In this episode, Yuu misses the Digimon that died in his care, which a girl takes to mean he's willing to help orchestrate the murders of several of his classmates.
We're starting to get a better idea of the way Digimon corrupt humans. It's actually not that unlike the human/Digimon partnerships we're used to. A Digimon calls out for someone whose heart is on a similar wavelength, and they form a strong bond over it. Only instead of helping save the world and achieving loads of character development, they're destroying it while being terrible and petty. And there apparently is actual brainwashing going on. That part is still a mystery.
There are also too many things we have to infer about the intentions of the monster of the week. Today's victim is Miho, a bright young girl who is having a hard time adjusting to not being the brightest in her new school. Rather than accept that she can't be the best every time or resolve to work harder, she wishes for everybody ranked higher than her to vanish. Blossomon apparently loves this idea, and apparently wants Miho's help growing stronger. Thing is, we never actually hear this from Blossomon. Why is this particular Digimon on the same wavelength as Miho? It can't possibly stop at an appetite for destruction. Miho has a very specific problem and Blossomon must want to offer a very specific solution. But we never find out why that is, only that Blossomon's good at delivering.
This corrupted Miho also sees the same kind of frustration out of Yuu, not that it's hard to spot. Even if you take away Yuu's overall impression of Tagiru, it's still understandable that he'd envy the budding Digimon partnership. Tagiru and Gumdramon may be about as naive as Yuu and Damemon were, but at least they're honest with each other. And while Yuu was trusted right into service, Tagiru can be as leisurely as he chooses to be between hunts. It's surprisingly sincere, and creates a nice parallel that Miho tries to exploit.
There's a very real tension between Yuu and Miho, and it would have been nice to play off it a little more prior to the attack. Yuu was never going to be swayed to destroy Tagiru, but if they got to talking in advance, Miho could be a good sounding board (albeit one that forces Yuu to be vague) and a negative influence that might stir up the hate in Yuu a little more. He would certainly be more conflicted if he had gotten used to listening to her bad advice pre-Blossomon. Judging by their sort-of friendship after the fact, it could have led to an interesting place if we just got more of it.
Instead, Blossomon attacks and Yuu and Tagiru are on the case. Tagiru gets help from Ren. Even as they've been present in every episode, we haven't learned much about Team ARR other than them all being terrible human beings. Ren's setting a high bar as the worst of the three, although surely Airu will try to surpass it next episode. Ren seems casual, and disinterested in anything that doesn't involve showing off or adding to his massive slave collection. He promises to let Tagiru have a go at Blossomon, only to use him as a diversion to aid his own pursuit. His method of finding Blossomon's head involves painful torture. Worst of all, he's doesn't care about actually saving Miho, instead focused squarely on his hunting. Not that Ryouma seemed much better, but it should raise eyebrows that this kid was granted a Xros Loader and is presumably regarded as a Hunter in good standing.
So long as he's regarded as an antagonistic, it's still a fair ploy however. And the Yuu/Miho angle isn't half-bad. If anything really drags down the episode, it's actually Taiki. Yuu's recognizes that his jealousy is due to his own faults and isn't an excuse to harm anybody. This helps sway Miho and would feel like the turning point of the battle if OmegaShoutmon didn't come in guns blazing to engineer another win for Tagiru. Taiki really could have been left out of this battle completely. Given how Yuu's feelings are mainly related to Tagiru, that's who should have gotten all of the glory. Bet we'll never say that again!
My Grade: C+
- Another of Taiki's bigger missteps is not doing much with Yuu's troubles. Yuu really seems out of sorts during and after the game, and while Taiki eventually realizes he should be there, he doesn't offer a whole lot of encouragement. You'd think he'd sniff out the distress and refuse to let him leave unhappy.
- There's probably something to be said about how this episode is critical of Japan's obsession with test scores and putting rankings in public. It's just hard to say whether it actually gets around to the criticism.
- Blossomon's ability to affect the real world while remaining in DigiQuartz raises a whole lot of questions about what DigiQuartz really is. If it's supposed to be the time shift they all say it is, it shouldn't work that way.
- As far as we can tell, and as far as Yuu is probably concerned, Miho's stuck as just another member of the fanclub now. Dear God, they're growing.
- Can we talk about how the thirteen year old can dunk? Thirteen year olds can't dunk.