Characters from the first seasons of Digimon.
Team Digimon

In today;s movie world, studios grasp at every kid’s show idea that can be found, with varying success. They made Angry Birds and Dora into live action movies. Recently Pokemon made a huge splash with Detective Pikachu. Then movies like The Emoji movie tanked horribly. Could a live action Digimon be making its first steps to the live action big screen?

The Creator Resurfaces

Artist RJ Palmer seems to think so. Who is RJ Palmer and what weight does he carry? Quite simply, his artistry inspired The Pokemon Company and Legendary into creating a live action Pokemon. His preconception work actually inspired and fueled teh go ahead for Detective Pikachu. Palmer’s toying around with imagery led to this latest tease:

live action digimon

That is Palmer’s live action take on this guy:

Cartoon Greymon during digivolution

While the cartoon Geymon looks fierce as a cartoon, his actual look according to Palmer down right terrifies. If Digimon sees live action, creators will walk a fine line between what the true creatures should look like and keeping it more kid friendly. Digimon seems to aim at slightly older audiences with its more terrifying monsters and demonic themes. Pokemon tends to stay more hokey and impossible looking. If Pokemon was such a huge success, could Digimon be just as successful? Or would it be doomed before it started?

Live Action Pokemon Over Digimon

Pokemon and Digimon have always gone head to head with each other for the attention of kids. The winner in the end depends on what one looks for. Does one want simplistic and cute, or darker and more absorbing?

Pokemon has been around for roughly 30 years now, albeit in various forms and incantations. Almost all stories revolve around a trainer catching Pokemon and training them to fight in gym battles. The longest running and most familiar of which would be Ash Catchum and his little pal Pikachu.

The stories are extremely repetitive and offer little differentiation other than changing up the Pokemon of the week. The Pokemon may evolve into new forms depending on certain criteria, but sadly the human characters rarely adapt or change. In any form the Pokemon always stay cute or dorky looking, never frightening or evil.

This simplistic story telling, endless game versions and an immortal card game play keeps Pokemon on the tops of the franchise money makers of all time. Kids don’t need to follow complex storied or get scared off. They simply watch their favorite Pokemon go head to head.

One huge bonus to the Detective Pickachu approach comes from the studio telling an entirely new story that looks nothing like the cartoons. They abandoned all the tired formulas and came up with a new approach to the classic franchise.

Live Action Digimon Over Pokemon

All this simplicity may be well and good, but in the end it remains exactly that – a simplistic formula. Creators are so scared to change anything, that even though new Pokemon come and go, Pikachu will never evolve or the simplistic story telling loses its key character.

Digimon, quite simply, lacks fear. The story telling for Digimon goes deeper than anything Pokemon could dream. The creatures evolve into some hideous incarnations, and those are often the good guys! While the cartoon started with the Digi-Destined, later seasons not only completely changed Digimon, but main characters as well. Digimon takes risks and they usually pay off.

A live action Digimon movie could retell the story of the Digi-Destined. It could tell the story of Takato and Guilmon, or it could start with a whole new crew. Technology has advanced so many way that this digital universe is even quite plausible for movie standards. Creators would be free to do anything they wanted with a Digimon series. In the end thsi would remain true of a good Digimon movie: The characters would grow and follow personal journeys kids could relate too.

Another bonus to Digimon comes with ‘returnability’. What I mean is with Pikachu, if he evolves, story tellers are stuck with Raichu – for good. In Digimon, although the mighty Greymon may scare some kids, he always returns to his smaller rookie form of Agumon, a cuddly softer dinosaur.

Don’t Hold Your Breath

This first concept picture by RJ Palmer remains exactly that – a personal concept project. Then again if Palmer’s magic holds up, this may inspire the attempt to create a live action Digimon movie. Digimon does seem to be rising in popularity once more with the addition of new games and projects. Let’s hope this project gets going and gets off the ground.