In this episode, who needs angels and arrows when all it takes to defeat NeoMyotismon is a hundred dead Lopmon?
There's nothing like a good body count to ramp up the dramatic impact of a battle. Sacrifice is an important part of the franchise and one of the reasons we all get so emotional about it. It reminds us of what's at stake and it means saying goodbye to a character that we may have grown attached to. Nobody's ever going to put Lopmon on their list of saddest deaths in the franchise. It's not even close to the saddest death in Fusion. But at this point in the series, it's a gut punch that not only was his sacrifice necessary, but that it took a whole village to seal NeoMyotismon's fate.
It may say episode 34 up there, but the seasons of Digimon Fusion are so rigidly divided that it feels like episode 4. Last time that was a detriment, as there was little to cover for a still-incubating plot and Christopher acting like such a newbie. Now, it's shocking that we're getting this dark this early. This is the equivalent of File Island's Yokomon village being wiped out fighting Meramon. Heck, even if we treat it like an episode 34, the only casualties we had in Adventure by this point were Pumpkinmon and Gotsumon. And this dub sure as hell didn't banish those Lopmon to no damn dungeon.
Speaking of Myotismon, turns out there's a prophecy with this incarnation too. It involves a rare white Lopmon that has the power to vanquish the otherwise immortal NeoMyotismon, which explains him going all Cronus on the locals. While we should always be leery of prophecies like this, what makes it work is that NeoMyotismon himself is responsible for making it come to pass. It's only after he absorbs all of the Lopmon that they band together and channel all of their energy into one of them, which goes white. This is what gives Shoutmon and MetalGreymon the power to evolve and later fuse together, and this Shoutmon DX is strong enough to escape and damage NeoMyotismon. NeoMyotismon doesn't regenerate because, oh look, all of the Lopmon he relied on for that are now dead. His desire to ensure his immortality is the very thing that destroyed him.
This Shoutmon DX is a big deal, and it's obviously symbolic of Mikey and Christopher finally and truly joining forces. The episode doesn't have a big moment to represent this. There are no friendship speeches, no big reconciliation from Christopher, no manly handshake to seal the deal. Even though it's even closer to DNA evolution than digifuse already is, there's no Davis/Ken or Tai/Matt stuff to be seen. That's all right, because while he doesn't make a big show of it, Christopher is a team player the whole way. He and Deckerdramon provide cover for Mikey and Nene to get underground and he saves Nene just as she's about to be overrun. By the time he arrives on the scene of the big battle, all he has to do his hold up his Fusion Loader and say go.
To everyone's surprise, it's actually MetalGreymon who gets the moment of depth. We've seen brief glimpses of it in the past from his components, but MetalGreymon emerges as his own character here, and it's his episode as much as anybody's. We've seen before that members of Blue Flare know what is expected of them, and that defeat is unacceptable. MetalGreymon knows he has been defeated and assumes that Christopher has abandoned him. It takes the reassurance of Shoutmon and Lopmon for him to keep fighting. And let's face it, even if Christopher isn't there, his refusal to give up on his partner is equally empowering. MetalGreymon has already bought into Shoutmon's strength, and working together isn't the issue. It's convincing himself that he's worthy of overcoming this setback.
Once a partner Digimon gets big enough, they usually check their characters at the door. MetalGreymon bucks that trend, joining Sparrowmon as a proper partner Digimon with all the development and quirks afforded to them. It's unorthodox that he's so huge, but get used to it; he's not the only big guy on Christopher's team that will get some serious screen time. Now that's one that might make that list we were talking about.
My Grade: A-
- I don't know what's worse, the fact that they insist on saying MetalGreymon was “digi-absorbed” or that they toss the term around like it's something that happens enough to have a proper name. Not that it's the last time it'll happen, of course.
- Did Mikey really quote the opening theme song? And is that really the first time it's happened? There had to have been a poorly dropped “Digimon are the champions!” cry at some point in season one. If not, it goes to show you that the Fusion opening is way better than Adventure's.
- One of the great things about Nene is that as cooperative as she has been lately, she's still all business. She isn't nice enough to give Mikey's team ample time to cross the bridge; she's blowing that sucker up whether Dorulumon's ready or not.
- Even as the show throws in another form of Myotismon, it adds a self-deprecating (and oh so satisfying) moment making fun of the way Myotismon is constantly surviving and rolling out new forms. Beelzemon stamping that noise out is almost as awesome as everything he did in Tamers.