Zero Two Episode 36: Stone Soup

In this episode, it's not so much a race to the final destiny stone as it is a race to waste as much time as possible before the final showdown.

Not counting all the random dub quips, the series usually knows when it's supposed to be serious and when it's safe to be a little offbeat. If the kids are wandering around aimlessly midway through an arc, sure, go ahead and have a silly episode to break things up. With only one destiny stone standing between you and the Digital World's destruction... probably not a good time to goof off. The silly quotient in this episode is practically an open acknowledgment that this whole destiny stone crisis isn't really all that dire.

It also acknowledges that there wasn't really anything planned for this episode. It just had to get that last DNA evolution out of the way and set up the digidestined's last stand next week. The rest was apparently left up to the manatees, who came up with a Chinese restaurant where the stone helped make the broth extra-tasty. Not that they had anything in mind for that scenario, but add in eight full-length evolution sequences and a few unsuccessful attempts and the time passes by just fine.

At least it's entertaining silliness, with Arukenimon and Mummymon at their most ridiculous. Broad, physical comedy works with these two in a way rarely seen with Digimon villains. Despite being two ugly monsters, his ability to turn everything into a statement of affection is remarkable, and while the schtick gets old, her clobbering him is mostly good fun. With time to kill, these two show off their comedic stylings as they order noodles from Tapirmon and are denied the recipe, only to find the soup spring themselves after their jeep breaks down. They summon the destiny stone only after Mummymon tries to take a drink... and ends up nearly drowning.

At the same time, what does it say about the current arc that these two goofballs are considered the primary villains? BlackWargreymon is clearly a chaotic neutral, especially this time around as he makes it especially clear that he's not going to obey Arukenimon. His lack of trouble in destroying the stones makes it difficult to accept that they mean a whole lot, especially as the results of each destruction is so inconsistent. Really, the big black twister of death that came after the first stone was destroyed has been the more severe reaction; random Azulongmon sightings are tame by comparison. To have such a silly episode setting up the final stand feels like more of the same. It's as if these have secretly been filler episodes this whole time, with the last stone's destruction marking a return to plot, and maybe some answers too.

As for the digidestined, it's clear that the big rift between TK and Cody resolved itself on its own last episode. There wasn't a big moment of reconciliation when they figured each other out. They just sort of did it on their own, quietly, through simple observations. By the time this episode starts, they're ready to make this happen and feeling pretty good about their chances. The last two episodes covered their angle with enough depth that it's very believable that they've reached a common understanding. It's just that that's no fun, and very anti-climactic when the moment of truth arrives and they just nod at each other and make Shakkoumon appear for the first time. Given the intense circumstances that brought about Paildramon and Silphymon, this one was easy after all.

Still, I have to admit that their reaction to Shakkoumon, jumping in each other's arms and laughing about how they finally got it to work, is awesome and hilarious, especially with BlackWargreymon bearing down on them. Celebrate it anyway, guys, it took you long enough.

My Grade: C

Loose Data:
  • One of the crazier things about this episode is that while it was mostly silliness and padding, the animation for this episode uses the edgier, tighter style last seen in episode 21. It's more appropriate for more intense episodes (like episode 21) so it seems really out of place here.
  • While commenting on the animation, I would feel remiss if I didn't point out that this particular style adds certain “assets” that Kari and Yolei usually lack. It's not as bad as Nene in the Hunters finale or the Data Squad girls busting out in certain episodes, but it's weird to see.
  • The concept of cleaning duty in Japan, where students take turns cleaning up their classrooms after school, is foreign to American audiences and is understandably altered for the dub to explain Cody's tardiness. However, the explanation that he has to clean the teacher's lounge is even more far-fetched. Granted, it does set up Davis's great cleaning service line very well.
  • If there's any lesson in this episode, it's Cody finding a pragmatic reason to get sidetracked and eat Chinese food with everybody rather than find and protect the destiny stone. His logic is that the Digimon can't battle on an empty stomach. Are we supposed to believe that even with Cody running late, the Digimon all went in hungry for the first time since forever?
  • Arukenimon and Mummymon make a comment about de-evolving in the restaurant. Except they aren't actually evolving, merely transforming into more battle-capable forms. Why would that be affected?
  • For a silly directionless episode, it's unfortunate that they couldn't spare a cute montage of the kids preparing the food themselves, merely announcing that they will, then cutting to them enjoying the meal without incident.

1 comment:

  1. Oh boy, Shakkoumon. I remember screaming at my TV, "It's a TEAPOT!"