The popular misconception about Rika is that she goes from being an icy bitch to something more presentable over the course of the series. While she certainly defrosts considerably, the image of the emotionless, detached girl warming up to friendship and caring is not entirely accurate. This episode shows us that Rika has never been completely emotionless and detached. In fact, when she is directly confronted with that exterior, she finds herself hating it.
Like everything else in life, it all stems from mommy issues. Rika and her mother are very different people with very different tastes and sensibilities. Her mother does not understand this, assuming that Rika's tomboyish behavior is just a phase and that she'll eventually grow out of it, grow closer to Mom and end up with a posh job in the fashion industry. It isn't a stretch to believe this, especially considering this is exactly how things played out with Sora. While Sora's mother tried bridging the gap through a harsh tone and actual parenting, Rika's mother wants to be bffs. When she spies Rika with Calumon, Rumiko leaps to the conclusion that her daughter is all set to become more of a lady, adopt a love for all things cute and maybe take up tennis.
Sora was rebelling for the sake of rebelling, and upon reconciling with her mother drifted closer to her in style, settling on a nice middle ground that was actually her. Unfortunately, Rika really doesn't seem interested in any of this cutesy stuff. If she were, there wouldn't be much of a problem. But Rumiko's cheery attitude and insistence on being friends with her daughter leaves Rika suffocated and isolated. Judging by the class of her school, she doesn't have too many outlets there. Hence Digimon, where she can vent her frustrations and dominate for the sake of dominating. She might as well be playing Halo with the Digimon Emperor and Yuu Amano. We've seen enough compassion from her to know she can care, and enough loneliness to know that deep down she really wants a close friend. She just isn't looking for any of that in Digimon, even if all that was key to her choosing Renamon in the first place.
Now imagine her frustration when she suddenly can't figure out the rules of her game. With Henry and now Takato able to evolve their Digimon and enjoy taming with minimal combat, she finds herself no better off. When she senses something following her, she gets anxious, taking it out on Renamon because she can't take it out on anyone else. With Renamon gone, IceDevimon is able to capture Rika, begging to be tamed by someone equally frigid. IceDevimon has all the charm of a child molester, and given how touchy-feely he gets with Rika, he might as well be. Rika is royally pissed that this monster is in tune with her Digimon tamer persona. YOU'RE... NOT... ME!!!!
What's fun about this battle is that everything is set up to happen exactly as expected, but nothing does. Yes, Renamon senses Rika in danger and bursts in to save the day and yes, Rika is able to get her to evolve. But then Kyuubimon gets her ass kicked. For all of Rika's obsessing over evolution, it takes Henry's clever modify card to free Terriermon and Guilmon, then a devastating combo from Takato allowing Guilmon to kill IceDevimon. Rika knows she's not an icy bitch, but wanted to play one in her Digimon game. Now she sees how ugly that is, and how successful kids who play nice can be. It's no wonder she gets fed up with all these complications and quits the whole damn thing.
As for Renamon, she's awesome sees through all of this, but would rather wait it out and let Rika accept things on her own terms rather than force the issue and end up in the same pit as Rika's mother.
My Grade: B+
- It's hard to tell exactly what song it is (they all kinda sound the same), but Rika is listening to one of the insert songs from Zero Two on her headphones.
- With no time to explicitly mention Rumiko's celebrity status, they throw in posters of Rika's mother in the background of a street shot.
- The clearest sign that Rumiko has no concern for Rika's style is that she dismisses it as “tomboy chic.”
- The show really doubles down on the creepy factor by showing IceDevimon's victims frozen and looking absolutely horrified, then making his death gruesome with a disintegrating head and flying limbs.