Pokémon vs. Bakugan: Which series should you watch?

I grew up watching a lot of Japanese anime that later introduced me to the world of gaming. It first started with Pokémon at a very early age and the love grew💗 for others like Bakugan. But ever watching the two shows in particular, it struck me how they shared certain similarities but were so different.

As I child, however, I never really thought of comparing the two🤔, but I’ve always come across several debates on various forums regarding which anime was better. While both shows have their fair share of fans, there isn’t any objective source that compares both shows to determine which of the two is truly the better choice.

Given my extensive experience from spending a great deal of time studying their respective franchises, I thought of writing this article. Not only have I watched both anime series from a young age, but I have also played their respective games and can offer an objective analysis of the two based on first-hand experience. So, if you’ve been questioning which series to watch or which of them is better, then keep reading to understand my final verdict😊.

Pokémon vs. Bakugan – How They Compare

Before we go into the details of how the two series differentiate, below is a summarized table highlighting their main comparisons:




Story Concept

  • Set in Pokémon World
  • Focuses on Ash Ketchum’s quest to become a Pokémon master.
  • The main themes are loyalty, friendship, and resilience.
  • Set between Earth and Bakugan world
  • Focuses on Battle Brawlers’ attempt to save Earth and Bakugan world from Naga’s evil forces.
  • The main themes are courage and teamwork.

Video Game Integration

  • Pokémon type advantages
  • Special moves and abilities
  • Turn-based battle mechanics
  • Pokémon evolutions
  • Battle arenas and gate cards
  • Ability cards
  • Bakugan transformation marbles

Target Audience

  • Wider audience (children, teens, adults)
  • Smaller audience (children and young teens)


  • Globally recognized
  • Large following
  • Not as globally recognized
  • Smaller following

What are the differences between Pokémon and Bakugan?

Pokémon vs. Bakugan
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! Image source: Pokemon

The Pokémon series first aired in Japan in 1997 before airing globally in 1998. The Bakugan series, on the other hand, first aired in Japan and Canada in 2007 and was later released globally in 2009. Although Bakugan came out years after Pokémon, both shows were received with a great deal of positivity during their initial release. Some fans, however, feel like compared to Pokémon, Bakugan’s popularity has been dying down over time.

Pokémon vs. Bakugan

Via imgflip

To be fair, Pokémon has put a lot of effort into its marketing. So, to objectively decide which show is better, I believe we should compare the two in the following aspects:

Story Concept

As you may know, Pokémon is set in the Pokémon world, where humans and various Pokémon coexist. On the other hand, Bakugan is divided into two worlds: Earth 🌍 in the modern-day setting, and the Bakugan dimension. The Bakugan dimension is a realm where Bakugan creatures exist and where battles among the creatures exist. Both worlds are pretty cool in my opinion☺️.

In Pokémon, however, the story focuses on Ash Ketchum and his journey to becoming a Pokémon Master. Yes, the story’s themes of friendship, loyalty, resilience, and the special bond between humans and Pokémon, were all heartwarming and great, but I preferred Bakugan’s overall concept.

I felt that in Bakugan, the battle brawlers were fighting for a greater cause beyond them, which was to protect the Earth and Bakugan world from the evil forces of Naga. Its themes of courage and teamwork made the story more interesting for me compared to Pokémon’s. I also loved that the Bakugan and humans could talk to one another and that the creatures had distinct personalities. This also kind of applies to the Pokémon but Bakugan did it better, and it would be great if the Pokémon could actually speak the same language as humans 😕.

But it is worth pointing out, that Pokémon’s storyline had a better progression, especially in how new characters were introduced to the story. So, it was easier to keep up with the show. Bakugan didn’t do a horrible job either, but given that the story included two worlds, it was difficult for me to keep up with the new plot twists and added characters at times.

So, in terms of which one had a better concept, I would have to say Bakugan’s story wins. However, the Pokémon story had a better progression compared to Bakugan’s.

Video Game Integration

Pokémon vs. Bakugan
Bakugan Battle. Image source: Nintendo

Interestingly, the Pokémon anime was based on the video game, seeing as it came a few years after the first video game was released. On the other hand, the Bakugan anime was released before its first video game, so it’s safe to say the game was based on the anime.

So, if you’ve played both video games, and are trying to decide which anime to watch, you could be wondering, which show had a better game integration. Having played both video games and watched both shows, I can say the video game integration was well-done in both 🤷.

For example, the battles showcased in the Pokémon anime follow turn-based game mechanics and the use of type advantage and special moves and abilities. The Pokémon can also evolve although not by levels like in the video game.

Bakugan, also borrows some mechanics from the card game, such as utilizing the battle arenas and gate cards during battle. The Bakugan transformation is similar to what you see in the video game. The show also utilizes the concept of card abilities to boost Bakugan’s power.

So, overall, I would say, it is a tie in this category. There isn’t much of a difference between what’s in the anime and what is in the video games and card games. Although in terms of battle outcomes, you could say the show is rigged so the protagonist always comes out on top 😂.

Target Audience

Based on the tone and style of the two shows, these two shows have slightly different target audiences. On one hand, Pokémon has always had a primarily humorous and adventure-driven tone. Although there are occasional dramatic moments, plot twists, and intense battles, it was mostly filled with uplifting messages about friendship and perseverance.

Even the Pokémon designs are adorable and cute, borrowing from familiar creatures like bugs, birds, and so on. Because of that, I feel it applies to a wider target audience including both children and adults making it the perfect family-friendly show. Take me for example, I started watching Pokémon as a kid and although the show may seem a bit childish now, there are elements of the story I still relate to as an adult. It’s something I definitely wouldn’t mind watching with my kids in the future 😌.

On the other hand, Bakugan takes a more action-oriented approach with a primarily suspenseful tone. The show is filled with many epic battles and intense drama. The Bakugan design also reflects this style with most of them involving dragons, humanoids, and monstrous creatures. As such, the show mainly appeals to the younger audience, mainly young teens who enjoy, action-filled games and battles. As an adult now, while I can still appreciate the main concept behind the show, the excessive battles and drama have slowly lost their appeal.

Therefore, I would have to say, Pokémon wins 🏅 this category since it appeals to a wider audience. This would probably explain its continued success.


Pokémon vs. Bakugan
Pokémon Pokédex. Image source: Pokemon

As I mentioned earlier in the article, both shows were very popular when they were first released. It’s been more than 2 decades now, and the Pokémon anime still maintains a large following and has gained wide global recognition. I believe this success could be attributed to the intensive marketing, the addition of several movies to keep things interesting, and of course broadcasting in numerous countries.

While Bakugan was equally popular in its initial run, it has failed to maintain long-term success and achieve the wide recognition that Pokémon has. I believe where the franchise failed was focusing on a smaller target audience.

For example, aside from the anime, Pokémon stayed relevant by having several merchandise that appealed to all ages from cards, toys, clothes etc., which helped maintain the interest in the franchise as a whole. Bakugan on the other hand, was mainly known for its unique transforming marble toys. But like the anime that appealed to children of specific ages and after a while the audience outgrew the franchise.

Therefore, given the global recognition, current massive following, and continued success, it is clear that Pokémon is more popular in both the show and the franchise as a whole. So, it’s the obvious winner 🏆.

Final Verdict: So, Which is better? – Pokémon or Bakugan?

Pokémon vs. Bakugan- Which series should you watch?
Bakugan Battle Brawlers. Image source: Pokemon

Now that we’ve analyzed the main aspects of the show, it boils down to the main question, ‘Which anime is better?’ The clear answer is Pokémon. While Bakugan has a better story concept, in my opinion, Pokémon appeals to a wider audience. There is also a lot of content to watch given how long the show has been running. It also has a large following and global recognition so you can always find a fellow fan you can relate to and be part of a larger community.

But that’s not to say that Bakugan isn’t worth the try. However, its action-oriented style may not appeal to everyone. So, if you enjoy strategic games and battles, you can always give the anime a try. Who knows, you may end up enjoying it 🤷.

FAQ Section

Which is more popular Pokémon or Bakugan?

Depends on who you ask. Some fans seem to believe that Bakugan is better than Pokémon and vice versa. But given how long Pokémon has been on air and its growing community to date, it’s safe to say that Pokémon is more popular based on its global recognition.

Which one was more successful Pokémon of Bakugan?

As a franchise, Pokémon seems to be more successful than Bakugan. To be fair it has been in the game for much longer than Bakugan, not to mention it’s invested in several multimedia including anime, movies, video games, manga, and merchandise. Bakugan on the other hand mainly focused on video games and anime series.

Which one came first between Bakugan and Pokémon?

Pokémon came first. The first Pokémon series was aired in Japan in 1997, whereas the first Bakugan series was aired in Japan and Canada in 2007.

Which one is easier to play Pokémon or Bakugan?

This will depend on the player and their level of skill. Both games present a fair level of challenge, but each game provides a tutorial on how the game works for novice players. Personally, having played Pokémon first, I found the rules in Bakugan to be a bit more complicated, but someone who’s played Bakugan first might enjoy the game better.

Which one should you play first between Pokémon and Bakugan?

Both games are different with varying concepts, goals, and other game mechanics. The order in which you play them doesn’t really matter. However, if you like doing things chronologically, then perhaps you can start with the game that came first, that is, Pokémon.

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