With the massive success of digital pet devices, Tamagotchi, WiZ Inc. developed a new form of digital pets made for boys, Digimon. With Bandai marketing this brand new electronic toy, Digimon successfully hit the market in 1997. Still, the greatest heights for the series were yet to come.
While the Digimon devices had many of the same pet care elements that Tamagotchi had, including feeding, cleaning waste, and weight management. However, these digital pets were designed to battle against each other. So, they had additional elements like vitamins that increased strength and training. To battle two digital monsters, an owner could activate the battle mode and then link up to another Digimon device. Owners had to keep in mind that their monsters could either get injured or die during the battle.
Two years after the Digimon devices hit the market, Toei Animation introduced the first animated series in Japan. Digimon Adventure, which began airing in Japan in 1999 and the US in 2000, featured six children who were mysteriously transported into the Digital World filled with digital monsters. Despite the name, the Digital World was not designed to look like computer parts and wireframes. Instead, it was simply another reality with an ecosystem similar to Earth.
However, the Digital Monsters gained power through devices that each of the children received, called Digivices. Through the power of the Digivices and crests, the Digimon evolved into larger and more powerful forms. For instance, Agumon evolved into Greymon and then gained an ultimate form, MetalGreymon. This evolution line had one more upgrade, a Mega form named WarGreymon. Notably, Agumon also had devolutions and alternative evolution paths. Each of the other Digimon that the children befriended had similar evolution paths.
Meanwhile, other Digimon could be corrupted or upgraded with code and devices. The Black Gears made by Devimon was the first known object that corrupted other digital monsters. While corrupted monsters lost control over their actions, other monsters willfully followed the path of evil.
In response to the popularity of Digimon Adventure, Bandai began to produce action figures that resembled the monsters from the show. These toys varied from 1.5” scale collectibles, 2.5” scale action figures, and 5” digivolving figures. By using transforming engineering, Bandai was able to simulate the digivolutions for seven monsters. There were also quirky collectibles like DX Mini Skateboards, which featured various Digimon on the boards, and spinning Digi-tops. Bandai topped off this new toy line with deluxe playsets and electronic talking figures.
Beyond the main action figures, Bandai continued to produce the digital pets that launched the franchise. This time around, the devices were designed to mimic the Digivices from the anime series. The first set of these new Digivices came in light blue, dark blue, green, orange, and red. Meanwhile, the second edition added a light purple color. For those interested in Digivices from Asia, there was a set of Digivices designed for season three. These new ones came in blue, purple, yellow, and silver.
Beyond the Anime series, Bandai produced a video game for the PlayStation called Digimon World. This game came out in Japan in 1999, in North America in 2000, and in Europe in 2001. Like the digital pets, the game focused on raising and training Digimon partners. These creatures would Digivolve into more powerful forms when raised properly.
The popularity of Digimon Adventure from the turn of the century launched a long series of anime series. First, there was the 50-episode-long Digimon Adventure 02 which came out in 2000. While Adventure 02 directly continued the story from the 54-episode-long original series, the next iteration, the 51-episode-long Digimon Tamers from 2001 presented a brand new take on the franchise. From that point on, each series completely rebooted the mythos to present a new set of trainers and Digimon.
In 2002, Digimon Frontier began to air and lasted for 50 episodes. That series was later replaced by Digimon Data Squad in 2006, which had a total of 48 episodes. 2010’s Digimon Fusion lasted for 79 episodes. Then, there was the 52-episode-long Digimon Universe: App Monsters. With mixed receptions from the last few series, the next anime series rebooted the original Digimon Adventure with a new take that lasted 67 episodes. The latest Digimon series, Ghost Game, came out in 2021 and had 67 episodes along with a special.
Alongside these anime series, Digimon made its way to cinemas in Japan in multiple instances. Notably, from 2015 until 2018, a continuation of the first two series called Digimon Adventure Tri debuted.
Likewise, Bandai released various video games for the franchise throughout the years. The series has appeared on many systems since the Playstation era, including the PSP, PlayStation 4, and 3DS.
Bandai also continued to produce new toy lines to celebrate the various incarnations of Digimon. Some of the most notable sub-lines were the Digimon Tamers toys. They also launched a trading card game, similar to the ones for Nintendo’s Pokémon series.
As the fans of Digimon grew older, Bandai decided to create collector-tier toys for the series. Since 2014, multiple Digimon including WarGreymon has appeared in Tamashii Nation’s S.H. Figuarets D-Arts line. The company has also created a brand new series of transforming toys, the Digivolving Spirits toy line.
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How to use the Identification Tool to find your action figures and toy lines
Do you have any vintage toys you are trying to identify? Don’t know the name? No problem! We can help you out with this useful identification tool.
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