Tamers Episode 14: Grow Mon Grow

In this episode, Yamaki's vortex does just fine sucking Digimon into oblivion... until something comes out of the oblivion. Something very powerful, and very pissed.


Way to go, Yamaki. In your quest to eradicate Digimon in the real world, you accidentally summoned an elder god here to enslave us. I'm sure SEELE will love your report on this one.

There comes a time when you're forced to accept the reality that you just can't win. Yamaki, Rika and Henry all face it here. The Juggernaut program works as intended, opening up a vortex that sucks in all the wild Digimon (and doing its damnedest to draw in Guilmon and Terriermon with them), but inadvertently creates a gateway for Mihiramon to jump through and claim that he and his gang will be taking over the world. The ensuing chaos has the whole building engulfed in a giant digital field, Tally unable to hold herself together amid the screaming monsters and a whole crowd of onlookers wondering what's going on at city hall.

Yamaki doesn't take it well at all. He shuffles around madly, rambling about how those pesky kids brought all this on. He even hoists Henry up by the collar, blaming him for all this. It's a vivid moment, and an awfully quick descent considering the show's only a quarter of the way through. But as much as we need to despise this man right now, it's also important to pity him. He's trying to control the uncontrollable and when the effort creates something this big and this booming that makes things this much worse, it's hard to imagine any other reaction.

Rika and Henry experience much of the same thing. They're worried, of course, by Mihiramon's boisterous statements and the lack of information appearing on their D-Powers, but know they need to suck it up and send Kyuubimon and Gargomon into battle. They don't last long. The lack of visibility, lack of information and, in Gargomon's case, lack of ammunition give them no chance and Mihiramon sends them right back to ground level. As Henry said, they're flying blind in a frustrating battle. It doesn't have the apocalyptic feel of some major villains in the past, but despite Mihiramon not being a final boss, it's almost as scary sending your Digimon to the top of a tower to fight something completely blind.

When it's Guilmon's turn, there's a beautiful moment where all of Takato's angst last episode comes to a head. He doesn't say anything to suggest it, but the fear in his face and the hesitation in his movements make it clear that he hates that he needs to make Guilmon evolve, knowing that the humanity within Guilmon that makes this whole taming thing worthwhile must be momentarily sacrificed. Must being the key word, Takato sucks it up and does it. Thanks to Renamon and Terriermon offering some clues to Mihiramon's attack patterns, Guilmon lands a couple hits but finds himself in a losing battle.

This sort of understanding, knowing what Guilmon must do but dreading how it impacts him, is the likely key to Takato experiencing the blows Growlmon faces. Without being bitten by a tiger, it's hard to say just how painful it is, but Takato faints and finds himself in a trippy gear world where the duality between Guilmon's friendly and violent sides are magnified. Experiencing both sides, Takato promises to do more to help. In the real world, he may appear to wake up screaming, but he may as well be back in the trippy gear world.

It's always shocking when a kid goes to another place entirely. Takato may not have that heavenly glow, but the fire within him rivals only Kari in terms of losing all sense of mind and body. He gives it all to the cause and to Guilmon. It's such a jarring change that you can't even stop to ask how Takato knows what a matrix evolution is or why he doesn't question the sudden blue card in his deck. Instead of facing the reality of defeat, Takato and Guilmon go to a different reality entirely and do the impossible. The truly startling thing is that this is the stuff that usually wins final battles, yet it's is merely a precursor to what's in store for these kids.

My Grade: A

Loose Data:
  • Guilmon and especially Terriermon were affected greatly by Juggernaut, yet Renamon doesn't seem fazed by it at all. She just stands on the overpass, quietly watching the carnage until Rika shows up.
  • Yamaki gets some pretty insane lines before he goes nuts, referring to Digimon as “beasts of mayhem” and such. Can't help but notice that his voice actor wrote the English script for this episode.
  • So with all of Yamaki's lines about how Digimon need to get eradicated, the best Takato can muster in response is that they're cool. The award for most improved elocution in one episode goes to...
  • So... Gargomon is able to propel himself to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building by... shooting his machine guns at the ground? I don't think propulsion works that way, but that might explain how a monster with built-in machine guns can run out of ammunition.
  • It's nice the way the mini-conflict with Kazu and Kenta is resolved on its own as they witness what Takato goes through as a tamer, in the process silently accepting that Takato wasn't lying about having a Digimon. The fact that this sort of thing is short and in the background is made more impressive when you realize that Evangelion devoted an entire episode to do the exact same thing with Toji and Kensuke.
  • We can't really question how Takato knows about matrix evolution when he's that in the zone. We can, however, wonder where Calumon came up with “crystal matrix activate!” We all know he has some connection to evolution, but there's been little indication that he's consciously aware of this.

2 comments:

  1. Maybe Calumon's been watching Sailor Moon reruns.

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  2. Gargomon's fight against Mihiramon is probably the most horror-esque part of the whole ordeal, from Mihiramon appearing behind him (twice!) to Gargomon's obvious nerves and loss of ammo at the end. I might also note that two rookies fell off (or rather were batted off) the tower and survived the drop, one of them hitting the pavement. They must be tough cookies indeed.

    I think Calumon doesn't know what he's doing so much as his instincts just seize the moment. He is, at heart, the catalyst and the embodiment of Shining Digivolution. Even under his cheerful persona, all the power and knowledge needed to enable Digivolution must be ready and waiting to be tapped into.

    Also, what is that gear world Takato and Growlmon briefly go to? I get it signals a deeper connection between them, as tamer and Digimon, but given the blue card and Takato's sudden confidence and knowledge afterwards, I wonder if the DigiGnomes were involved somehow, sensing Takato's desire to hold on to Guilmon's identity even as he has to lead him into battle. And I can't think of any other force established in this season with enough power, seeing as the DigiGnomes created Guilmon from Takato's wishes to begin with.

    Lastly, is this the most explicit reference of guns so far in the Digimon dub chronology? Not only does Henry use the word, but the choppers' guns are actually used against Mihiramon (and not in an imagine spot either). Considering Puppetmon's gun got airbrushed two seasons ago, that's a step up.

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