In this episode, the gang tries picking up the pieces and making sense of what's happening. They do this by picking fights, crushing on each other, and light software development.
The Read or Die TV series was notorious for the way it blended action with slice-of-life character hijinks. Instead of working both into each episode, it would alternate between the two like some wild shounen-shoujo pendulum (seinen-josei might be more accurate, but it's not as catchy). The first tri. movie follows the same pattern, as now we return to character-building land. However, while the first episode struggled to convince us why everything we were seeing was important, now the kids have something to talk about, angst over, and investigate. Not every scene is totally necessary or totally works, but by the end of it we have a better idea of how to feel about most of the main cast. Takeru and Hikari will have to wait until a future movie, but I'm sure they'll get a turn.
First thing they have to worry about is the media's interpretation of the battle. This is where having established events from two prior seasons comes up big. There's no novelty or fascination over what's going on anymore. Instead, all the general public knows is that these monsters are attacking again and they're fed up with it. They're confused and frightened and demanding a response from leaders. This is a natural reaction, and likely will be a recurring theme throughout the series. It's especially concerning, because the last time we saw that in a Digimon series, humanity's answer was “put Kurata in charge.”
It's also concerning because this portrayal isn't exactly wrong. While everybody else is angry at the negative press coverage, Taichi recognizes that people can only see what's out there, and not the deep partnership with the Digimon or the battle between good and evil the digidestined see. Since the Kuwagamon were merely infected, they weren't even evil- just chaotic. It's a lot harder to be passionate when the aim is simply to subdue rabid animals. Especially with the level of destruction going on that Taichi is now far too aware of. He struggles with this awareness all movie, and in the process alienates his closest friends.
Speaking of alienating friends, Joe spends the entire movie completely and totally in the weeds. While Taichi struggles to reconcile the past and the present, Joe is staring into an abyss of the future. All of his dreams hinge on his schoolwork, and he's desperate to turn around his bad grades. This leads him to ignore his health, his social life, and his civic responsibilities. All of these, as Mimi points out, would probably help him refocus his efforts and maybe see what he's been doing wrong. But it's impossible to step away from something that important to him, putting Joe in a special kind of personal hell. His only break from it in the entire movie is Gomamon jumping through his window. He really needed Gomamon jumping through his window. Hell, everyone could use Gomamon jumping through their windows.
While Taichi and Joe have their characters taken to new, interesting and dramatic extremes, Koushiro's the only one who might be stretched a little too far. The good news is everyone loves it when Koushiro is stretched out. This isn't TV Koushiro. This is Movie Koushiro! Hacking military satellites, obsessing over the current crisis, and having no clue how to act around Mimi. The little nerd apparently discovered girls, and suddenly there's a fabulous, outgoing specimen right next to him that he has a longstanding relationship with. It's remarkable that all he does is blush. Cross your fingers that this is building to some growth moment for him.
Meanwhile, his development of a cyberspace holding cell for the Digimon is an obviously useful way to take them out of the picture when they aren't needed (so useful, in fact, that Savers and Xros Wars had something similar built in to their worlds). It's ridiculous, of course, as is his lack of awareness that everyone started ignoring his info dumping, the fashion software he shows Takeru and his gigantic office. Thankfully for him, ridiculous also translates to memorable.
My Grade: A-
- Even if Mimi was planning on coming over anyway, it doesn't change the fact that buying plane tickets on a whim would be prohibitively expensive. Plus if this was a planned move, her family's tickets were likely already purchased.
- Looks like Huckmon's getting into the “stand around important places looking mysterious” game alongside Meicoomon. Jury's still out on where exactly Meicoomon was running around on the last scene of the night.
- All the times in Zero Two the kids were hiding the Digimon from their parents were undone in a flash with Yuuko encouraging Agumon and Tailmon. That was adorable, especially since Taichi and Hikari weren't at all in an encouraging mood.
- This is our first real interaction with new girl Meiko, but it's hard to get a real sense of her personality. Shy comes to mind, but she's also transferring to a new school in Tokyo from Tottori- the least populated prefecture in the country. Gotta factor in an adjustment period.
- Hey, remember back in Xros Wars where we criticized the lack of hugging in season one? Mimi got the memo! Mimi's just pushing everybody's buttons perfectly and continues to stand out in this cast.
- There aren't many good Hikari moments in this movie, but Tailmon gets plenty. Not only is she an effective Adult fighter, her taste analysis at the restaurant is the most sophisticated of anybody at the table. Still needs to work on passing off as a common cat though.