Adventure Episode 21: Home Away From Home

In this episode, Tai arrives in the real world, which has a higher animation budget, better shading and a creepy little sister that knows way too much.


Whoa...

This is it. We have arrived. This episode is the shot across the bow that screams, “Hey! We're going to start being awesome now! Get ready to hold onto something!”

For starters, the art is insane. It really does feel like Tai is in a different world. One with incredible shading and the ability to make a little girl on the street seem like an alien creature. Given the bright skies and endless yellow desert of the Digital World, this subdued tone does feel like a different world. Even if it's ours, it's still foreign. Heck, compared to the suspect animation two episodes ago it's a completely different anime.

That's probably the point. As anyone who's seen the show knows, it really is a completely different anime from here on out. There's a couple transition episodes that feel familiar, but then the show goes to a whole new level, much of it in the real world. That isn't a coincidence. As much fun as the Digital World can be sometimes, there's a stronger dramatic element back home. Whether it's due to the added impact of seeing actual people and landmarks in harm's way or all the surrounding characters and familial angst that the real world supplies, it's no secret that there's significance in having at least part of the story in our world. For a franchise built around this parallel world, only Frontier fails to bring the action home. That may be one of the underlying reasons I find that season to be the weakest.

This episode triumphs on its slow pace. After the frenetic pace of the last episode, this one moves gracefully, often cutting away to random Odaiba landmarks or a detailed calendar in the Kamiya household. This is Tai's episode to think about what's going on and figure out his next move. It takes a while because he doesn't have a clue. Is he home free and able to enjoy the luxury of a soft couch, air conditioning and daytime TV? Is he supposed to find a way back immediately? Does it even matter?

One factor complicates things immensely: her name is Kari. Forget what we know of her future for a moment. Here we have this dead-eyed little sister home alone and barely concerned that her brother arrived from camp early and carrying a talking pink soccer ball. In fact, she knows Koromon's name and doesn't think that any of this a big deal. She is a walking anomaly. Unlike most people, she can see the monsters on TV and realizes that the world is in danger... but doesn't want Tai to leave her to save it.

Along with all this, Tai doesn't know if he can. Why should Koromon be able to evolve in the real world? His digivice doesn't respond to anything. After running out in response to a quickly dissipating Tyrannomon, Tai finds a very real Ogremon, which at least gets his digivice working again. Agumon blasts Ogremon through the dimensional rip. The one Tai knows he must go through.

The following scene is just plain beautiful. After Kari accepts that he must leave, Tai gently floats up and away from his little sister. Her grasp slowly slips from his hands... to his fingers... to air. We get one last look at Kari as she fades from Tai's view. Yeah... we're not forgetting about her.

There's also another digivice on the table back home. Just in case you hadn't been blown away yet.

My Grade: A

Loose Data:
  • Hey, Koromon's got his original voice back! I like this one so much better than his voice in episode 16.
  • Koromon knows what police are? And of all things he doesn't want the crime of “making a little girl cry” on his rap sheet?
  • The creepy jump cut from Kari playing with Koromon to Tai feeling Kari's head felt like a fever dream in its own right.
  • Are we to assume that Tai learned to cook in the Digital World? Other than the eggs in episode 7, there hasn't been a whole lot of cooking scenes... especially involving modern ingredients and appliances.

11 comments:

  1. the best episode in the series in my opinion especially when Tai isn't sure if anything is real

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  2. Why was the art so much better in this episode than all the others? Did the animators get a christmas bonus or something?

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    1. No. This was directed by mamoru hosoda and he had privelege due to starting the whole anime with the first movie (simply titled digimon adventure), which this episode is supposed to remind us of (which is why people claiming that Kari was shoehorned it clearly have no idea what they are talking about.

      Also, is it just me or isn't Tamers style very reminiscent of the aesthetic of this episode and said first movie? Perhaps in an attempt to go truer to the franchise's roots...

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    2. Aha - so THAT's why this felt like an homage to that movie!

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  3. This episode is great and one of my all time favourites. The whole episode is meant to be like the first movie. The non-american dubs or at least in the japanese and latin-american versions you can actually hear Ravel's Bolero being played through out the whole episode, this happens in the first movie too, and like in the movie Taichi and Hikari are attacked by a Digimon and defended by Koromon.

    It's a shame that in the american version they changed the soundtrack because the bolero gives a whole pace and atmosphere to the episode, but if you gave such a good review without the bolero it's fine with me.

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  4. A thing i'd like point out here in this episode is when Izzy starts communicating through the computer to Tai. In this episode, although he looks zombified, Izzy's voice and tone seems more to his normal voice and he sounds genuinely concerned with what happened to Tai. He even has a headset on. In episode 24, he still has the zombified look but his voice and tone are different and he no longer has the headset. What he said was different as well with the zombified voice. Was it a dub thing? I'd really like to know!

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    1. Yes, I noticed it too! I'm glad I'm not the only one who found it strange.

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    2. In the original - well, i don't speak Japanese, so I didn't pick up on the tone very well when Izzy broke in, but the few words that made it through didn't seem all that concerned.

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    3. That was a HUGE dubbing error.

      In the original version, Izzy's currently in Vademon's dimension when he communicates through the computer, having given up his curiosity. Tai tries to talk to him, but he says some indecipherable stuff that's broken up by static, but what Tai can make out sounds like Izzy's saying to not come back to the Digital World. ("...on't...com...back.") 3 episodes later we see this happen from Izzy's perspective, and what he actually said was upon noting that Tai made it back home "I guess this means you won't be coming back. Oh well."

      In the dub, the translators didn't get the story here and thought Izzy was actually telling Tai to not come back, so they had him warn him not to as though something terrible was going down in the Digital World, even though this contradicts the later plot, where no such catastrophe has happened. Then 3 episodes later, they play Izzy's scene as if it's an unseen second conversation that had occurred, with Tai saying he's home but "got your message that you were in trouble". And Izzy tells him not to come back again before hanging up. Yeah, it's really lame and really frustrating that they couldn't get that right.

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    4. Honestly with the way anime dubbing was done in the 90's they probably were writing/directing each episode one at a time.

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  5. This one, along with the SkullGreymon and MetalGreymon episodes, is the best in the Server arc (though I'll admit to being VERY fond of a later one.) The atmosphere is just so weird and kind of unnerving, like this is the real world and yet it feels as if Tai and Koromon aren't really there in the real world, which is a result of their data ending up here without Tai going back to his actual body back at summer camp. We also get strong foreshadowing to future events: who Kari is and what her role will be, where Izzy and the rest ended up while Tai was gone, how the flow of time is different between both worlds, and what anomalies the distortions of the Digital World will cause to manifest into the human world and how that effects things in it. And the episode's dark and mysterious feel mirrors the Digimon Adventure pilot movie, which is just perfect considering the three characters involved. The one possible criticism? Why did they portray Kari as being so creepy? She's not like that in her future appearances, so what gives? Was it the illness?

    The dub really screwed up a lot with this one, though. This is one episode where the constant music blaring in the background actively harmed the mood that was being set, Kari had a terribly mistranslated line ("I've been to the Digital World" HUH?), and they completely misinterpreted that scene with Izzy calling from Vademon's dimension. Instead of being emotionally dead and saying something that can't be entirely made out, he's screaming hammily about some big chaotic crisis that didn't actually happen and outright warning Tai to not come back, which is dumb and out-of-character on so many levels. At least that goodbye scene between the Kamiya siblings was done justice.

    I can definitely agree that, after the impressively epic previous episode already gave us an upswing in quality, this one lays all the groundwork for the series truly coming into it's own. Also agreed on what was said about the conflict coming to the real world - it really raises the stakes and turns the show into something other than what you initially thought you'd signed up for. Something even better.

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