Following the success of the Dragon Ball Super CG, Bandai released the Digimon TCG in Japan in April 2020, with the English Version following in January 2021. Although it is the newest TCG on the block, it has already built an incredibly large community. Going off the products that have already been released in Japan, we can get a good idea of where Bandai intend on taking the game. So, with the future of the Digimon TCG looking so exciting, will it be capable of reaching the heights of other leading TCGs and become as popular?
One of the reasons why we love reboots of older TV shows, movies and video games is because they allow us to revisit our childhood. Anime series like Pokemon, Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh and Dragon Ball Z were all incredibly popular in the 90s and became a huge part of our lives growing up. Now, in 2021, having these shows present feeds our hunger for nostalgia and reminds us of simpler times. Pokemon never left our screens, managing to transition and change to cater to each generation that was watching it at any particular time. Shows that disappeared after their initial run, like Dragon Ball Z and Digimon, have recently made a comeback in the form of Dragon Ball Super and the Digimon Adventure reboot released in Japan.
The revived interest in these older franchises couldn’t have come at a better time, as those who were young in the 1990s and 2000s are now all grown up and have the one thing they always wanted when they were kids – money to spend on merchandise! With this freedom to buy, led by our burning passion to collect and play the TCGs based on our favourite childhood shows, the Digimon TCG has the potential of growing even larger in popularity, especially among those who favoured the series over all the others.
To read more about how nostalgia plays a huge part in today’s popular TCGs, check out our article discussing this point in the Pokemon TCG, here.
Are Scalpers Going To Burn The Game Out?
A huge problem that seems to be running rampant in most leading TCGs at the moment are the scalpers buying up retail stock and selling it on at marked up prices. For the Digimon TCG, with its limited product range as of March 2021, this means that even those trying to enter the game are finding it difficult to source any Starter Decks or Booster Packs. This obviously begs the question, without a running start, how is the game expected to grow? Luckily, Bandai has announced that they will be doing reprints of Special Booster Ver 1.0 and Ver 1.5, which will replenish stocks and level things out, as long as these new products are not bought up straight away for the sole intention of selling them on at hiked up prices.
Is History Going To Repeat Itself?
When Pokemon broke out onto the scene in the late 90s, Digimon wasn’t far behind. The concept for both shows were similar in nature, although the plot, art style and characters set them both apart. Some kids preferred just one or the other, while some, like myself, opted to collect anything related to both series. Among the masses of merchandise that was released for both anime series, the most popular thing to collect were the TCGs. While the Pokemon TCG only went from strength to strength, propelled by creative marketing and constant TV episodes being produced, the original Digimon TCG, named Digi-Battle, only lasted two short years. The reason for this failure was mostly down to the poor distribution of the cards and low viewer numbers following the release of the Digimon: Tamer series. The game that Digi-Battle was closely based on, Digimon Hyper Colosseum, was incredibly popular in Japan. In fact, the TCG rivalled that of Pokemon at the time and even hosted multiple tournaments, before popularity eventually dropped off completely around 2005. Could the latest Digimon TCG meet the same fate and get forgotten about after a few years?
With the new TCG dropping during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has inadvertently repeated the same distribution issues that Digi-Battle had, only with one major difference – we are now much better connected. When we were kids, you would have to travel from store to store to find stock, whereas now we have the internet to get our packs delivered to our door. As previously mentioned, the problem with this is that stock is being bought up by scalpers, which means online retailers are constantly out of stock. This could force some people to give up on sourcing boosters and boycotting the game altogether.
To learn more about the previous Digimon TCG and its predecessor, Hyper Coliseum, check out our article – The Downfall Of The Original Digimon Card Game.
Will the Rebooted Series Help the TCG?
Last year, the original Digimon: Adventure series was rebooted and released in Japan. Although this show shares the same characters as the original series, there were a number of changes made to update it. The biggest change is that it is set in the year 2020, rather than 1999, meaning that everyone has modern technology. This is fantastic for younger audiences who can relate better to it, but also runs the risk of putting off those who grew up and prefer the original series. While there are other differences, the most notable are the changes made to the order of events and the relationships between some of the characters.
It still waits to be seen if the rebooted series will help generate new interest in the TCG like Dragon Ball Super did, although the biggest difference between the Bandai siblings is that Super is a brand new series set in the DB universe, while Digimon is returning to the beginning. Will we see new movies come off the back of the Digimon reboot to help the TCG grow further? Maybe they will introduce more modern Digimon that collectors and players will be keen to see in card form?
Will The Artwork Help It Reach The Top?
One aspect that helps many TCGs grow in popularity is the artwork. If we consider TCGs like Pokemon, Final Fantasy and Magic the Gathering, art styles are not limited to one variation. With art experimentation, the results can be seriously impressive and offer cards that collectors will want to get their hand on. Unlike the DBS CG, where the artwork must stay close to the style of the series, Digimon has more creative wiggle room. In BT1-3, we have seen some incredible and varied art styles. Cards such as the alternate art MetalGreymon have even taken inspiration from the old style of Hyper Colosseum. This variance will surely keep people interested and will help grow the game further.
The Digimon TCG instantly found popularity among fans around the world and has been building its community since day one. With such passion being shown very early on, it does have the potential to reach the same popularity as the DBS CG and beyond. With the Great Legends Booster Set coming out in May and official competitive play yet to begin, there are a lot of exciting things to look forward to in the Digimon TCG.
Mathew Parkes – Ludkins Media
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