In this episode, now that Guilmon's evolved to this gigantic beast, Takato has to figure out what to do with him until he changes back.
Early on, Takato mentions that the process of getting Growlmon back down to size is more complicated than it was on TV. That encapsulates both the appeal and the flaw of this episode, a silly little misadventure built around a curveball that is simultaneously amusing and frustrating. It invokes a new rule that Champions don't devolve back to Rookie on cue and actually take a bit of time, something that only mildly bothered Terriermon and Renamon, but nearly destroys Takato.
It is a manufactured dilemma, without a doubt. The logic makes enough sense: the excess data that forms a Champion needs time to burn off before the Digimon can get back to Rookie. But this is applied so inconsistently to past and future evolutions. Gargomon got past it standing on his head for a few minutes. Kyuubimon reverted off-screen after just a single shot of Rika waiting it out. Growlmon needs a whole episode of misery before turning back, and even that feels like a miracle. You can bet there's not nearly as much drama when it happens in the future.
Forced as it may be, it's still enjoyable watching Takato rip his hair out trying to find a solution. He tries burning off the extra data through exercise, cooling it off with a soak in the pool, even joining in himself when he reasons that a Digimon's energy is tied to his partner's. Ridiculous as it looks and as hard as it fails, Takato is at least putting thought into it. There's a logic behind everything he does. It just doesn't work the way he hopes. Eventually, they end up at a temple praying things will work out.
The downside to all this is that no matter how stupid Takato and Growlmon look, there's no clear answer. Laugh at them all you want, but any other tamer in that situation would probably go to the same extremes. Worse yet, we never figure out what the answer is supposed to be. When a last-ditch camouflage job is washed out by rain, Takato completely loses it, bawling in front of a stunned Henry. Suddenly, Growlmon magically changes back as a rainbow appears. It's so intense!
Along the way, it's a parade of secondary character cameos, most of which are able to provide additional comedy to the scenario. When Takato uses vague terms to describe the situation to Jeri, she manages the impossible feat of interpreting it as him having a crush on her. She lets him down gently. This leads to a fun exchange with his parents, as Takato quickly gets the impression that he's the only normal person in the world. That should give you an idea of how crazy things are getting in Shinjuku.
As Growlmon tries to sleep it off, Calumon and Impmon rear their heads as well. Calumon decides that despite Growlmon's condition and the time of night, it's playtime and they need to pay Takato a visit... only to bail when Takato's not feeling playful at 2 am. Henry's just thrilled when Takato wakes him up for advice, suggesting they use the drainage tunnel that Guilmon almost vanished from two episodes ago. And they do it! Impmon ruins this, taking offense to Growlmon being forbidden to play with him by... playing with him.
Without a clear explanation of what Takato was supposed to do about all this, it becomes a baffling little escapade with no real point. Don't say Takato's fit of tears triggered Growlmon devolving because it meant he finally wanted it bad enough; that implies that he didn't want it over the first half of the episode. And definitely don't start with the rainbow. It makes the episode good for a laugh, but that's about all.
My Grade: B-
- In a slight moment of maturation, Takato finally realizes, after doing it twice, that designing a Digimon to be as large and dangerous as possible has some severe drawbacks.
- I'm pretty sure the animation of Takato taking bread from the kitchen was recycled from episode one.
- Given the... unusual designs of the playground equipment in that park, it's not at all a stretch that Growlmon fits in among them.
- Takato said the paint came from his family repainting the house. Terriermon makes a really good point about the available colors- they would be ugly. And why would they use water-based paint?
- Given her role here, Rika could almost be included in the “parade of cameos.” She shows up for a couple minutes, acts like a bitch, and leaves once the rain sets in. Given that she's already had two episodes where we've see her softer side, you'd think we'd be past that.