Adventure Episode 16: The Arrival of Skullgreymon

In this episode, Tai turns into an asshole. Or maybe he always was an asshole. Either way, the results are badass. Er... bad. I mean bad.


The common opinion among fans is that the first season doesn't really hit its stride until the Myotismon arc. While that's generally true, some of the episodes in the first half of the season get pretty crazy. Most follow the same path- kids wander, bad guy shows up, digivolution, fight, bad guy goes away, profit. Sometimes the way this path is executed is very special.

We start out as always with aimless wandering through the desert. Tai has his shiny new crest, annoyingly heralded the Crest of Courage before anybody should know that. With Etemon chasing after them, Tai wants to put it to its advertised use and get Agumon to evolve further. Izzy posits that the two criteria remain the same: the Digimon must not be hungry and the partner must initially be in some sort of danger.

Tai takes care of the first by stuffing Agumon's face with food, falsely believing that “overstuffed” equals “not hungry.” As the rest of the gang gets meager rations as a result, they develop the impression, somewhere around the time Agumon falls over and nearly chokes, that Tai may be going overboard. The flashback Sora provides is delightful. She cites a soccer game as evidence that Tai shows good teamwork, when it actually illustrates that he's kind of a ballhog. Sora just prefers to view her peers in a positive light. Good for her, I guess.

Once they end up in the coliseum of random soccer pitches, Sora's the one who wants to start a pick-up game while Joe looks around for his crest. Tai will have none of it, because there are important matters at hand that require everyone's full attention. Even if he plans on saving the day himself.

It's definitely an exaggeration of Tai's character. Being brash and occasionally self-centered is a requirement for goggleboys (still not sure how Takato snuck into that club), but this is quite the extreme, and a tad forced given what we've seen of Tai so far. Blame it on the stress of having Etemon looming over his shoulder. Blame it on the power trip of being the only guy on the team with the key to a new ability. Blame it on global warming. I don't know. You just wonder why Matt doesn't pick these moments to start fighting with Tai. You know, when it would have done some good.

Regardless of the way it all went down, it pays off nicely as Tai's abuse of Agumon puts him at a disadvantage against his Greymon doppleganger. Then Tai throws himself into the battle intentionally to spark a dynamic digivolution (a term coined in my legendary fanfiction series for an evolution prompted by their partner in danger... and a term I'm quite fond of and will continue using). The result is... actually quite epic. It's the only time I've ever wanted to throw up heavy metal horns during an evolution sequence.

So yeah... Skullgreymon. Everybody quickly realizes that Tai done f-ed up good. Skullgreymon launches Greymon into the giant video board, then blasts him away with a missile (Awesome!). Then he swats away Garurumon, Birdramon and Kabuterimon like nothing (Awesome!). Then he runs off, taking out half the coliseum in the process (Awesome!). Out of energy, he devolves all the way back to Koromon which, as I said way back in episode one, means that something is horribly wrong. Awesome.

Tai accepts the blame, learns his lesson and apologizes. And somewhere in all that, Joe found his crest. Who the hell cares? Not Skullgreymon, that's for damn sure.

My Grade: B+

Loose Data:
  • The implication of this “dark network” thing is that it powers Etemon's surveillance system across Server. Yet the first time it really comes up, Etemon's clued in after Joe trips over one of the cables. Networks don't work like that. Usually when you trip over a cable, it breaks something.
  • TK wants to play soccer so much he answers Sora twice. At the same time. It's a neat trick!
  • It's rather odd that everybody attempted to escape TV Etemon by running into one of the goals. Those nets are rather hard to get through, even when they aren't electrified.
  • I loved the slightly meta conversation between Joe, Izzy and Gomamon about where the marching fishes come from. And that the marching fishes randomly showed up to begin with.
  • This is now the second straight time they found a crest at the precise spot where Etemon trapped them. He should really do something about that.
  • Koromon has a very different voice now than he (or maybe a she now?) started with in episode one.

2 comments:

  1. Don't forget the Gazimon abuse! I think this is also the first time we see the one with the sunglasses.

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  2. This is one of my top three favorites of the Server arc. Tai was already a flawed character, but his strengths were usually a lot more emphasized. This is where we see him at his worst - not only is he overly-pushy, stressed out, and aggressive about taking charge of things, but even his courage is painted in a negative light here. He's so gung ho about fighting the enemy that it takes a toll on the group, Agumon especially, and he uses raw courage for selfish, cowardly reasons when he throws himself in front of the evil Greymon just to get his Greymon to digivolve to the next level. Of course, what that ends up doing is triggering a dark evolution into SkullGreymon, who cannot see reason and will only rampage until he's worn out. Keeping his fiercest qualities in check was a valuable lesson for Tai to learn, but unfortunately it makes him a bit fearful to try anything proactive with Agumon again until two episodes later. Then we get a reverse problem in his development, which seems to be the focus on half the arc.

    Etemon continues to be great, too. Not only are his lines (both original and dub) hilarious and his network a constant looming threat, but I love what a huge jerk he is to his Gazimon helpers, and how we even get small glimpses of how these guys live their lives when they're not chasing the Digidestined around. Things like Gazimon doing office work, different henchmon stationed over different points of the continent, and Etemon using the coliseum for his "annual tribute to me concert" are just little details that make these guys fun and memorable antagonists in an arc that's in serious need of such a thing.

    However, we're starting to see two major problems with this half of the arc. How finding the crests, set up as the big premise, is just a sporadic, randomly occurring, and awfully convenient thing that happens rather than part of any real formula or plot points (I know I harped on the File Island being too pattern-heavy, but this arc is the opposite extreme of that), and how we spend so much time IN A FRIGGIN' DESERT. It gets really bland to look at after five episodes straight.

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