The Future of Digimon as a Franchise

VanChizzle

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Lately I've been kind of interested in looking at the success of other large multimedia franchises like the MCU, Pokémon, Star Wars, DC, Harry Potter etc... I could be wrong but it seems to me that we're beginning to witness the increasingly frequent transformation of media such as games, movies, books, comics or TV shows into something much larger that can be capitalized on across a multitude of platforms. It feels like this trend is here to stay. Of course, Digimon itself is no stranger to doing this but I've been wondering if there's more they could do to keep growing. Hence I thought it'd be a good idea to create a thread for it.


Some of the questions I have: Can Digimon ever become a truly global phenomenon and actually achieve the level of brand awareness that franchises like Harry Potter or Star Wars enjoy today? As in, the sort of brand where you need only mention its name and pretty much anyone would know what you're referring to? If so, how can it become more popular overall?


I've heard that the recent batch of Digimon games released seem to be helping to bring about a mini-renaissance in the stature of the franchise as an entertainment option - though I have no idea how this perception stacks up against that of, say, Pokémon who obviously has been a giant in the video game industry and their biggest competitor for a long time.


Is there a chance that Digimon will ever be bigger than Pokémon one day? What would have to happen for that to come about? Did they already miss their chance back in the '90's?


Even some of the most popular Japanese franchises such as Gundam, Dragon Ball, One Piece etc. seem to only enjoy support from a somewhat limited segment of the market (i.e more of a niche in terms of their fanbase), and perhaps not so much mainstream. Will its status as a Japanese media franchise forever relegate it to second-tier status worldwide? Or is this looking at things from an overly Western/North American point of view? Is it actually fair to compare Digimon to these other large franchises?


Other than things like annual revenue, what other metrics might be used to define "success" in the entertainment industry?


Thanks in advance, and Merry X'mas!!! :)
 

Muur

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Pokemon is the highest grossing franchise of all time. Nothing will ever be bigger than it. Not even something like Marvel. Digimon is fine, it's a popular multi media franchise. Probably more than yugioh since yugioh doesn't really do many games.
 

DontStopPataPata

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Some of the questions I have: Can Digimon ever become a truly global phenomenon and actually achieve the level of brand awareness that franchises like Harry Potter or Star Wars enjoy today? As in, the sort of brand where you need only mention its name and pretty much anyone would know what you're referring to? If so, how can it become more popular overall?
No, as dumb as this may sound to you and I and other Digi-fans Digimon will never become a global phenomenon for one simple reason: It came out after Pokemon and both ended in Mon. It will forever live in the shadow as a “Pokemon knock off” Jack and Jill down the block aren’t gonna look at nuances. They’re both Japanese cartoons with monsters that change shape and they both end in Mon. But Pokemon came first on an international scale. It’s kind of shame Pokemon wasn’t released internationally as Pocket Monsters instead of Pokemon to avoid copyright issues with some dumb kids movie nobody remembers.
I've heard that the recent batch of Digimon games released seem to be helping to bring about a mini-renaissance in the stature of the franchise as an entertainment option - though I have no idea how this perception stacks up against that of, say, Pokémon who obviously has been a giant in the video game industry and their biggest competitor for a long time.
If they brought any sort of mini-renaissance it wasn’t anywhere near the level of Pokemon Go. Digimon has never really been much of a success story in the video game market.Digimon’s biggest success has been the anime and outside of a pre-revival of interest when Tri was announced the anime hasn’t been much of a success since Tamers/Zero Two.
Is there a chance that Digimon will ever be bigger than Pokémon one day?
No never. Pokemon came first (where it counted before someone tries to explain how Digimon came first even though I think Pocket Monsters Red and Green has the V-Pets beat by a year) and has a much broader appeal.
What would have to happen for that to come about? Did they already miss their chance back in the '90's?
The only way Digimon could have maybe MAYBE have become more popular than Pokemon is an alternate universe if the Pikachu Shock Incident of December 1997 led to the series being cancelled and never setting foot outside of Japan and becoming lost to the sands in its own home country.
Even some of the most popular Japanese franchises such as Gundam, Dragon Ball, One Piece etc. seem to only enjoy support from a somewhat limited segment of the market (i.e more of a niche in terms of their fanbase), and perhaps not so much mainstream. Will its status as a Japanese media franchise forever relegate it to second-tier status worldwide? Or is this looking at things from an overly Western/North American point of view? Is it actually fair to compare Digimon to these other large franchises?
With maybe the exception of Gundum these franchises are far more popular and beloved than Digimon.It’s funny you mention Dragon Ball because Dragon Ball’s revival with the 3 most recent theatrical films and the Super series have been far more successful than the attempted revival with Fusion and Tri.
Other than things like annual revenue, what other metrics might be used to define "success" in the entertainment industry?
Pop Culture ubiquity.
 

Ragnalord

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Nope, digimon will never be as big as pokemon, for all the reasons stated above and that the anime show was soo cheap budget, it generally turned away alot of people.
 

DontStopPataPata

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Nope, digimon will never be as big as pokemon, for all the reasons stated above and that the anime show was soo cheap budget, it generally turned away alot of people.
Considering what kind of low budget materials become huge successes I don’t know if the low budget really harmed the anime that much.I do know I really wish the anime had stayed on the level of Adventure episode 21 which looked significantly better than any other episode.
 

DPTronazel

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I can now see why people want Agumon in Smash just to change Digimon's outlook in the west. But would that even change at all? I had mixed thoughts about him joining since some people would jump into conclusion that why all of a sudden Sakurai allowed an "anime" character to join in because we all know there's some people who think Digimon was only just an anime rather than a pet simulator.
 

Ragnalord

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Well I'm not aware about that but digimon anime series are a hard view unless you watched them while you were 4 or something.
 

frankiemon827

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To be honest I think the future of Digimon as franchise will heavily focus on games...as for anime I have a feeling that they are running out of ideas for fresh digimon seasons...
 

Chisana Minamoto

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as for anime I have a feeling that they are running out of ideas for fresh digimon seasons...
Not quite. I think a lot of fans would like to see a series of splinters. Heh, what about something like Digi-archeology. The main characters could travel through time and take part in various events. They could experience Genesis. And various important events.

There would certainly be many ideas for a new series. Bandai and Toie won't listen to us much. They seem to hear mainly on Adventure. So, even if there are a lot of good ideas for both the new series and the toys, it will probably never happen.

Well, it seems that Digimon will always be taken by a certain group of people as something that came after Pokemon. Some people mind everything that is not a sequel to Adventure. I think Digimon will never achieve the popularity it deserves.
 

Vice

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I think Digimon will stay the same for a long time, I don’t see it getting any more popular and I don’t really think anything can really change that. Perhaps it will continue to gain popularity and new fans from new videos games and perhaps new anime, and possibly interest from people going back to watch the old anime episodes but not enough to rival Pokémon or became as popular as let’s say Dragonball or Marvel. As far as Pokémon goes, it will probably always be in its shadow, they came out around the same time and they both feature monsters who befriend kids, battle and evolve. I’m a life long Digimon fan and I’m okay with the way it is.
 

jetman91

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Pokemon is the highest grossing franchise of all time. Nothing will ever be bigger than it. Not even something like Marvel. Digimon is fine, it's a popular multi media franchise. Probably more than yugioh since yugioh doesn't really do many games.
Yugioh is actually more profitable (and more popular globally) than Digimon, due to the cards still in rotation. Yugioh is listed as the 21st highest grossing media franchise. So it's in the top 25, beating out Lord of the Rings (22), James Bond (23), Charles Schultz's Peanuts (24), and Transformers (25). Digimon comes in at number 76. It is more profitable than the Fast & Furious franchise (77), Ice Age (78), Phantom of the Opera (79), and surprisingly it's own sister franchise Tamagotchi (80). Source: Wikipedia.

Popularity wise, Yugioh seems to have the upper hand in terms of consistent relevance in Western pop-culture, while Digimon has become a nostalgia trip.
 

Muur

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I mean it's Wikipedia. And the Digimon list mostly includes Japanese content and is also super out of date. You can't really use that list
 

jetman91

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I mean it's Wikipedia. And the Digimon list mostly includes Japanese content and is also super out of date. You can't really use that list
Yeah Wikipedia isn't the best, but it is what it is. The list is updated regularly though.

And it doesn't matter where the money was made. If it's having high profitability in Japan and not the USA it's still profitable. Being region exclusive popularity but making the top 100 of highest profitable media franchise is impressive work. For example TMNT is highly profitable (sitting at 36) and still maintains popularity and relevance in North America. Outside of this region it's kinda a niche franchise. Some need support in the form of two versions of the same thing, for example Super Sentai sits at number 29 due to Power Rangers. If split say 50/50, neither franchise would make the top 50. And Power Rangers is an odd one as it's both a nostalgic trip and culturally relevant. With Hasbro now being the owner it's uncertain which is more profitable MMPR nostalgia products or the current Beast Morphers line since I am sure the numbers are not out yet. Yugioh is fascinating as it's highly more profitable than say it's closest competitor Magic: The Gathering, which didn't even break the top 100. Yet Magic probably is either more than or about equally represented to Yugioh cards in stores, at least in my region. So my guess is Japan brings up the rear for Yugioh, but in North America Yugioh is about equal to Magic, and also get's a helping hand by being having more diversity merchandise wise than Magic.

But Digimon clocking in at number 76, assuming if this list is up to date, is impressive considering the fact that Digimon sales in the USA is probably close to non-existent. Digimon ReArise is gaining popularity in North America, but that's a free app. Perhaps the new video games will change Digimon's popularity and nostalgic reputation in the next decade. It will never be as big as Pokemon, but it could see a revival in popularity globally if Bandai plays their cards right.
 
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Unknown Neo

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Well despite where Digimon ranks, at least it's not Yokai Watch. Which did not make it in the US. Europe yes. And that makes me kind of sad. I like that series. Besides, Digimon was always not as big as some others but still, go on the internet and you see it.
 

Deep Saver

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I don’t ever think it will me a massive sensation and that’s just fine. Digimon fulfills its niche well and is doing pretty good right now if the amount of media for it we have been getting lately is any indication.
 

Muur

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Being TOO succesful would end in a Pokemon Sword/Shield situation too.
 

DigiKing Tamer

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Being TOO succesful would end in a Pokemon Sword/Shield situation too.
Oh definitely. At least Digimon is willing to go all the way with experimenting in new and different mechanics and genres, especially back in the 2000s.
 

VanChizzle

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I can now see why people want Agumon in Smash just to change Digimon's outlook in the west. But would that even change at all? I had mixed thoughts about him joining since some people would jump into conclusion that why all of a sudden Sakurai allowed an "anime" character to join in because we all know there's some people who think Digimon was only just an anime rather than a pet simulator.
I think Agumon being in Smash can only be a good thing. I don't think increasing exposure can hurt, even if there are a number of people who may think that. It might even lend more legitimacy to the brand overall in spite of that, especially if the games are making their mark.

as for anime I have a feeling that they are running out of ideas for fresh digimon seasons...
Not quite. I think a lot of fans would like to see a series of splinters. Heh, what about something like Digi-archeology. The main characters could travel through time and take part in various events. They could experience Genesis. And various important events.

There would certainly be many ideas for a new series. Bandai and Toie won't listen to us much. They seem to hear mainly on Adventure. So, even if there are a lot of good ideas for both the new series and the toys, it will probably never happen.
I don't know how many more series they can squeeze out of Adventure at the rate the Chosen Children (or Chosen Adults? Ones?) are growing up, but the real tell IMO is when they finally move on and start a new series. I could see them going in a few different directions if they ever decided to do a new anime. The setting of Cyber Sleuth is a good example. As augmented/virtual reality becomes increasingly prevalent in everyday life, the potential problems and consequences of relying on this technology could raise a lot of questions. How do we guard against wrongdoing in cyberspace? Hackers? Or maybe rogue superintelligent AI someday? I think there's a lot of room to explore futuristic scenarios regarding high technology that will have a huge impact on society in real life.

If anything, Digimon has always seemed to stand out from the pack in terms of tackling issues that go deeper than your average "children's series". If they continually produce good anime that resonates deeply with their audience, yet is alluring enough to drew in new viewers who aren't familiar, momentum will build.

Regardless of what story ideas they go with, it's always going to be an animated toy commercial for Bandai targeted towards children at the very least. Yet can they also strike a chord with an older viewership at the same time with their morals? Perhaps there's potential for this new show to send a message in the backdrop of the uncertain global political climate of today.

To me the games are an important part, but the visual media side of things is what forces that door wide open. Whether that continues to be in anime form, or live action, it'll be interesting to see...

Being TOO succesful would end in a Pokemon Sword/Shield situation too.
I haven't been following what's going on with Sword/Shield, what do you mean by this?
 
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Muur

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They push out a game every year with very little content and now they've removed most Pokemon. The series is so successful they don't need to put in effort as they'll sell 20 million a year matter what. They keep cutting content yet keep getting high scores and sales. If Digimon suddenly became that successful they could half ass all their games too. Pokemon has discovered they can push out mediocre content and have their fans defend it, because of such strong brand loyalty. Digimon has to put out good content as much as possible because it'll effect them if they have a terrible game.

Hackers memory vs Pokemon ultra sun is a relevant example. Hackers was constantly shit on for reusing too much content even tho it has 100 new dudes and a new story. Ultra was the exact same game with a few new alternate forms and attacks etc and was highly praised. Get to that level of success and you don't have to put out good content.
 

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I actually don't like what they did with Ultra or SWiSH. I don't like 4 different versions or taking out Pokemon. Maybe they can somehow DLC them in. But it'd be fun to have Agumon in Smash if they clarify very clearly that he came from a video game first.
 
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