In this episode, just about everybody's pretty sick of Nene being the main character and will go to extreme lengths to steal the spotlight.
The proof is in this simple question: what's the most memorable thing about this episode? There are two possible answers (three if you count the episode's sly but persistent fanservice-y Nene animation). They're all wrong. Both the Dance of the True Heart and the amazing interplay between the three generals in the final act should be heralded as series-defining moments. Why the hell did they get squeezed into the same episode?
Yes, Jeremy and Angie's Dance of the True Heart is a series-defining moment. There have been some ridiculous moments in the franchise, but have any packed such utter humiliation? Put it this way- picture two characters in any other season having to go through with this (my suggestion is Yolei with either Davis or Cody), then compare that to their other ordeals in the season. Unless they're involved with a cave of darkness, D-Reaper, or you wanted Ken or Koichi to suffer even further, this tops pretty much everything. It even makes up for much of Jeremy and Angie's lack of contribution, especially since the “true heart” that appealed to Deckerdramon was not the romance Lilamon imagined, but their willingness to endure such embarrassment for the cause.
However, after picking our jaws up off the floor from that display, they immediately drop again, but for an entirely different reason. In an instant, everything happens at once and the stories of both Nene and Christopher come into focus. Mikey realizes that AxeKnightmon is using Nene and tries to free her, but she is too focused on her brother's well-being and AxeKnightmon's promise of getting them home safely.
It makes you see that Nene is both incredibly strong and helplessly broken. The fact that she's willing to go through everything she does without complaining shows some impressive dedication. Even after the Lucemon incident, she obeys AxeKnightmon's orders, turning a blind eye to his evil and focusing only on saving Ewan and going home. One mention that she's doing it for her brother and you can already throw her up into Tai, Matt and Koji territory for dedication towards siblings. Where that backfires is when Mikey and Christopher give her an out. Mikey wants to help her rescue Ewan without empowering AxeKnightmon and with Christopher it looks like they're strong enough to do so. She refuses to pursue a best case scenario, so you wonder if she may end up in Jeri territory too.
While all three of the generals end up looking pretty badass, even Mikey with his psychological manipulation of Christopher and Sparrowmon and his ballsy interruption of Nene's digifuse, it's Christopher that announces himself. His alliance with Nene proved to be a waste of time for him, and while Mikey puts it in his head that it's not like him to walk away without a fight, he's the one that makes the decision to not only stick around, but team with Mikey to show what a real partnership is capable of. While we don't see what exactly is driving him, he impresses Deckerdramon enough to award him the code crown and join Blue Flare (instantly getting the paint job too!). Rika, Koji and Thomas have shown us that a lack of outward emotion does not equal a lack of heart. So while you're classifying Nene, go ahead and slot Christopher in with them as well.
Now if only Angie and Jeremy weren't stuck in those hideous and distracting costumes through all of that.
My Grade: A-
- Before Angie was just really annoyed at Mikey's insistence on helping others. Now she's downright furious that he wants to help Nene so badly. It doesn't help that when confronted with this outrageous dance, all she gets from Mikey is a thumb's up and a vote of confidence.
- Given how Fusion is pretty much the anti-Tamers in how quickly the censorship button is being pressed, surely everyone was a little worried about how much of the Dance of the True Heart would be left in. Thankfully it seems to have survived intact and only marred by some unfortunate rhymes in the chant. All this while Jeremy was dressed as a bee dancing with Angie dressed as a flower.
- The Fusion Fighters roster was divided among those into the dance and those repulsed by it (including Cutemon, unless he was just hanging with Dorulumon to act cool). Oddly, while most of them were dancing along, one solitary PawnChessmon was in the repulsed column. That one now has more personality than half the team combined.
- Dorulumon says he can go through his travel log to get to Dust Zone, which feels like a way to explain their ability to travel there according to zone transfer rules. Thing is, nobody else bothers to follow these rules and I doubt anyone remembers what they actually are.
- Remember how Mikey named his team as a response to Christopher's cold attitude towards his Digimon? Good thing it doesn't involve the term “heart” because he'd look mighty silly now! This would be one of those times when a dub change accidentally made more sense, but Fusion Fighters is still a stupid name and I just can't reward that sort of thing. Points still go to the dub for Deckerdramon looking for “heart” instead of “love.” Big difference.