In this episode, just as we’re about to get deep with Sora, Taichi and Yamato, Mugendramon says no to character development and yes to killing everyone in the forest.
The abuse of ambiguity might be tri.’s biggest fault. Four movies in and we still don’t have enough hard data on what the main characters know. The most glaring example is whether their lack of obvious concern for the missing 02 digidestined is due to a prior incident they’ve already normalized, the reassurances from the bureau that everything’s all right, or a glaring blind spot we just have to overlook for the sake of the rest of the story. But it shows up in other cases too. There are several potential explanations for how Meiko appears in the Digital World, but without one it’s hard to examine the significance of it. And while Taichi and Yamato attempt to diagnose Sora’s problem, putting a welcome spotlight on a trio of deep relationships, we’re still left guessing what those relationships actually are.
Now in their familiar Child forms, the Digimon are getting closer and closer to stable relationships with their partners. As they settle in for the first night, the subject becomes more on what they need to do about Meicoomon. Admirable that as devastating as their partners losing their memories is, they’re still at a place where they can focus enough to realize how troublesome Meicoomon’s condition is and how they need to act. Their relief is apparent; they can smile and joke and needle the way Takeru sees Meiko as a helpless moeblob. The way they question Meiko’s constitution reinforces the respect the eight have for each other; having been through what they have, none of them doubt the toughness of anyone else on the team. Which explains why it takes so long for anyone to notice Sora breaking down. It doesn’t happen often, and when it does it usually isn’t subtle.
Taichi and Yamato notice and being the good... whatevers they are, join her to try to help her talk through her problem. And boy are all three of them horrible at it! It’s consistent with what we’ve seen from them in the past, and also sad how even Sora’s two closest whatevers can’t get through to her. Taichi continues to say all the wrong things, while Yamato is frustrated that she still can’t open up to them. Sora goes off on her problems with their dynamic, blasting them for not caring about her while they are in an act of caring about her. The moment works so well, simultaneously making you appreciate how deeply the three care for each other, and yet makes you yearn for more clues about where the three actually stood before everything got all infecty. The precious hints we got in the first movie are now critical, but insufficient to process all this
The plot interrupts the compelling character moment when Meicoomon suddenly dashes through to make their quest to find her really easy, followed by Mugendramon showing up to make their quest to not die really hard. At least the enemy isn’t screwing around, throwing the biggest damn thing it can in front of them and telling it to kill. Chaos reigns from there as the team is inexplicably separated and Meiko is inexplicably discovered in the desert of random telephone poles. Meicoomon probably made both distortions happen in the midst of her distress, but again it isn’t spelled it out for anyone.
While they’re all having a great time touring their favorite random scenery from the first two seasons, Daigo is peeling back the Maki mystery. He’s in an act of caring too, hacking her computer to find a program tracking Digimon in the Digital World, plans for the reboot, and emails from “Gennai” promising information if she helps this Yggdrasil fellow. He also recalls Maki researching reboot as a way to see her partner again and his pleas for her to grow up and move past it. While the specific nature of Yggdrasil’s plan and Maki’s role is a discussion for next episode, Daigo and Maki’s story reshapes everything we knew about them. Even while Maki is pushing her agenda, she and Daigo understand what the digidestined are facing, the significance of their bonds with their Digimon, and the reality that there really is no such thing as growing out of it.
My Grade: A-
- Palmon asks if Mimi thinks she’s pretty and earns an enthusiastic yes. Early in season one, Mimi used to rag on Palmon’s appearance. Character development!
- Maki’s program tracking Digimon has Bakumon highlighted. The rest of the list is mostly random with a few partners thrown in.
- Several shots surrounding the Mugendramon attack are just awkward. Everyone starts freaking out about where Taichi and company are, only for them to appear with no extra drama. Their reunion features Mimi with a smiling Sora even though Sora’s miserable. Piyomon flies away but is somehow magically reunited with Sora as they’re all being blasted. Heck, everyone’s with their partners even though all but Sora and Hikari are separated from them when they get pulled through the distortions.
- It’s hard to place exactly where they’re going with Piyomon’s interactions with Sora in the desert. She’s still being stubborn, but it’s vague whether her startled reaction is her realizing that she said something seriously hurtful (making her realize that she’s kind of being an ass) or if she had suddenly spotted Meiko. The latter makes sense continuity-wise, but the former would help bridge the gap to her eventual turnaround.