In this episode, an innocent train enthusiast who wants to travel the world meets a flying train that lets him. Let's see how this relationship gets totally abused!
Watching this season sometimes makes it feel like a miracle that a human and a Digimon could ever contribute to the greater good. We've seen well intentioned Digimon get played by humans. We've seen well intentioned humans manipulated by Digimon. Even partnerships that aren't necessarily bad still affect competitions or secure financial gain. That sort of ruins the appeal of human/Digimon relationships. There's nothing corrupt about Kiichi or Locomon. All they want to do is travel around the world, see the sights, and share the experience with others. The fact that even this pair runs into problems suggests that in this world, humans and Digimon are just never going to figure it out.
There's a real tranquility to the train's overnight voyages. The imagery of the flying steam locomotive is straight out of the Leiji Matsumoto sketchbook. Locomon just wants to serve and be the best damn flying train he can be. Kiichi, meanwhile, is a very simple creature. He has a dream. He pursues it. He's even unselfish about it, taking pictures and letting other kids join along. It's easy enough to like him- passionate, devoted and completely ignorant to what goes into a human's well being. In other words, every railfan I've ever met.
We all question the clockmaker's intentions, but how often do we question his standard for who deserves a Xros Loader? Nothing illustrates just how flawed this gaggle of hunters is than the fact that Tagiru comes out of this episode looking like the responsible one. Not long after his frazzled mother has to bug him to go to bed, he's the one trying to stay grounded while Kiichi and the other passengers are lost in the clouds. As enchanting as it is to float above the world and see the sights, kids need to sleep and the Locomon experience deprives them of that. How can Tagiru be the only one that understands this?
The debate between the opportunity to travel the world aboard the 999 or remain healthy and productive through the school day may be an interesting one on paper, at least when the kids themselves get to make the call. It doesn't inherently meet the quota for action or tension. For that, we turn to our old buddy and professional ass Ren Tobari. What's odd is that while Ren is certainly being a jerk and ruining Kiichi's day for fun, he's not doing anything diabolical here. He just challenges Locomon to run faster and fly higher and consider exploring space or time travel. Ren doesn't steal Locomon so much as gets him to admit that he wants to be stronger. It's a natural desire, and could even help these kids get their passports stamped quicker and get them to bed sooner. It just leaves poor Kiichi in the lurch.
While Tagiru and company are certain that this arrangement is going to turn disastrous eventually, it doesn't seem like such a problem with Ren in charge. Locomon's happy with his newfound speed and the kids are still seeing the world. It isn't until Airu busts out her adorable pet Parasimon that things get ugly. Kiichi is able to talk Locomon out of his need for speed, which is touching and all but achieves absolutely nothing. Parasimon remains in control, and will continue to do so until either Gumdramon physically removes him or someone starts singing about their estranged father.
We probably should be inspired by Gumdramon's ability to yank Parasimon off the train. Then again, Tagiru has evolution or digixros in his back pocket and forgets to use it in a battle for the third straight episode. Responsible or not, no amount of heroics from his partner can make up for that kind of repeated stupidity.
My Grade: C-
- Does the appearance of Tagiru's mom in silhouette make her the easiest character to feel sympathy for this season?
- The churning wheels on the flying train is romanticism. I get that. But if there aren't any tracks, why all the screeching when the train stops in midair? Who likes that noise?
- I really want to know the story of how Doggymon and Pumpmon got involved with this operation and if they charge for the food.
- It's really hard to tell whether the kids are just defiant about going home to their beds or if it's the inevitable possession that occurs when humans get too close to Digimon.
- Try not to think about how fast Locomon must be going if it's circumnavigating the world in one night, or that it does so several times under Ren's control. The writers certainly didn't.
- Actually, don't think about physics at all in this episode. That part where the kids are running along the roof of the train and making mid-air leaps? Good luck with that.