Frontier Episode 04: Kazemon Kicks It

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-

Loose Data:
  • 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.

11 comments:

  1. I think Zoe might have had the worst track record out of all the Digidestined in that season. Other than her debut as Kazemon, there were the times she had her spirit stolen, and then there's the sad fact she only took ONE digimon's fractal code for the whole series (Even if it was one of the recurring villians).

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    1. I hated the fact that they made Zoe's evolutions utterly wimpy. I mean, it had no real reason behind it, and the episodes could have progressed the same either way. This one, for instance, didn't need her to lose. It could have just had her win, and then have Koji show up last minute.

      So why on Earth didn't they just have her be competent, ffs? After a great track record, the series suddenly takes a step backwards and turns one of its heroic Digimon into a joke, for no reason!

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  2. I am Woodmon, I cannot be defeated! D:<

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    1. Just rewatched this episode for the first time in years, and that was the first line I thought of when Woodmon appeared. XD

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  3. The sexualization of Kazemon is pretty disturbing. She wears even less than Angewomon for crying out loud, and she is to some degree a preteen girl! Also, Zoe make Mimi look like Rosie the Riveter.

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    1. Mimi was at least a strong, well developed character. Even she would laugh at Zoe's performance here.

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  4. I don't know why, but something about hearing Rika talk about how the new lead girl blew it here is oh so pleasing. XD

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  5. I think one of the Floramon had Mimi's voice and one of the Mushroomon had Davis' voice.

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  6. While I liked Frontier, I always disliked how the characters that weren't Takuya or Koji were demoted to represent mere token tropes. Zoe is the most notable victim here, as the staff probably wanted to create a girl character that showed more skin in order to hook more kids into viewing the show, in case the whole "Spirit Evolution" BS wasn't worth of attention (keep in mind that during the time Frontier was airing, Pokemon was being notorious for having Misty ditched in favor of the impossibly curvy May).

    Poor Zoe was not only a token skirt, but an underused and downright victimized character that was designated to show her navel, be weak, get saved, and get all sorts of things happen to her (peeped at at the must-have beach episode, groped by perverted tentacles, harassed by JP, and getting wrapped by and almost eaten in two consecutive episodes (19 & 20) by digimon with conveniently stretchy tongues). Poor girl.

    If Frontier was to have a reboot someday, the staff should at least give Zoe a little more importance rather than simply being a tease.

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    1. Found a really awesome sort-of-reboot here
      http://popkas.tumblr.com/post/146776244743/part-1-you-are-here-part-2-part-3-part-4-and
      It's really well thought out and I want it to be a thing :P

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  7. Zoe mishap of the week:
    -Don't split up with your man Zoe, you'll just end up stripping, losing a fight, and getting saved by another guy.

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