In this episode, Rika weathers a wind storm with a kooky married couple. Oh, and Jijimon and Babamon too.
Picking up where we left off last time, with the data stream bearing down on Kazu and Kenta, Rika and Renamon make a heroic effort to save them from whatever it is data streams do. Unfortunately, she's too late and the four of them are blasted away into parts unknown! Will they encounter incredible peril away from the rest of the group? Will Kazu and Kenta shape up and find a way to contribute to the effort? Will Rika learn to tolerate them along the way?
No, no, and no. You get none of the sort. Instead, you get a filler episode that couldn't have been timed worse and makes zero advancement in the story. It doesn't even develop the characters, despite a golden opportunity to move all of today's players in a positive direction.
The concept of Rika getting stuck with the likes of Kazu and Kenta should have amazing potential. She can barely suffer Takato and Henry, yet now she's stuck with two idiots that have no business being here in the first place. Not only are they baggage, but Kazu even has the stones to hit on her! No wonder she spends the whole time wanting to kick his ass (and does so in Japanese version... literally).
The problem is that this particular escapade presents no opportunity for Rika to gain any respect for them, nor do they do anything to attempt to earn it. If anything, she respects them less, going so far as to abandon them and resume the hunt for Calumon on her own. She returns not because she has a change of heart, but because she realized there was something useful back where they were loafing around. Retrieving the duo is an afterthought to her. The only real character note for Rika is proof that when she has no reason to carry that attitude of hers, she can be quite refined and polite. She shows proper manners and sincere gratitude for Jijimon and Babamon's hospitality, and such behavior does not seem awkward or unfamiliar to her.
Kazu and Kenta, meanwhile, continue to be morons. They pig out at their hosts' banquet, abuse everybody with their crooning in the bath, then allow their humble request to partner up with Jijimon and Babamon to turn into this bizarre LARP session where they're hitting each other with sticks to the old couple's amusement. Even their one moment of sincerity, where they silently apologize to the pair for doubting their motives, is marred by their lack of reason to suspect them and lack of clothing while investigating them. To really work, that scene needed to escalate to the point where it ended with a furious Rika asking them “what are you doing and where are your pants?”
As stated last episode, Kazu and Kenta are important to have on the trip for purposes of comic relief. They still keep things from getting too dark too soon and their dream of becoming tamers in spite of the hardships they see the others facing is amusingly naïve. At the same time, they just aren't built for carrying an episode. They're the Toji and Kensuke of the group- good for a fresh perspective and great as background buddies, but not deep enough to make us care about them for an entire episode, even when given an awesome scenario like being stuck alone with Asuka.
Sadly, Jijimon and Babamon are another miss. They're silly enough, but one-note characters that probably would have been more interesting if they did have an ulterior motive for helping. Perhaps their habit of killing time by fighting is meant to draw a parallel to the violent tendencies across the Digital World, with their pleasure in helping the kids meant to suggest a solution. It's just hard to trust that an episode this flat would have an analogy that potent.
My Grade: D+
- When plummeting down and crashing to the ground, Renamon falls and loses consciousness along with Rika, Kazu and Kenta. Couldn't she, like, phase out of space and reappear at the bottom?
- Since everybody's going to bug me if I don't mention it, yes, there's a scene cut out where Rika wakes Kazu up by kicking him in the ass and bumping him over to give Kenta a good morning kiss. Somehow that is only the third most suggestive thing Kazu and Kenta do this episode.
- I was all set to accuse the dub of lacking the comic punch it usually has with the dull joke of Kazu threatening Kenta with stories from school physical day. Then I watched in in Japanese: instead of Kazu making fun of Kenta's little girly arms, Hirokazu makes fun of Kenta's high cholesterol.
- They still don't really explain what the tarps on the huts really do. They don't seem to act as proper windbreakers and couldn't possibly protect the huts from all the flying appliances, nor would any sane Digimon use them to gauge wind speed. Just something to plant there to use as hang glider material, apparently.
- Jijimon says he and Babamon have been married 50 years. If the Digital World has been around for 50 years, that would mess up the series timeline a little bit.
- So... underneath those tiny huts are a full kitchen, at least three bedrooms and a full onsen-style bath? Damn, that's swanky!
- When reminded of the quest for Calumon, the reason they all entered this world in the first place, Rika dismisses it, confident that Calumon's fine. Remember that they only had vague, second-hand information that suggested that Calumon may have gotten away from Makuramon.
- Hey, Rika magically climbed another butte! She's getting pretty good at that!