In this episode, Koji literally beats the hell out of his brother.
After that hilarious episode of Terrance & Philip, we're back to resolve the big cliffhanger. It all finally comes to a head here: Velgemon is back in a rage, Koji finally learns the truth, Takuya forces Koji to do what he needs to do and Koichi is finally free (and possibly dead). There's so much going on here that it doesn't seem like it could possibly fail. And yet, because there's so much going on, the climax falls completely flat. After spending the episode setting up this massive battle, they forgot to have a massive battle.
One thing that we typically haven't paid a lot of attention to is the action. It's notable when it's particularly good, but battles in Digimon usually aren't all that remarkable. There's a lot of shouting out the names of attacks, some of them hitting, sometimes missing, sometimes being deflected or absorbed. Wrestling is common. Once in a while you'll have a swordfight that somehow seems staged even though it's a cartoon. There are plenty of battles that manage to rise above all this, factoring in tactical positioning, endurance and weakness exploitation. Since Takuya and Koji have already gotten their new evolutions, thus eliminating that option, that's the sort of thing it'll take to beat Velgemon, right?
The son of a bitch goes down in three measly hits once Beowolfmon joins the battle. Beowolfmon reflects an attack, Aldamon lets loose from close range, Beowolfmon delivers the finishing shot. Bing, bang, boom- no more Warrior of Darkness. As low a standard as we have for action, we deserve better than that for such an important battle. Duskmon and Beowolfmon were basically equals. Velgemon totally dominated. Somehow adding Aldamon to the equation turns it into a complete curbstomp.
It was so one-sided that you have to wonder if Koichi was pulling a Claus and letting his brother win. It's hard to make that argument, however. Cherubimon did a masterful job convincing Duskmon that Koji and his father were total dicks in abandoning Koichi's mother and running off to start a new life (which, while totally false in Koji's case, sounds pretty accurate for Dad). He twists that pesky human emotion into a positive, filling Duskmon with rage so that he can't wait to kill his brother. While Duskmon is nice enough to explain all this to Koji, that feeling never appears to subside.
It would make for awesome drama if Koji didn't believe Duskmon and remained in angry denial, but Koji's too smart for that. He looks into heart and knows it to be true. Instead, he's in shock over the implications of suddenly having a twin brother. Here in the Continent of Darkness battling for your life is a bad time and place for a life-altering revelation. It means his dad had been lying to him his entire life and that not only does he have a brother, but his mother is not actually dead. As far as Koji's dad is concerned, I agree with Cherubimon's assessment.
Not only does Koji have to wrestle with all of this in his head, he can't help but view Duskmon in a different light. With such crazy news, Koji's first inclination would be to ask all sorts of questions. His last inclination should be fighting his newly discovered relative. This is where Takuya's brand of ignoring the details and rushing into battle is a positive. First, the way he saves Koji from Velgemon is just plain badass. Second, despite such incredible duress, Takuya not only gets the big picture in an instant, he explains it in a way that is both clear and motivational: he's Cherubimon's prisoner and needs to be set free. That's all Koji really needs and from there.... goddamn it, only three hits? Really?
My Grade: B+
- How confused was Koji about this whole situation? At one point, he speculates on whether Duskmon is actually some sort of Nega-Koji.
- JP, Zoe and Tommy are shocked, shocked, that nobody is left at the rendezvous point when they return probably a day later. While their ability to calm themselves down and avoid a heated argument is a nice show of rationality, the fact that they bothered showing anything these guys did this episode is probably the reason why they didn't have time for a decent battle.
- There's always time for Patamon. He washes himself like a kitty! Hey, maybe Patamon's silly round of attacking actually softened Velgemon up enough to make him go down like a sissy.