In this episode, the kids learn a valuable lesson about why you should never split the party.
One of the biggest knocks on Frontier is the way JP, Zoe and Tommy become marginalized by the end of the series. The in-game cause of this is Takuya and Koji require all of the spirits for their advanced evolutions. This is something we will rip to shreds in due time. This redistribution doesn't happen for a while, so this is where the second tier needs to start earning its street cred. If they play their cards right, there are plenty of mid-bosses down the road to make them look respectable.
It's become an established rule that any debut evolution gets to steal the show for the episode. There's a few exceptions here and there, such as MarineAngemon (who just pops in unexpectedly in a non-battle situation) and Sunflowmon (who is the saddest Champion ever and will be mocked constantly next season), but for the most part even the weaker entries get a smooth introduction. The previous episode was a perfect example as Kumamon's hardly a premium Champion (or Hybrid or whatever they're called) but got off to a rousing start. Sure, he needed Agunimon to finish the job, but the point is he didn't embarrass himself... and besides, what the hell was Wizardmon doing there in the first place? Kazemon, meanwhile, is a complete failure from the get-go.
The whole thing stems from the terrible decision to split the party after Takuya and Zoe disagree on which train track leads to Forest Terminal. While both make persuasive arguments, they come to the stupid, stupid conclusion that it's worthwhile to split up. Takuya goes his way with Tommy (the only one who actually respects him) while Zoe goes her way with JP (who's trying to score). If you're paying attention, that means one team has both of the kids actually capable of spirit evolving. By all logic, that should be the final say in any argument. Amusingly, neither track leads to Forest Terminal: Zoe and JP reach the dried-up former tourist trap Breezy Village (try the soup!) while Takuya and Tommy reach the world imploding on itself. Leave it to the Frontier gang to select both answers in a multiple choice question and still get it wrong.
Breezy Village feels like all those early episodes of Adventure that we all tried to forget about, complete with helpless victims, annoying singing and antagonists that are corrupted instead of evil. The scenic destination has been seeped of all its prettys and any efforts to grow more are repelled by the Mushroomon Brothers, corrupted after some sort of labor disagreement. After Zoe graciously offers to have JP help the cause, the attack is on. Zoe gets her spirit not because she attempts rational negotiation with the Mushroomon, but because she shows a slight bit of concern for JP during a (probably deserved) beatdown.
While it's not as dramatic as Tommy's need for credibility, Zoe is in the same boat. Takuya and JP both take a chauvinist attitude towards her and her capacity to spirit evolve. While her Italian temper has allowed her to punch back, the group will never be able to function as a team unless they learn to respect her as a fighter. Without that, she's just the token skirt. So it's none too soon that she becomes Kazemon and proves once and for all that yes, she really is just the token skirt.
While she looks decent enough against the Mushroomon, their DigiXros into a Champion completely overwhelms Kazemon and she goes down in record time. Lobomon jumps in and takes out Woodmon like nothing. What's especially embarrassing is that Lobomon's impressive combo of creating and then attacking a minor wound should be well within Kazemon's ability. There's no type mismatch involved. A season removed from one of the strongest female characters around, we're stuck with one who turns into a Digimon capable of little more than fanservice.
My Grade: C-
- You'd think that either Bokomon or Mole the Trailmon would be aware of the junction up ahead and would know the correct route to Forest Terminal. In hindsight, it's pretty ignorant of Mole not to mention it.
- We're just getting used to the idea that the composition of the world itself can be digitized into a fractal code and stolen. Now they're pushing the idea of concepts such as a village's natural beauty getting the same treatment.
- In a season notorious for changing the names of some Digimon into something far less interesting, give the dub credit for taking two boring names (Wolfmon and Fairymon) and borrowing some foreign words to create Lobomon and Kazemon. Those sound much nicer.
- After Lobomon's initial scratch, Woodmon taunts him, calling it a love tap. Kazemon has (and uses) an attack that is actually called Love Tap. It involves a dramatic butt check and did not work at all.
- I'm not saying that these early episodes are formulaic, but even Narrator Rika is scoffing at JP's angst over not having a spirit, knowing he's due for one next episode. Bonus- in next episode's preview, she says “the butterfly blew it.” So far Rika's a dark horse candidate for being the best character in Frontier.