Zero Two Episode 09: The Emperor's New Home

In this episode, Ken learns that forcing Greymon to evolve is still a very bad idea.


Certain spots in the last episode became better once you know what happens in the end. This time, without advance knowledge of the plot, it's hard to see where they're going with all this Ken angst. In the first few episodes, the Digimon Emperor was just an asshole. Now we get a closer picture of him and see a withdrawn, melancholy asshole. The problem with that is... he's still an asshole.

Sure, we can understand that all the media interviews are tiresome and disruptive. And we can believe that Ken's immense talents leave him feeling alone and isolated atop an inferior world. And certainly we can all relate to his frustration in seeing his plan to rule the Digital World foiled by the likes of an imbecile like Davis. Oh wait, no we can't because such behavior is commonly considered EVIL!

Knowing in advance that Ken ultimately tries to overcome his personal problems and redeem himself, this episode is quite deep. It delves into the inner machinations of the villain and why evil geniuses have trouble associating with common society. The problem is that we aren't supposed to know about the second half of the series yet. Right now, Ken's simply the bad guy and these scenes are a little too wistful and sympathetic for their own good. It's nice that we can see why Ken withdraws from the real world. They just shouldn't make it look like we're supposed to feel sorry for him.

Either way, Ken does withdraw permanently to the Digital World, leaving behind a very disturbing note for his parents. They take it to mean he ran away, but the tone is far more severe than that and could have easily been interpreted as a suicide note. The ensuing police investigation stymies the digidestined, who were about to do the obvious thing (obvious, at least, to Izzy) and capture Ken in the real world.

With Ken permanently the Digital World, he makes up lost ground in building more spires but has it set in his mind to enslave Greymon. Why? Once again, he's not one for developing intelligent strategies. Much as he's an evil genius, he's also an impulsive madman. With so many spires popping up, Izzy is perplexed on what the proper move is. Davis wants to charge in and start blowing them up, and everybody else figures that it's a better move than nothing. Stupidly, their first stop is a volcanic world with a bunch of Meramon that aren't fazed by Flamedramon, Halsemon or Digmon's attacks. By the time we get to Pegasusmon and Nefertimon (and it takes a while as the evolution scenes really drag on), Ken's airlifting the captive Greymon into the battle.

Honestly, capturing Greymon wasn't a bad move. It left several territories undefended and easy to recapture. But that wasn't Ken's motive. No, he just wanted to see Greymon turn on the digidestined, and show off his might by forcing him to evolve. Not that Ken has ever been able to force a Digimon to evolve for him before, but apparently he wanted to make a splash. Remember what happened last time Greymon was forced to evolve?

Yep... SkullGreymon again. And just like last time, he goes on a rampage, swatting down the good guys and the DarkTyrannomon army Ken sends after him. Just to drive it home, he blows up the spire too. Once he runs out of energy and devolves into Agumon, Ken re-captures him and runs off gloating. As if there was anything to be proud of in any of that.

My Grade: B-

Loose Data:
  • Is there some sort of scheduling thing worked out between Tai and Izzy to supervise the new kids? Those two are either right on top of things or completely absent.
  • Yolei needs to quit with these euphemisms. First she wants Joe to inspect her tonsils, now she wants Ken to “program her computer.” Someone hose down this girl.
  • Mr. Ichijouji's response to Donkey Madness (earlier established as the hot new video game) is weird. It's hard to tell whether he disapproves of Ken playing video games or thinks Donkey Madness is a real thing and his son is somehow afflicted.
  • As soon as he sees SkullGreymon, TK gives the order to retreat. Flamedramon, Digmon and Halsemon all promptly attack and get beaten down to Rookie. Later, since everyone ignored TK's direct orders, Pegasusmon communicates through biting sarcasm.
  • With a flash blinding him, Davis mentions how he should have put his goggles on. It's the first time anyone has ever mentioned the goggles actually serving a functional purpose, even if they would do nothing unless they were tinted. Takato ends up using them similarly in Tamers.

5 comments:

  1. I dunno, I kind of like that we see Ken in a semi-sympathetic light even when he's an asshole. There's nothing saying a villain can't be humanized while he's still a villain. Even without knowing about the second half of the series, I'd still think this makes Ken more interesting as an antagonist. He's a monster, but a monster with his own perspective that we get to see delved into.

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    1. They definitely got Ken to be a human being for a reason, I agree.

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    2. Seconded (thirded?). For all their charisma and magnificent bastardry, guys like Myotismon and Piedmon are digimon, and are thus fundamentally different in nature, morality, etc from our heroes.

      Ken is human. That he's capable of such villainy makes it all the worse.

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  2. "Sure, we can understand that all the media interviews are tiresome and disruptive. And we can believe that Ken's immense talents leave him feeling alone and isolated atop an inferior world. And certainly we can all relate to his frustration in seeing his plan to rule the Digital World foiled by the likes of an imbecile like Davis. Oh wait, no we can't because such behavior is commonly considered EVIL!"

    What.

    Granted, the part about trying to take over the Digital World is evil, but the rest is sympathetic enough. It's wrong to act like feeling frustrated by disruptive press attention and an intellectual difference is evil - what the hell kind of anti-intellectualist message is that to suggest? No, what was wrong with the episode was that it was clear most of Ken's frustration came from his own self-important snobbery and callousness, not his genius or social isolation, so sympathy is hard to muster.

    Seriously, "Ken's immense talents leave him feeling alone and isolated atop an inferior world"... you want to give the impression that this is your idea of behaviour commonly considered evil? Obviously, I don't think you think that, but you could have phrased that a lot, lot better than you did.

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    1. This is a comment from a long, long time ago, I'm aware. But you seem to have fundamentally misunderstood the meaning of the whole paragraph. Everything is understandable and relate-able EXCEPT the last part. That's evil.

      Dunno what your reading comprehension is like in general, Anonymous, but that effort was pretty poor ;)

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