Zero Two Episode 44: Dark Sun, Dark Spore

In this episode, without revealing his actual intentions, Oikawa executes his evil plan. And speaking of evil, who wants to talk about MURDERS!


It wasn't long ago that we were in the World Tour arc, a light-hearted romp that didn't provide anything resembling drama. Boy have things turned around. Overall, Zero Two is one of the least intense seasons in the franchise. Even darker moments like the Lovecraft episode, Ken's backstory and the phase warp feel like outliers against what has mostly been a calm ride. This string of episodes doesn't quite hit the depths of hunting for Kari in season one, the second half of Data Squad or pretty much all of Tamers, but the points of emphasis are very compelling.

The concept of the dark spores is one of the most inventive plots of any season. It doesn't have the best execution or the best payoff, but for a show that loves to create scenarios testing the mettle of specific characters, this is an absolute horror story for Ken. One of the recurring themes in Digimon is kids learning to be comfortable about who they are and the choices they make. This is hardest for Ken than any other character as he has to overcome a period of his life filled with hate and atrocities. As he fights it, Oikawa wants to isolate that part of him and celebrate it.

Everything about it is awful for Ken to sit through. The presence of the dark spore is proof that Ken was not in full control of himself in that time and acting as a puppet to some evil power. The notion that Ken was growing this spore to be harvested out of him disgusts him. The worst blow is that all these kids are lining up, freely and eagerly, to receive the persona that Ken has spent so long rejecting. They're willing to follow creepy men and a mysterious lady into the back of a truck just to get a taste of the Digimon Emperor's power.

Both the digidestined and Daemon's forces are in hot pursuit, however, as Jim Kido and LadyDevimon chase after the truck. The dynamics of this three-sided contest is fascinating in its simplicity as all three factions are too busy fighting each other to ally against one or stop and figure out each other's motives. LadyDevimon has the best opportunity to stop the truck, but the digidestined send Silphymon after her anyway, essentially allowing Oikawa to escape with Ken.

It's in these fights with LadyDevimon and MarineDevimon that Yolei and Cody finally get blood on their hands. Both are shocked to witness their Digimon killing another and both instinctively regret it, but that doesn't mean the two situations are alike. Yolei made it clear to Hawkmon that the goal was not to kill LadyDevimon, but that was forgotten once LadyDevimon took a human shield. Although Yolei rescued the guy when she whacked the Digimon with a skateboard, LadyDevimon attacked Yolei and Silphymon killed her to save one of its partners. Yolei was shocked at first, both by the brush with her own death and witnessing another's up close, but with Kari's help accepted it as necessary and justified.

Cody, on the other hand, went into battle prepared to do what had to be done. His life was never in danger, but as MarineDevimon crashed his tentacles into a hospital, Shakkoumon wasn't taking any chances. It was equally justified, but as much as Cody understood that Shakkoumon may have to kill, he still looked sick when it actually happened. Even after saving the day and getting a thank you from the cute girl in the wheelchair, he's still not sure what he did was right.

It's a shame all this angst over murder is seriously mitigated by the lack of angst over killing enemies in season one. Few characters in any season have reservations about murder the way Yolei and Cody do. Strange how in a vacuum where only this season exists, Yolei and Cody's reactions are understandable, but the cumulative carnage of the other series make them look like sissies. It's really unfair.

My Grade: A-

Loose Data:
  • There's a place in the script for a car chase and they give the honor to Jim Kido v2? Perhaps they were afraid Hiroaki Ishida wouldn't have stopped at the train tracks and instead would have vaulted the car over them Girl Who Leapt Through Time-style.
  • Everybody's already calling Arukenimon and Mummymon a poor man's Team Rocket, so Arukenimon does herself no favors in calling the digidestined twerps.
  • The dub is often accused of making Davis stupider than he was originally, but they gave him an unintentional genius moment where he deduces that Oikawa is heading to Highton View Terrace out of nowhere due to the location's connection to the Digital World. Originally, he simply notices that the truck is heading in that direction and guesses that that's the destination.
  • Speaking of the dub and Highton View Terrace, Oikawa's talk of Highton View Terrace being a misnomer does not work with the English name and is a case of the adaptation being too literal. The Japanese name of Hikarigaoka has more to play with as “hikari” means light.
  • When Ken looks away from Oikawa and the children, Oikawa using it as a demonstration of proper elitism is a fantastic touch.

2 comments:

  1. I would have given this episode a lower score. The angst over killing Digimon to get the job done could have worked if the victims were reluctant or even likeable, a la Scorpiomon from the previous season. But they're Devimon-type psychopaths, for crying out loud! I think that significantly reduces the drama because it does the same thing as Aquilamon's debut episode: sets up a potentially tough ethical dilemma and then goes out of its way to make the dilemma ridiculously easy and pointless.

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  2. I think it does make a measure of sense with regards to Cody and Yolei have minor BSoDs over killing the two Daemon Corps members. The entire series, they've never had to kill a digimon they view as real. Kimeramon was a mad mashup that was more destructive force of nature than a sentient being and their other foes that they need to destroy have been control spire digimon. Here, they've knowingly taken lives. Yes they were villains, but still... And furthermore, every other group of DD is stuck for extended periods of time in the Digital World where they spend fair amounts of time fighting for their very survival. Outside the fight with Kimeramon, the new kids never seemed to have been in mortal peril.

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