A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this anime series bears a lot of similarity to the well-known Pokemon franchise and comes complete with its own entourage of trading cards, video games, and toys. The frequent battles among the digital creatures are flashy and loud, but easily recognizable to kids as total fantasy. When they do occur, injuries are limited to the creatures rather than the kids (and instead of dying, they disassemble into small pieces which are said to reincarnate later). The show is targeted at kids 5-7, but the battles could be too scary for younger viewers; older children may be more interested in anime movies. Kids who don't watch regularly may be confused when they do tune in, since multiple cast and plot changes over the years lead to lots of continuity issues.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Long-running cartoon series DIGIMON: DIGITAL MONSTERS centers on a group of kids who travel to a parallel universe called DigiWorld and work alongside the digital creatures they befriend there to battle evil forces that threaten their peaceful existence. The Japanese-inspired anime 'toon has been known under a number of different titles since it began airing in 1999, including Digimon Adventures and Digimon Tamers. With each title change, the series added new characters and tweaked the original plot (in which the initial seven kids mysteriously transported to DigiWorld from their summer camp and ended up immersed in battle).
Is it any good?
While the general basis of relationships between the show's kids and their digital companions remained constant over the course of the series, almost everything else went through many makeovers. Some seasons feature seven human visitors to DigiWorld; others, as few as three. In early episodes, the kids can't get back home; later stories show a new cast of youngsters effortlessly journeying between the two worlds. And while in most stories each kid has his own specialized Digimon sidekick, a full season of episodes featured humans who could transform into the digital beings rather than just summon them for battles.
Youngsters will certainly find this lack of continuity confusing, and parents may be wary of introducing their kids to yet another marketing conglomerate looking to rival Pokemon. (Digimon boasts a similar assortment of tie-in video games, trading cards, virtual pets, and other toys.) And it's worth noting that although the show's violence is mostly of the flashy, fantasy variety and battles are reserved for the digital beings, those who are seriously injured dissolve into pieces that are said to regroup and reincarnate at a later date.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what kids like about this show. How is it similar to and different from shows like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!? Why do you think these anime-style shows are so popular in America? Families can also talk about cross-promotion and how TV shows and movies are used to sell products. Kids: What other Digimon products are you familiar with (cards, games, toys)? Do you own any of them? How does watching TV affect your desire for items like these?
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