Fusion Episode 10: The Rival Champions!

In this episode, we seriously regret using all our good Christopher Walken references back in that one episode of Frontier.

When IceDevimon randomly and absurdly became an outlet for a bad Christopher Walken impression in Frontier, we praised the decision. It turned an improbably dangerous character into a joke, which was exactly what that character needed to be. Even if that wasn't the logic behind the move, the Frontier dub struck gold. The logic for IceDevimon getting a Bruce Dickinson (yes, the Bruce Dickinson) treatment in Fusion seems to be “hell, it was funny in Frontier.” Therefore, it doesn't work nearly as well.

Fact is, there really shouldn't be any reason to pay much attention to IceDevimon here. He's this zone's Skullmeramon, leading the ground troops while being undermined by superior officer Laylamon. His lack of relative significance makes him a distraction, where the real focus is on the unusual fellowship between Mikey and Christopher. The execution is sloppy, but it's a new layer on the formula we saw in the first three zones.

Hey, wouldn't you know it? They're fighting over a girl! It's not quite Davis and TK part two, but at least courting Beastmon's favor puts the gogglehead and his rival at odds in something other than their philosophy on military ethics. This is a tangible battle, with a strategic importance for both of them as there's presumably a code crown on the line. While Mikey gets drawn into this unwittingly through his altruism drive, he recognizes the significance and Christopher correctly states that they're in the same boat.

What makes the scenario compelling and frustrating at the same time is the way Mikey and Christopher are allies and enemies at the same time. It's compelling in that Christopher is no longer helping Mikey by accident or for his own nefarious purposes. In fact, he's not helping Mikey at all; he's defending the castle in order to curry favor with Beastmon. There's a certain element of politics in this, petitioning the fair princess to be deemed her champion. It's a new look, and it's fun. At the same time, while Christopher's motives may be less than pure, the job itself isn't. It's forcing Christopher to act like a good guy rather than Mikey acting like a bad guy.

Really, that's what we're waiting for- something to challenge Mikey's integrity. It's far too convenient that he can get away with his irresponsible good deeds and commitment towards teamwork. He needs to be at least tempted to cut a corner or face a nasty unintended consequence of his help. Instead, it's his need to help that always propels him further. He bravely puts a halt to Knightmon's attempt to die a noble death in battle, earning him an in with House Beastmon. What puts him over Christopher is not his army; hell, his army was caught off guard by the front invasion. It's his lucky observation that IceDevimon wasn't part of that unit, leading him to suspect a second attack. Christopher even concedes defeat graciously, under the guise of not having to deal with Beastmon's affection. Mikey has two major flaws. One isn't being treated as such, and the other just finally creeped up again at the end of this episode.

Hell, even the consequences of ignoring that soccer kid in his flashback get diminished in the dub. Instead of a head injury, the kid's fine after a rough night. We're not even entirely sure what his problem was in the dub. Maybe his asshole big brother tried to get him to play while he was sick.

My Grade: B-

Loose Data:
  • As was the case in Frontier, Pandamon is shown in tandem with ToyAgumon, despite there being no identifiable connection between the two.
  • Once again, the way Mikey ignores Angie is downright terrible. For someone who'll throw Shoutmon in front him to block his fall, Mikey sure treats her like crap.
  • Is there any point to only showing Blastmon in silhouette? I get the not showing advanced evolutions in the opening themes, but why hide one of the main villains? The Dark Masters were all thrown at us in one (lousy) episode. What's the problem?
  • Continuing the popular trend of secondary characters more interesting than the Fusion Fighters, both Beastmon and Laylamon inject far more life to the episode than Mikey's team. Hell, it was nice just to see ChibiTortomon again.


  1. This whole thing with "perfect Mikey" reminds me of a discussion I once read, about the modern "Morality" genre that I think Xros/Fusion seems to (unintentionally?) fall into. I'll just quote it:

    "The Morality is a different situation. In a Morality, or Morality-flavored drama, it's important that the protagonist either be perfect or discover a state of moral perfection -- which, in recent moralities, means articulating a position of unflagging moral certainty that the text uncritically endorses.

    The Blind Side is a good example: Leigh Anne Tuohy's decisions are not just clearly morally right but also devoid of negatives. I mean, you've got a family full of nouveau-riche crackers who aren't only entirely unprejudiced, but seem devoid of any racial misapprehensions or blind spots; the children are so well-adjusted that they don't resent their adopted brother taking up a stunning amount of their parents' time and attention; paying for an extra kid to go to private school, have constant private tutelage, and even go to college -- those things aren't even financial issues. In short, Leigh Anne's decisions aren't just morally right in TBS, they're not even complicated, and their outcomes are consistently wholly positive.

    And this is where I think audience expectations have changed since the social justice pendulum started its latest downswing . . . there arose a literary convention in which deciding what is right is reflexive and easy, that doing it requires only firm conviction, and that one need not give up anything significant in the process.

    . . . I think it's also simple to see a morally frustrated audience -- an audience who thinks that the right thing ought to be done, but is not being done -- as an ideal audience for media that suggests that the right thing is also the most practical of all possible options. "

    That last statement applies the most here, in that Mikey doing the morally "correct" thing works out solely because it's the right thing. Of course, that means we lose out on all the things that would make this series really interesting.

    Then again, I haven't seen the series in full, so I have no idea if he does screw up later on.

    1. "Then again, I haven't seen the series in full, so I have no idea if he does screw up later on."

      Well, we're about 25 episodes into the dub, and so far, any potential screw-up on Mikey's part has turned out OK in the end. In both cases, it involved trusting someone who ended up turning on him, though in the end he either neutralized the threat that resulted or brought the traitor around again.