This is probably the worst episode in season one.
I remember the Monzaemon episode as being stupid, the cruise ship episode as being unusual and the Vademon episode as being trippy, but this is the only episode I distinctly remember disliking. I think it might have something to do with Sora.
Sora was always one of my favorite characters during my original exposure, mostly due to her role as resident den mother and just generally not being Mimi. I didn't like this episode then because it was hokey and made her look completely nuts. Watching now, I don't like it because it is really hokey and proves that, well, she kinda is completely nuts.
Sadly, this episode cements her status as the weakest character in season one. Everybody else's angst seems to be pretty well justified. Mimi doesn't really have any at all. Sora's is caused by her mommy issues, but the flashback provided here doesn't do a whole lot for her argument. While her mother seems like kind of a bitch, she has a pretty good argument about not letting her daughter play soccer with an injured knee. Sora is quite petulant in the whole scene and acts pretty much like a bratty teenager. Hard to gain support for her cause, really. Makes you appreciate Rika's more nuanced mommy issues that much more.
Back in the present day, Sora's mommy issues combined with a lucky suggestion by Demidevimon has her convinced that she is incapable of love... which sends her into a balling fit when Tai works that out of her. Never mind that she still insists on looking after the others by telling Agumon about the memory shrooms, foiling sabotage efforts at the restaurant and sneaking into Gekomon Castle. Biyomon and TK try pointing out that these are pretty loving gestures for someone who claims to not care about anybody else. But no, the histrionics continue.
The reactions from Tai, Matt and TK are interesting to note here. After Tai jokes about “love” fueling the drama (oh that didn't go over well), he hears Sora explain Demidevimon's bit this time. His response is, “That's it?” He's spot on. Matt's pretty chill and is cool with letting Sora figure it out on her own. Also spot on. TK makes it a trifecta, assuring her that he considers her the loving mother of the group. All three on fire here and she still doesn't get it.
Although we never quite understand what is in the comically huge syringe, Demidevimon launches it at Sora and Biyomon takes the bullet. At long last, Myotismon makes his grand entrance, promptly taking out the whole team. Biyomon wants to fight, but Sora says no... promptly going into the exact same dialogue she had heard from her mother. The exact same. It's really forced. It also gets Biyomon to evolve and hey! Suddenly she's fully healthy, Sora's crest glows and we have a Garudamon! Somehow the lines get even worse after that. Bad as MegaKabuterimon's debut episode was, he did not cry “Izzy! Your knowledge is making me strong!”
Myotismon's attack is the one saving grace here, even going so far as to try again at the end for no reason. It had looked like a simple wrap-up where everyone reflects on Sora's love, but no! They can't stop here! This is bat country!
My Grade: D-
- So... Sora's been hanging around them all this time and someone only now realizes they can pick up her signal on their digivice?
- Demidevimon hates bats. Heh.
- In the big game Sora missed, her team lost 6-3. That's a drubbing in soccer. How much difference could one girl on a gimpy knee really make? Also, the board suggests all the scoring was in the second half. Nine goals in one half? Damn!
- Guess who landed the very first hit on Myotismon? That's right- Ikkakumon!
- Interesting that in the final scene, Matt plays the harmonica while everybody else talks about Sora's love. He usually only plays when he's frustrated. Could it be that he's subconsciously playing to detach himself from a conversation about Sora and love due to his unrealized affection for her? Could this be the first sign that he knows this wacky girl with mommy issues will be his future wife? No... absolutely not. I actually don't know what's up with the harmonica. It just looks cool, I guess.
So IIRC the whole thing with Sora's mom was a dub issue. In the Japanese version her mom tries to make her quit soccer and take up ikebana instead. I can't remember exactly why, but it was maybe some combination of her mom not wanting her to get hurt and her mom wanting her to take up her mom's hobby? Anyway it made more sense in the original in the dub, is what I'm saying.ReplyDelete
Actually, that was present in the dub as well, just not touched up in this review.Delete
Sora's mom was worried about Sora getting further injury by playing soccer, so she suggested helping her with flower arrangement as an alternative. Sora misunderstood this as her mom trying to make her into her, and was all "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAAAAND!" It was a big misunderstanding and immature of Sora, but that was the entire point, something this review doesn't seem to get.Delete
Wait, Sora's the weakest character in this season? No, no, no, that title belongs to Kari. Heck, I think TK's no that much better developed a character than Sora either.ReplyDelete
Actually the Demi Dart that DemiDevimon attacks with is filled with a poison LETHAL to humans.ReplyDelete
Do you think that if Sora's mommy issues had actually had foreshadowing or at least been touched upon in other episodes, this episode might have been better. Because that's what I'm doing in my story. Sora's going to be a little more hesistant about certain issues (such as the discussions about home because if her issues with her mother are this important you'd think she'd actually appreciate being in the Digital World).ReplyDelete
They actually WERE foreshadowed in the original version. The dub changed Sora's outward personality so much that the issues come off as coming out of nowhere and not fitting with the character.Delete
And so we reach the end of the Server arc. This was actually the first episode of the series I watched in full. I didn't think too much of it before and looking at it now, I can spot some issues. That said...your review goes WAY too hard on this episode. It seriously was not as horrible as you make it out to be at all.ReplyDelete
I already mentioned why I feel TK and Kari are even weaker characters than Sora in terms of characterization and development, so stating Sora's the weakest link in the group doesn't ring true to me. But the big issue I take with this review is that you miss the entire point of what Sora learns and grows from by going in with the expectation for her angst to be "justified" so that we may "support her cause." What Sora learned here was that it was NOT justified - it never was. It was a result of Sora's immaturity, stubbornness, misreading of her mother's intentions, and personality flaws. Yes, she has personality flaws and these are the big ones. She WAS petulant and bratty, and we're meant to see her as such. We shouldn't be made to think nothing but highly of a character just because she's one of our heroes. She's still a human being and a kid, and they make mistakes. They have less than admirable and likable qualities. And while you or I might not be able to relate to Sora, there may very well be others out there who do. That should not be overlooked simply because you weren't personally moved by her story.
Also, you seem to be going primarily by the dub's characterization of Sora as a loving Team Mom and nothing more. In the original, she's something of a loner who is nice to others but not really "buddy buddy" with them, even her closest friends. Thus she feels her loving gestures are done out of obligation, not true love and kindness. That she was able to help the others against DemiDevimon's plans ever after he shook her spirits so badly shows the strength of her character, but she can't see that when she fixates on the weaknesses. And that's understandable - that's how a confused kid would be like.
The weakest aspects of the episode are the parts that seem over-the-top and, as you put it, hokey. Sora's crying was way more over-emotional than the situation warranted, TK's moment with Sora was a little on the saacharine side, DemiDevimon's attack came off as contrived in how it went down, the "WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND ME?" from Biyomon was beyond forced, and moralizing everything out loud at the end was cheesy though a little forgivable seeing as it comes into play later on in the next arc.
I also agree that Myotismon making his glorious proper debut here was the highlight of the episode. After being kept in shadows as DemiDevimon's mysterious master for four episodes straight, the next arc's Big Bad finally steps up to the plate to confront his enemies in person and shows us how gloriously malicious, powerful, and dangerous he is, confirming to us that he is indeed bad news for our heroes. But what's funny is that we still barely have a grasp on who Myotismon is and what he's really planning aside from trying to stop the crests from being used against him. We have NO IDEA what's in store for us when it comes to this particular villain - there is nothing that could possibly prepare us for what he's going to do and how much shit is going to go down thanks to his actions. In retrospect, seeing him getting brought in as almost an enemy-of-the-day in the Digital World for this episode is kind of jarring in a "this is the guy who goes on to do [insert spoilers here], if only we knew what we were in for!" sort of way, but I really like it. It makes Myotismon unpredictable as far as Big Bads go, which helps make him arguably the greatest villain the franchise has ever seen.
Also, on Myotismon's voice in the dub - Richard Epcar gives a better performance as this villain that he did with Etemon and I actually prefer it to his Japanese voiceover performance. His original voice is very calm, eerie, and Bela Lugosi vampire-esque except when he needs to emote, in which case he passionately chews the scenery, and that's great, but there's something about the air of theatricality that Epcar gives his voice for the character that works so well. Like he's already aware of what a grand dark lord he is, but he speaks with flourish and gravitas in order to ensure everyone else knows it too. The hammy maniacal laugh is the exact opposite of the dead, zombie-like laugh he has in the original version, but it works just as well.Delete
Now in these earliest appearances, Epcar was misdirected in some lines to sound hammier and more over-emotive than his original counterpart, which is ironically the opposite problem of his Etemon. Usually it's not distracting because Myotismon's either in shadow, has his cape wrapped around him so his mouth isn't visible, or isn't actually on-screen at all. In this episode, there were too points that can't be ignored or forgiven - the awful delivery of "HUHUHAHAHAHAHA! These Digi-Destined are making me feel a little...BATTY!" and the even more awful rushed delivery of the dub-added line "Nexttimeyouwon'tescape!" What were they even thinking? Thankfully, Epcar nails Myotismon perfectly from here on out.
I think this episode's main problem is the Narm when mentioning love. It seems that if you want to have love or some such as a powering force, then you need a degree of subtlety. Digimon can do that, but they usually do it best when it seems unintentional.ReplyDelete
That was sad for Sora. Even Tai don't know, what to do with her, after she starts blubbering.ReplyDelete
The question is how do growing kids survive in the Digiworld for months without proper food? They are seen eating every now and then, I guess they can pick berries, and fruit, and catch fish but still.. There are time they goes days without eating.ReplyDelete
I will say episode 4's questionable localization screwed up foreshadowing, but man Sorangst is cringe no matter what version.ReplyDelete