Adventure Episode 15: The Dark Network of Etemon

In this episode, a new villain emerges! Yes, it's an Elvis-impersonating monkey. Yes, they're serious. Yes, he is actually pretty evil.


Etemon, Etemon, Etemon... the idiot cousin of season one's major villains. Can you imagine him at a party with the other bad guys? Would Myotismon or Machinedramon even give him the time of day? Every time he appears, we're left stunned that they're actually serious about this guy and doing their damnedest to assure us that he belongs in the Evil League of Evil. At first glance, he ain't no Bad Horse.

We begin our adventures on Server, however, with the ever-familiar sight of the children wandering aimlessly through the desert. It's been a while since we've had the whole gang together and it took a bit to get back into the groove of having everybody journeying together. They hit all the notes though, including Mimi complaining. This time it's how much she needs a bath. They find a Koromon village, where Mimi hopes to get a bath. Instead of Koromon, they find Pagumon, who whisk Mimi away screaming. The ensuing rescue leads them into a remarkably well-furnished tower, where the trail of accessories leads Tai and Izzy to Mimi... who has gotten her bath. This was actually a pretty well-crafted scene.

Yes, the Pagumon, originally described as devious, are apparently friendly. Very friendly. Too friendly to Sora and Tentomon, who are suspicious of the lavish welcoming party. But they bite their tongues and indulge with the rest of the group. It's not like they've been burned by free food, baths and lodging before.

What a shock that the Pagumon are indeed deceitful and they decide, for some unexplained reason, to make off with Tokomon, who evolved yet again during dinner. We don't know what part kidnapping the weakest Digimon in the group plays in their master plan, but their Gazimon allies take notice and one sets off to inform the boss. What follows is a beautiful scene as we follow this lone henchmon as he travels by night to inform his master, finding the secret base at dawn. The music builds! The curtain rises! The smoke clears! It's... an Elvis-impersonating monkey. While it's nice to have a break from the tall, dark and ugly types, we could use a little bit of credibility here. Especially with such an awesome “first glimpse” scene.

The search for Tokomon runs into a dead-end thanks to Pagumon interference, but Agumon sniffs out the Koromon that are also captive there. The other two Gazimon are there as well, and during their fight Agumon is barely able to get out a couple puffs of steam through the waterfall, enough to get Tai's attention. It's a pretty clever bit actually. Everybody's rescued and reunited just as Etemon makes his grand entrance. Here's the kicker- while he looks and sounds totally ridiculous... this guy is a complete badass. He destroys the entire Koromon village and devolves the kids' Digimon using the power of Rock.

Etemon also creates a cave in, trapping the kids and Koromon behind the waterfall. Thankfully, this just so happens to be where Tai's crest has been hiding, and claiming the crest just so happens to open up a wall to the other side. While the crest seemed a little random and tacked on, the ending of the episode does illustrate something very disturbing: Etemon has a network feeding him information throughout the continent and the ability to do some nasty thrashing with it. He is absolutely a legitimate villain and a very real threat. That makes his appearance and quirks that much more insane.

My Grade: B

Loose Data:
  • Izzy has a sheet of paper that he's referring to as a map. Gennai transmitted a map of the continent to his laptop, yet this sheet of paper assures Izzy that they are on the best beachhead on all Server.
  • Not only does Izzy see Mimi taking a bath, but she also fell on top of him at the beginning of the episode. Pretty good day for him overall.
  • At one point, Etemon quips, “You say you want a digivolution?” This would be an excellent line if it weren't for the fact that this is an Elvis-impersonator making a Beatles reference. The gods of Rock frown on such behavior, and may be the sole reason he loses in the end.

4 comments:

  1. No mention of the infamous "Twin Beaks" animation error?

    (For those who have no idea what the heck I'm talking about, check out http://digimon.wikia.com/wiki/File:Ep15biyomon2beaks.jpg)

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  2. I'll admit - I think this is a great episode. I just love the way it plays with the fact that the viewers and characters have no real expectations about what we'll be coming across on the Server continent and so they throw us into this strange, downright unsettling situation at the supposed Koromon Village with all the Pagumon there. The Pagumon are so clearly evil and not to be trusted, especially when they see Poyomon evolve to Tokomon and use that as reason to kidnap and torment him. But then we see they're working for even bigger bad guys, the Gazimon, and they in turn are working for Etemon, our new Big Bad. And I absolutely agree the way they build up this new bad guy and then the way they introduce him is beautifully done. (It's even better in the original 'cause rock music suddenly plays as the trailer opens up with all the lights and smoke, revealing the monkey puppet rock star in shades that is our new enemy), and from there Etemon proceeds to really wreck shit up before Tai just happens to find his crest at the end. But due to the Dark Network that's spread all over the continent, Etemon can still track our heroes and stay ahead of their every move.

    As far as Etemon the character goes, you either love him or hate him, and I personally love him! I think he's the weakest of the Big Bads in that he doesn't really drive the plot of his arc in any big way - he just chases the DigiDestined around trying to stop them from stopping him, and I never quite got what motivated him to be reliant on dark forces to use in what's essentially a giant ego trip for him (I get he wants attention, but does that really necessitate dominating an entire continent with dark energy cables to do that?), but he actually has Devimon beat in terms of both threat level AND characterization. As an Ultimate level Digimon, he's stronger than Devimon and seems to have a lot more efficient resources at his disposal than Devimon had, and he actually has an entertaining personality as opposed to the stock villain cliche that was Devimon's character. A villain can be silly in behavior and nature while still being a competent threat to our heroes, and Etemon is certainly one such villain, baby! Uh-huh-uh!

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    Replies
    1. And on the issue of Etemon's voice in the dub - I'm always kind of divided on it. On one hand, I do love the voice Richard Epcar gives him. In the original version, Etemon talks like your typical extravagant J-pop star, so I think having him be an Elvis impersonator is a good Woolseyism for the dub. On the other hand, it kind of limits Epcar's voice acting abilities the more he has to maintain this imitation. Etemon is a character who gets emotional and angered quite a lot, and in the original version, he really lets loose to the point of screeching all monkey-like. By contrast, Epcar often isn't nearly emotive enough, sounding just annoyed or even matter-of-fact about things, and it doesn't always add up with the animation of the character regardless of how amusing it might be on it's own merits. Overall I enjoy the vocal performance, but it could have been done better.

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