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
- 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.