Digimon franchise making a comeback to fight Pokemon
A brief history not too long ago...
After many years of being forgotten by the public, the Digimon franchise is coming back! This time it has a lot more financial backing and support from the company, and fans are loving it.
Back in 2000, Digimon was the main rival to the Pokemon Franchise. It had a card game, console games on Wonderswan (a device some of you may not have heard of), alongside games released on Playstation 1. They had their own Digivice which is unique to the franchise and easily identifiable. Its technology was also one of a kind, the first device where it counted your steps as you walked and that determined when you would encounter other digimon to battle. It was basically augmented reality in its infancy, like a super-baby version of PokemonGo It was basically Tamagochi for boys.
(Digimon Adventure Anime 1999, Season 1 cover)
(1999 digivice and remakes of the original design)
Somewhere along the lines the franchise fell apart. The anime was not developed further, new movies stopped coming out. Card games were no longer financially supported, leading to a continual fall in their fan base, and ultimately, resulted in their lost in marketshare to Pokemon. Pokemon continued to progress as a franchise, growing into an ever bigger mammoth that resembles more of an organism than a company.
Pokemon's anime has been going strong and is still producing new content now, some twenty odd years later. They periodically come out with new anime and movies, and the franchise has great appeal to children both boys and girls. Their big fan base does not just stem from their general appeal, but more related to their systemic strategic approach in nurturing each new generation to grow up with Pokemon in one shape or form. This translates into major sales and revenues across the board, whether it be plush toys, stationary, gameboy games, nintendo switch games or trading card games.
Digimon has been trucking along quietly in the background all these years, with anniversary releases of limited release digivices, promo cards and figurines.
Digimon the year 2020
Many things have happened this year to point towards Digimon trying to rise from the ashes.
November 22nd 2019 to January 9th 2020: The Digimon pop-up store, hosted by LB POP-UP Theater in Shibuya PARCO.
(source: The Otaku Paradise in the New Shibuya PARCO 2019, Japan Info, 27 Nov 2020, https://jpninfo.com/190945)
Feb 21st, 2020: Digimon Adventure (Movie): Last Evolution -Kizuna
The movie is set in the same universe as the original first two season of the anime from 1999 and wraps up that story line.
April 5th, 2020: Eighth Digimon Anime: Digimon Adventure, a reboot of the 1999 series
April 24th 2020: Digimon New Card Game official release
The fact that the movie was set in the original series 1 & 2 anime universe and that the new Anime season is a reboot of the first season are obvious indicators that the franchise is trying to grab the attention of past fans and the generation that grew up with Digimon but has since forgotten it. With the card game coming on the heels of the new movie and anime release, it should come as no surprise that they intend to make this card game as successful as they can.
The question still remains -how successful will this franchise reboot be? The timing is not the best in the face of COVID-19. Card shops can't host competitions and fewer customers will come into the shops to buy cards. Having said that, the products are still being sold out completely in all markets, including foreign markets in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong often in the first few days of release. In Hong Kong, all booster box allocations are completely pre-sold to customers before launch day, and there are very few booster boxes left after release day. Those that are available are sold at prices of USD $60-65.
In summary, Digimon has timed the market well with their movie and anime launches to jolt the nostalgia from its lost generation of fans. A lot of money is being poured into reinvigorate this franchise and more can be expected. This is good for the card game and the community as a whole!
But please don't ask when the english card game will come out! That's another discussion topic on its own... worthy of another article.
Thanks for tuning in. In future articles I will approach topics such as financial value per set and collectibility
9 Aug 2020
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- Tags: Card Journeys, Cards, Collecting, digimon, Digimon New Card Game, English, Investing, Japanese, Market, Pokemon, TCG