Frontier Episode 19: You Want Fries With That?

In this episode, the gang has a burger cook-off for the right to be enslaved by Petaldramon. Tommy picks an awful time to be accidentally good at something.

There's a surprising number of anime shows where a random cooking competition breaks out for little to no reason. It's one of the generic plot balls that the manatees pick out when there's nothing else going on, like a beach trip or sports festival. Almost every time, however, it stems from two or more rivals trying to impress the same guy or girl. It may end up becoming as dressed up as an Iron Chef episode, but the origins are pretty benign. So forgive me for staring blankly at the idea that making a hamburger good enough to appease Petaldramon should be treated as a life or death situation.

Everything is wrong about this, especially since they stem from mistakes these kids have made before. Once again, there's a compulsion to help the oppressed against an evil force of unknown strength. Once again, they get too engrossed in something both simple and unnecessary, and their distraction costs them dearly. Once again, they fail to utilize their spirits in opportune moments outside of battle. While they're ultimately successful enough at rescuing Burgermon, it's a sloppy effort in an episode that even the characters seem to dismiss as filler before realizing that it shouldn't have been.

For starters, there are two correct reactions upon hearing Burgermon's plight. The first is to denounce the evil and swear that things will be set right just as soon as they get over to this Rose Morning Star place and save the world. Prioritize, you know? The second is to scour the forest, hatch a plan and storm the goddamn castle. Instead, rather than hearing “help, my husband was kidnapped and enslaved,” they seem to hear “hey kids, wanna have some fun and grill up some burgers?”

It's hard enough to accept that these kids are going to out-cook Burgermon, whose sole niche in this ecosystem is making delicious hamburgers. But they treat it like a game show, using exotic ingredients and laughing off their mistakes. All the while, there's a life on the line! What's worse is that when Tommy literally stumbles his way to a winner, he, JP and Zoe are stunned that they're taken to the castle in Burgermon's place. As if they heard the criteria of “make a better burger by nightfall” and thought that doing so would break the witch's spell, release Burgermon, relieve Petaldramon from his lust for ground beef and restore the Digital World to its former glory. All thanks to onions in salad dressing!

Of course it doesn't work that way and while Takuya and Koji argue over whose burger was less inedible, the others join Burgermon in making more burgers. Never mind that they can spirit evolve at any point, they wait until the burgers are done before breaking out. Never mind that Arbormon/Petaldramon is probably terrorizing the lands as much as Grumblemon did, they're all shocked that he's orchestrating such culinary buffoonery. Never mind that Korikakumon owned Petaldramon last time they fought, he, MetalKabuterimon and Zephyrmon can only fight him to a stalemate. And never mind that they really need to defeat Petaldramon to make progress in this war, but they're content with getting in a single distant cheap shot after feeding him a burger laced with night-night gas. That's not good enough! Beat him up and take his spirit!

I'd also question why someone as level-headed as Koji would think that a seafood-based hamburger experiment would be a good idea in this situation, but I haven't been this tired of burgers and idiot heroes since I stopped watching Hetalia.

My Grade: D+

Loose Data:
  • That whole “when the moons align” silliness does seem like an odd timetable for setting a deadline, but it's not like they had clocks out there so something will have to do.
  • While the narrative focused on Tommy and him happy just to be able to do something like accidentally create a good sauce recipe (this boy has seriously low standards), JP and Zoe must be commended for actually creating decent burgers of their own design that are a bit beyond standard issue. If I didn't dislike burgers, I'd be kinda curious how JP's meatloaf/yakisoba combo would turn out.
  • Takuya's first creation reminds me of a feature Burger King used to have on their website allowing you to design your own sandwich using pretty much anything from their menu. The most infamous was two patties of beef, chicken, and fish along with two strips of bacon. It was called Noah's Ark. There are videos of people ordering and eating them.
  • Takuya's second disaster combines curry, kimchi and chorizo. At least he's murdering Bokomon's taste buds in a multicultural fashion.


  1. I'm not gonna lie: this is one of my favorite episodes in "Frontier". It's just so....weird and so stupid that it's hard not to like and enjoy it. An episode dedicated around a permise that hinges on making burgers is something I don't see in much shows, let alone Digimon. And it's nice to see the often neglected three kids get some spotlight away from Takuya and Koji, even if they do spend most of it being total idiots.

    Personally, I thought the previous Wacky Racers partody filler was weaker.

  2. Ever since I found out that the Japanese fast-food chain Lotteria did some cross-promotional stuff with Digimon, namely a line of trading cards showing various Digimon enjoying their wares, I've just assumed that this episode was supposed to be product placement of sorts for them. Also, for the record, TorikaraBallmon (who, along with Burgermon, made their debut in said card line) are actually named for a type for chicken nugget ball thingies Lotteria sells, so make of that what you will.

    1. holy crap,your right! I googled 'Lotteria Digimon' and they did a lot of cross promotional stuff during the Tamers/Frontier era

  3. The episode was kinda random,like the last episode,but at least the ending of Epsidoe 18 leads into this one,so it doesnt feel completly out of place.

    I really like the Evil Legendary Warriors' and Arbormon/Pedaldramon is awesome,so the fight with him at the end at least prevented this from being two filler episodes in a row.