In this episode, Shoutmon has to fend off not only a resurgent MadLeomon army, but also the two barnacles his savior dragged along with him.
Who would have thought the first interesting conflict in this series would be between Shoutmon and Angie? Or that it would end up being surprisingly good? Both have very compelling arguments, both go to great lengths to win it, and both are seriously hosed if they lose. For all of Mikey's talk about never turning his back on somebody, there is no way around it: no matter who he sides with, he's dicking somebody over.
It's the first time the objectives of the children are at odds. Mikey is willing to hear out Shoutmon's plans for world domination, but Angie and Jeremy want nothing to do with this place and want to get on the first train home. Unlike JP, who did try to board what was literally the first train home, they need Mikey for this. They have no idea how to get home without him and Angie's not going to abandon him.
Right off the bat, we learn how Mikey's insistence on helping others can be both his greatest virtue and biggest fault. Yes, he's all noble jumping into the unknown in order to help Shoutmon. In doing so, he has also unwittingly put Jeremy and Angie in incredible danger against their will. Now, when Shoutmon insists that Mikey has made a long-term commitment to the cause, Mikey is forced to betray either him or Angie.
Surely Mikey couldn't have thought that entering a mysterious void, declaring your name and accepting a Fusion Loader from a disembodied voice constituted a one-time rescue. Disembodied voices don't have time for that! He signed on for the one-year plan and it is unfair to Shoutmon to walk away after one day. Yet his responsibility for his companions needs to take precedence. He dragged them into a war zone and the least he can do is drag them out.
The ensuing tug-of-war over Mikey is appropriately snippy and certainly more entertaining than anything Lord Bagramon's forces are generating right now. Angie knows she's right and her persistent nagging is all she really needs to get Mikey to side with her. Shoutmon's the definite challenger here and resorts to a lot of guile. He uses an extravagant celebration, the presence of other humans and the massive implications of this fight to sway Mikey. None of this works.
If anything, it turns Mikey away. Mikey recognizes that Shoutmon is going to great lengths and that's a red flag. The biggest problem is that Mikey has nothing to reassure him that Shoutmon is actually a good guy. Yes, MadLeomon is hardly a savory character, and his army tear-assing through Shoutmon's village doesn't deserve any justification, but what's Mikey's frame of reference here? For all he knows, the entire world operates like this, and anybody seeking the crown will have to resort to these tactics, even Shoutmon.
Shoutmon's other problem is that he says he wants to be king, but never says why. Mikey initially sides with Angie on the assumption that Shoutmon just wanted power, and Shoutmon is so fixated with this end goal that he neglects to explain. Only after he proves he has noble intentions does Mikey agree to help. That starts with saving Mikey, Angie and Jeremy from MadLeomon, then convincing Mikey that he wants to be king because the other contenders are evil and destructive. He's the one that wants to do it the right way, as the rag-tag group of underdogs taking on the world. Mikey can totally get behind that. He can tell Angie to make him a sandwich.
My Grade: A-
- So far, there are few complaints to be had over the dub itself. Still, the title spells the name Shoutman instead of Shoutmon. It's not the first time this has happened (an episode of Zero Two misspelled Yolei's name in the title), but it starts a trend of sloppy typos that permeate through the series. Also troubling is the surgical removal of certain shots. So far it only takes out a bit of humor, but that adds up.
- Along with some less legitimate points like missing her bunny blanket, Angie is somehow the only one that's actually concerned that their parents might be worried about them. Especially since they're young enough to miss their bunny blankets. Bunny blanket.
- Now that Jeremy and Angie mention it, it is awfully strange that a world representing humanity's vast digital network, they don't get cell phone reception. Izzy found the occasional ethernet port and the Tamers could phone home during storm interference. Somehow the worlds are getting less and less connected as the show advances.
- So that's two straight episodes where Nene's only screentime consisted of her grinning and finding things interesting or impressive. Any more of this and we'll start calling her Yushima.
- This battle is a shining example of why Shoutmon needs Mikey. Alone, he jumps right into Orochimon's attack, but with Mikey he not only can digifuse, but Mikey also directs him into using MadLeomon's fusion against him.