Frontier Episode 16: The Swiss Family Digimon

In this episode, when some Gomamon warn you about a dangerous whirlpool across the sea, load 'em all up on a rickety raft and plow right into it! YOLO!

Here in part two of the “make Zoe look useful” mini-arc, the kids are searching every tree, water barrel and baby carrier for the at-large Toucanmon who had taken the boys' D-Tectors in a moment of abject stupidity. When they finally spot the Toucanmon flying to another island, the solution to going after them is even more abject stupidity. Several times in this episode, the kids are given the opportunity to do something intelligent or clever. They manage to shy away from it every time, surviving once again on blind luck.

The kids are actually extremely fortunate that the Gomamon show up to warn them about the whirlpool and rocks on the other side of the channel. Never mind that it's quite deep and quite long, and that Tommy can't swim and JP has no stamina: Takuya and Zoe choose to ford the river! After the Gomamon scare them into submission, the kids begin plotting something that involves coercing a flying Digimon and, failing that, two swallows and a piece of string. It's too bad the boys lost their D-Tectors. If only Zoe had the ability to turn into Kazemon, she could take care of the problem herself.

It's bad enough that Zoe doesn't offer to fly everybody over herself, but she also insists on helping the Gomamon get across too. You have to realize that if these whirlpools were caused by the Digital World's decay, the Gomamon have been away from their brethen on the other island for a while now. It's not ideal, but they're getting by just fine and despite their forlorn stares across the sea, they aren't in any real danger. Yet Zoe insists on helping them, making the goal infinitely more difficult and the solution far more risky. In this situation, caulking the wagon and floating it across isn't any safer than swimming.

This appears to be an attempt to affirm how awesome and strong girls can be, but it's completely misguided and should be unnecessary. First off, the very notion that we need a reminder that girls can be strong digidestined is downright offensive coming immediately after a season with someone as tough as Rika. The first three seasons didn't need girl power moments because all of the girls could stand on their own and didn't need to prove anything to anybody. Even when a character perceived to be weaker, like Mimi, had a moment of strength, it emphasized her character and not her gender. By crowding the spotlight to prove her strength, Zoe proves her weakness.

Even though the kids were doing a fine job getting themselves killed, Ranamon shows up to finish the job. Once again, Zoe's the only one who can fight, and nobody thinks she has a prayer. And that would be the correct answer; Ranamon knocks her around and sends Zoe to her watery death. Luckily, for the third straight time, a beast spirit is hiding underwater and it happens to be Zoe's! Zephyrmon is... a pretty poor excuse for a beast, but she gets the job done against Ranamon.

Not against Calmarimon, mind you. Yes, she's completely dominated once again! Somehow the boys, even with no powers, save her with relentless taunting that throw Calmarimon off. Once again, Calmarimon loses control of her spirit and spins away. Zephyrmon subdues the whirlpool and they arrive safely and everybody's all huggy. Zoe says it's because they were so accommodating in her unreasonable demands to help the Gomamon. It's probably because she's happy they haven't kicked her off the team yet.

Supposedly we're supposed to give her credit because she was able to control her beast spirit so easily. Yeah, and Hufflepuffs are said to be good finders.

My Grade: D

Loose Data:
  • It's bad enough that they think the Toucanmon would be hiding in such impossible locations, but Zoe admires her reflection in the water barrel.
  • You have to admire the Toucanmon's practicality in thinking they can sell the D-Tectors to other Ranamon fanboys so they can potentially take credit for it.
  • Even when they're taking Zoe's side in helping the Gomamon, there's a hint of sarcasm, especially since Koji's all “yay teamwork” and Tommy's enthusiasm about his impotence in the water.
  • While assembling the raft, where did Koji get that axe and why didn't he hang onto it?
  • Mercurymon comes through with a nice double entendre. After Calmarimon wrecks the lair trying to control her spirit, Mercurymon suggests she get a broom. Not that he's implying that she's a witch or anything. Totally about cleaning up. Totally.


  1. Why is it that in these Zoe-centered episodes, it's Mercurymon and Ranamon who steal the show?

    And this episode again show's Zoe's faults as a character. She's gung-ho about proving her girl power, drawing attention to her as a gender (Zephyrmon's catchphrase in the original is even about how "a woman should be strong!"), and then proceeding to screw it up by getting her ass kicked by a more competent female warrior and needing the boys to save her and give her a lucky break. And yet we're still meant to side with her and see her as strong for able to control her beast spirit, thus making her "better" than Ranamon? Sorry, but no. Zoe's still pathetic. And I actually like Kazemon better than Zephyrmon.

    Seriously, Mimi and Rika would laugh their butts off at Zoe's progress here...

    1. "Why is it that in these Zoe-centered episodes, it's Mercurymon and Ranamon who steal the show?"

      Mercurymon in particular is my favourite in this episode. He really gives the impression of being surrounded by idiots, yet he just responds with self-satisfied sarcasm. Say what you will about his arc later on, but the guy's got style.

      Personally, I prefer Zephyrmon to Kazemon, both design-wise and because she's more competent.

    2. actually it's Izumi who would laugh her ass off at Mimi's and Ruki's uselessness without Palmon and Renamon, Izumi doesn't need partners to rely on.
      Say what you want about Frontier but actually it's the best season since the children came to this world individually not knowing each other, not having partners who can protect them, facing dangers since day 1 and had no Gennai to help them and give them. informations and tips about villains.

    3. Zoe spends the vast majority of the season relying on her fellow digidestned partners to help and/or save her, because she loses nearly every time. Meanwhile, Rika merges with Renamon and becomes one of the most powerful characters in the series. If Mimi could transform, she'd probably do a lot better, because it's harder to do worse than one lousy victory.

      Also, most of that plot description is verbatim what happened in Adventure, only with much more interesting characters. Also, Bokumon was there at day one providing tips and information, while the kids in Adventure usually had to work things out for themselves, Gennai only appearing occasionally.

  2. So is Kari, Sora and Yolei no longer reconized as female characters?

    1. I think the point is that Mimi is the 'weakest' female digidestined and Rika is the 'strongest' in terms of physical ability.

    2. I always found Rika overated frankly. Her 'toughness' always came across as forced to me. Specially towards the end when Justimon/Ryo took her spotlight.

  3. Oh Mazn, say what you will, but I can at least bet on Ruki to actually hurt the digimon WITHOUT HER PARTNER AND EVEN IN HUMAN FORM.