There's a shot towards the end of this episode where all the families are rooting the kids on, with additional support from around the world. There's another shot where the kids materialize and appear ready to kick Apocalymon's ass, possibly without even bothering to use their Digimon. These moments, where you know they're about to throw down for real, are just exciting enough to prevent this episode from being an abject failure that makes “Sora's Crest of Love” look worthy of an Emmy.
Digimon is a great series and all, but there are occasional hangups that prevent it from realizing its maximum potential. While credit must be given to the dub for sticking with the plot, showing many of the darker moments and at least acknowledging that it's set in Japan (somewhat of a milestone in its time), the ad libs do get silly sometimes. Also, while it's rarely preachy, some of the “friendship and love” speeches do wear on quite a bit. The character development is always one of the highlights, but we don't need every teaching moment spelled out for us. Finally... yeah, those evolution sequences do get tiresome after a while.
This episode throws all of those into full force, adding in a convoluted backstory for the final boss and a clip show for good measure. All we need now is someone flinging crap and we're all set.
The conceit behind Apocalymon is fine... a culmination of the pain of failed evolution emerging to share in its suffering. The problem is that something that massive shouldn't just pop up out of nowhere in the final two episodes. Gennai gives a backstory that again asks more questions than it answers, introducing concepts like the wall of fire and the original five digidestined without elaborating. His ultimate explanation for Apocalymon ends up being “it's come up before. Good luck.” It's just too much, too late.
Being an embodiment of pain, Apocalymon is as emo as you can imagine, which is played for laughs. The jokes are quite bad, especially for a final boss, with the only humor coming in how awkward the kids feel talking to him. No, he doesn't deserve that kind of agony. Yes, they still have to kick his ass. He does, unfortunately, have the abilities of previous villains, along with precision claws that snatch and destroy everybody's crests. He also utilizes everybody's fears to erase their physical forms, leaving them floating around as loose data. Here's where it gets trippy.
The Digimon attempt to keep everyone's hopes up, which somehow turns into a moment for each of the kids to reflect on how they've grown because of their relationships. In other words- a clip show. It's pretty bad, especially since it dwells more on specific moments and less on overall development. Still, they come to the (obvious) conclusion that they're better people now, which we've already figured out. In a slight stretch of logic, they're all more determined and their crests start glowing from within their hearts. That's right: the Schwartz is in you, Lone Starr. It's in you! The ring is bubkis!
Matt does make an interesting observation that the crests not only respond to their owner, but also everybody around it. Everybody's collective friendship is what really powers the Crest of Friendship, etc. In hindsight, it's easy to observe that with most of the crests, and it's interesting to examine major incidents in the past to see where others have contributed to major evolutions.
But seriously, any time the main lesson of a reflection episode can be summarized by five seconds of a Mel Brooks movie, it's not earning high marks.
My Grade: D+
- Is it me or is Joe praying as they all fall into the void?
- You know things are bad when even Mimi's complaining about Apocalymon's lines in the dub.
- Bad as his lines are, Apocalymon is quite diabolical. Not only does he target the children with his attacks, he goes after the three girls first.
- While all the other Digimon are trying to stay positive, Biyomon is clearly being sarcastic about all the optimism. Yet Sora takes her seriously and scoffs at her positive thinking.
- Matt and TK's parents are holding hands as they look up at Apocalymon. No, they're not going to get back together. But in such dire moments, what woman can resist Hiroaki Ishida? Sora's mom was probably looking his way a few times too.