Tamers Episode 18: Digital Beauty

Rika gets dragged into a camera test because mommy wants her to become a model. It doesn't end well.


Last time, an episode that barely featured Rika at all ended with an inexplicably not dead Vajramon silently calling for Renamon, who goes with him with no protest. Rika is left stunned and the episode ends there. We begin this episode... at a studio?? I'm sensing some discontinuity here.

Rika's mother has this crazy idea that Rika should join the family business. Rika, who already has this Renamon trouble hanging over her head, has no patience for such insanity. Especially when she's wearing this strange dress that should have been shipped to Paradise Kiss instead. It doesn't suit her at all. As Rumiko and her agent gush about how pretty Rika looks in that thing (even though she doesn't), you can actually see the dress slowly drain her soul. Add in the bright lights of the studio and Austin Powers as a photographer and she loses it, fleeing the scene.

It's a reminder that Rika's rehabilitation is still a bumpy ride. We've been starting to see her soften up and treat Renamon and (occasionally) the other two tamers with a modicum of decency and respect. While it's a shift in her personality, that doesn't change the fact that her home life is still messed up and that she still more or less hates her mother. It's very possible Rika sucked it up and decided to play along in an effort to play nice with Mom, only to be overwhelmed once it was carried out. Either way, her tear-assing out of the studio is vintage Rika, as is her utter refusal to discuss it once she returns home.

Other than this latest episode of “Keeping Up With The Nonakas,” there's little else going on until the prolonged encounter between Vajramon and Renamon. In a desperate effort to kill time until then, they turn to the natural choice for character development... Riley! Yeah... Hypnos Girl #1. This is seriously what they're going with.

What's more, she's in a low-cut swimsuit! They could have thrown some fanservice into Rika's photoshoot (like, say, giving her something decent to wear as opposed to that godawful dress). I'm glad they showed some restraint there, but a random scene of Riley swimming? Better enjoy it; it's the last fanservice shot you get until Sakuyamon shows up.

That's not to say that getting Riley's thoughts on all this is undesired. It's a perspective that audiences aren't always treated to- that of the underappreciated minion that increasingly questions the boss's work. Riley has been the calmest of the Hypnos trio, yet finds herself frustrated by the toll such long hours are taking on her personal life, their inability to stop the Devas and these random children that are somehow having more luck. Judging by the way Tally was about to punch out before getting pulled back into the thunderdome when Vajramon reappears, the feeling is probably mutual.

The final encounter between Vajramon and Renamon is excellent, as Vajramon tries to lure Renamon over, going on an anti-human rant and explaining that the Devas work for the Digimon Sovereign and Renamon would be a fine addition. Renamon plays along to get this information, then stabs Vajramon in the back (literally!) once Growlmon and Gargomon interfere. The battle gets Renamon to Ultimate, an appropriately humanoid form to piss off Vajramon even more before he's destroyed. As worried as Rika was, Renamon knew what she was doing this whole time, and even Rika seems to accept that doubting her was just silly.

There's just one question... what the hell were Renamon and Vajramon doing prior to this and where the hell were they doing it?? It's been a whole day; did they just pop back into the Digital World for tea and a round of bridge?

My Grade: B

Loose Data:
  • Everyone harps on the photographer's Austin Powers impersonation, but few notice that the agent guy's hair makes him the splitting image of Joe.
  • Riley unhappily turning down a date (implying she's single) is viewed as a continuity error as she's seen in a relationship with Yamaki later. I don't view it as such as there's no evidence to suggest that this relationship is happening now.
  • This showdown between Renamon and Vajramon happens in a large stadium that likely holds some pretty important events. How on Earth is the security so light that Takato, Henry and Rika all get onto the field without so much as a locked door in their way?
  • So now a blue card just appeared in Rika's pack with no apparent influence from Shibumi. So their appearance is either due to the crazy machinations of a strange figure from the past... or it's magic.

4 comments:

  1. I loved that Vajramon said the Devas were apparently the most powerful creatures around, purporting them to be nigh-invincible, and seeming to believe their own hype. Dude! They killed four of you already! You saw Pajiramon (and you, kinda) taken down in one fucking hit. You even spend most of this fight just tanking damage and very rarely fighting back.

    Powerful my ass. The devas are the Minnesota Timberwolves of the digimon set.

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    1. Even more humiliating is that two of them were killed by Champion-level Digimon. In fact, of the twelve Devas, a quarter of them get killed by Champion-level Digimon (Sandiramon, Sinduramon, and Kumbhiramon). A third are wiped out easily by the first Ultimate they come across (Mihiramon, Pajiramon, Vajramon, and Indramon).

      And it doesn't stop there. Of the remaining five, one of them's an incompetent coward (Makuramon), one of them fails to kill even a Rookie with his special attack (Catsuramon), and one of them is basically a door guard (Antylamon). The only two who put up more of a fight for other Ultimates are Vikaralamon and Majiramon, and the latter gets unceremoniously offed after curb-stomping an Ultimate and loads of Champions.

      So that leaves Vikaralamon, the big pig, as the best the Devas had to offer.

      Yeah, Tamers really did not make the most of what was supposed to be a bunch of elite Ultimates serving the Digimon equivalent of GODS, for crying out loud!

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  2. This is one of the reasons I don't rate Tamers that highly. The Devas were a fascinating concept and could have made for a really interesting part of the Digimon mythology. They had the potential to show a colourful range of personalities, and sometimes did (Catsuramon's cunning, Makuramon's creepiness, Pajiramon's no-nonsense attitude, etc.). Vajramon is just one such good example, given how passionately he wants Renamon on their side. And yet, for all that, the Devas turn out to be flat Monster of the Week cannon fodder. Instead, we get an arc for the gosh darn D-Reaper, easily the most charmless of all the Digimon antagonists. What a waste of potential that was.

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  3. I always saw Vajramon's motives for Renamon being less about getting a new recruit and more about getting laid.

    Hell, an unsung theme of this episode is how the Wage-Slaves can never get any action. If Vajramon could tone down the Human-Hate and have a decent conversation with folks, he could hit up Reilly in a bar somewhere and she'd be desperate enough to give it a shot.

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