In this episode, the team enters the regressive Magma Zone, where unfortunate relics such as slave labor camps, silly Cockney accents and Photoshop swimsuits are still in fashion.
Suppose it's high time we had a conversation about the editing in the dub, huh? This isn't the first Digimon series that's had scenes go under the knife for various reasons. We've lost guns, we've lost gallows, we've lost whatever in God's name Sexy Dynamite was supposed to be. This certainly isn't be the first time a hot springs scene got slashed up. Most of the time, the censorship is understandable, and Fusion tries to get away with more than any of the other seasons. More often than not, it doesn't succeed, and the repeated nicks are starting to add up.
It's not due to objectionable content. There seems to be a running time inconsistency between Xros Wars and Fusion, possibly because Xros Wars did away with ending themes. Every episode has little snippets removed (not to mention those cute diagrams mapping the status of the four armies). The choices are very suspect, as rather than cut down on the endless digifuse sequences, we lose shots that better establish a scene, better explain a character's motives or better frame a battle. Sometimes the lack of these shots make the end product feel disjointed or confusing. Not to mention the comedy value, such as here. Originally, Taiki and Zenjirou had to hide their shame from both Akari and the Meramon army (strategic use of Starmon and Pickmon were involved). Compare it to the bathhouse scene in Adventure if you must, but as this was actually funny, a better comparison would be Adventure's hitchhiking scene.
Edits are one thing, but we also have a relic of dub censorship's heyday in the Photoshop swimsuit. Who here remembers Tenchi Muyo and Outlaw Star?! Those are the flag bearers for this one, which masks the icky reality that, with the possible exception of Joe, people bathe in the nude. Its use here is a sign of how the editing this season has regressed more than a decade. It's not that anybody wants to see Angie naked (for everyone's sanity, let's just believe that), but pair it up with stuff like the odd coloring of Lillymon and whatever they did to make Laylamon acceptable and it all feels a bit prudish. It's not entirely the dub's fault. Xros Wars succumbs to an uncomfortable trend in anime to push the envelope, resulting in stuff like Mervamon and camera angles that show more of Angie than necessary. But it doesn't make the swimsuit any less disruptive.
All that had to be said, so it's almost a good thing that the actual content was par for the course with very little to process. Mikey finds a group of slaves being forced to dig for the code crown and, as always, is compelled to take action. Jeremy and Angie, as always, shrug it off and support him. Hey, remember when this exact situation happened in Frontier and the only redeeming thing in the episode was JP being opposed to intervening? Who'd have thought we'd ever miss JP?
Even as they understand the downside, Jeremy and Angie are way too agreeable to letting Mikey take full control. They create little group conflict, which is usually the best part early on in a season. All we're left with is an unaddressed comment from Shoutmon where he feels alienated due to Mikey's hard recruitment of Dorulumon. Having an army instead of a single partner certainly creates the possibility for such conflict, but we're still looking for it.
We do get some murmurs about Dorulumon's past, which will hopefully explain why he's so reluctant to join the team. We don't learn anything, but at this point we're hungry for any sort of plot intrigue. Everyone else's stories have been terribly underwhelming, so Dorulumon's our last hope for something good. In that regard, Dorulumon has quickly become this season's Koji.
My Grade: C
- In the opening recap, Lord Bagra is referenced despite the shot of Tactimon. Talk about ignoring the middle man. We haven't even seen Bagramon yet and he's getting credit for everything the bad guys have done thus far.
- Another good example of a cut shot ruining comedy value was in episode two, where Mikey left the party and Shoutmon (and later Angie) went after him. Originally, he had left to take a leak and was really unhappy about the intrusions.
- Reckless McDangerson? Bruisy McBooboo? Jeremy and Angie are channeling Ebonwumon all of a sudden.
- Angie says Magma Zone is too hot to be a vacation spot, even though she was just chilling in a hot spring minutes ago.
- Cutemon is on a quest to find his parents. This is the first major instance of a Digimon having parents, or that Digimon even procreate. Given the lack of digieggs, it's possible to buy that this world uses traditional reproduction instead regeneration, but it's a weird time and a weird way to throw this concept at us. Also, Cutemon's a boy until we hear otherwise... and the dub's doing a good job not saying otherwise.
- Skullmeramon's ridiculous Brooklyn accent is almost redeemed by his obsession with “subduing.” It does, however, work rather poorly with Volcanomon's Cockney accent. Apparently the dialect favored by Magma Zone villains is “broad outer city stereotype.”