In this episode, Takato learns that keeping a large, nosy Digimon away from parents and the school is exactly as difficult as you'd imagine.
Part of the appeal in this season is the steep learning curve Takato has to go through to become a proper Tamer. Just because Guilmon didn't eat him after all doesn't mean that he's instantly in the clear. Now he has to take care of the thing. For the Adventure kids, the whole damn world was a learning curve and their partners were the least of their concerns. In Zero Two, the new Digimon conveniently shrunk down to In-Training size for easy storage and portability. Bet Takato's wishing he'd thought of that when designing his new best buddy.
Getting it past his parents is the first challenge. Step 1) Find a really big box. 2) Put your 'mon in that box. And that's the way you do it. Never mind that Guilmon causes a mess in Takato's room and his parents aren't fooled for a second.
There's something very interesting in how mundane Takato's parents are. The parents from Adventure were all over the map, but the normal ones didn't get a whole lot of screen time. Takato's parents aren't stupid; they can tell immediately that Takato's hiding something. Even better- they actually follow up on it! Holy crap, parents actually parenting! These two wouldn't let little kids use the stove unsupervised!
You even feel a little sorry for Takato's dad as he confirms that his son has a pet that can't stay. Health codes tend to frown upon animals in food preparation areas. They aren't badass characters like Hiroaki Ishida, emotional wrecks like Ken's mother and are destined to be overshadowed by Henry's dad and Rika's mom, but it's nice to see some parents just being parents for once.
On the other hand, Takato's efforts to parent Guilmon are less effective. At this point, Guilmon is a really big puppy dog- playful, clingy and untrained. He's got the best buddy thing figured out with Takato, but doesn't understand that Takato's also the tamer. He isn't going to be taking commands, particularly something as cold as waiting alone by a construction site while Takato goes to school. Instead, Guilmon's hopping in the box in search of more playtime.
Guilmon's Solid Snake routine doesn't exactly work, but the little success it does have is played for laughs. The principal converses with the box and Guilmon gives all the wrong answers. The principal gets fed up and... 3) Make him open the box. He freaks out, the school freaks out, and Guilmon eats all the lunch.
After he realizes Guilmon's loose in school, Takato is introduced to fellow tamer Henry and his Terriermon. If there's any earlier indicator that the Digimon in this season aren't going to be automatic extensions of their partner, this exchange is it. We don't get much from Henry, who seems sympathetic to Takato's problems. Terriermon, on the other hand, delivers a wicked burn and sends Takato running away crying. Henry is not pleased.
Takato and Guilmon get their happy reunion in the end and set out in search of a new home. Along the way, they meet the final third of the primary cast when Renamon blindsides Guilmon and wants a brawl. Takato is only able to briefly register that Rika is the girl from his dreams. Then he realizes that she's here for blood.
Two episodes, two cliffhangers. That's a wicked pace.
My Grade: B+
- I still don't get the goggles. Takato puts them on as a way for Guilmon to distinguish him as a human rather than a Digimon, but how do they really help? Not everybody wears them and there are other, clearer ways to distinguish humans from Digimon. If he's trying to show authority, he's got a D-Power for that. In Hunters, Taiki succinctly summarizes the symbolism behind goggles in the franchise: “a hero needs goggles.” Except Takato's wearing them for a different reason.
- It doesn't work at all, but the makeshift shelter Takato creates for Guilmon is pretty damn resourceful. It can't be easy to make a wall that stands on its own like that using bags and discarded materials.
- In reference to the goggles, Kazu calls Takato “Yolei.” This makes no sense whatsoever, but it's another reference to the anime that helps dub viewers suspend disbelief about the card game nonsense. Still, calling him Tai or Davis would have been more appropriate.
- So the principal pulls the fire alarm and all the kids... stand out in the hallway? Aren't they supposed to evacuate the building in an orderly manner, even if it's not actually a fire?
- It speaks to just how bad Terriermon burned Takato that Takato's angsting includes doctored memories. His image of Henry and Terriermon is of a happy human and a happy Digimon smiling and having fun together, when it was clear that Henry was not at all amused during the exchange.