In this episode, a Digimon theme park is so authentic that the Sephirotmon ride traps you in an evil, megalomaniacal scheme. It's just like the real thing!
Maybe it's the fact that this is the last of the filler, but there's something oddly enjoyable going on here that really has no reason to exist. It's still an evil Digimon drawing on human energy to grow stronger, and there's still an unwitting accomplice who manages to help the good guys in the end. Tagiru is as clueless as ever, and doesn't earn a victory so much as he's dragged into a good position. Even the final battle is a rehash of the Sephirotmon fight in Frontier, only without the part where the protagonists figure out how to beat him themselves. It's your usual flawed crap... but everything looks so fun!
In this case, the primary unwitting accomplice is actually another Digimon, a Bakomon that serves on the DigimonLand sales team. That's right, a whole amusement park focused on Digimon and the center of attention is the sales office. They have meetings and reports and middle manager Jokermon who just looks like he should be going Glengarry Glen Ross on all of these suckers. He's more encouraging than Alec Baldwin, but still trying to make sure they get kids to sign on the line that is dotted. The Al Pacino to Bakomon's Jack Lemmon is this adorable girl Bakomon with a cute little bow that skips the Interest and Decision phases of the sales pitch and just forces the kids into the theme park. Always Be Closing!
Somehow, this Bakomon story is refreshing and fun, mostly because it's a role normally reserved for one-shot human kids that we don't care about. Not being human is a good first step! Being a Digimon with a job, a dream, and his own problems adds some novelty to everything, especially given how white-collar they are. From his perspective, Tagiru is just a bright-eyed idiot who's buying everything Bakomon is selling and appreciating everything DigimonLand has to offer. It doesn't make you respect Tagiru any more, but he makes Bakomon feel better and it's very sweet.
Tagiru, of course, is completely oblivious to the dark side of DigimonLand until it's smiling back at him. It's a pretty ingenious ruse Sephirotmon creates, as the world not only looks totally harmless, it totally is until the featured attraction. Everyone's friendly, it doesn't look too crowded, the rides are at least generally exciting... it's no surprise that Shoutmon encourages the remaining staff to keep it open after cleaning house. There's no obvious malfeasance going on for Tagiru to pick out, as everyone insists that kids can come and go as they please and Tagiru is even able to do it himself. It's only when Mami and Midori turn up missing that he starts to notice a problem.
By the time Taiki and Yuu find Tagiru and the three of them put everything together and realize the problem, Sephirotmon has already moved forward with his plan. It's odd how these evil Digimon aren't picky about which strong human feelings they need to be leeching off of. Typical sins like envy and greed show up, but so does determination, creativity, and now laughter. Yes, Sephirotmon is sucking all these kids into his sephira and putting them through the spin cycle, but somehow they're all being tricked into enjoying themselves. He's cramming so much fun down their throats he's able to use it as a weapon against the hunters. Not to mention that he still has the ability to absorb and fire back attacks an opponent shoots at him.
It's odd that a major villain from a previous season is back in a cameo, especially when he presents the same obstacles as before. But while Takuya and company were able to win using strong leadership and some cunning, neither of those is in Tagiru's arsenal. Instead, it's back to our pal Bakomon to recognize that Sephirotmon is a bad guy. Somehow he has the perfect attack to neutralize the danger, and boldly strikes down his own boss. You know what that takes? It takes brass balls.
My Grade: C-
- One of the simultaneously cute and embarrassing things Hunters does is roll in winners of a create-a-Digimon fan contest. It's a fun gesture, except when you realize how much of a role these fan creations are playing. While this isn't the only episode to feature them (Ekakimon was another example), Bakomon, Jokermon, and the Pillowmon were all part of the contest.
- Bakomon says girl Bakomon (let's call her Pacino-chan) is “being pushy” when she outright kidnaps that Kenta-lookalike.
- That Pillowmon Ferris wheel looks totally unsafe, with kids just clinging to it rather than being harnessed in. Actually, most of the seating looks totally unsafe.
- Thank goodness Tagiru abandoned the idea of hunting once he arrived in the theme park. That would have been a punchable moment if he had stuck with that plan.
- There's that one orchestration in Xros Wars with that sting that sounds like it's from One Winged Angel. How appropriate they use it for Sephirotmon.