Adventure Episode 34: The Eighth Child Revealed

In this episode, Gatomon and her loyal tag team partner Wizardmon turn on Myotismon. Myotismon's too strong for them... but here comes Greymon with a folding chair! Oh my God!


Well what do you know? Kari's the eighth child!

This is an episode that works much better in synopsis form than actually played out. Gatomon struggles with her duty to kill Kari! Loyal friend Wizardmon reveals that Gatomon is actually Kari's partner! Wizardmon entrusts Kari's digivice to Tai and seeks out Kari's crest! Gatomon turns on Myotismon and is held captive to draw Kari out! Sounds like an A to me.

The problem is that some of these plot developments were telegraphed and not all that surprising, while others just pop in out of nowhere. Part of the problem with this eighth child hunt is that the audience has known it's Kari the entire time, which doesn't make for a gripping hunt. Especially on the digidestined end, which involves Joe working the phones and Tai digging around the house for his old address book. Finally outing Kari is more of a welcome closure than a big revelation.

As for Gatomon and Wizardmon, there was far too much backstory to digest at once, denying us the maximum impact. Wizardmon really needed to get his proper introduction in an earlier episode, particularly the part where he does Myotismon's bidding because Gatomon tells him to. Gatomon's story, at least her cruel reprogramming at Myotismon's hands, also could have been covered earlier, before any suggestion that she was starting to fall for Kari's charms. The “I don't know who I was before” bit is far more effective when we're given a couple episodes to ponder, speculate or even gain the impression that it doesn't matter. Prior to this episode, there wasn't any indication that Gatomon was anything but a nasty bitch Digimon and explaining that behavior earlier would have done much to plant some clues, rather than having her turn on a dime like this.

Don't get me wrong: Gatomon's backstory is golden. First, there's the agonizing bit where she knows she's supposed to find someone, but doesn't know who. This eats at her and makes her feel lonely and restless, finally falling in with Myotismon just to get some sort of company and sense of belonging. With that in place, she feels a strong bond with Wizardmon only because they are both two lonely travelers just looking for a break. Wizardmon feels something stronger in Gatomon, because he seems pretty good at picking up inner torment. As the stories in Digimon are often defined by the human characters, this could the most interesting story solely between individual Digimon in any season, at least until Cherubimon's corruption in Frontier.

The net result is that Gatomon includes Wizardmon in the invading army even though he's not particularly disposed to evil. When he finds the eighth digivice, everything unravels. He's quick to unite Gatomon with Kari, and the connection brings it all back. Tai finds the turn a bit too abrupt as well and Agumon attacks. In one quick, neat moment, Kari and Gatomon each try to take the bullet for the other... which pretty much convinces Tai that this is all square.

Leaving the digivice with Tai (and not Kari for her safety), Wizardmon and Gatomon set out to find Kari's crest... an immensely crazy move that gives their betrayal away immediately. Oh look! Myotismon tries to kill them with goddamn bats! No talk of condemning them to a dungeon this time. Myotismon defeats them easily, keeping Gatomon alive long enough for her to give a strong speech about keeping dreams alive in the face of adversity (which, again, I would have liked to see more of beforehand). It also gives Greymon time to charge in and... well, he gets his ass kicked too. Considering they're right next to Myotismon's home base, he doesn't give much of a reason for flying off without finishing MetalGreymon off. But he does fly off with Gatomon, so she's still got a bit of adversity in store for her.

My Grade: B

Loose Data:
  • It's probably some sort of alcoholic beverage that Wizardmon finds, but describing it as chili sauce and giving it to Demidevimon to make a taco run is a good cover. Better than soda at least.
  • On the news coverage of the Shibuya incident, we finally get an explicit reference to this taking place in Tokyo.
  • When describing the Shibuya incident to Tai, Matt says Myotismon “took care of” Pumpkinmon and Gotsumon. In the wake of a bad dubbing move last episode (and some less-than-stellar voice work in this one), it's a nice language choice that merits recognition.
  • With Myotismon disliking Salamon/Gatomon's business eyes, the animators really back it up. The bright-eyed kitty has a glare you don't want to mess with.

2 comments:

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9d1uTdsHoIM

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  2. This episode probably should have gotten an A- or B+ despite it's faults. While Wizardmon and his relationship with Gatomon came out of nowhere and Gatomon's ultimate turnaround was too sudden and too fast, it was still an extraordinarily engaging episode that answered many questions and finally officially revealed the eighth child to the other characters and who her eighth Digimon was to everyone, Gatomon included. That Gatomon is a victim of Myotismon's abuse comes as no surprise when you recall how afraid she was of facing him after failure back in episode 29, and how fixated she is on pleasing him. And just when it seems you couldn't freaking hate Myotismon more, we see him whipping a puppy Digimon with his Crimson Lightning simply because he doesn't like the way she looks at him and he wants to beat that defiance out of her. But despite his abuse, Gatomon never truly lost the light inside her, which is why she saved Wizardmon and, for all her cruel talk and insulting words, confides in him like a friend. She simply buried her sense of idealism and dreams because she felt they weren't meant to come true, and she grew colder and more detached from the world until this moment. And the backstory detail about how she always felt the need to wait for someone to find her or to find that someone herself explains why such a seemingly cruel bitch Digimon was troubled with killing a child whom she knew was her target. What Myotismon had warped her into was not stronger than what she truly is at her core, and that's beautiful. This is what makes Gatomon's redemption work, and all her heartwarming moments with Kari feel earned even at this point.

    Wizardmon is also a great character. He might have not had a proper introduction past his cameos in episode 30, but damned if he doesn't make the most of his screentime and characterization in order to make a profound impact on audiences. He looks creepy, sounds creepy, and is most definitely one of the bad guys. Yet he shows such an adorable sense of awkwardness and such loyalty and kindness in his heart that we start liking him even before he and Gatomon officially turn on Myotismon. His attack moves are badass, and Robert Axelrod is just phenomenal in the role, really nailing all the right nuances and emotions of the character. It's scary to think he gets killed off here, but no, we have to wait a few more episodes for that to happen.

    As for Myotismon, he truly is one sick SOB. Not only do we learn that he abused Gatomon in the past, but he continues to abuse her in the present, attacking her, insulting her, belittling her for her dreams, and torturing/attempt to kill Wizardmon while she watches. Finally, upon learning that she's the eighth Digimon partner, he abandons his crest locator plan in favor of using Gatomon as bait to lure out and identify the eighth child. How he plans to make this work out, we don't know yet. But for as much as we hate him, we also have to appreciate just how magnificent a bastard he is. He'd always detected that Gatomon could be a potential threat to him and that's why he warped her into being his loyal servant, he was able to track Gatomon and Wizardmon back to his lair by using a copy crest, and is savvy enough about techniques to completely prevent MetalGreymon from landing a blow on him by using his Crimson Lightning to whip the giga missiles into the lake. On top of that, we find out early on what he'd been doing in Shibya when he ran into Matt and TK...draining more young women of their blood! Yikes!

    One part of the dub that gets me, though? When Myotismon finds Gatomon and Wizardmon robbing his coffin and holds out the copy crest, Wizardmon deems the crest he was stealing "another copy" despite stuffing it in his cloak anyway, and then Myotismon says "Did you think I'd leave the real crest lying around for thieves like you to steal?"...before crushing the supposed "real" crest in his hand. WHUT?

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