Digimon: How to Get Started With the (Many) Anime Series

Digimon was one of the biggest anime franchises of the '90s and was many anime fans' first real series. It might surprise some earlier fans to learn that the franchise actually continues to this day, Digimon has grown well beyond the original adventures of DigiDestined, to the point where it might seem daunting to try and jump into the series now. However, most of the many Digimon series are easily accessible thanks to streaming services -- especially Hulu. Here's the rundown on each Digimon anime and where you can watch them.

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Where to Watch Digimon: Digital Monsters

Digimon Adventure, or Digimon: Digital Monsters, originally aired in 1998 and starred a group of kids called the DigiDestined who fought alongside their Digimon to save the Digital World. The English dub made many changes to the characters' names and even the background music and sound effects, but it still stands out as many fans' introduction to not just Digmon, but anime as a whole. This season has 54 episodes and, like much of the franchise, can currently be streamed on Hulu.

Where to Watch Digimon Adventure 2

Digimon Adventure 02 10 Best Armor Digivolutions

Digimon Adventure 2 was released in America as the second season of Digimon: Digital Monsters, and follows up on the previous story by having the Digital World invaded by the Digimon Emperor. To combat his machinations, three new DigiDestined, along with a few returning heroes, are brought in to stop his scheme to keep Digimon from Digivolving. This season was 50 episodes long and, like its predecessor, can now be found on Hulu. Its direct sequel, the Digimon Adventure tri film series, began in 2015 and is available on Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, the Itunes Store and Shout Factory TV.

Where to Watch Digimon Tamers

Digimon Tamers was a change of pace for the franchise, as it was not a sequel to the previous series. It also drastically changed the concept, with the characters in the show literally playing the Digimon trading card game, while the previous series' DigiDestined were just cartoons in their world. In the story, Digimon travel suddenly from the Digital World to the real world and team up with young Tamers to stop other, out-of-control monsters from wreaking havoc. Compared to its predecessors, Tamers took a much darker approach and gave its characters more well-rounded development. Despite these differences, its 51 episodes were billed as the third season of Digital Monsters outside of Japan. The series can be streamed via Hulu.

Where to Watch Digimon Frontier

Another big difference came in Digital Monsters' fourth and final season, Digimon Frontier. The heroes of this series fight to escape the Digital World and, instead of training Digimon, these DigiDestined fuse with ancient warrior spirits to become Digimon themselves. Because of this, Frontier is often considered the black sheep of the franchise, despite its unique approach playing out quite well. Like the rest of the original series, it can be found on Hulu, containing 50 episodes.

Where to Watch Digimon Data Squad

Digimon Data Squad severed all ties to previous shows and continuities, starting things from scratch and having a cast of teenagers and young adults instead of children. It involved the Digital Accident Tactics Squad, who fought to keep the peace between the real world and the Digital World. This peace is opposed by the mysterious Merukimon, who wages war against the human world.

Unfortunately, the 48 episode series is extremely hard to come by, and is unavailable on any streaming service. The only way for non-Japanese fans to enjoy it is to purchase the series through the Google Play Movies & TV app.

Where to Watch Digimon Fusion

Shoutmon from Digimon Fusion

Digimon Fusion, or Digimon Xros Wars, saw protagonist Mikey/Taiki Kudo creating a team of Fusion Fighter Digimon to stop Lord Bagramon from conquering the real and Digital Worlds by collecting the 108 Code Crown fragments. It received three seasons and 79 episodes, but only two seasons received an English release. It can only streamed in its original Japanese incarnation via Crunchyroll.

Where to Watch Digimon Universe: App Monsters

As its name would suggest, App Monsters updates the Digimon concept to include Appmons that are born through mobile apps, living in a futuristic World Wide Web that comments on technology and artificial intelligence gone awry. It lasted for 52 episodes, also receiving a video game and two manga as part of a multimedia rebranding of the franchise. The series can be streamed via Crunchyroll and VRV.

Where to Watch Digimon Adventure (2020)

Digimon Adventure Tai

The latest anime in the franchise, like the original, is titled Digimon Adventure and reboots the original series' story. It came after the original continuity was officially ended by Last Evolution - Kizuna, and places the original DigiDestined in the year 2020. Just beginning last year, it's already aired 66 episodes, making it the second longest series in the franchise. Its popularity assures that it should soon easily surpass Fusion's length. It can be enjoyed on Hulu, VRV and Crunchyroll.