An English-language version produced by Saban Entertainment aired in North America between August 1999 and June 2000. A video game adaptation of the series by Prope was released for PlayStation Portable on January 17, 2013. The series was followed by Digimon Adventure 02, which takes place a few years after the events of Adventure. For the series' 15th anniversary, a series of films taking place a few years after the events of Adventure 02, titled Digimon Adventure tri., began release from November 21, 2015.
On August 1, 1999, seven kids Taichi "Tai" Kamiya, Sora Takenouchi, Yamato "Matt" Ishida, Koushiro "Izzy" Izumi, Mimi Tachikawa, Joe Kido, and Takeru "T.K." Takaishi are at a Summer Camp, getting to know each other a little better, when it suddenly begins snowing. As they begin to wonder how snow would be falling in the middle of Summer, the seven children suddenly receive a small Gadget that looks like a sort of gaming device, and are instantly transported through a Portal, and into a strange digital dimension known as the "Digital World". After regaining consciousness, they each befriend an inhabitant, known as Digimon (short for Digital Monsters). And, when faced with a certain threat, the children soon discover that, with the help of their newly obtained devices, soon known as a Digivice, they can help their Digital Partners digitally evolve, or Digivolve, into stronger, more powerful forms to combat the new threat.
As they travel through the Digital World's File Island, wanting to find a way home, the children then learn that they are, what the Digital World calls them, the DigiDestined, or chosen children who are compatible with Digimon. They were brought to the Digital World to help combat the evil Devimon, who wishes to take over the island. The children overcome his many obstacles, and with their Digimon partners they manage to defeat him. However; they learn that he is only the first of several threats to the Digital World. A mysterious Gennai contacts the children and informs them that they should travel to the Server continent in order to retrieve the artifacts known as Crests, which will further empower their Digimon partners, from the evil Etemon and his minions. After more trials and tribulations, the DigiDestined each retrieve their destined Crest and they defeat Etemon when Tai gets his partner Agumon to Digivolve to a new level of power. After Etemon's defeat, Tai and Agumon (as the weaker Koromon) are sent back into the human world, where Tai is reunited with his younger sister Kari Kamiya, who could not join them at summer camp, and discover that barely minutes have passed since they disappeared. When Tai receives a message from Izzy saying the Digital World is in chaos, Tai realizes he must return, and says goodbye to his sister, both unaware that another Digivice is in their home.
Tai and Agumon return to the Digital World and finds out they've been gone for weeks and tries to round up his friends who have been scattered again and tormented by the diabolical Myotismon and his minion DemiDevimon in an attempt to have them fail to unlock their Crests' powers. Once Tai reunites the group, Matt, Sora and Izzy manage to unlock their Crests' powers and learn from Gennai that Myotismon intends to head into the human world to find the eighth DigiDestined. After returning to the human world, the group rallies in defense of Tokyo against Myotismon and his minions, with Joe and Mimi invaluably gaining their Crests' powers in the midst of the battle, and learns that the eighth DigiDestined child is Tai's sister Kari, who is partnered with Myotismon's former minion Gatomon. However, even with the power of all eight children, after Kari gains the power of her Crest, they find they are no match for Myotismon when he becomes VenomMyotismon, at least until Tai and Matt unlock a new power that causes Agumon and Gabumon to Digivolve into their Mega forms.
With the defeat of Myotismon, the children learn that years and years have passed in the Digital World and a new evil threatens it, which could cause the destruction of both the human and Digital Worlds. With all eight DigiDestined in the Digital World, they learn that the Dark Masters, four elite villainous Digimon comprising MetalSeadramon, Puppetmon, Machinedramon and Piedmon, have been the orchestrators of all of the evil that had come before. The DigiDestined continue to face off against the Dark Masters and their minions, slowly freeing the Digital World from their grasp after they turned it into the single Spiral Mountain. During their journey, they learn that they were chosen to become the DigiDestined after they were all witnesses to a fight between two Digimon that entered the human world while they were much younger. Tensions rise among the group during its battles, with Matt deciding to go off on his own, and Mimi and Joe leaving the group together as well, and also encountering MetalEtemon and defeat him. The remaining members are miraculously able to continue the fight against the Dark Masters, and eventually come back together during the fight against the strongest Dark Master, Piedmon. Once T.K. finally unleashes his Crests' power, the last Dark Master, Piedmon is finally defeated, only to reveal the nihilistic and twisted Apocalymon standing in their way. Apocalymon intends to destroy both worlds, and after the DigiDestined defeat him, he sets up a massive suicide attack to destroy all existence, only to be stopped by the powers of the DigiDestined. With the human and Digital Worlds safe once more, Gennai sends the children back home, warning them that they will not be able to return and see their Digimon friends, again. However, Tai is sure that this is not true, and the link between the two worlds will not be closed forever.
In 1999, a short film based on the virtual pets called Digimon Adventure was released. However, shortly after the film's storyboard was completed in 1998, producers at Toei Animation were requested to turn it into a television show as well.
The DigiDestined's character designs were created by Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru. The staff had decided to name the characters based on kanji that related to luck. For the original Japanese version of Digimon Adventure, all music was composed by Arisawa Takanori who was best known for his compositions for the Sailor Moon franchise and Galaxy Fraulein Yuna. in addition to composing original music for digimon adventure, Arisawa Takanori has also recycled and made remixed versions of several music tracks from Sailor Moon Sailor Stars
When Saban acquired the US rights to the show, Wendee Lee, Michael Sorich, and David Walsh became the voice directors. The original soundtrack of the show was replaced by music composed by Udi Harpaz and Shuki Levy. For the Saban dub, Shuki Levy recycled several music soundtracks from Starcom: The U.S. Space Force an 1980s cartoon produced by DIC Entertainment in addition to recycling/reworking some of the music from the Princess Sissi, Masked Rider and Spider-Man: The Animated Series TV shows.
The English version of Digimon Adventure was somewhat unusual at the time it was dubbed. Most anime dubbed in the 1990s changed the names of characters and locales for the sake of localization. In Digimon, however, most names of the DigiDestined remained unchanged or were shortened to Americanized nicknames, and almost all name references to the locations in Japan visited during the series were retained. Some Digimon names were modified into English equivalents.
In addition the dialogues are heavily changed. While the Saban's English dub focused on being humorous, the original Japanese and other international versions as well as the English subtitled version of Adventure took a more serious approach.
Digimon Adventure was produced by Toei Animation and ran for 54 episodes on Fuji TV in Japan between March 7, 1999 and March 26, 2000. Saban Entertainment licensed the series in North America and produced an English-language version which aired on Fox Kids between August 14, 1999 and June 24, 2000. The English version featured an original soundtrack and made changes to character names, as well as edits pertaining to certain aspects such as violence to make the series more suitable for younger audiences. The series was released on DVD by Twentieth Century Fox (Saban's parent company) in 2000 and by Buena Vista Home Entertainment in 2002. A complete DVD boxset of the English dub was released by New Video Group on October 9, 2012 in the U.S and was released by Madman Entertainment on June 18, 2014 in Australia. Digimon Adventure and its sequel, Digimon Adventure 02, were added to the Netflix Instant Streaming service on August 3, 2013 in separate English dubbed and Japanese subtitled versions. The initial subtitles used were incomplete and contained many translation errors, and Toei has responded by gradually replacing the older subtitles with newer, more accurate tracks beginning the day of the initial series upload. The series was removed on August 1, 2015, after nearly two years on Netflix when Crunchyroll acquired streaming rights to the English dubbed versions and Funimation acquired rights to the English subtitled versions, the English dubbed version of Adventure returned to Netflix while the English subtitled version of Adventure are now exclusive to Funimation.
At an event celebrating the series' 15th anniversary on August 1, 2014, a new Digimon Adventure series, Digimon Adventure tri., was announced, scheduled to air in Spring 2015, depicting the main characters as they enter high school. The event also announced a Blu-ray Disc box of the original series, to be released in Japan on March 15, 2015.
The main opening theme for all episodes aired in Japan is "Butter-Fly" by Kōji Wada. "I wish" by Ai Maeda is used as the ending theme from episodes 1—26. She also sang the ending theme titled "keep on" from episodes 27—54. The series also uses three insert songs, "brave heart" by Ayumi Miyazaki, "Seven" by Kōji Wada and "Yūki o Tsubasa ni Shite" (勇気を翼にして, "Winging the Courage") by Toshiko Fujita. For the North American version, the opening theme for all episodes is "Digimon Theme" by Paul Gordon
Two short films based on the series were released in Japanese theaters in 1999 and 2000 respectively, with a 3D short film shown in 2009. The first two short films were combined with one of the movies from Digimon Adventure 02 and was released as Digimon: The Movie in North America.
Digimon Adventure (デジモンアドベンチャー, Dejimon Adobenchā) is the first Digimon short film. It was released in Japan on March 6, 1999, a day before the television series began airing in Japan. It was released in the United States on October 6, 2000 as the first part of Digimon: The Movie.
This film acts like a pilot episode for Digimon Adventure. The first story focused on Tai and Kari Kamiya four years before their adventure in the Digital World. It shows their first encounter with Digimon and what happened to them (as well as the other children that saw it became the other DigiDestined) when they participated in their first Digimon battle after raising a quickly growing Botamon. In the story, that Digimon hatches from a Digi-egg and eventually digivolved into Greymon to fight a Parrotmon who appeared in the city. The events from the movie were used in episodes of Digimon Adventure to explain why Tai and company became DigiDestined.
Digimon Adventure: Our War Game! (デジモンアドベンチャー ぼくらのウォーゲーム!, Dejimon Adobenchā: Bokura no Wō Gēmu!) is the second Digimon short film. It was released in Japan on March 4, 2000 and in the United States on October 6, 2000 as the second part of Digimon: The Movie.
The second story occurs a few months after the battle against Apocalymon. It shows many of the DigiDestined, but primarily focuses on Tai, Matt, Izzy, and T.K., as they end up saving the day when Diaboromon, a computer virus Digimon, raises havoc all over the world through the Internet, initially through consuming data, and then begins searching the American networks for a Digidestined called Willis. The evil Digimon initially defeats Agumon and Tentomon by Digivolving to his higher levels rapidly, but a second confrontation sees Diaboromon pummeled by Wargreymon and MetalGarurumon. However Tai's internet connection becomes flooded with emails from various children across the world, causing Wargreymon to freeze at a critical moment, allowing Diaboromon to defeat both Digimon and escape. Diaboromon then begins to copy himself rapidly, and infiltrates the American military to fire two nuclear ICBMs, one aimed at Willis in Colorado, and the second at the neighborhood of the Japanese Digidestined. Wargreymon and Metalgarurumon chase the copies of Diaboromon to another part of the internet, hoping to locate and destroy the original, as the copies will perish and the nuclear strike will stop. However, the two Digimon are hopelessly outnumbered and are almost killed by the repeated attacks of the many copies. Tai and Matt, desperate to help their partners, actually phase into the Internet and miraculously revive them. The hope of the many emails of the children watching the battle causes both Digimon to merge, evolving into Omnimon, one of the most powerful entities of the Digital World. Omnimon quickly obliterates the copies, but the original proves too fast to hit, until Izzy comes up with the idea to redirect the children's e-mails to slow Diaboromon down to a crawl, allowing Omnimon to finish him off seconds before the missiles hit. As the crisis ends, the ICBM aimed at Japan deactivates and lands harmlessly in Tokyo Bay. Our War Game! appears to be inspired by the 1983 film, WarGames and inspiring its own director Mamoru Hosoda to make Summer Wars.
A stereoscopic 3D short film, Digimon Adventure 3D: Digimon Grand Prix! (デジモンアドベンチャー3D デジモングランプリ!, Dejimon Adobenchā: Dejimon Guran Puri), was shown at Toei Animation Festival on October 3, 2009 and was later included on a set of DVD works released on February 21, 2010.
Digimon: The Movie is an English language movie released in North America by 20th Century Fox on October 6, 2000. The movie edits together both Digimon Adventure short films as well as the Digimon Adventure 02 movie Digimon Hurricane Landing!! / Transcendent Evolution!! The Golden Digimentals, editing some scenes and story details to form one story.
A manga adaptation illustrated by Yu Yuen Wong was published in five volumes. Tokyopop published the series in English. In North America, a comic book adaptation of the Devimon arc was published by Dark Horse Comics between May and November 2000.
Hiro Masaki, one of the screenwriters of Digimon Adventure, co-wrote a novelization of Digimon Adventure with series director Hiroyuki Kakudou. The light novels were separated into three parts.
A series of mini-drama CDs were released throughout the run of Digimon Adventure and included supplementary audio dramas that did not influence the television show's plot. In addition to this, character image songs for the main DigiDestined were included. The first drama CD was released on November 5, 1999, followed by two more releases on December 3, 1999, and January 7, 2000. A final drama CD, titled Digimon Adventure: Original Story: 2 and a Half Year Break was released in 2003.
Characters and Digimon from Adventure appear throughout many video games based on the franchise, such as Digimon Rumble Arena.
An RPG based on the original storyline of Adventure developed by Prope and published by Namco Bandai Games, also title Digimon Adventure, was released for the PlayStation Portable on January 17, 2013, part of the line-up of video games of the 15th anniversary celebration of the franchise. The game covers the entire series as well as the second Japanese movie, Bokura no War Game, and sees the return of all the main voice actors. The game also features original story elements and an unlockable dungeon mode featuring the protagonists of the other anime series in the franchise.
On its initial release, the series found a rather large success in the United States. There was some initial suspicion among American viewers that Digimon was a Pokémon rip-off that was meant to cash in on that show's success. However, audiences eventually noticed some notable differences with the Pokémon TV series: characters that grew up and aged during the course of the story, a more real-world setting, realistic character interaction and development, and more complicated stories with distinct science fiction and societal themes. The English dub gradually improved as well, making fewer and fewer alterations to the Japanese original by later episodes. As a result, many young viewers who quickly outgrew the simplistic Pokémon TV series, with its never-aging characters and repetitive story structures, migrated to Digimon instead.
On Anime News Network, Luke Carroll gave the Digimon: Digital Monsters - Collection 2 DVD an overall grade of D+.