In this episode, Tagiru learns never to feed his Pagumon after midnight. Or before midnight. Or ever, really. Starving your Digimon is a very important lesson for a hunter.
Abandoning the traditional one-on-one relationships with Digimon is one of the boldest things Xros Wars does. Instead, the Digimon comprise an army that band together for a common cause. At least that's how it works for most of the story. Hunters creates two significant differences: only one member of the army can be out at a time (with a second when digixros is used), and most of the members are conscripted, not enlisting voluntarily. That creates a totally different dynamic between the way Digimon work with their hunter and the way they worked with their general.
The three Digimon Tagiru pulls out in this episode illustrate how varied this relationship can be. It's worth it to examine how Gumdramon, Pagumon and even MetalTyrannomon all show a different relationship with Tagiru. While Tagiru pretty much screws up with all of them, it's how he screws up that's worth diving into. The actual episode is meaningless fluff. It has an silly storyline of Pagumon multiplying any time he eats anything, and an even sillier resolution that involves Gumdramon whipping a whole pool full of 'em until they become okonomiyaki batter that Shoutmon can grill up until only the original remains. Actually, utterly horrifying might be more appropriate than silly.
Pagumon, despite the way he harasses the okonomiyaki guy, is Tagiru's easiest catch yet. Dangerous as he ends up being, he doesn't seem to be all that malicious. If he was, he would have gorged on that yummy pancake thing and went full Gremlins first chance he got. He doesn't take kindly to his capture, however, bawling incessantly as he is destined to spend the rest of his life in Tagiru's servitude. It's understandable, really, as is the desire to get out for some fresh air once in a while. Makes you wonder how Sagomon's doing cooped up in there.
At the same time, Pagumon doesn't seem too resentful of his capture, even offering to help Tagiru capture Jagamon, even if friction with Gumdramon causes that hunt to go south. He's just very childish, uncontrollable and unaware of how much of a threat he can pose with something in his tummy. He's apologetic of both his argument with Gumdramon and nearly destroying the city. Whether it's sincere doesn't matter too much. The real question is why he feels he needs to show such respect to Tagiru.
It's the same with MetalTyrannomon. He's been locked up for a few episodes, so perhaps he's more resigned to his fate. At the same time, he's a fighter and eager to let out his frustrations. With Gumdramon gone, he sees an opportunity to be the go-to guy and leaps at the chance. The question here is whether hunted Digimon need this time out of the Xros Loader. Do they get rusty if they don't get time to stretch their legs and fight? Do they come to resent their hunter if they are never used? Do good hunters account for this and allow their captures regular sparring time that we never see? Did anyone tell Tagiru this?
Gumdramon is supposed to be the focus of the episode, but his argument with Tagiru, and the resolution to it, is so trite that it's barely worth talking about. Both of the two consider themselves in charge of the operation and refuse to admit that the other is necessary. Gumdramon's stubbornness is so apparent that everyone, including Ryouma, sees right through it. Still, this ability to jump ship once released suggests that managing a Digimon's ego is an important part of hunting. Ryouma passing up potential targets suggests that he's aware of this and won't hunt Digimon just to add to his roster. It sets him apart from Ren and Airu, and Tagiru, in an important way. Those three are mostly terrible people lucky enough to have a Xros Loader. Ryouma actually knows what he's doing and just acts like an ass.
My Grade: C-
- Tagiru says Taiki promised to treat him to okonomiyaki if he scored in the basketball game. This is a reasonable incentive... if they were playing soccer. In basketball, everybody in the game should be expected to put a few points on the board.
- Pagumon is unfamiliar with the concept of eating, yet tries to eat Tagiru's food baby the first time he pops out.
- Taiki and Yuu's Xros Loaders ending up in the batter is a dumb gag. The fact that they couldn't immediately tell which okonomiyaki they were in is dumber. The fact that they were still in perfect working order once retrieved is dumbest. There are Digimon inside those things!
- Boy, for being run completely run ragged by all the Pagumon, that okonomiyaki guy is really stoked to put an insane amount of effort into building Gumdramon his giant bait. Does he even have an available store he can cook that sucker in without drawing attention?