I vividly remember my childhood obsessions with Digimon and Pokémon. I remember being embarrassed by the fact that I liked them so much and would really only like them in secret. Other girls didn’t watch the shows or play the games. Digimon and Pokémon were things that only boys liked. I remember meeting two friends that actually also secretly liked it as much as I did and we used to have playdates where we would pretend to be different Digimon or Pokémon. Thinking back to it, it was silly that I felt like I had to be so secretive about this obsession, but I really didn’t want to jeopardize my elementary school popularity, which at the time was one of the most important things in the world.
Now I am much more open about the fact that I liked/still like Pokémon and Digimon. It’s a linkage to my tomboy past. From time to time, I will play Pokémon Go and occasionally even play the old gameboy games. While Pokémon has continued to evolve (no pun intended) into existing for the new generation through the never-ending TV show and continuous video games being released, Digimon had more or less ended by the time I felt I was too old to watch cartoons anymore. Recently, as the bulk of their fans have grown up, Digimon has released a miniseries called Digimon Adventure Tri. It’s an attempt to attract any nostalgic fans and even the style of production seems somewhat more mature than the goofy aesthetic I recall Digimon having when I was little.
I think ultimately what made me love these two shows was the fact that they both featured kids who found companionship in some kind of creatures. I wasn’t really into any other type of Japanese anime as a kid, but I loved animals more than anything. I had a massive collection of beanie babies and had so many little animal figurines around the house that family members would curse me whenever they stepped on one. I wanted a pet more than anything, so watching these TV shows that had make-believe, friendly monsters that turned into the characters’ best friends fulfilled all of my little girl dreams. I never got my pet but I did have my fantasies in which I would get a Digimon or Pokémon of my own.
If I had to choose one over the other? Hmm…that’s hard. I would say I cherished Pokémon for their video games, but I prefer Digimon as a show. I felt it had a more interesting plot development and the characters were significantly more likeable than Ash Ketchum.
I’m sure we all had things we were embarrassed about as children and now as adults we’re able to recognize their triviality. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my little kid secret :)