Frontier Episode 45: All Aboard The Tag Team Express

In this episode, desperate to turn around a four-game losing streak, the good guys attempt to stop the Royal Knights with... a catapult that fires snowballs.


Many of the episodes in this arc have to be judged as a composite of each act. There's the stuff that happens before Takuya and Koji evolve, and then their evolution and inevitable defeat. Both parts are lousy here, but the differences are very stark. The first half is the effort to prepare for a defense of the Autumn Leaf Fair, complete with evacuating the city and trying out a few new tactics. The actual battle in the second half gets so chaotic and skewed that the only way it could be tolerable is if we were supposed to be cheering for the Royal Knights all along.

The logic that the Royal Knights will attack the Autumn Leaf Fair before Ophanimon's castle is sketchy. They'll hit the market first... because nobody knows where the Ophanimon castle data is. If that's a reliable way to predict movement, the implications are disheartening. That means that the Royal Knights have been relying on the fact that finding the right local and shaking him down for information will yield the data. Perhaps the Mamemon elder and the locals at the Village of Flame are the norm: the Digimon are so weak-willed that they would rather give away the key to destroying their home than risk death. Makes you realize that all this talk about the Legendary Warriors spreading hope and courage is a bunch of bullocks, doesn't it?

In a departure from the Village of Flame debacle, Zoe and Bokomon evacuate the market with no hesitation. This feels like an overreaction, as the Autumn Leaf Fair is so stocked with previous season cameos that they'd make a very potent army. You've got a capable fighter in Etemon right there in line for the train (somehow I'm not being facetious). Hell, someone go find that Gallantmon from back in episode 17; tell me that wouldn't even the odds! Instead, the good guys ship the whole population off to spend the rest of existence crowding the nearest train platform.

So after turning down all this free support, what do the good guys plan to fight with? A jigsaw puzzle and a snow catapult. The idea of splitting the data into multiple segments to make it harder to scan is one of those that must have sounded better in the planning meeting. By doing so, the Royal Knights will have to destroy the whole city and figure out how it's all pieced together! This ignores the fact that Dynasmon has no problem destroying the whole city and that both of them are smart enough to string the segments together. The snow catapult, surprisingly successful at it was, was a joke and Tommy should be embarrassed to be a part of it. Rather than putting an effort into giving EmperorGreymon and MagnaGarurumon legitimate support, the B-Team instead focuses really hard on giving the Royal Knights minor inconveniences.

Shame too, because EmperorGreymon and MagnaGarurumon are improving, almost to an unrealistic degree. This works to the episode's detriment, as MagnaGarurumon spouts off a dozen tough guy cliches as if the Royal Knights should be afraid of him. EmperorGreymon uses his element to turn the tide against Dynasmon, and the whole thing ends up turning into a bar fight. The result is Crusadermon getting pounded on from two sides while Dynasmon desperately blows up the town and pieces together the data. It would have been really suspenseful if we were cheering for them.

The episode's only saving grace is the revelation about Koichi. When another nasty hit lays out the whole B-Team but him, he again wonders why. Crusadermon observes that he doesn't have a physical form in this world, and despite her being evil and insane, he believes it. It's a proper subplot that leaves you wondering, and it can't feel great for Koichi to again be the outsider in the group.

My Grade: D-

Loose Data:
  • Takuya seems to want to one-up Sepikmon by claiming that the magic box lets him see the world. We've never seen that box before (unless it was modified from the camera from episode 17) and it's broken when Takuya tries using it.
  • At the same time, how did the kids beat the Royal Knights there? There were no other areas to scan and the Knights have an easier time traveling. Did they stop for a smoke break?
  • Of all the Digimon that could have been recruited to help defend the town, Zoe should have been really aggressive signing ShadowWereGarurumon up. He clearly recognizes the threat, but his devious tactics and hard-on for explosives would make an excellent surprise maneuver against the Royal Knights.
  • That was a rather motley crew of random Digimon that engaged the Royal Knights first. Sure they only existed to waste time and provide an arbitrary signal for Takuya and Koji to evolve, but it took awhile to realize that they were trying to help.
  • Going along with all the cliches, Zoe says that if the Royal Knights want the data, “they'll have to go through us,” in what has to go down as the least threatening utterance of that phrase.
  • After turning the catapult around to fire at Dynasmon, they get it flipped right back around in a hurry to attack Crusadermon, who is nice enough to be a good sport and stand still for it.

7 comments:

  1. I remember that catapult had me laughing out loud and screaming "WTF!" Why was it snow balls! At least rocks would be better. Can't find those? Make ice balls! They have already shaped ice in an earlier episode. It would probably melt too but if not at least it would be a hard solid object coming at your face at a fast speed rather then a silly gag!

    Yeah I hated that Gallantmon cameo earlier but now since you did it where is he? HE IS A ROYAL KNIGHT! Also he is typically depicted as one of the quickest to turn against their ruler when he realizes they aren't just.

    This episode is very lucky to have Koichi to bring the grade up to a D-. Because for me that fricken snow catapult drops this episode to a F grade that nothing can make it climb out of LOL

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  2. I thought the whole fact that Royal Knights only won because of wyvern and the Koichi things made it at least a B,...actually it was the best 45th episode that wasn't Tamers.

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  3. At least Kouichi kept the episode from failing really badly.

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  4. "That was a rather motley crew of random Digimon that engaged the Royal Knights first. Sure they only existed to waste time and provide an arbitrary signal for Takuya and Koji to evolve, but it took awhile to realize that they were trying to help."

    I liked the seven random Digimon coming in to fight. That could have been such an interesting lead-in to a new subplot. When I first saw them, I thought, "Wait, non-DigiDestined heroes taking the initiative? Forget the main cast; I want to know the story of this bunch of badasses." Zanbamon did give Dynasmon a good wake-up call at the beginning.

    And then they got killed off within minutes, and my dislike for Frontier increased.

    Alas, Zanbamon, Gryphonmon, GranKuwagamon, Pteramon, and the trio of Airdramon... we hardly knew ye. :-(

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    Replies
    1. "In a departure from the Village of Flame debacle, Zoe and Bokomon evacuate the market with no hesitation. This feels like an overreaction, as the Autumn Leaf Fair is so stocked with previous season cameos that they'd make a very potent army. You've got a capable fighter in Etemon right there in line for the train (somehow I'm not being facetious). Hell, someone go find that Gallantmon from back in episode 17; tell me that wouldn't even the odds! Instead, the good guys ship the whole population off to spend the rest of existence crowding the nearest train platform."

      Actually, yeah, I really like this idea. If they're trying to save a whole world, the least they could do is rally an army against the two Royal Knights. And by that, I don't mean Elecmon, Biyomon, Poyomon, and Pagumon, like they do later on.

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  5. "The idea of splitting the data into multiple segments to make it harder to scan is one of those that must have sounded better in the planning meeting. By doing so, the Royal Knights will have to destroy the whole city and figure out how it's all pieced together! This ignores the fact that Dynasmon has no problem destroying the whole city and that both of them are smart enough to string the segments together."

    It seems a bit odd that they think breaking up the fractal code and scattering it would work anyway. Why couldn't Dynasmon just absorb the fragments as he found them?

    The idea might have worked if they'd put more effort into concealing the fragments, or maybe even scanned some fragments and carried them elsewhere, even to the human world. I think you mention this tactic in your review of the next episode.

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  6. Koichi also has the common sense to be appropriately WTF'd over the snow catapult idea... except he immediately turns around and agrees that it's better than nothing. Oh well, it's something.

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