In this episode, a snafu in accepted currency leads Joe and Matt down the dark path of indentured servitude and the seedy underworld of restaurant operations.
So what has Matt been doing all this time, other than neglecting his baby brother? Why, he's helping Joe work off an unfair dept perpetuated by a crooked restaurant staff! What else would he be doing?
This is kind of a strange episode since it looks so silly on the surface. Another victim of Demidevimon, Joe is forced to work off a restaurant bill not because he's broke, but because the restaurant uses a different currency. While in the original version, Joe was trying to pay with yen, the dub gives him digidollars (where he got that and why Vegiemon won't accept what would have to be the official Digital World currency, who knows?). Either way, it's ridiculous. I'm otaku enough to admit that I've been to Asian stores that charge in yen. They gladly accepted my dollars and the reverse should hold true as well.
The cavalcade of silliness continues as Vegiemon capitalizes off Joe's clumsiness to add to the sentence, which only leads Joe to make more mistakes. When Matt shows up, threats on Joe's safety wrap him into it as well. Demidevimon works his charm to suggest that Joe is making mistakes on purpose to keep Matt around. This makes no sense, but it again demonstrates his brilliance, using Matt's evident frustration to sow the seeds. And hey, we got another harmonica scene out of it.
As bizarre and as flawed as the concept is, beneath the surface it really emphasizes both Joe and Matt's good sides (i.e. their crests). Joe knows he's in a completely unfair situation, but was determined to work it off instead of an easier alternative like skipping out during the night or beating the crap out of Vegiemon. Even as he gets another day older and deeper in dept, he's reliable enough to not want to owe somebody.
Matt's also clearly conflicted by his need to get back to TK and Joe's need for help. Even as Joe irritates Matt to no end, trying his patience to and past the breaking point, Matt doesn't want to leave. Matt's still uneasy about this whole team thing, but he's certainly giving it his best effort.
He's certainly unhappy with the whole arrangement though, even when Tai and TK show up to rescue them. By now, Matt's convinced that Joe's sabotaging them (which still makes no sense) and ends up in a fight with Tai because that's just who Matt fights with. Yet again, Demidevimon screws up the entire operation with his mere presence. Had he kept his distance and not let Agumon see him, the plan continues and perhaps even draws Tai and TK into the kitchen.
But no, he has to stick around and gloat, Matt realizes he's been had and the battle ensues. Joe rescues TK for what will not be the last time and Matt is determined enough to save Joe in return that his crest is activated. After a really sappy speech about how Matt needs support from all of the other digidestined, his Digimon evolves to Ultimate and WereGarurumon mops everything up all by himself.
This episode continues an emerging pattern with these Matt episodes being a mixed bag. On one hand, Matt is such a compelling character because he, more than anyone else, is aware of his own faults from the beginning and is determined to overcome them. On the other hand, these faults are often exploited so poorly that it comes off as forced, as we saw here. At least now we know who taught Tai how to cook.
My Grade: B-
- Matt and Gabumon saw Frigimon, Kokatorimon and Monzaemon climbing a ridge. Three Digimon that his peers had to fight- one of them not even controlled by a black gear. Let's follow them just for the hell of it!
- Maybe it's the lack of a face, but it was hard to really buy Digitamamon as an effective restauranteur, what with the lack of arms, hideous legs and a creepy Peter Lorre voice. Would you eat at a place run by that guy?
- You know Sora, if you're really determined to help out on the downlow, you could do a little more than replacing a cinder block here and there. Especially assuming that you've been hanging around there as long as Demidevimon has.
- Last episode was the first sighting of the swan boat, this time we get the first use of the “Hey Digimon” backup song. It's a nice break from constantly using the theme song, but not a very good action song.