Adventure Episode 19: The Prisoner of the Pyramid

In this episode, some thrilling plot twists and philosophical questions about digital avatars battle strange dubbing errors and suspect animation. It's a good fight.

There is a lot of meaty stuff in this episode. Izzy poses some interesting theories about the Digital World, making the team question the reality they are presented with in different ways. A third party enters the battle and betrays both the good guys and the bad guys. One of the kids is kidnapped and another totally locks up in the heat of the moment. This is fantastic stuff, people!

It's just a shame that lackluster animation and several weird dubbing errors make it very difficult to give high marks to such an ambitious episode. I normally don't make too much out of production problems, but they're hard to ignore here. Several lines seemed to be delivered by the wrong character or at the wrong time or very oddly. It's not the director's finest moment when one of Tai's lines is coming from a girl... and I'm not entirely sure who that girl is. Sora? Biyomon? Lain? This isn't even squarely on the shoulders of the dub as the art seemed off as well: dimensions were askew, eyes were too far apart and some corners were cut. It clearly wasn't the A-team's day to draw.

But we're not here to note every single mistake in the series. There was a lot in this episode to dissect. After Izzy gets an e-mail from a mysterious captive of Etemon's, TK's crest leads the team into another digicode hallway where Izzy can have his data crunching fun time. This time, thankfully, the round of techno-babble leads to the crucial theory that the Digital World is an embodiment of the world's computer networks, and that everything in it is a representation of real world data. They are all walking, talking and living in the Wired.

This leads to some really intriguing questions. What does that make the Digimon? Where are their real world bodies? Are they impacted by what happens in the Digital World? While Biyomon frets over the first question, Tai takes the lack of an answer to the third as a sign that his real world self can't be touched.

At least Izzy was able to apply his theory and use the e-mail's IP address to take them to the pyramid where Datamon is held captive. With Etemon there as well, they hide out for the night to formulate a plan, leading to a nice little scene that uses the power of spontaneous Sora angst as a positive. She doesn't want to risk confronting Etemon just for her crest; Tai (correctly) points out that she would do so if it were someone else's. He also points out that even if they are just some sort of avatar, they have to behave as though their actions and battles in the Digital World make a difference, just in case.

Now Tai, if that's the case... why the hell do you act as though getting your ass killed doesn't mean anything?! As he leads the away team into the pyramid, he takes unnecessary risks, taunts Etemon and some Gazimon and pisses off Sora to no end. It's very inconsistent and seems to be thrown in solely to bitchslap him at the end of the episode. Several episodes in this arc end with Tai getting bitchslapped, and that's not a bad thing.

Datamon is a wonderful addition to this arc- a chaotic neutral in this battle of good and evil. He hates serving under Etemon, but has no loyalty to the digidestined and uses them solely to gain his freedom. That done, he turns on both sides, fighting them and running off with Sora and Biyomon as his prizes when he realizes he won't win. In the ensuing chase, Izzy tells Tai not to get himself killed... moments before Tai was about to get himself killed. Tai completely locks up, Datamon gets away and it's a pretty damn suspenseful way to end an episode. Imagine what it would have been with competent animation and ADR direction.

My Grade: B

Loose Data:
  • Much as I appreciated Matt and Izzy getting a chance to talk last episode, wouldn't it have made more sense for Izzy to find his crest here and TK's to be hiding alongside his brother's? It would have been awesome to see Matt and TK find their crests together, and the cave of digicode would have practically had Izzy's name on it!
  • Nice reference to Etemon wanting a fried banana sandwich. You can't half-ass being the King.
  • Speaking of which, Etemon can kick some ass! He makes quick work out of four Champion-level Digimon and is genuinely evil when it comes to imprisoning Datamon. He's again looking pretty credible for a villain with no claim to credibility.
  • Matt absolutely destroy Tai at the end of this episode, dragging his frozen ass out of the pyramid and lashing out at him for not going after Sora. Joe's more supportive but everybody looks extremely disappointed. It's a great thing to see right before an arc wraps up.


  1. I like the fact that they don't give a particular reason why Datamon fought Etemon in the first place. Maybe that was to make the twist work, and in hindsight I think the fight was a power struggle: Datamon wanted to be the evil ruler, and Etemon beat him at it. Datamon is a Virus type, after all.

    Etemon seems to be very good at getting into fights with other villains. He does the same thing to Puppetmon later, and it really gives the impression that Etemon doesn't like competition for the hot spot.

    1. I think that's exactly it - Datamon was the original conqueror-to be of Server who wanted to exploit the power of the Dark Network for his mad scientific purposes, but Etemon proved stronger and literally beat him into doing his work instead, with him stealing away the Dark Network for his own ego trip. (It's interesting to note that while we don't ever see Apocalymon use one of Etemon's attacks, he does use Datamon's attack, Plug Bomb, during the final battle in episode 54.)

  2. I know you're doing these reviews based on the dub but what you mentioned about the end where Matt destroys Tai and everybody seeming disappointed, in the original, Matt just says "So, Sora was captured..." or something along the lines of that and everybody has that disappointed look while Tai is just sitting there crying but there's no music playing and Joe doesn't even say anything to keep Tai's spirit up. I felt for Tai in both versions but with no music and Joe not encouraging him along with the looks of the others, it just seemed a bit more sad in the original.

    1. At the same time, having one of Tai's friends be vocally angry with him for his actions actually hurts just as much as having no vocal support.

  3. While certainly a step up from the previous two, this was another okay episode for the most part. The part with TK finding his crest was another lame item fetch, but the episode got more interesting when they got to where the sphinx and the upside down pyramid were, and the theories (more like actual revelations) about the Digital World and the kids' state of existence in it was really fascinating stuff. Even better, it leads to Sora feeling discouraged but Tai getting cocky and feeling invincible to the point of recklessness. And the parts with Etemon were gold - he's totally in top form as his ridiculous and amusing asshole self here while also regaining the total badassery he displayed in his debut. He's a bumbler but he's not wholly incompetent, and you actually feel the threat when he's taking matters into his own hands.

    But then we get to the ending, which is the part of the episode that goes far above average. Datamon being outed as a mad scientist-esque villain who would even backstab the kids in the name of his revenge was a brilliant twist, and throwing him in here as a self-serving spanner in the works is great, especially how he abducts Sora because as we find out he has the seventh crest and wants to copy it's wielder in hopes of using her power to fight for him. He's not menacing enough to make Big Bad status, but he's still a great villain. And having Tai finally freeze up due to fear for his own mortality in this world to the point where he doesn't pursue his friend's captor, and literally ending the episode on that note, with Sora kidnapped, the group in bad spirits, and Tai in tears? Not since episode 8 did we get a cliffhanger that intense. A brilliant lead in to an even better following episode.