In this episode, Gotsumon joins the party, and despite his small size proves to be just as successful as our mighty heroes. In other words, they lose again.
The key to sustaining a Fail arc is the occasional moment of encouragement. Perhaps a battle isn't quite the curbstomp it used to be, or a weakness is exposed, or a new skill is unlocked that might prove useful down the road. We need something like this every so often to give us some sort of hope that eventually the losing streak might turn around. This was probably supposed to be that moment. The team finally accepted another party member and the fights against the Royal Knights aren't so one-sided anymore. What dashes any hope, however, is how they lost this one. MagnaGarurumon and EmperorGreymon may be starting to hold their own, but this episode exposes that not only are the Royal Knights stronger, they are also smarter.
If there was one area that the digidestined should be expected to hold, it's the castle at Forest Terminal. Not only is it a freaking castle, it has a magic protective barrier surrounding it. The barrier's even smart enough to let friends in while keeping foes out. How hard can it be to hole up and play some defense? As it turns out, Crusadermon is more than just a pretty transgender face. She recognizes that the barrier is polygonal and thus has edges that are a little weaker, particularly at the top where they all converge. Hammer that spot (or leave such grunt work to Dynasmon and reinforce the front line) and you're in.
It's strange to say this, but Crusadermon has the strength, intelligence, personality and lack of sanity to be a very compelling villain. For a complete psycho, she's quite chatty with the opposition, and her depraved concept of beauty would make Airu Suzaki smile in appreciation. Sort of like if James from Pokémon was a frighteningly efficient criminal mastermind. That would be crazier than Piedmon. Several things hold her back, of course. First, this is the kind of villain that needs to be in charge, and any real world-related agenda Crusadermon has is quickly drowned out by the constant fealty towards Lucemon. Then there's being partnered with a simpleton like Dynasmon, who has no real chemistry with her. The dub-induced sex change, while not a deal-killer, leaves a bad taste in our mouths and makes it hard to properly appreciate the character.
Gotsumon's performance in this episode confirms what we said back in episode 10: he should have been traveling with the group this whole time. It's a stretch to call him a legitimately interesting character, just an eager, determined kid with a good rapport with Koji. But he's certainly willing to fight (making him better than Neemon), certainly capable of fighting (making him better than Kazemon) and he evolves on his own! He'd be a welcome member of Team Xros Heart for sure. Given enough episodes, he could even develop into a proper character. He certainly seems to understand Koji better than anybody else in the show, which would have been invaluable during the Duskmon episodes.
The episode follows the same template as the last three and is thus terrible. Still, the fact that they failed seems to have a bigger impact among the good guys. We don't care because it's still another loss, but this situation was gift-wrapped for them, EmperorGreymon and MagnaGarurumon stepped up their game and the Royal Knights still found a way to prevail. Bokomon isn't attempting to spin this into a partial victory and the endless speeches about not giving up are starting to ring a little hollow, as if even Takuya is starting to question whether or not they can actually win. The most important statistic is that at the start of this episode, there were five areas left in the Digital World. At the end of it, there are only two.
My Grade: D
- I don't recall the Knightmon being of the Bedknobs and Broomsticks style, what with their rebuilding and all, but they were an excellent selection for the castle storming. Their job is not to win, but merely to occupy the digidestined and they were quite successful.
- Gotsumon insists on going, and there's some discussion over the merits of this idea. Nobody brings up the fact that he has nowhere else to go. You've got a planet-sized population of refugees that are basically living on train platforms.
- KendoGarurumon rides along the rails while everybody else flies. It's pretty sweet.
- Bokomon suggests that getting into the castle first will allow them to get the data first. Then they get inside and find that there's absolutely nothing to be done but wait for Dynasmon to break the barrier and hold him off then. By entering the castle but not doing anything with the data, they've basically already conceded.
- Dynasmon, while a simpleton, is quite crafty in this episode, breaking the barrier by blowing up the whole damn castle and missing EmperorGreymon deliberately to unlock the data.