In this episode, Mikey hatches a plan to make Zamielmon vulnerable enough to be defeated. It... pretty much works as planned without too many unforeseen problems. Um... good job?
With Ignitemon fighting for the good guys and able to pinpoint what makes Zamielmon impossible to hit, Mikey forms his plan. Step One: Mikey, Nene and Mervamon occupy Zamielmon. Step Two: Christopher, Ignitemon and Beelzemon go to the (lairliest) lair to destroy the digihoney reserves that make Zamielmon small. Step Three: Wait for Zamielmon to grow big enough to hit. Step Four: Take him out... take him down... do your stuff.
As we all know, these plans never actually work the way they're supposed to. Obviously something will happen that throws everything into chaos and forces the team to improvise. And that something is... not actually present in this episode. Despite Zamielmon making things a little harder than anticipated, the plan that we were told about right from the get-go goes off exactly the way it was supposed to. One team humored Zamielmon, the other team took care of the digihoney, Zamielmon got bigger and easier enough to hit and Shoutmon DX took care of the rest. That is, to quote Zamielmon last episode, lame.
This should be one of the cardinal rules: if you're explaining the plan to the audience in advance, the plan will inevitably fall apart. The only tricks that are allowed to work flawlessly are the ones that we don't know about (we'll see this in play against Splashmon). Based on the information he has, Mikey's plan is good, but we spend the whole episode waiting for the big variable that ruins it and it just doesn't come. Oh, there's plenty of resistance to the plan, like the amusement park being far harder to endure than expected. And Super Size Zamielmon retaining his agility was clearly supposed to be the wrench in the works. But in the end, Shoutmon was only able to land a hit by making him bigger, and the fight ended in a one-hit KO in a sequence that wouldn't have worked against small Zamielmon. We may love it when a plan comes together, but it's not very good for drama.
You would think the only saving grace of the episode would be the way the plan carries itself out- the hardships or action or some other flair. We don't really get that either. Other than Christopher finding his way to the digihoney by having MetalGreymon create his own back doors, his side of things was pretty conventional. Zamielmon's take on the ol' twisted amusement park chestnut is only barely appropriate due to his desire to toy with his opponents. And that's hardly a unique or necessary character trait for him. The “rides” themselves definitely try the Fusion Fighters and wear them out, but if you're going to have a twisted amusement park, you can do a lot better than rides where you sit in the cold (while Zamielmon shoots at you), run through a volcano (while Zamielmon shoots at you), and sit in a ferris wheel (while, just to switch it up, Zamielmon shoots at you).
No, what ends up salvaging the episode is the writing and acting. In many ways, it pulls a Zero Two as we get some amusing conversations between Mikey and Shoutmon, a bunch of random quips to add some levity, and Zamielmon using this oddball, Python-esque speech pattern. Him calling Mikey his “bff” in a challenge letter and saying he's “too big to fail” as he's dying may be ridiculous but it gives us something to remember and talk about. There isn't much else. There's no reason that his amusement park should become a silly place, but if it's not going to give us any drama, we'll have to settle for a little comedy.
My Grade: B-
- Nene says the idea of a brother and sister fighting on opposite sides is unheard of. This isn't foreshadowing so much as irony slapping her in the face repeatedly. Given that Ewan's turn was briefly intimated at the end of the first half, it's more cruel torture than building up to next episode.
- How did HiVisionMonitamon track down Christopher so easily, and presumably in that form? You'd think someone in Zamielmon's army would have noticed the giant ninja monitor dashing through the forest.
- Hey, it's Knightmon and PawnChessmon! And hey, they're completely useless!
- Mikey pulls some of his backup troops into his Fusion Loader as they start to run out of gas. If they weren't fighting Zamielmon until after Christopher finished up with the honey, why not pull them all in?
- Wait, Ignitemon said that Zamielmon stocks his hunting ground with weak Digimon, but Zamielmon says he makes himself smaller intentionally to create more of a challenge. That's a bit of a discrepancy.