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Digimon (デジモン Dejimon, branded as Digimon: Digital Monsters, stylized as DIGIMON), short for "Digital Monsters" (デジタルモンスター Dejitaru Monsutā), is a Japanese media franchise encompassing virtual pet toys, anime, manga, video games, films and a trading card game. The franchise focuses on Digimon creatures, which are monsters living in a "Digital World", a parallel universe that originated from Earth's various communication networks. In many incarnations, Digimon are raised by humans called "Digidestined" or "Tamers", and they team up to defeat evil Digimon and human villains who are trying to destroy the fabric of the Digital world.

The franchise was first created as a series of virtual pets, akin to—and influenced in style by—the contemporary Tamagotchi toys. The creatures were first designed to look cute and iconic even on the devices' small screens; later developments had them created with a harder-edged style influenced by American comics. The franchise gained momentum with its first anime incarnation, Digimon Adventure, and an early video game, Digimon World. Several seasons of the anime and films based on them have aired, and the video game series has expanded into genres such as role-playing, racing, fighting, and MMORPGs. Other media forms have also been released.


Series

On March 6, 1999, the franchise was given an anime as the first of the Digimon movies aired in theaters in Japan. Originally, the Digimon Adventure movie was supposed to be a short film, but after the storyboard was finished, a request for Digimon becoming a children's television show was made. On March 7, 1999, they began airing a television sequel titled Digimon Adventure.

Five more series would follow, most of them with their own tie-in movies, and the series was dubbed for release in western markets in the fall of the same year. The show spawned card games, with Hyper Colosseum in Japan and later Digi-Battle in America, and more video games. The animated series is easily the best-known segment of the Digimon universe and responsible for the majority of its popularity.

"Digimon" are "Digital Monsters". According to the stories, they are inhabitants of the "DigiWorld", a manifestation of Earth's communication network. The stories tell of a group of mostly pre-teens, who accompany special Digimon born to defend their world (and ours) from various evil forces. To help them surmount the most difficult obstacles found within both realms, the Digimon have the ability to evolve (Digivolve)[3][4] In this process, the Digimon change appearance and become much stronger,[5] often changing in personality as well. The group of children who come in contact with the Digital World changes from series to series.

As of 2011, there have been six series — Digimon Adventure, the follow-up sequel Digimon Adventure 02, Digimon Tamers, Digimon Frontier, Digimon Data Squad and Digimon Fusion. The first two series take place in the same fictional universe, but the third, fourth, fifth and sixth each occupy their own unique world. Each series is commonly based on the the original storyline but things are added to make them unique. However, in Tamers, the Adventure universe is referred to as a commercial enterprise — a trading card game in Japan, plus a show-within-a-show in the English dub. It also features an appearance by a character from the Adventure universe. In addition, each series has spawned assorted feature films. Digimon still shows popularity, as new card series, video games, and movies are still being produced and released: new card series include Eternal Courage, Hybrid Warriors, Generations, and Operation X; the video game, Digimon Rumble Arena 2; and the previously unreleased movies Revenge of Diaboromon, Runaway Locomon, Battle of Adventurers, and Island of Lost Digimon. In Japan, Digital Monster X-Evolution, the eighth TV movie, was released on January 3, 2005, and on December 23, 2005 at Jump Festa 2006, the fifth series, Digimon Savers was announced for Japan to begin airing after a three-year hiatus of the show. A sixth television series, Digimon Xros Wars, began airing in 2010,[6] and was followed by a second season, which started on October 2, 2011 as a direct sequel to Digimon Xros Wars.

In August 2014, it was announced that a new Digimon Series will start airing in 2015. Celebrating the 15 years of the first series, it will be set in the Digimon Adventure universe, following a 17-year-old Tai and his friends in an all new story.[7]

Digimon was produced by Toei Animation and Bandai of Japan. The series were broadcast in Japan by Fuji Television, except for Xros Wars, which instead aired on TV Asahi. The first four series were called Digimon: Digital Monsters in international markets, while Savers was released as Digimon Data Squad and Xros Wars has been released as Digimon Fusion.


Digimon Adventure

The first Digimon television series, which began airing on March 7, 1999 in Japan on Fuji TV and Kids Station and on August 14, 1999 in the United States on Fox Kids dubbed by Saban Entertainment for the North American English version. Its premise is a group of 7 kids who, while at summer camp, travel to the Digital World,[5] inhabited by creatures known as Digital Monsters, or Digimon, learning they are chosen to be "DigiDestined" ("Chosen Children" in the Japanese version) to save both the Digital and Real World from evil. Each Kid was given a Digivice which selected them to be transported to the DigiWorld and was destined to be paired up with a Digimon Partner, such as Tai being paired up with Agumon and Matt with Gabumon. The children are helped by a mysterious man/digimon named Gennai, who helps them via hologram. The Digivices help their Digimon allies to Digivolve into stronger creatures in times of peril. The Digimon usually reached higher forms when their human partners are placed in dangerous situations, such as fighting the evil forces of Devimon, Etemon and Myotismon in their Champion forms. Later, each character discovered a crest that each belonged to a person; Tai the Crest of Courage, Matt the Crest of Friendship, Sora the Crest of Love, Izzy the Crest of Knowledge, Mimi the Crest of Sincerity, Joe the Crest of Reliability, T.K. the Crest of Hope, and later Kari the Crest of Light which allowed their Digimon to digivolve into their Ultimate forms. The group consisted of seven original characters: Taichi "Tai" Kamiya, Yamato "Matt" Ishida, Sora Takenouchi, Koushiro "Izzy" Izumi, Mimi Tachikawa, Joe Kido, and Takeru "T.K." Takaishi. Later on in the series, an eighth character was introduced: Hikari "Kari" Kamiya (who is Taichi's younger sister).[5]

Digimon Adventure 02

The second Digimon series is direct continuation of the first one, and began airing on April 2, 2000. Three years later, with most of the original DigiDestined now in high school at age fourteen, the Digital World was supposedly secure and peaceful. However, a new evil has appeared in the form of the Digimon Emperor (Digimon Kaiser) who as opposed to previous enemies is a human just like the DigiDestined. The Digimon Emperor has been enslaving Digimon with Dark Rings and Control Spires and has somehow made regular Digivolution impossible. However, five set Digi-Eggs with engraved emblems had been appointed to three new DigiDestined along with T.K. and Kari, two of the DigiDestined from the previous series. This new evolutionary process, dubbed Armor Digivolution helps the new DigiDestined to defeat evil lurking in the Digital World. Eventually, the DigiDestined defeat the Digimon Emperor, more commonly known as Ken Ichijouji on Earth, only with the great sacrifice of Ken's own Digimon, Wormmon. Just when things were thought to be settled, new Digimon enemies made from the deactivated Control Spires start to appear and cause trouble in the Digital World. To atone for his past mistakes, Ken joins the DigiDestined, being a DigiDestined himself, with his Partner Wormmon revived to fight against them. They soon save countries including France and Australia from control spires and defeat MaloMyotismon (BelialVamdemon), the digivolved form of Myotismon (Vamdemon) from the previous series. They stop the evil from destroying the two worlds, and at the end, every person on Earth gains their own Digimon partner.


Digimon Tamers

The third Digimon series, which began airing on April 1, 2001, is set largely in a "real world" where the Adventure and Adventure 02 series are television shows, and where Digimon game merchandise (based on actual items) become key to providing power boosts to real Digimon which appear in that world. The plot revolves around three Tamers, Takato Matsuki, Rika Nonaka, and Henry Wong. It began with Takato creating his own Digimon partner by sliding a mysterious blue card through his card reader, which then became a D-Power. Guilmon takes form from Takato’s sketchings of a new Digimon. (Tamers’ only human connection to the Adventure series is Ryo Akiyama, a character featured in some of the Digimon video games and who made an appearance in some occasions of the Adventure story-line.) Some of the changes in this series include the way the Digimon digivolve with the introduction of Biomerge-Digivolution and the way their "Digivices" work. In this series, the Tamers can slide game cards through their "Digivices" and give their Digimon partners certain advantages, as in the card game. This act is called "Digi-Modify" (Card Slash in the Japanese version). The same process was often used to Digivolve the Digimon, but as usual, emotions play a big part in the digivolving process. Unlike the two seasons before it and most of the seasons that followed, Digimon Tamers takes a darker and more realistic approach to its story featuring Digimon who do not reincarnate after their deaths and more complex character development in the original Japanese, but the English dub is more lighthearted dialogue-wise, similar to previous series.

Digimon Frontier

The fourth Digimon series, which began airing on April 7, 2002, radically departs from the previous three by focusing on a new and very different kind of evolution, Spirit Evolution, in which the human characters use their D-Tectors (this series' Digivice) to transform themselves into special Digimon called Legendary Warriors, detracting from the customary formula of having digital partners. After receiving unusual phone messages from Ophanimon (one of the three ruling Digimon alongside Seraphimon and Cherubimon) Takuya Kanbara, Koji Minamoto, Junpei Shibayama, Zoe Orimoto, Tommy Himi, and Koichi Kimura[8] go to a subway station and take a train to the Digital World. Summoned by Ophanimon, the Digidestined realize that they must find the ten legendary spirits and stop the forces of Cherubimon from physically destroying the Digital World. After finding the ten spirits of the Legendary Warriors and defeating Mercurymon, Grumblemon, Ranamon, and Arbormon, they finally end up fighting Cherubimon hoping to foil his effort to dominate the Digital World. After the defeat of Cherubimon, the Digidestined find they must face an even greater challenge as they try to stop the Royal Knights—Dynasmon and Crusadermon—from destroying the Digital World and using the collected data to revive the original ruler of the Digital World: the tyrannical Lucemon. Ultimately the Digidestined fail in preventing Lucemon from reawakening but they do manage to prevent him from escaping into the Real World. In the final battle, all of the legendary spirits the digidestined have collected thus far merge and create Susanoomon. With this new form, the digidestined are able to effectively defeat Lucemon and save the Digital World. In general, Frontier has a much lighter tone than that of Tamers, yet remains darker than Adventure and Adventure 02.

Digimon Savers/Data Squad

After a three year hiatus, a fifth Digimon series began airing on April 2, 2006. Like Frontier, Savers has no connection with the previous installments, and also marks a new start for the Digimon franchise, with a drastic change in character designs and story-line, in order to reach a broader audience. The story focuses on the challenges faced by the members of D.A.T.S. ("Digital Accident Tactics Squad"), an organization created to conceal the existence of the Digital World and Digimon from the rest of mankind, and secretly solve any Digimon-related incidents occurring on Earth. Later the D.A.T.S. is dragged into a massive conflict between Earth and the Digital World, triggered by an ambitious human scientist named Akihiro Kurata,[9] determined to make use of the Digimon for his own personal gains. The English version was dubbed by Studiopolis and it premiered on the Jetix block on Toon Disney on October 1, 2007. Digivolution in Data Squad requires the human partner's DNA ("Digital Natural Ability" in the English version and "Digisoul" in the Japanese version) to activate, a strong empathy with their Digimon and a will to succeed. 'Digimon Savers' also introduces a new form of digivolving called Burst Mode which is essentially the level above Mega (previously the strongest form a digimon could take). Like previously in Tamers, this plot takes on a dark tone throughout the story and the anime was aimed, originally in Japan, at an older audience consisting of late teens and people in their early twenties from ages 16 to 21. Because of that, along with the designs, the anime being heavily edited and localized for western US audiences like past series, and the English dub being aimed mostly toward younger audiences of children aged 6 to 10 and having a lower TV-Y7-FV rating just like past dubs, Studiopolis dubbed the anime on Jetix with far more edits, changes, censorship, and cut footage. This included giving the Japanese characters full Americanized names and American surnames as well as applying far more Americanization (Marcus Damon as opposed to the Japanese Daimon Masaru), cultural streamlining and more edits to their version similar to the changes 4Kids often made (such as removal of Japanese text for the purpose of cultural streamlining). Despite all that, the setting of the country was still in Japan and the characters were Japanese in the dub. This series was the first to show any Japanese cultural concepts that were unfamiliar with American audiences (such as the manju), which were left unedited and used in the English dub. Also despite the heavy censorship and the English dub aimed at young children, some of the Digimon's attacks named after real weapons such as RizeGreymon's Trident Revolver are not edited and used in the English dub. Well Go USA released it on DVD instead of Disney. The North American English dub was televised on Jetix in the U.S. and on the Family Channel in Canada.

Digimon Xros Wars/Fusion

Three and a quarter years after the end of the fifth series, a new sixth series was confirmed by Bandai for the Digimon anime, its official name of the series revealed in the June issue of Shueisha's V Jump magazine being Digimon Xros Wars. It began airing in Japan on TV Asahi from July 6, 2010 onwards.[10][11] Reverting to the design style of the first four series as well as the plot taking on the younger, lighter tone present in series one, two and four throughout the story. The story follows a boy named Mikey Kudō (Taiki Kudo in Japan) who, along with his friends, ends up in the Digital World where they meet Shoutmon and his Digimon friends. Wielding a digivice known as a Fusion Loader (Xros Loader in Japan), Mikey is able to combine multiple Digimon onto one to enhance his power, Shoutmon being the usual core of the combination, using a technique known as 'DigiFuse' (Digi-Xros in Japan). Forming Team Fusion Fighters (Team Xros Heart in Japan), Mikey, Shoutmon and their friends travel through the Digital World to liberate it from the evil Bagra Army, led by Bagramon(Lord Bagra in English), and Midnight, a shady group led by AxeKnightmon with Nene as a figurehead before joining the Fusion Fighters. The Fusion Fighters also finds themselves at odds with Blue Flare, led by Christopher Aonuma (Kiriha Anouma in Japan). The second arc of Xros Wars was subtitled The Evil Death Generals and the Seven Kingdoms. It saw the main cast reshuffled with a new wardrobe while Angie (Akari in Japan) and Jeremy (Zenjiro in Japan) stay behind in the Human World; thus making Mikey, Christopher and Nene the lead protagonists as they set off to face the Seven Death Generals of the Bagra Army and AxeKnightmon's new pawn: Nene's brother Ewan (Yuu in Japan). A new evolution known as Super Digivolution was introduced at the end of the first arc. The English dub of the series began airing on Nickelodeon on September 7, 2013, which is produced by Saban Brands.

On August 17, 2011, Shueisha's V-Jump magazine announced a sequel set one year later, a third arc of Xros Wars subtitled The Young Hunters Who Leapt Through Time, which aired from October 2, 2011 to March 25, 2012, following on from the previous arc. It focuses on a new protagonist, Tagiru Akashi and his partner Gumdramon who embark on a new journey with an older Mikey, Shoutmon, an older Ewan and the revived Damemon, along with other new comrades as they deal with a hidden dimension that lies between the Human World and the Digital World called DigiQuartz. The series finale reintroduces the heroes of the previous five seasons as they all come together and help the current heroes in the final battle due to the fact that the DigiQuartz is essentially a tear in Space and Time, allowing all of the Digimon universes to converge.[12]

Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Who Leapt Through Time was a nominee for the 2012 International Emmy Kids Awards for "Best Animation".[13]

Digimon Adventure tri

The seventh Digimon series was announced two and a half years after the end of Xros Wars a 15th anniversary concert and theater event for the franchise in August 2014. The series announced the return of the protagonists from the original Digimon Adventure series, most of them now as high school students.[14] A countdown clicking game was posted on the show's official website, offering news when specific clicks were met. On December 13, 2014 the series title and a key visual featuring character designs by Yuuko Kakihara were revealed. Keitaro Motonaga was also announced as series director and the series will premiere in Spring, 2015.[15]

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