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Every Digimon Anime Series, Ranked From Worst To Best

Digimon anime protagonists

Earlier this month, Digimon celebrated the 25th anniversary of the airing of its anime series. While some at the time compared it to Pokémon, Digimon is very much its own thing, and over the years the franchise has explored a number of settings, premises, and stories.

Since its inception in 1999, nine main Digimon anime series have aired, and with the exception of the Adventure series and its reboot, they’ve all been very different. As much as we’d like to say that all of these Digimon series have been equally fantastic, it’s a fact that some are better than others.

Related: Digimon Con Reveals Amazing New Digivice, Not Much Else

So we thought we’d rank every Digimon anime series, from worst to best.

Digimon Universe: App Monsters

<p>Toei Animation</p>

Toei Animation

Digimon Universe: App Monsters, often called Appmon or Applimon, was a fairly short-lived spinoff series that tried to bring the Digimon ethos into the modern world. It wasn’t strictly bad, exactly, but by its very nature it feels almost instantly dated. It had some great designs, though, so it’s definitely not all bad.

Digimon Fusion

<p>Toei Animation</p>

Toei Animation

Speaking of designs, Digimon Fusion sure was an anime with… interesting designs. I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch all of Digimon Fusion – otherwise known as Xros Wars – and a lot of that was because the art style was quite off-putting. I did check in every now and then, though, and it seemed to have some interesting storylines. Maybe someday I’ll go back to it.

Digimon Adventure: (2020)

<p>Toei Animation</p>

Toei Animation

The thought of rebooting Digimon Adventure was somewhat blasphemous to a lot of Digimon fans, but most of us wanted to give it a fair go. The result was something that just felt a little bit unnecessary. When it was reusing plot points, it was boring and dull, and when it strayed away, it felt like a betrayal of the original characters. It got a little bit better towards the end, but it ended before anything worthwhile could come out of it.

Digimon Ghost Game

<p>Toei Animation</p>

Toei Animation

Gosh, what a wasted opportunity Ghost Game was. It started off so incredibly strong, with compelling, mature storylines and well-written characters that were better than anything we’d seen from the franchise in well over a decade. Then, it threw everything out the window, abandoned most of the goodwill it had earned – along with many of the story beats it set up – and went for spectacle above all else. It was and is exhausting.

Digimon Data Squad

<p>Toei Animation</p>

Toei Animation

Data Squad – called Savers in Japan – was supposed to be a more mature take on Digimon, made for fans of the series that had started to age into an older demographic. It abandoned that premise about halfway through, and ended up being a much more rounded experience. The characters were somewhat lacking, but the storylines were fun and the action scenes were great, saving what might have otherwise been a flat, boring series.

Digimon Adventure

<p>Toei Animation</p>

Toei Animation


The original, where the anime legacy of Digimon began. Make no mistake, Digimon Adventure is not perfect by any means, it has massive pacing issues and it overstays its welcome ever so slightly. But there’s something very charming about how earnest and experimental it was willing to be — it was making things up as it went along, and there’s a beauty to that.

Digimon Frontier

<p>Toei Animation</p>

Toei Animation

If it were solely up to me, Digimon Frontier would be at the top of this list, for two reasons. The first is the banger of an opening theme, both in the Japanese version and the English. I still get them stuck in my head on a daily basis. The second is that the concept of kids turning into Digimon to help save the Digital World is kind of amazing. In practice it’s a bit messy, dropping the whole partner Digimon thing meant that the series could focus more on developing its human characters, and that was a great move.

Digimon Adventure 02

<p>Toei Animation</p>

Toei Animation

Adventure 02 took everything that worked about the original Digimon Adventure and tossed out all the things that didn’t. It was refined to its purest form, a Digimon story that was heartfelt, earnest, and compelling, with a mix of new and old characters that were all incredible. It also introduced the one Australian character in the entire Digimon franchise, and as an Australian, I can’t help but praise it for that.

Digimon Tamers

<p>Toei Animation</p>

Toei Animation

And here it is, by far the best Digimon anime series ever made. Tamers started airing mere days after Adventure finished, but you really wouldn’t know it. It was a huge step forward for the series, introducing a whole new cast, a whole new world, and a phenomenal story that still gives me chills to think about. Writer Chiaki J. Konaka went for a more animalistic approach to Digimon, most evident in Guilmon, and made evolutions rarer and more impactful. It was an incredible series, and if you’re able to watch it, you absolutely should.

Related: The Digimon Video Game Franchise Has A New Producer