In this episode, Guilmon is falsely accused of setting fire to lovers in the park. Yes, they actually show lovers in the park. And guns. Lots and lots of guns.
There's a lot to celebrate in this episode. Guilmon finally evolves for the first time, once again spurned by a tamer showing concern for his partner. For the first time, a Digimon is able to create some havoc in the city, breaking free of the digital field and doing some tangible damage. Most importantly, it's a hallmark episode in its minimal censorship in the dub.
It's often joked that Tamers is the season where the censors gave up. Whether it was due to the overwhelming amount of potentially objectionable content or the final year of Fox Kids rendering execs disinterested and censors less trigger-happy, Tamers gets away with murder. Literally!
Obviously there are plenty of moments that get flash-framed or airbrushed throughout the series, and even a cigarette got cut out here, but this episode has two places where the dub resists the urge to blot out spots that may have been deemed unsuitable in the past. After guns were stolen from Puppetmon, that Mexican guard and even Gargomon in episode 3, here we see a whole cadre of armed officers shooting down Guilmon in Takato's fantasy. The difference may be that the censored incidents involved pointing guns at children while here they were turned on a Digimon. If that's the case, it means the network is undermining the message that Digimon should be treated as living creatures.
The second is integral to this episode's story: Impmon's been spooking and smoking couples in the park and Takato worries that it may be Guilmon. Scenes of couples in close quarters or even full-on making out are retained. If anything, the dub gets even more risque, adding some suggestive “go back to my place” dialogue and a cop (an inexplicable Foghorn Leghorn impersonator) making reference to “oscillatory activities of consenting adults.” If you know what I mean.
Despite Guilmon's first evolution, this isn't a great episode for Takato. After catching Guilmon out of his pen, against strict orders, he hears only the part he dreaded- that Guilmon was involved in the spookings. He didn't hear the part about Guilmon following someone else, not enjoying it, and returning home with clean hands. It's human nature for Takato to misinterpret it, but it doesn't make him any less stupid for it.
Instead, Guilmon himself gets the development card this time. He's still very fresh and behaves more like an animal than any other Digimon, but he's clearly learning. He buries his dinner to conserve food for later. He does his best to obey Takato until Impmon goads him into leaving. He gets nothing out of the way Impmon pesters the couples and promptly returns. It takes Takato to understand that Guilmon was not the culprit in order to get the push necessary to evolve, but Guilmon is settling into a more-defined character than given credit for.
Devidramon's bio-emerging is also the first time we see a Wild One causing some havoc in the streets. Bystanders witness the monster and damage is done. Hypnos is helpless once again, and you can sense Yamaki's blood pressure go up a tick more as he seeks to wipe everyone's memory and have Riley invent a cover story to explain what happened. Good luck with that.
My Grade: B-
- More signs of Takato's immature logic in Digimon creation: after creating a powerful monster with all sorts of natural weapons, he pauses when he realizes he won't be able to ride him.
- For everything that was left in this episode, it's funny that they cut someone's cigarette out as Hiroaki Ishida was seen smoking in Adventure. Then again, that's Hiroki Ishida. This is some guy in the park hoping to get laid.
- Hey, some personality for Miss Asaji as well, bailing out Takato and just feeling uncomfortable patrolling the park with Mr. Mori.
- Renamon refuses to join in Guilmon's fight against Devidramon. What exactly are her standards for this? She had no problem stealing the kill against Vilemon and Devidramon poses a far bigger threat.
- Given Takato's piss-pour work with modify cards, we're getting the distinct impression that he's not getting a proper sequence until he starts putting some thought into it.