In this episode, fanboys, fanservice and fantastic quantities of stupidity.
At some point we have to ask whether or not this team's gross incompetence is cute or just plain pitiful. Now that the group knows what they're supposed to be doing and knows what they're up against, their inability to take the situation seriously and their knack for very stupid mistakes is becoming less and less forgivable. This is a very silly stretch of episodes we're heading into as we build up to Duskmon's proper debut. While it's one thing for the children to adapt to the insanity appropriately, it's another to drop their guard in such negligent fashion.
With Grumblemon out of the picture, it's Ranamon's turn to shine and thank goodness for her. She strikes a perfect note for a villain of her stature- full of charisma, charming with a nasty mean streak, and a southern accent that disguises her evil intentions almost as well as Mako from Nerima Daikon Brothers. She's fanservicey as all hell, but her sex appeal isn't in some vacuum: her minions are pulled from the ranks of her adoring fanboys. Appropriate to her status as a Legendary Warrior, her actual ability isn't all that daunting, which she recognizes. It takes a splendid mind game with Mercurymon to convince her to challenge the digidestined while searching for her beast spirit. Awfully convenient that they're in the same place.
After discovering that they're now the only ones who can save the Digital World and that they're pretty much working alone, it's understandable that the kids would want a bit of downtime to decompress and process the enormity of their task. They take it to a ridiculous extreme however, enjoying the tropical shore with a little too much enthusiasm. It's like getting fired from a job, then spending the next week in Cancun. This mentality gets them suckered into the Toucanmon's trap. Giving in to free food is forgivable; the Adventure kids fell for that four different times. It's caving to a second, less tantalizing trap that really hurts their creditability.
Following the free meal, the digidestined even realize that it's time to go! Not only that, but they're a little suspicious that the Toucanmon are so adamant on them staying. But once they see the beach gear their inhibitions vanish. The boys make the terrible, terrible mistake of leaving their D-Tectors, the only devices that give the Digital World a chance at survival, in a public changing room. The Toucanmon gobble them up quickly, and would have gotten Zoe's had they shown any patience and waited for her to leave. It's sad to think that the only reason the Digital World isn't completely screwed is because Zoe took forever to pick out a goddamn swimsuit.
The changing room scene raises plenty of eyebrows on its own. First off because they forgo the innocent and natural fanservice shots that just show Zoe enjoying the beach with everybody. Instead, they go straight for the sexy fantasy poses, one of which was deemed too hot for TV... which is a frightening thought. When she senses the Toucanmon approaching, the ensuing slapstick is trite and obvious. Takuya and JP are idiots for barging into a changing room without warning and Zoe's an idiot for forgetting that Takuya and JP are idiots.
Since Zoe's D-Tector was saved by her imagining that she's actually capable of filling out a bikini, she becomes the only line of defense when Ranamon graces her appearance. It's silly that Kazemon is the only one who ever gets to fight Ranamon, but as both of them are probably the weakest on their respective teams, it creates a nice bit of parity. At least until Ranamon finds her beast spirit and, in an amusing twist, her beast form is not only hideous, she can't control it and goes flying away. The moral of today's story: stupidity works both ways.
My Grade: C-
- The conversation between Mercurymon and Ranamon is probably the most inspired part of the episode. The one-liners they throw, like calling Ranamon “queen of puddles,” are fantastic.
- Given where JP's beast spirit was, you almost had to wonder if Ranamon's problem was that she was only searching the water. It could have been on the moon for all she knew.
- There's something very amusing about two of the Toucanmon sounding exactly like Gomamon and Kazu. The voices fit the fanboy bill quite well.
- One of the most irritating things about this season is how much everybody speaks in unison. It's particularly bad in this episode, since Koji's right there in the chorus despite clearly having a different interpretation on things.
- A joke translated pretty faithfully but likely to fly over the heads of dub viewers is the stereotype that beachfront food is terrible to the point of charming (because it means you're on the beach). The fact that all the free food these kids have gotten has been so good that it seemed fake or downright inedible makes them appreciate something so authentic.
- While Takuya and JP running in on Zoe was just dumb, flipping it around and having them absentmindedly change while she was still in the room was pretty clever.