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.
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 about the best or worst Digimon series!
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.
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.
The list is going to include some basic info on each series and movie and a rationale explaining its position. Enjoy!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
11. Digital Monster X-Evolution
Title: Digital Monster X-Evolution
Release date: January 3, 2005
Running time: 77 minutes
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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:
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!