Frontier Episode 03: Kumamon Baby, Light My Fire

In this episode, in a desperate attempt to make Tommy appear useful, here's a tribe with a penchant for doing it wrong and an element that makes Tommy's spirit super effective.

The first two episodes haven't shown Tommy in a particularly good light. He starts out a balling crybaby, commits a dangerous high-wire act that nearly gets him and Takuya killed, goes along with JP's scheme to catch a train home (despite being indecisive about his desire to actually leave) and proclaims that he's not supposed to be here more often than Dante in Clerks. Is there any other character that gets a worse introduction? Well... maybe JP, but he's still an ass here so we don't need to talk about him yet.

This is Tommy's redemption episode, where he shows inner strength, finds his spirit and becomes the big hero. In this effort, the episode succeeds. We can start to see him in a better light, and he suddenly goes from being the helpless baby of the team to its second strongest member behind Takuya. Granted, it must be recognized that this is achieved by lowering the rims, putting bumpers on the gutters and making the task as foolproof as possible.

First off, he and JP are given one last chance to leave for good. While JP gets on the platform without a fight, Takuya pushes Tommy to go home (Zoe too, but she has enough sass to talk him down). Tommy was never all that committed to bailing in the first place, knowing that he should go but wanting to see if he's got some hero in him. So when the Trailmon leaves and neither of the two are on board, it wasn't as dramatic a change of heart as it could have been. Especially since JP stayed when he realized how boring his home life was compared to a Digital World that offers him all sorts of chances to stalk Zoe.

This now makes three characters who have opted into all this not out of a desire to help the Digital World, but because life at home wasn't doing it for them. Takuya and JP make this explicit and that seems to be the case with Tommy as well. Tommy even claims that his parents will understand what will end up being a lengthy absence if he comes home a stronger person, implying that his parents must really think he's a weakling and that he's more eager to become a superhero than to actually save the world.

He gets his chance to prove himself facing a Candlemon tribe that does everything ass-backwards. They steal the fractal code for the rail bridge over them for defense, even though the missing bridge becomes the sole reason the kids visit them in the first place. Despite this, their first assumption is that the intruders are there to steal their artifact, which the digidestined weren't even aware existed. They worship the ten Legendary Warriors until Takuya uses the spirit of one, at which point they suddenly feel the urge to run them out of town.

Since Candlemon don't mind being set on fire, Agunimon's fire attacks aren't very effective. Recognizing this, Tommy springs to action, jumps into the (suddenly very shallow) river and uses his giant hat to douse the Candlemon with water. It's an act of courage to be sure, and it's enough to call forth the digiegg spirit of ice and turn Tommy into Kumamon, who has an ice breath attack that just so happens to be perfect against fire types. It certainly counts, but given how the encounter was tailored towards Kumamon's strengths and that the Candlemon claimed to just be testing the digidestined and weren't all that threatening to begin with, it doesn't count for much.

My Grade: B-

Loose Data:
  • I've missed this kind of internal strife. Just as Zoe did last episode, JP makes it a point to note that he's older that Takuya. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but JP and Zoe each make it clear that they are not going to automatically listen to Takuya, especially as he's the second-youngest on the team. Takuya's age gives him a credibility gap that neither Tai nor Takato had to deal with (with the older kids looking over his shoulder, Davis arguably did).
  • Apparently the best way to descend a steep cliff with limited walking space is to run down it.
  • The story of the Lucemon and the Legendary Warriors is part of one of the richest mythologies in the franchise. It's underutilized, to be sure, but it's nice to see some serious thought put into it, especially as the legend influences the thought and mentalities of many of the Digimon down the road. This certainly won't be the last you'll hear about this.
  • JP is smart enough to write down all this information on the legend, particularly the mark for each spirit.
  • While Wizardmon's appearance is unnecessary and downright regrettable given his role in Adventure, it's amusing that he's voiced by Joshua Seth. His battle with Agunimon has a real Tai vs. Matt sound to it.


  1. The thing that really kills the episode is that Kumamon doesn't even get the kill. He does one move, freezes one Candlemon, then gets knocked on his ass and stays down for the rest of the episode!

    For God's sake! This is his introductory episode; it's the apex of his utility! He will never be as powerful as he is here, and he spends the lion's share of his appearance on the ground.

    And then episode 4 comes down the pike...

  2. Its funny you sarcastically mentioned digiegg because I always thought the spirits were similar to them

  3. What's the problem with using wizardmon? I mean by know the fans that have been following the prior series ought to know that there are different digimon among the same "species", hell in adventure Greymon fought another Greymon. Does a series need to play them as if they were the same in different universes? Even Tamers Leomon had significant differences from his adventure counterpart.

    And of course, new viewers don't even know there was another wizardmon around.

  4. "While Wizardmon's appearance is unnecessary and downright regrettable given his role in Adventure, it's amusing that he's voiced by Joshua Seth. His battle with Agunimon has a real Tai vs. Matt sound to it."
    ...I must now rewatch this episode with that in mind. I remember seeing this and hearing Tai's voice and goin' "Wha, Tai? What're you doing here?!".
    ...Tai's my favorite character of all the DigiDestined...ever. Of course I'd be able to recognize his voice from a mile away.

  5. Actually Joe is oldest of the Adventure cast, so Tai did deal with someone older than him, its just that Joe behaved more like a mediator than anything else. And with Tamers Takato had to deal with adults, and more experienced teammates.

    1. It's not that there wasn't anybody older than Tai and Takato, it's that nobody in their groups used their age to try to undermine them the way Zoe and JP try to undermine Takuya.

    2. In my opinion, I felt like Joe kind of did this in a indirect way. He didn't let anyone know of his age through words(they all probably knew he was the oldest anyway) and he didn't really seem to mind when it came to decisions on what to do next when something was suggested by somebody in the group(essentially, he was cool with whatever the group was gonna do since they all had no idea where they were, staying as a group was the best option, and doing nothing was out of the question, although he does mention waiting for rescue in the 2nd episode) anyways back to what I said him doing this indirectly. Although he never declares that him being the oldest should mean he should run things and not listen to the others outright, he does put it upon himself to have responsibility over everyone else and keep them safe being the oldest in the group. Tai and Matt's argument on whether or not to climb the mountain definitely encourages him to do it on his own since even he didn't even know what to do about it and ended up being frustrated over it. It showed me that Joe was willing to risk going up a mountain with no knowledge of it, to make sure it was safe for the others to go at the expense of whatever could have happened to him. It showed his capabilities as a leader and how important he was to the group. I wish that this was more utilized with him when Tai got sent back to the real world and when he decided to go with Mimi after seperating from the others. (The part with him finding out what kind of person he is just classified him as being one of the group than being a leader. Doesn't make it any less important though.) Episode 11 definitely counters this by showing that Joe really isn't a capable leader being too scared and insecure(even though at other times he can be proven as a leader) but in the end, he does a leader-esque thing by coming up with the chant to help save the day. Sorry I posted a Adventure-heavy post on a Frontier blog. X)