Drasil possessed Spencer’s body and BanchoLeomon kept the latter’s soul. After Marcus defeats Drasil, Spencer’s soul returns to his body. With both worlds restored, all Digimon partners return to their own world. Five years later, Marcus and his friends embrace their future.

Rationale

Out of all the main series, Data Squad was without a doubt the weakest. It’s not the changes per se – and there were a lot – so much as the whole show, which was just weaker than the other iterations and it had neither the depth, nor the complexity of the earlier series.

Data Squad is the shortest of all the anime shows and the story, despite having several arcs, never really connected with the viewers. The animation was drastically different and the characters – despite not being bad (Marcus had a surprising level of depth, while Thomas was the typical “rival” of the franchise) – never really felt like characters fitting for a Digimon series. The same could be said about the narrative and the whole production. It felt more like an adaptation of one of the many Digimon video games (Digimon World 2 used a similar concept), rather than an anime series.

A good thing about the series was that it explored the mythos of the whole franchised and that it deepened some basic concepts. It also had a great opening song (Wada’s “Hirari”), which felt like some of the older tunes that the fans love. It also gave us a glimpse into the Olympus Twelve, the Royal Knights (as a group) and the basics behind the functioning of the Digital World (although some later series did a better job in exploring this), but that was still not enough to give the series the prominence of its predecessors.

Data Squad was ultimately an interesting take on the franchise that offered a lot of new things, but a lot of those novelties didn’t work out quite well and the series still feels like it’s not part of the main franchise. This is why we have placed it here.

5. Digimon Xros Wars (Digimon Fusion)

Title: Digimon Xros Wars (Digimon Fusion)
Original run: July 6, 2010 – March 21, 2012
Number of episodes: 79
Original network: TV Asahi

Synopsis

Taiki Kudō receives the Xros Loader, creates his own team (Xros Heart) and recruits some Digimon partners in the Digital World. There, he learns that Lord Bagramon is attempting to conquer the world by collecting 108 Code Crown fragments and wields the Darkness Loader. Taiki collects some fragments from each of the zones, but Bagramon steals them and recruits AxeKnightmon. Taiki, Akari Hinomoto and Zenjirō Tsurugi are sent back to the human world, but Taiki returns to the Digital World, leaving his friends behind. When Bagramon creates an empire divided into seven kingdoms, Taiki, Kiriha Aonuma and Nene Amano defeat each of the generals. They learn that Bagramon is using Yuu to oppose them, while they gathered negative energy from those which transformed fragments into a Dark Stone (D5). After Taiki saves Yuu and retrieves all fragments, Shoutmon defeats Bagramon and plans to bring peace to both worlds. One year later, Taiki discovers an unstable realm between both worlds and learns that Quartzmon is absorbing data. The DigiQuartz is where Digimon Hunters capture Digimon for leaving any world and feeding negative emotions on anyone. The Clock Store Owner unites all heroic characters from different parallel universes. Tagiru and Gumdramon wield Bagramon’s lost arm “Brave Snatcher”, in order to defeat Quartzmon. With both worlds restored, all humans and their partners are separately returned to their own universe. The series ends with Taiki, Tagiru and their friends planning their future.

Rationale

Out of all the post-Frontier (which is when the franchise started to change) series, Xros Wars, although very different, still feels like the best new iteration in the franchise.

Xros Wars was also quite different than the previous shows. It completely disregarded some basic concepts (Levels, Attributes), while also changing how Digivolution works with the introduction of the DigiXros. The animation was slightly changed, although it was more of a return to the core animation when compared to Data Squad. What the series also lacked was real depth, as it seemed like some sort of action series that never really connected to the general Digimon lore.

The series has some interesting song, also some quite interesting villains (the groups were really well executed), but the ultimate threat (Bagramon) and the ultimate form of the protagonist (Shoutmon) didn’t really feel like true Digimon villains and heroes, but rather as some mecha-type characters that made their way into the show.

Another important thing the show did, in its third season (Hunters), was that it connected all the previous iterations of the franchise and finally confirmed that there are parallel universes within the Digimon franchise; at one point, all the protagonists from the previous season join Tagiru and the others in their fight to restore the balance and defeat Quartzmon.

Xros Wars was ultimately a very nice show with a lot of quality novelties, but the sometimes radical changes the show introduced were enough to make it less interesting than the core series, which is why we have put it on this place.

4. Digimon Adventure 02

Title: Digimon Adventure 02
Original run: April 2, 2000 – March 25, 2001
Number of episodes: 50
Original network: Fuji TV

Synopsis

Three years after the events of Digimon Adventure, the Digital World is invaded by the Digimon Emperor, who is enslaving Digimon with the Dark Rings while building Control Spires that negate Digivolution. To fight him, three new DigiDestined are recruited, each gaining an ancient Digimon for a partner. The three, along with T.K. and Kari, each possess a D-3, a new type of Digivice that allows them to open a gate to be transported to the Digital World through any computer. They are also given D-Terminals that hold Crest-themed Digi-Eggs that allow their Digimon partners to undergo Armor Digivolution to counter the presence of Control Spires. The Digimon Emperor, revealed to be boy genius Ken Ichijoji, flees to the Digital World. Assisted by Ken’s partner, Wormmon, the DigiDestined defeat Ken.

While the DigiDestined rebuild the Digital World, Davis, Yolei, and Cody unlock normal Digivolution. At the same, they ally themselves with a reformed Ken, who joins the team to fight Arukenimon, a Digimon who revives the Control Spires as other Digimon. When the Control Spire Digimon prove to be stronger than them, the DigiDestined learn DNA Digivolution, which enable two champion-level Digimon to merge into a stronger ultimate-level one. When Arukenimon creates BlackWarGreymon, he begins to destroy each Destiny Stones, hoping to fight Azulongmon, who appears when each Stone is destroyed. After BlackWarGreymon flees, Azulongmon warns the DigiDestined about an impending threat behind Arukenimon and Mummymon.

During Christmas, Control Spires appear across the human world, bringing Digimon with them. While the DigiDestined set off with Imperialdramon to destroy them with the help of the international DigiDestined, Arukenimon and Mummymon begin kidnapping several children for Yukio Oikawa, a friend of Cody’s father who dreams of entering the Digital World. Once the DigiDestined return to Japan, they fight the Daemon Corps, and their leader, Daemon, while Oikawa uses the Dark Spore inside Ken to implant them into the children. After imprisoning Daemon in the Dark Ocean, BlackWarGreymon returns to redeem himself after a battle between Imperialdramon and WarGreymon. BlackWarGreymon sacrifices himself to seal the portal to the Digital World at Highton View Terrace, before Oikawa and the kids can transport there.

The DigiDestined are transported to a Dream World with Oikawa and the kids and learn he was controlled by Myotismon. Myotismon splits from Oikawa and uses the energy from the Dark Spores to be reborn as MaloMyotismon. With help from the DigiDestined all over the world, the DigiDestined defeat MaloMyotismon and Oikawa sacrifices himself to rebuild the Digital World. Twenty five years later, humans and Digimon live together.

Rationale

Now we’re back to the core series, with Digimon Adveture 02, a show that continued the first season. 02 was far from bad – it actually kept a lot of the original charm – but you are soon going to see what we put it on #4.

Digimon Adveture 02 kept most of the original cast, making the more mature, while also adding some new, interesting characters. The story evolved, upgrading the original concepts with some new, interesting takes; 02 did enough to keep the original charm, but also to distinguish itself from the original series.

The music was likewise great, the villains were persuasive, and the emotional depth of characters such as Yukio Oikawa and especially BlackWarGreymon (who is one of the most complex characters in the whole franchise), along with the expansion of the universe (the introductions of Dragomon and Daemon), are all things that make 02 special and really, really good.

But there is a big issue with it – it never found its own voice that made it completely separate from the original. The writers recycled a lot of the original material (including the main villain), and although it was different, it still felt familiar.

Certainly, Digimon Adventure 02 was a direct sequel to Adventure and the connections to the core series were expected. Still, despite refreshing the original series and having its own voice, Digimon Adventure 02 brought very little to the franchise in terms of originality and this is why it is better than all the “new” concepts, but is the least good of the core series material. But regardless of that, it’s a must-see instalment in the franchise and a truly great show that will keep you interesting from start to finish.

3. Digimon Frontier

Title: Digimon Frontier
Original run: April 7, 2002 – March 30, 2003
Number of episodes: 50
Original network: Fuji TV

Synopsis

The five DigiDestined find their respective Human Spirits and merge with them to “Spirit Evolve” into Digimon themselves. While finding each of their Beast Spirits, they meet five other Legendary Warriors, who serve Cherubimon. After defeating them (the rest of them destroy one and Koji takes another Beast Spirit), Koji notices that Cherubimon and Koichi are opposing them. Takuya and his friends free Koichi, restore his power, and allow him to join them. They rescue Ophanimon. However, she sacrifices herself to save them. Ophanimon upgrades Takuya and Koji’s D-Tectors, with the last of her strength to allow them to Unity Spirit Evolve. After defeating Cherubimon, the DigiDestined learn that Lucemon is sealed within the Digital World’s core. Two Royal Knights, Dynasmon and Crusadermon, scan all of the world’s data to awaken Lucemon. Takuya and Koji defeat the knights, just as they scan the Digital World. When Lucemon frees himself, he opens a portal to the real world. When Koichi sacrifices his power, Lucemon leaves the Digital World. While all spirits combine to form into the ultimate Legendary Warrior Digimon Susanoomon, Lucemon arrives at the real world. After reviving Ophanimon, Cherubimon and Seraphimon, Susanoomon destroys Lucemon, recovering the data and restoring the Digital World. The children return to the real world and realize that an hour did not pass. They save Koichi by using the power of D-Tectors, before they revert into cell phones. Takuya and his friends embrace their future.

Rationale

For a lot of you, this is going to be a very controversial pick, as Digimon Frontier is considered to be a very controversial instalment in the whole franchise.

While keeping the original animation, the style and the basic concept, and also keeping a high-quality level of production, Frontier also brought something original and it was – after Adventure – the most original iteration of the franchise. The biggest change was that the DigiDestined didn’t have partners anymore, but were actually able to become Digimon themselves, using the Spirits of the Legendary Warriors. The concept of merging humans with Digimon was already seen in Tamers, but not in such a way.

Also, in addition to this, Digimon Frontier dug even deeper into the history of the Digital World, revealing some of its ancient history that had not been explored before.

For us – besides the controversial choice to remove the child-partner dynamic – Frontier doesn’t really have any major issues. It was a show executed with great quality that had strong characters, an interesting dynamic and that proved that, despite a fixed concept, the Digimon franchise can be reinvented in a great way and remain original, which is a feat that no other iteration (except Adventure) managed to do.

2. Digimon Tamers

Title: Digimon Tamers
Original run: April 1, 2001 – March 31, 2002
Number of episodes: 51
Original network: Fuji TV

Synopsis

Takato Matsuki, a fan of the Digimon card game, finds a Blue Card, which transforms his card reader into a D-Power. His original Digimon creation, Guilmon, materializes into real life when his D-Power scans his drawings. Takato meets Henry Wong and Rika Nonaka, two other children who are partnered with Terriermon and Renamon, as well as Calumon and Impmon. As wild Digimon began roaming Shinjuku, the Tamers defeat them and defend the city. Using their D-Powers, the Tamers can Digi-modify through scanning cards or help them Digivolve. After each Digimon is defeated, their Digimon obtains their data. Meanwhile, Hypnos, an intelligence agency led by Mitsuo Yamaki, has been capturing the Digimon and sending them back to the Digital World. The Tamers eventually began working with Hypnos when the Devas invade the Real World. Calumon is captured by the Devas, and the Tamers follow him to the Digital World to save him. When Impmon betrays the Tamers and kills Leomon, Jeri Kato falls into depression. After resolving conflicts with the Digimon Sovereigns, the Tamers learn that the Digimon are protecting themselves from humans and the Real World after the Digital World is invaded by the D-Reaper, a rogue clean-up program. As the Tamers return to the Real World, the D-Reaper kidnaps Jeri, manipulating and trapping her inside the body. When the D-Reaper begins to materialize in the Real World, the Tamers defeat it, using the program and saving Jeri. With both worlds restored, the children are forced to say goodbye to their Digimon partners, when they end up returning to the Digital World by the effects of the program. The series ends with Takato discovering the portal in the tunnel under his hiding place.

Rationale

Digimon Tamers is a cult classic among Digimon fans and the series that is usually described as the one that pushed the franchise to its limits. And people aren’t really wrong.

Although Digimon Tamers were based on the same concept as the two earlier seasons, the take on the whole idea was – with a few additions – quite inventive and amazing. The only major difference was the main villain was not a Digimon, but a digital entity that wanted to destroy everything.

The production level was exceptional, the music was great (practically all the songs were great, including “The Biggest Dreamer”, “SLASH!”, “New Tomorrow” and “Rainbow”), the narration was exceptional, but what really did it for Tamers was the depth this show had.

The characters were amazingly crafted and the writers really put in a lot of effort to tell their stories in a realistic way, but also to develop them in the best and most natural way imaginable. The villains were also fantastic, from the loyal Deva to the menacing D-Reaper, and the show also added a lot to the franchise lore, especially by connecting Adventure’s Ryo Akiyama to the Tamers narrative. In addition to all of this, Tamers was much more adult-oriented and dark in approaching its themes, evolving the narrative from a kid-friendly level to a more serious and threatening setting.

There is absolutely no doubt that Digimon Tamers had it all. It was a thoroughly perfect anime series that managed to bring the whole franchise to a completely new level and it is sad that we never got to see a sequel to this season. Were it not for the first season, Tamers would undoubtedly be hailed as the best iteration in the franchise’s history.

1. Digimon Adventure

Title: Digimon Adventure
Original run: March 7, 1999 – March 26, 2000
Number of episodes: 54
Original network: Fuji TV

Synopsis

On August 1, 1999, seven children are transported into the Digital World by Digivices that appeared before them at summer camp, where they befriend several Digimon (Digital Monsters). The kids’ Digivicesallow their partner Digimon to Digivolve into stronger forms and combat enemies. As the kids explore to find a way home, they learn that they are “DigiDestined”, children chosen to save the Digital World. After defeating Devimon, the DigiDestined are contacted by Gennai, who tells them to travel to the Server Continent to retrieve artefacts called Crests, which allows their Digimon partners to Digivolve past their current level. After defeating Etemon, the DigiDestined are tormented by Myotismon, who attempts to prevent them from using the power of Crests. Myotismon searches for the eighth DigiDestined in the human world, and the Digidestined and their Digimon return to the human world also to find the 8th child first. This 8th child is soon found out to be Tai’s younger sister, Kari. When Myotismon reveals his true form, Agumon and Gabumon achieve Mega forms through Warp Digivolution to defeat him. When the boundaries between the human and Digital Worlds begin to intersect, the DigiDestined return to the Digital World to face the Dark Masters, who have each taken control of a part of the Digital World. In the midst of their battles, they learn that they were chosen to save the human and Digital Worlds from encountering Digimon in the human world four years ago. However, tension leads to infighting within the group and causes them to temporarily separate. After reflecting, the DigiDestined reunite to defeat Piedmon, the last Dark Master, and confront Apocalymon, who attempts to destroy both worlds. Apocalymon destroys their Crests, but the DigiDestined realize the power of their Crests were inside them all along and use them to defeat him. With the Digital World restored, Tai and his friends leave their Digimon partners behind and return to their normal lives.

Rationale

In 1999, Fuji TV started airing Digimon Adventure, the first season of the Digimon anime. The producers initially planned to air only thirteen episodes (the last one being the one in which the DigiDestined defeat Devimon), because they were not sure whether the show would be popular. Several weeks later, a full 54-episode season was ordered, and the rest – is history!

Digimon Adventure is the first anime in the franchise, the one that started everything. It introduced all the main concepts, defined the Digital World and introduced the world to one of the best isekai anime franchises in history.

It is difficult to overstate the historical importance of the first season, because without such a great concept, such compelling characters and such an interesting narrative that captured the hearts of children around the world, Digimon would probably be in the history books by now. But Adventure had it all and thanks to it, the series is still active and quite popular.

The adventures of Taichi and his friends showed the ingenuity of the production team, which managed to rotate several narrative arcs during the series’ initial 54-episodes run. Most of the concepts formed a basis for later iterations of the franchise, with the writers becoming bolder with each new iteration.

Along with that, Digimon Adveture provided us with a lot of memorable songs, such as Wada’s “Butter-Fly” or Miyazaki’s “brave heart”.

And all of these reasons should be enough to justify our choice. Without a doubt, Digimon Adventure – the show that started all of it – is the best Digimon anime in the whole franchise, and a series that defined not only a whole franchise, but also a generation of children that grew up watching the brilliant adventures of Tai, Yamato, Izzy, Joe, Mimi, Sora, T.K., and Kari in the Digital World.

Movies

11. Digital Monster X-Evolution

Title: Digital Monster X-Evolution
Release date: January 3, 2005
Running time: 77 minutes

Synopsis

In the Digital World, the overpopulation of Digimon forces the world’s creator, the supercomputer Yggdrasil to launch the X-Program which exterminates ninety-eight per cent of all Digimon. Creating a smaller, new Digital World via Project Ark, Yggdrasil learns a small group of Digimon have gained a vaccine called the X-Antibody, that makes them immune to the X-Program, and upgrades them with new abilities and appearances. Yggdrasil dispatches its guards, the Royal Knights, to exterminate the X-Digimon. The Royal Knights consist of the merciless, loyal Omnimon, his best friend Gallantmon, who questions Yggdrasil’s motives, and the quiet Magnamon.

Dorumon, a dragon-like Digimon and X-Antibody carrier, does not understand the prejudice from other Digimon. He is targeted by a Leomon for his X-Antibody, but Leomon is struck by lightning and dies, asking Dorumon to live for him. Omnimon is summoned to a meeting between regular Digimon and X-Digimon, but he exterminates all of them save WarGreymon X and a Tokomon.

Dorumon witnesses Omnimon exterminate a herd of Digimon who oppose Yggdrasil’s will before being targeted himself. WarGreymon X and MetalGarurumon X arrive, but the latter is killed, though not before giving his X-Antibody to a wounded Tokomon.

Dorumon digivolves into his Champion-level Dorugamon, but Gallantmon arrives, revealing to Omnimon that Project Ark’s second phase involves wiping out all Digimon, something which he refuses to participate in. Omnimon and Gallantmon duel, but Gallantmon allows himself to be killed so he can discern the truth, leaving Omnimon confused. Magnamon captures Dorugamon on Yggdrasil’s command, revealing Dorumon is an experiment. Data is extracted from Dorugamon, used to create an army of DexDoruGreymon while Dorugamon is dumped in a wrecking yard where he is found by resistance members Mummymon and Wizardmon.

Yggdrasil’s horde attacks the group’s base, but WarGreymon X and a revived MetalGarurumon X help protect it. Dorugamon awakens, Digivolving into DoruGreymon, resembling the attacking horde. Gallantmon returns as an X-Digimon, opening a portal for DoruGreymon to confront Yggdrasil.

DoruGreymon confronts Magnamon and a disillusioned Omnimon. DoruGreymon digivolves into his Mega-level Alphamon, a legendary missing Royal Knight. Alphamon and Omnimon join forces to face Yggdrasil, but the loyal Magnamon warns his master of their arrival.

In Yggdrasil’s core, the Knights get nowhere with answers, and have to battle Alphamon’s counterpart Dexmon. Alphamon impales himself and Dexmon using his own sword, and gives his X-Antibody to Omnimon, who successfully slays Yggdrasil. In the rebooted Digital World, Omnimon and Gallantmon muse over Yggdrasil’s choices, concluding it merely wanted to live in the Digital World but it was too complex for it.

Alphamon survives as Dorumon, reuniting with Tokomon.

Rationale

Comparing Digital Monster X-Evolution to the other movies is like comparing Appli Monsters to the rest of the anime series. X-Evolution is certainly not a bad movie, but it just doesn’t fit in with the other movies.

X-Evolution had a solid story; the narrative was compelling and it keeps our interest, it developed the characters quite well and it dug deeper into the mythology of the whole Digimon franchise. These elements – which represent the positive elements of the series – have been executed quite well and you got a real sense of threat when faced with Yggdrasil’s destructive plan.

The things that didn’t quite work out were the animation and the whole concept. The animation was – for the time – far from bad, but doing a CG Digimon movie was and still is quite unusual, since fans (yours truly included) just aren’t used to seeing the Digimon in CG. This made the movie a bit awkward and is certainly an aspect that contributed to the movie’s position on this list.

As for the concept, as we’ve said – it’s not bad per se, it was even executed quite well, but after years of observing how the Digimon interacted with humans and the Human World, it was just strange seeing a movie without any human input. It was certainly interesting to observe the Digimon in their natural habitat, but it seemed more like an exotic safari than a really good movie.

Generally speaking, X-Evolution is certainly worth a watch, but you have to know what you should expect. It has an interesting story and compelling characters, but its CG animation and it being so different from all the other Digimon materials are reasons why it is placed last on our list.

10. Digimon Savers: Ultimate Power! Activate Burst Mode!!

Title: Digimon Savers: Ultimate Power! Burst Mode Activated!!
Release date: December 9, 2006
Running time: 21 minutes

Synopsis

The plot revolves around Agumon, Gaomon and Lalamon, whose partners are put into an eternal sleep, along with the rest of the humans, because of a mysterious thorn that spread throughout the city. After saving Rhythm, a Digimon in the form of a young girl, they learn from her that the thorns are the work of an Ultimate Digimon, named Argomon, and the four set out for his castle to confront him.

Rationale

We’re still not sure what to think of the 21-minute Data Squad movie that seems to fit in exactly nowhere, but the only reason it’s above X-Evolution is that it was more familiar-looking to the fans.

We’ve already talked about how the whole Data Squad anime wasn’t really well-received and how it had a lot of downsides to it. The movie did even worse in both aspects, looking more like a parody of the anime than an actual movie, which would explain the “bloopers” at the end.

The story wasn’t all that convincing either; we never saw any background information on how and why the situation at hand came to be, Argomon as the main villain seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, and there is no possible way of determining where the movie fits in the timeline. This movie was about the well-known characters from the Data Squad series and it did feel like part of the anime, but at the same time it felt like something completely different from everything we’ve seen.

The inclusion of a humanoid Digimon – Rhythm – was also very strange, seeing that we couldn’t determine anything about Rhythm that would make sense of her existence. The only really good things about the movie were the darker atmosphere and Wada’s “Hirari” playing during the end credits.

To conclude, the Data Squad movie was not the best thing the producers could’ve made, so much that we even wonder whether it had to be made at all. This strange movie didn’t finish last only because it was more familiar to the franchise’s general style than X-Evolution.

9. Digimon Tamers: Runaway Locomon

Title: Digimon Tamers: Runaway Locomon
Release date: March 2, 2002
Running time: 30 minutes

Synopsis

The film is set after the series finale for the television series. While planning to celebrate Rika’s birthday party, the Tamers encounter Parasimon, who opens a portal to the Digital World, while possessing Locomon. The invasion of the city ensues, until Gallantmon: Crimson Mode destroys Parasimon’s army with one shot. The film served to provide insight on Rika, and to confirm that the Tamers were reunited with their Digimon partners after the series ended. The film’s story-line takes place two months after the Tamers had figured out how to send messages to their Digimon in the Digital World.

Rationale

Unlike the anime, the two Tamers movies weren’t really all that good. They weren’t bad, but they were typical movies that didn’t contribute much to either the main narrative, or the franchise itself. Out of the two, Runaway Locomon is first on our list.

The second Tamers movie was a very short and not so sweet adventure. A good thing it did is that it confirmed that the Tamers reunited with their Digimon, and that’s about it. But even this moment was a very controversial one because it contradicted the end of the Tamers anime. This can be explained with the fact that the producers of the movie never consulted with the writers of the anime, but besides this strange contradiction, the overall approach to the characters was more or less the same.

On the other hand, the story was overly short, it did not contribute much to the lore and it had very bland villains. Namely, neither Locomon nor GranLocomon were formidable foes and the fact that they were just puppets made them even blander. On the other hand, Parasimon, the real villain behind the whole scheme was very uninspiring and the interaction between it and the Tamers was quite boring. Parasimon is by far the least interesting villain of all the Digimon movies.

Despite the slightly better (i.e., more dynamic) animation, Runaway Locomon is a very unimaginative movie that did nothing to contribute to the franchise. The narrative and the villains were very dull, so the fact that it confirmed that the Tamers have indeed reunited with their partners was just not enough to make it anything more than a watchable 30-minute “episode”.

8. Digimon Tamers: Battle of the Adventurers

Title: Digimon Tamers: Battle of the Adventurers
Release date: July 14, 2001
Running time: 50 minutes

Synopsis

On summer vacation, Takato visits his cousin Kai in Okinawa, Henry investigates an underwater meteor and Rika stays home in the city. Mephistomon disables worldwide communications and allows Digimon to invade the real world, using the computer virus called “V-Pet”. It is revealed that Minami Uehara’s father, Takehito, created it. The Tamers help Minami’s partner, Seasarmon, defeat Mephistomon and restore the world.

Rationale

As far as the Battle of the Adventurers is concerned, it was overall a better movie than Runaway Locomon, but it was very formulaic and its contribution to the franchise is also quite small.

In terms of narration, Battle of the Adventurers was set during the anime’s run so it was an additional story that gave us a brief insight into the “private” lives of the protagonists, which was a fun thing to see. It did not have much depth, but it was a fun aspect of the characters themselves. The animation was pretty standard, but all in all on a good level, despite the colours being a bit darker than in the anime.

What Battle of the Adventurers had was a good villain, both in Mephistomon and its Mega level, Gulfmon; it was also great to see the connection with Apocalymon, who was the main villain in Digimon Adventure. These villains were far better than in Runaway Locomon, which is why this movie is above it on the list.

Still, the 8th place – in total – is a result of the movie being quite formulaic in terms of both production, narration and structure. It was a standard Digimon film that had nothing with which it stood out from the rest and seeing that it had no impact on the story whatsoever (it wasn’t even mentioned in the anime, if I remember correctly, despite taking place between two episodes in the middle of the show), it becomes clear why we couldn’t give it a better place on the list.

In the end, Battle of the Adventures is definitely a film you should watch and it has its strong points, but be aware that you should not expect anything out of the ordinary, because it is a pretty standard story.

7. Digimon Adventure 02: Revenge of Diaboromon

Title: Digimon Adventure 02: Revenge of Diaboromon
Release date: March 3, 2001
Running time: 29 minutes

Synopsis

Taking place three months after Digimon Adventure 02, the DigiDestined discover the return of Diaboromon. Tai, Matt, T.K. and Kari head to the Internet, where Diaboromon lures them into a trap. A swarm of Kuramon (Diaboromon’s fresh form) appear and invade the Real World. Kuramon merges with Diaboromon to create a Super Ultimate level called Armageddemon. Though Omnimon and Imperialdramon fail to stop it, he gives his energy to Imperialdramon Fighter Mode, powering him up to Paladin Mode. Using his Omni Sword attack, Imperialdramon defeats Armageddemon, splitting him back up into Kuramon. With the power of the Digivices and cell phones, the Omni Sword is powered up, sending Kuramon back into the computer.

Rationale

The second Digimon Adventure 02 movie is among the best short (under 30 minutes) Digimon movies, but the conclusion of the cinematic Diaboromon arc still didn’t do enough to come even close to the first part of the arc.

Revenge of Diaboromon kept the darker and slightly different animation that we’ve seen in all the preceding Digimon movies, which was quite different from the main anime series. But that wasn’t really an issue, since that style contributed to the quality of some of the movies, but it showed that the produces didn’t invest much creativity in this movie.

The same could be said for the plot and the character development. Namely, Revenge of Diaboromon didn’t do much for the characters, except for adding some additional elements to their stories. It did, however, further the Digivolution process of the 02 partner Digimon, but that just wasn’t enough.

Also, a significant downside of this movie is that it has recycled the main villain – Diaboromon – of the first Adventure movie (well, technically the second, but you get that we’re referring to Our War Game!), which was not really necessary, since Diaboromon had a proper sending off in Our War Game! Even the fact that the film introduced Armageddemon as his evolved form was not enough to colour us excited.

All in all, Revenge of Diaboromon was nothing more than a solid film that added yet another story to the Adventure arc and once again closed the Diaboromon mini-arc, but the repetitive nature of the movie as well as its recycled villain just weren’t enough to make Revenge of Diaboromon anything more than another fun, but formulaic instalment in the movie series.

6. Digimon Frontier: Island of Lost Digimon

Title: Digimon Frontier: Island of Lost Digimon
Release date: July 20, 2002
Running time: 40 minutes

Synopsis

Takuya and his friends travel through a desert, when they discover a floating continent known as the Lost Island in a civil war between human-type and beast-type Digimon. In the village of humanoid Digimon, Takuya, J.P., and Tommy learn from Kotemon of a legend that the island was protected by their god Ornismon. Kotemon proceeds to take them to a neutral location where his friend Bearmon brought Koji and Zoe after they ended up in his village. After the two sides argue what they learned, Bearmon and Kotemon lead them to a mural of Ornismon with Bokomon deeming the DigiCode to be incomplete.

Their peaceful meeting is broken up as Kotemon and Bearmon’s older brothers, Dinohyumon and Grizzlymon, appear and battle each other. But after Takuya and Koji spirit evolve to Agunimon and KendoGarurumon to stop them, the respective brothers walk away.

As the human Digimon prepare for battle when their leader d’Arcmon rallies the crowd, Takuya reluctantly accepts Dinohyumon’s recruitment offer to allow Tommy to escape with Kotemon. A similar event with J.P. and Zoe spiriting Bearmon occurs at the beast Digimon village as Koji accepts Grizzlymon’s offer during a speech by the beast Digimons’ leader Hippogriffomon. Zoe, Tommy, J.P, Bokomon, and Neemon help many Fresh Digimon assemble the writing under the mural.

But upon its completion, Bokomon deciphers that Ornismon is actually an evil Digimon that oppressed the island before being sealed away by the Ancient Warriors—AncientGreymon and AncientGarurumon. Furthermore, after the group notices a missing piece in the mural that is identical to the ornament both d’Arcmon and Hippogriffomon possess, J.P. and Zoe proceed to inform Takuya and Koji while the others stay behind in hope that they can find an answer to the crisis.

On the battlefield, Takuya and Koji eventually spirit evolve to BurningGreymon and Lobomon to stop the war, but end up getting both sides to turn on them before Kazemon and Beetlemon arrive. The two revealed that on their way, they discovered a horrible secret: the two armies’ leader being the same Digimon when catching d’Arcmon transform into Hippogriffomon. Exposed while forced to become d’Arcmon again, the fraud confesses to having been collecting the Fractal Code from the many fallen Digimon to revive and control Ornismon while assuming his true form: Murmukusmon.

Overpowering the Legendary Warriors, Murmukusmon guides Ornismon to the murals of AncientGreymon and AncientGarurumon, which begin shining. Kotemon gives his life to protect them, and Bearmon’s tears along with Kotemon’s sacrifice summons spectral forms of the Ancient Warriors. Their appearance gives the DigiDestined a second wind with the island residents joining them as Agunimon takes out Murmukusmon before the Legendary Warriors destroy Ornismon for good.

With Ornismon no more, the Lost Island returns to the Digital World with the two sides finally making peace with Kotemon turning up alive as he and Bearmon have a reunion.

Rationale

For us, The Island of Lost Digimon was a good movie that certainly deserves some attention. It helped deepen the Frontier mythos and it was a nice, much darker addition to the story.

The Island of Lost Digimon did several good things, despite causing some minor in-continuity issues. It helped expand the story of the Frontier DigiDestined, as well as the mythology and history of the Digital World. The appearance of two Legendary warriors – AncientGreymon and AncientGarurumon – despite being protagonist-centred, was actually a great addition that gave us a proper insight into the world of Digimon Frontier, even better than Baronmon’s history as it was told in the anime.

The movie also presented a good central issue, with the civil war between the humanoid and beast-looking Digimon fitting right into the concept of H-Spirits and B-Spirits, which was essential for the main anime. The main villain was a very menacing presence and despite needing a little more backstory, Murmukusmon was still good enough of a challenge for both the DigiDestined and the Legendary Warriors.

Plus, the movie contained some great new secondary characters that had actual emotional depth, which is not something you usually see in such movies.

What this movie essentially lacks is a lasting historical and in-continuity impact, since the epic encounter with the Legendary Warriors was not even referenced in the anime, which was certainly something the DigiDestined or the Digimon would talk about. The movie was a nice change of pace for the anime and it was a good story, but it is sad to see that it didn’t add more to the lore and that it had no lasting impact on the series as a whole, because it did have quite a lot of potential.

This is why The Island of Lost Digimon is positioned here, on our list.

5. Digimon Adventure 02: Part 1: Digimon Hurricane Touchdown!! / Part 2: Supreme Evolution!! The Golden Digimentals

Title: Digimon Adventure 02: Part 1: Digimon Hurricane Touchdown!! / Part 2: Supreme Evolution!! The Golden Digimentals
Release date: July 8, 2000
Running time: 65 minutes

Synopsis

While T.K. and Kari visit Mimi in New York City, Wendigomon captures Tai, Matt, Sora, Izzy, Mimi, and Joe. The two enlist Davis, Yolei, Cody, and their Digimon to come to the United States to fight him. On the way, Davis and the others meet Willis, an American DigiDestined partnered with Terriermon. Willis reveals that he had two Digimon partners, the other being Kokomon, who had been corrupted by a virus. During battle, T.K. and Kari’s Digimon, Seraphimon and Magnadramon, unlock two golden Digi-eggs for Davis and Willis to use, which Golden Armor Digivolves their partners into Magnamon and Rapidmon. The two defeat Wendigomon, allowing the older DigiDestined to return, and Davis’ group returns to Japan. On the way home, Willis finds Kokomon’s Digi-egg on the beach.

Rationale

This two-part Digimon Adventure 02 was pretty revolutionary for the time and it was a truly great movie that did a lot for the franchise, which is why we’re including it in our top five Digimon movies of all time.

Although titled as being a two-part movie, it is actually a compact story that expands the story of the DigiDestined by telling the story of the American child, Willis, and his two partners. We knew that there were other DigiDestined around the world, but the story of Willis was a really important event as it showed us that the production cared for other aspects of the franchise, not just the main protagonists. Willis’ story was great, it had depth and it had the necessary emotional aspects – especially his relationship with his two partners – for a great story. Additionally, Willis became part of the canon and was referenced in later materials as well.

But, what made this movie so special was that it was very, very dark and eerie when compared to the anime, and its darkness was on par with the dark tone of Digimon Tamers. Wendigomon was an exceptional villain and its deep, emotional relationship with Willis, and the jealousy that eventually led to it becoming a dark version of itself, was absolutely amazing. Wendigomon is without a doubt one of the best movie villains and the story surrounding it was executed in superb fashion.

What this movie lacked was a better tie to the main series, since it seemed like an isolated episode, rather than a tie-in event, but that’s really a minor issue. The main reason why this movie is on place five and not higher is that the competition here is really, really good and that the other titles on the list are just better.

4. Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna

Title: Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution – Kizuna
Release date: February 21, 2020
Running time: 94 minutes

Synopsis

Five years after the events of Digimon Adventure: tri., Tai and the other DigiDestined are approaching adulthood; however, Tai and Matt still remain undecided about their future goals. The DigiDestined later meet Menoa Bellucci, a professor from the United States, and Kyotaro Imura, her assistant. Menoa claims that Eosmon is targeting DigiDestined around the world by robbing both them and their Digimon partners of their consciousness. With Menoa’s help, Tai, Matt, Izzy, T.K., and their Digimon fight Eosmon on the Internet.

When Tai and Matt fuse their Digimon into Omnimon, Omnimon’s form falls apart, allowing Eosmon to escape. In the real world, Tai and Matt find countdown rings on their Digivices. Menoa explains the Digivices are powered by the infinite potential of children, and because Tai and Matt are growing up with their potential fulfilled, they have a time limit before they are separated from their Digimon forever.

She also warns them that Digivolving will accelerate the countdown. While Izzy examines Eosmon’s fragments, Matt suspects Imura is involved with Eosmon and asks Davis, Yolei, Cody, and Ken to perform a background check in New York. Meanwhile, Gennai visits Tai and Agumon, corroborating Menoa’s statement. After Eosmon leaves Mimi unconscious, Matt gives Tai and Izzy prepaid mobile phones out of suspicion they are being tracked and also shows them a news article revealing that Menoa used to have a Digimon partner.

As Matt continues to investigate Imura, he learns from Davis’ group that Imura’s identity is fake and Eosmon’s data was found on his hard drive, concluding that he is the culprit. Izzy is sent a link to a live stream video of T.K. and Kari held hostage, prompting Tai and Matt to rescue them, while Joe goes missing.

By the time they arrive, T.K. and Kari are already unconscious from Eosmon. On the way, Matt confronts Imura, who reveals he is an FBI agent investigating Menoa, and he realizes that Menoa orchestrated the kidnappings and Eosmon as a distraction to target Izzy for the list of DigiDestined. Realizing this as well, Izzy texts Tai with the coordinates to Menoa’s location in the Digital World before she renders him unconscious.

In the Digital World, Menoa confirms that she lost her Digimon partner, Morphomon, prematurely from growing up, and discovered Eosmon’s Digi-egg during the recent aurora. To prevent the other DigiDestined from experiencing loss, she has captured their consciousness to allow them to be with their Digimon partners as children forever. Menoa sends a swarm of Eosmon clones to the real world to kidnap more DigiDestined, sparking battles worldwide. Tai, Matt, and their Digimon resolve to stop Menoa even if it quickens their separation, and Agumon and Gabumon DNA Digivolve into Omnimon to fight her and the Eosmon clones.

After Menoa fuses with Eosmon, Eosmon cuts Omnimon into pieces, causing it to split again. Tai and Matt are assaulted by the DigiDestined and their Digimon partners, but Tai grabs Kari’s whistle and blows into it, awakening and turning them back to normal. While the DigiDestined and their Digimon partners join the battle, Tai, Matt, and their Digimon make one final Digivolution, forming Agumon (Bond of Courage) and Gabumon (Bond of Friendship). The two Digimon defeat Eosmon, Menoa finding closure with Morphomon.

After the battle, Imura arrests Menoa. Tai and Matt spend their remaining time with Agumon and Gabumon respectively until they vanish and their Digivices turn into stone.

In the following spring, the two move on with their lives and pursue their dream careers, under the belief that they may see their Digimon partners again in the future.

Rationale

The last chapter of the Adventure arc was a true emotional rollercoaster that gave us a fitting, yet heartbreaking end to the whole arc. There is absolutely no doubt that this emotional story deserves to be in the top five Digimon movies.

Kizuna was the long-awaited final chapter of the Adventure arc and it duly delivered. The animation was absolutely fantastic and the story decided to focus on two aspects – memories and growing up (or letting go, however you want to put it). Both aspects were executed brilliantly, with the first being represented by the truly dangerous and somewhat morbid threat of Eosmon and his partner, Menoa; the aspect of loss and the psychopathic grief of the partner who experienced loss was similar to one narrative aspect of tri., but Kizuna did it so much better and with more depth.

The second aspect was presented through the protagonists and their growth, but also through the development of their relationships with their partner Digimon. This was done with so much strength and emotion that you’ll hardly believe that it was possible for Digimon to have such real-life implications, as the separation of the DigiDestined from their partners (albeit temporary) was a metaphor for growing up and letting go.

The only issue we had with Kizuna, although it’s not an issue per se, is that it – yet again – caused some continuity issues, both in relation to tri. and to the epilogue of 02, especially since the producers confirmed that Kizuna doesn’t nullify the 02 epilogue.

All in all, Kizuna is a heartbreaking and emotional masterpiece that certainly deserves one of the to spots on our list and is one of the best executed Digimon movies that combined new animation and dynamics with the old feel of the Digimon franchise.

3. Digimon Adventure: Our War Game!

Title: Digimon Adventure: Our War Game!
Release date: March 4, 2000
Running time: 40 minutes

Synopsis

Following the return of the DigiDestined from the Digital World, Koshiro Izumi discovers a corrupted Digimon on the internet that grows by consuming data. He travels to the home of Taichi Yagami, where they observe its consumption disrupt computer systems across Japan. Kamiya and Izumi are contacted by their Digimon partners Agumon and Tentomon from the Digital World; they battle the corrupted Digimon, but are defeated. Taichi and Koshiro attempt to contact the other DigiDestined by phone, but discover that the national PSTN has crashed. Using an emergency voicemail system, they are able to contact Yamato Ishida and Takeru Takaishi, who are visiting their grandmother in rural Shimane. Yamato and Takeru’s Digimon partners Gabumon and Patamon join the fight, but are physically slowed as a result of thousands of e-mails being sent to Kamiya and Izumi by individuals observing the battle on their computers around the world. The enemy Digimon, having evolved into Diaboromon, creates thousands of duplicates of itself and hacks The Pentagon to launch an LGM-118 Peacekeeper missile at Tokyo. Taichi and Yamato magically enter their computers, and rally their Digimon to jointly evolve into Omnimon and defeat the duplicates. Koshiro forwards the thousands of emails to the original Diaboromon, slowing him enough to be defeated. With Diaboromon vanquished, the disarmed missile crashes harmlessly into Tokyo Bay.

Rationale

As far as Our War Game! is concerned, by most, to be a timeless classic when Digimon movies are concerned and we can only confirm that status. The first “longer” Digimon movie was a smash hit and we can only agree.

Our War Game! has enormous historical importance because it set the one for a lot of subsequent Digimon movies, especially from the Adventure arc. The animation was a bit different from the anime – darker and more dynamic, with minor changes to the character design – but it really added to quality and the appeal of the movie. The movie always wanted to be different – based on the same foundations, but different than the anime. And it was.

The story was a great addition and the continuation of the Adventure arc and it set up a basis for the 02 DigiDestined to become DigiDestined, through them witnessing the battle between Omnimon and Diaboromon.

As far as the franchise is concerned, Our War Game! is responsible for the introduction of Omnimon (and DNA Digivolution) in the anime, but also Diaboromon, who is one of the more interesting villains the DigiDestined have faced. It also introduced us to the Net as a separate location (i.e., a bridge between the Human and Digital Worlds) in the Digimon universe, which was a great addition to the lore.

There are no bad sides to this movie; it was compelling, interesting, original, and it expanded the arc in a great way. There is nothing that comes to mind that is wrong with this movie, but it was just not on the same level of quality and importance as the two movies that are placed higher on the list. Still, it’s an absolute must-see and there is no doubt that is had become a cult classic for the franchise.

2. Digimon Adventure tri.

Title: Digimon Adventure tri.
Release dates: November 21, 2015 (Part 1), March 12, 2016 (Part 2), September 24, 2016 (Part 3), February 25, 2017 (Part 4), September 30, 2017 (Part 5), May 5, 2018 (Part 6)
Running time: 86 minutes (Part 1), 84 minutes (Part 2), 101 minutes (Part 3), 78 minutes (Part 4), 85 minutes (Part 5), 97 minutes (Part 6)

Synopsis

The film series is set three years after Digimon Adventure 02 and takes place in 2005. A mysterious anomaly is causing distortions in the Real World and Digimon are being plagued by a virus that turns them hostile. These circumstances lead to the DigiDestined being reunited with their partner Digimon. Joined by another DigiDestined named Meiko Mochizuki and her partner Meicoomon, they must solve the mystery of the infected Digimon and deal with the responsibility of growing up.

Rationale

We’ve finally reached the critically acclaimed Digimon Adventure tri., a six-part movie series that was initially supposed to be a new anime series, but ended up being Digimon’s first film series. This hexalogy of movies, although not perfect, did a lot of good for the franchise and the Adventure arc, which is why we have placed it on spot #2.

Digimon Adventure tri. was a blast of nostalgia when it came out, with new versions of old songs, new animation, more mature, but still the same characters and a great story that was developed through six feature-length movies. The films had it all, and although they had their mistakes, as a single unit – they were the best and most innovative that he movies had to offer.

Some old characters were brought back, a lot of new events and characters entered the scene, and – as we’ve said – although it wasn’t always perfectly handled, tri. did a really amazing job. On top of that, we got to see more of the history of the Digital World, more specifically the role of the Dark Masters, the first DigiDestined and the creation of the Four Sovereigns.

The biggest issue tri. had was the continuity. A lot of things were just mentioned and although it did keep up with what had happened, some in-narrative references and issues were never resolved; there were also scenes and characters that seemed somewhat unnecessary (like Leomon or the 02 DigiDestined). The final scene in which Dark Gennai references Daemon and Diaboromon also went unexplained and since Kizuna came out right after tri., we have our doubts that these juicy references will ever be resolved.

Still, despite all the imperfections, Digimon Adventure tri. was a giant leap forward for the franchise and the whole Adventure arc, and a demonstration that the creative team behind the franchise still had a lot of original ideas. This is why we have decided to put it so high on our list.

1. Digimon Adventure

Title: Digimon Adventure
Release date: March 6, 1999
Running time: 20 minutes

Synopsis

The first story focused on Tai and Kari Kamiya, four years before their adventure in the Digital World. It shows their first encounter with Digimon and their friends become members of the DigiDestined. After the Digi-Egg hatches, a baby Digimon named Botamon transforms into Greymon. He defeats Parrotmon for invading the city. The film was used as a pilot episode of Digimon Adventure, which follows the adventures of Tai and his friends.

Rationale

And we’re finally there – the best Digimon movie ever is the one that started the whole franchise. Digimon Adventure provided the backstory that explained how the DigiDestined became DigiDestined and launched the franchise that is still alive after more than two decades.

Digimon Adventure was short and sweet (especially with a cute baby Tai and baby Kari), but it was a very authentic and original story with a lot of emotional depth, that explained how the Chosen Children connected with their Digimon. This episode-length movie was actually how the whole franchise started and although it did not provide a lot of information for us, its historical importance is immeasurable.

The animation was darker and the whole tone of the film was much darker than that of the anime that started airing the next day, back in 1999, but although the anime didn’t follow that style or tone, all of the movies that came out as part of the initial take on the Adventure arc used that same style and tone, so it also has a historical importance when the movies are concerned.

The story of how baby Tai and baby Kari met Agumon was a great one, with emotions engulfing you from the beginning until the end. Due to its historical, emotional and narrative importance, we have decided to put this movie on top of our movie list and as a farewell, we give you the final moments of the movie and the song that raised a generation:

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Thank you for sticking with us until the end. This is our ranking of the complete Digimon franchise that includes all the anime series, their tie-ins and the movies. There might be some controversial choices and we’re certain you won’t completely agree with out choices, but we have tried to be as objective as possible and evaluate the impact of the series or movie on the whole franchise. We sincerely hope you’ll find this article helpful and that you’ll enjoy it as much as you’re going to enjoy Digimon! Have fun watching!

And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!

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