Anime Underground

The Best Anime Like Digimon 

Ranker Anime
Updated May 31, 2019 168 votes 62 voters 3.3k views 13 items

For many anime fans, Digimon was their gateway into the medium. The first series follows seven children who are transported to the Digital World. There, they meet their partner Digimon, who they are destined to work with in order to save both the Digital World and the real world from destruction. For a kids show about monsters, it's surprisingly emotionally resonant - each character comes with their own personal struggles that they must contend with as they strive to become heroes. It's a beloved show, but are there other great anime like Digimon out there? Absolutely there are!

People constantly compare Digimon and Pokémon, and while the two shows are more different than people give them credit for, they do offer a similar experience. But it's not just shows with monster partners that offer fans of Digimon something they'll enjoy. Anime like Summer Wars and Sword Art Online blur the lines between the Internet and reality, while shows like Elemental Hunters and Mujin Wakusei Survive depict children on dangerous adventures in another world. There are plenty of wonderful anime similar to Digimon out there - and there's bound to be at least a couple on this list that you'll love. 

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Anime Like Digimon
Photo:  Studio Gallop

Like Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh! was a starter anime for many millennials. If these shows were part of your childhood, Yu-Gi-Oh! is worth taking a look at for the sake of nostalgia alone. Out of all of the Yu-Gi-Oh! seasons, GX is the one with the most in common with Digimon. Though it begins with a group of students attending a high school dedicated to turning kids into pro duelists, the cards they're using turn out to be actual spirits who they can interact with. Some attach themselves to specific people, and some of them speak and have distinct personalities. What's more, there's another realm where they all live, which humans can travel to. In fact, they must if they want to save the world.

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Summer Wars is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Anime Like Digimon
Photo:  Madhouse

Summer Wars was actually directed by Mamoru Hosoda, the man behind one of the Digimon movies, Bokura no War Game. These movies are similar not just in their premise - teenagers trying to stop a digital threat from invading the real world - but in their execution. In fact, there are so many shot-for-shot similarities that some have accused Hosoda of plagiarizing himself through Summer Wars - though others argue that he is simply continuing to work with a theme that interests him. Regardless of where you stand on that particular issue, Summer Wars is still worth watching - especially if you loved the second Digmon movie. 

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Element Hunters is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Anime Like Digimon
Photo: Heewon Entertainment

In 2029, the Earth loses many key elements, including oxygen, carbon, gold, molybdenum, and cobalt. This destroys 90% of the Earth's population, and those who are left must figure out how to survive in a damaged world. As it turns out, all of these elements have been sucked into a planet called Nega Earth, which exists in an alternate dimension. This dimension can only be accessed by children, but it's an incredibly dangerous place filled with monsters who need to be defeated in order to get ahold of the elements. Just like in Digimon, what happens in the alternate world has a huge impact on the real one - and the only people who can save the world are children. 

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Pokémon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Anime Like Digimon
Photo:  OLM

Pokémon and Digimon are compared so frequently that it's not uncommon to see anime fans claiming that one ripped off of the other. While they're different enough to render that judgment unfair, they do have some major things in common. Both series revolve around super-powered creatures who team up with humans in order to win battles. Their reasons for fighting, as well as the process, do differ, but if you like one of these shows, chances are high that you'll like the other one too.

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