In this episode, remember when Henry let Terriermon fight and Takato looked like he knew what he was doing? Yeah, about that...
Rika wasn't the only one vexed by the last encounter. She throws her digivice and cards in the trash and spends the whole episode in bed sulking, but everybody else has shifted their stances too. Despite easing up in recent episodes and letting Terriermon get involved in the action, Henry reverts back to full pacifist, questioning the function of Digimon in the real world more and more. As for Takato, he sees the newly vacated position of local ass kicker and sends in his resume.
For as much time as Takato has spent with Henry, understanding how satisfying it feels to have a good relationship with a Digimon partner without resorting to constant violence, was there any doubt that Takato would soon be itching for constant violence? Nobody creates a Digimon as big and powerful as Guilmon to have as a lapdog. As much as he dislikes Rika's attitude, Takato has secretly yearned for Rika's ability. While he understands that Digimon are real beings and need respect and love from a partner, he also wants to test Guilmon's limits in battle, invent awesome modify card combinations and be the very best like no one ever was.
It's no surprise that he lets his success against IceDevimon go to his head, especially after that combo helps him defeat Kazu in cards. Suddenly, taming has gone from a trying, but rewarding, burden to something he can actually boast about. Now he's bragging about Guilmon to Kazu and Kenta, even introducing them to him... with predictable results.
This change in attitude is an important part of developing Takato as a character, and owes much to the concept of modify cards. Incorporating the Digimon card game into the Tamers world, particularly the battles themselves, is one of the biggest knocks on the series. It is derided as a ridiculous marketing ploy and probably is. It is, however, a necessary evil with several advantages. First, the ability to give Digimon more strength without evolution means that evolution itself becomes a more lofty occasion early on. Secondly, it creates a semblance of tactics, meaning that kids can be good or bad at taming, performing on the battlefield as much as their Digimon do. Takato feels a whole lot better using the right card combination than he would simply fitting whatever intangible equation is necessary for evolution. Just as he feels awful when he stinks up the joint battling against Musyamon here.
Meanwhile, Henry has gone in the completely opposite direction. Whether due to witnessing the damage Kyuubimon took or the emotional impact of IceDevimon's work on Rika, Henry just wants to clutch Terriermon tight and withdraw from everything threatening. When a digital field appears right in front of them, Henry physically restrains Terriermon from entering until it goes away. It goes against Terriermon's nature and the little guy isn't afraid to express that. Terriermon refuses to be reduced to a simple pet even as it's clear that neither of them know what he is supposed to be.
While Rika's napping and Terriermon's busy being abused by Suzie, Renamon injects herself into the conversation. With Henry explaining that Terriermon is itching to fight, she explains that she felt the same way until developing an emotional connection to Rika that may or may not be mutual. The summit doesn't accomplish anything, but damn does it look good.
Finally, it's a shift for Yamaki as well. While the Yuggoth program succeeds in blocking Musyamon the first time, the Wild One is not at all happy with the intervention and swears revenge. The second effort is not blocked and Yamaki finally gets a chance to see what an actual realization looks like beyond the dots on the giant Hypnos radar. In other words, he witnesses the tamers and their Digimon first-hand. Ruh roh!
My Grade: B+
- While Takato doesn't seem to care about the looks he's bound to get walking around with Guilmon (since everybody assumes there's a logical explanation), Henry is very self-conscious about wearing Terriermon as a hat. And really, who wouldn't find it strange that a boy that age is walking around with a giant stuffed animal?
- Yamaki dismisses claims that Digimon are living creatures. Who in his network are making these claims, while still allowing Yamaki to intercept them?
- This is the first time Tally has been referred to by name. So you're free to go write your fanfics about her and Riley now.
- Does anyone else feel a Spike/Jet vibe hearing Yamaki and Musyamon?