I tried to see whether there was a thread like this already posted, but had no luck. So if you guys know of one like it, feel free to let me know.
As someone who likes to create stories, I try to see what makes a story or franchise "cool" for me, so that I can use those principles properly when creating my own. Lately, I've turned my attention to the Digimon franchise to see what about it so enthralled me when I was younger, and what I still like about it today, aside from the nostalgia factor. I'd love to hear what makes the Digimon franchise "cool" to you!
What I like about Digimon, I think, comes down to two or three main things. First, I love the semi-plausible science fiction elements. As a kid, I was always fascinated with science and technology. Digimon is a franchise that utilizes those sci-fi trappings and tropes, and successfully combined them with cool monster designs. (And seriously, what young boy doesn't like cool monsters? :P )
The second main thing that I love about the Digimon franchise (and, I think, the thing that keeps me most interested today), is that it allows for a good deal of creative expression. All of the anime series have treated us to a variety of ways in which the monsters of the show are not only friends and companions, but also reflections and compliments to their human counterparts. This aspect of the franchise lends itself well to the tendency of children to imagine friends for themselves. However, inserting oneself into the world of the show does have it's limitations. Like most media, there is a degree of separation between the viewer and the world of the story, namely the main characters, because it is through their eyes that we experience their world. This is not a bad thing, of course, but it is a limitation.
For me, the V-Tamer and C'mon Digimon manga (and for a very short while Digimon Next) seemed a little more inclusive, because they were stories that seemed like they could happen to anyone who owned a V-Pet. You cared for a Digimon just as the main characters did, which for me took away one of those degrees of separation. (Tamers and Hunters had a similar appeal to me in this regard, as it seemed that just about anyone could acquire a Digimon partner.) It was easy to imagine that there was a whole world behind the diminutive screen of the pet that I gave so much attention to. As a youngster, this extra degree of "realism" was enough to really capture my imagination. To tie this back to my second point, the fluidity of the evolution lines in the V-Pets meant that your pet was that much more unique and personalized than the Digimon partners in the show. (As a side note, Pokemon has been gaining increasing degrees of personalization as the series has continued, but until recently this has mostly been limited to the lineup of monsters you kept. It lacked a quality expressed in my next point.)
Perhaps a third main point (which sort of ties back in to the second point), was that in Digimon, you spent a lot of time nurturing just the one monster, and to a degree fostering a "relationship" with it. This taps into an impulse many of us have to create and nurture. It's the same reason that many find sandbox games like Minecraft so entertaining. It is perhaps these two last points that are the reason I still love Digimon today--I am fascinated with the world that I imagine is behind the screen of those little virtual pets.
Lol, I know these are a lot of words to explain a simple concept, but I do enjoy analyzing my own tastes and the reasons behind them. ^^' Again, I would love to hear why YOU love the Digimon franchise. It will be interesting to see how similarly or differently this franchise appeals to everyone.