In this episode, the gang meets a boy who has found a way to make money hunting Digimon. Our noble hero thinks that's just the sweetest gig ever and signs up.
Is this show even trying to make Tagiru likable? His character is one of the biggest criticisms of Hunters, and with good reason. But why is that? This is a show with writers and character designers that understand that the key to any good story is an interesting protagonist that we can root for, sympathize with, or enjoy a spectacular downfall. We don't come close to any of these things with Tagiru. His selfish attitude and straightforward approach to hunting makes him hard to cheer. It's impossible to relate to him as he seems to have a charmed existence with no real problems in life. And in spite of himself, he keeps on winning. Is the show really so blind as to push a character with so few redeemable qualities?
In several ways, this episode exemplifies the problem of having a protagonist like Tagiru. Today we're introduced to Hideaki, an enterprising young capitalist who has found a way to turn a profit hunting Digimon. Hideaki's not even legitimate- feigning reluctance in accepting money after pretending to fix buggy cash registers that Digimon had busted. Yuu is outraged and absolutely should have punched Hideaki in the face. Tagiru falls in love with the idea and signs on to be a partner with the promise of money and, in sharp contrast to Ryouma last episode, more Digimon. Ever the businessman, Hideaki irons out so many details there's probably a deleted scene of Tagiru filling out a W4. Yuu absolutely should have... yeah, you know.
This could be forgiven if Tagiru had at least something resembling a brain. Every gogglehead is guilty of some degree of idiocy, but all of the others offer some semblance of tact or at least spin it as innocence or perspective. Tagiru gives us none of that. Catching the Zenimon proves to be easy, to the point where you wonder why Hideaki even needs the help if they're going to team up on every hunt. When Ganemon shows up claiming to be pursuing his lost Zenimon, Tagiru isn't at all cynical. He's not the only leader who may have fallen for this; you could make arguments for all of them giving in. But some would ask more questions, some would get suspicious long before catching Ganemon in the act, and some would take it really hard that they fell victim to such a con.
All of the other leaders would take it as an important life lesson, and all of them would do their damnedest to set everything right at all cost. That's where Tagiru falls short. He's shocked that Ganemon was playing them, but to him the blame was squarely on Ganemon. It's not Tagiru's fault that he tried to profit off Digimon (he resents Yuu pointing it out) and is even dismayed that Hideaki is honest enough to return all the money. What kind of leader is that?
Knocking him another notch is that his hunting instincts aren't even that strong. If he showed a knack for the business and some unorthodox techniques, we might be more willing to overlook a few faults. Hell, it worked for Masaru. But he has not won his own major battle since the first episode, relying either on Shoutmon/Damemon intervention, Gumdramon's cunning, or third-party Digimon suggesting a digixros for him.
The one thing he has going for him is that he believes in the best of both people and Digimon. Hideaki is after a quick buck, but Tagiru thinks he's chasing a dream instead of being greedy. He sees that in everybody he meets, which is something going for him, even if it doesn't excuse his behavior or make others see the best in him. Because seriously, making money off Digimon? That should be limited to DATS employees and Takeru's book deal.
My Grade: D+
- You know things are getting bad when even Taiki is telling Tagiru not to go so hard hunting Digimon.
- Ganemon actually clues us in on some insight as to how Digimon fall from the Digital World- they fall into the human world (or at least Digiquartz). That's actually useful information.
- Hideaki must be quite the stickler if he's docking Tagiru's drink from his pay. Capitalist indeed.
- Dobermon kicks off a weird trend of bringing back Digimon who had short but memorable role in prior seasons. We'll see more examples down the road.
- It feels like there's supposed to be some message about how not every business owner is greedy, but it's such an obvious point and illustrated so poorly through obviously innocent shopkeepers that it falls flat.