In this episode, as Quartzmon tightens its grip on the world, the world must come to accept the unfortunate, depressing reality that Tagiru is still the main character.
This is an excellent ending. It leads off with the enemy laying waste to Plan A. The supporting cast stands united with the sacrifice needed to give the main character one chance to scramble together a Plan B. The main character is overwhelmed about suddenly being thrust into this role, especially looking up at legends who (he assumes) could do this in their sleep. It takes a great deal of encouragement from his mentors and a final burst of self-confidence and determination in order to defeat the villain and save the world. After an emotional send-off, a few final loose ends are tied up and for once the rug isn't pulled out from under us and the final shot is legitimately happy. The only thing that's missing is a main character worthy of it.
The biggest problem with this ending is not that it does anything wrong; it actually manages very well. The issue is that it makes you long for a series we could have gotten. Look at the sudden parallel it offers us between Tagiru and Ryouma. We learn that Ryouma got suckered into teaming up with a Digimon because of his drive to be the best and surpass Taiki. Tagiru's the exact same way, intimating that the way Ryouma was manipulated by Quartzmon and possessed to do the enemy's bidding could have very easily happened to Tagiru. But all the times we saw Ryouma act mysterious or devious were the places to set up this parallel between the two characters, not after learning his fate. It would have made it easier to properly break Tagiru.
Breaking Tagiru is really what this is all about, and that looked like the intention, but should have gone much farther. First off, Tagiru needed a few mistakes to shake his confidence along the way. That would make him feel that much more daunted by his ascendancy to the Big Hero 6. For this to work, he needs to feel intimidated. He needs to feel unworthy. We can scoff and say he doesn't deserve it, but it's vital to this ending that Tagiru feels the same way. It's the whole point behind Taiki's goggle gambit.
Earlier, we suggested that Taiki was supporting Tagiru not because he actually believes in him, but because he believes Tagiru may end up being vital to whatever they end up in and needs to be positioned where he'll have the best chance of success. Now, with Taiki down and Tagiru seemingly the last throw of the dice, Taiki has to do everything he can to reassure Tagiru that he can actually defeat Quartzmon. A hero doesn't actually need goggles; we've been through six series and seen dozens of brave heroes that don't wear them. But if it fools Tagiru into thinking it's the source of all of Taiki's bravery and power? It's Taiki's last ploy to try to save the world.
There's just enough pullback to give Tagiru and Arresterdramon a legitimate challenge. This thing just devoured the whole world and all of his friends, so of course putting their faces in front of him will disturb him to the brink of defeat. From the moment he left Astamon's body, all of Quartzmon is disturbing; it's the best way to shake up Tagiru, who continues to waver. He can only see Quartzmon's weak point once he's nearly assimilated, which gives him the drive to bring back Superior Mode for one last charge (it's similar to the way Shoutmon beat Bagramon actually). Now, as Tagiru no longer fears the faces, they have just enough free will to give him the opening to defeat Quartzmon and summon the usual bittersweet farewell. The addition of the whole Hunters world, including legendary heroes and bit players alike, is touching even as it reminds us how disappointing it all was.
As for the final twists, the clockmaker's identity somehow makes perfect sense and no sense at the same time. And Gumdramon magically returning and Digimon still on the loose? Let's give it a pass. We can't possibly stop with the thought that Digimon will go away forever.
My Grade: B+
- So... that Ryouma face. In your nightmares forever or just for a few weeks?
- Despite the solid story the ending provides, there's little to say about Quartzmon. He's nasty and disturbing and covering his bases through Astamon was sharp planning, but he's basically carrying out a poor man's Human Instrumentality Project and other than some disturbing visuals it isn't all that clever a motive.
- Quartzmon's big boom that starts to wipe out the world has this nice zoomed out shot that shows you exactly where in Koto he is, with a nice foreground look at the Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba.
- What wonderful symbolism that Tagiru finds the Brave Snatcher too heavy to lift out of the water himself, requiring Taichi and Daisuke to egg him on. Also appropriate that he finds an alternate way of doing it that could have gotten him killed. He's also probably too boneheaded to appreciate the magnitude of being the only living human on the planet when Quartzmon mentions it.
- One of the human faces Quartzmon uses to scare Tagiru is the clockmaker. If they're going to push this Bagramon thing on us, the least they could have done was stay consistent.
- All of the talk during the prep for the big battle was that Quartzmon could not be killed, only hunted. Yet he turns into a digiegg and Shoutmon takes it rather than allowing Tagiru to hunt it.
- The clockmaker mumbles something about looking for his brother, which raises a whole new set of questions about his motives and pretty much a whole new plot thread forever left dangling. When it rains, it pours...