In this episode, Sora’s prior words become prophetic as the unbreakable bonds between digidestined and partner Digimon are confirmed all over again. And again. And again. And again. And again...
This is an awful way to end a movie with an indefinite wait until the next chapter. The specific turn of events is fair play, awful only in a saluting the magnificent bastards kind of way. The Mysterious Man abusing and torturing Meiko to near-death, prompt Meicoomon to lose control? Hell yeah! Leave us worried and angry! But they left no time to let the moment sink in, fading to black almost before it finishes happening. There’s no reaction shot from the other digidestined, final shot of Meicoomon or even an extended closeup of the one digidestined the epilogue doesn’t protect. Mysterious Man’s behavior already shows that tri.’s playing for keeps. If it weren’t for the next movie’s poster, tri. could really sell the possibility that Meiko could be dead. Linger over that chance a little more.
If the cliffhanger isn’t going to succeed, at least some of the mysteries are also starting to get tied up as we head into movie five. While Mysterious Man’s ranting is mainly an attempt to rattle the digidestined, once you get past his taunting about how squishy and temporary humans are, he’s explaining what Yggdrasil is shooting for with a reboot- every Digimon, including those who died in the real world, in a united attack against humanity. Earth vs. Shoutmon X7 Superior Mode, Homeostasis be damned! Certainly sounds like classic Yggy! Using everybody, not just the Royal Knights, makes it palatable (and actually threatening), and utilizing Digimon who died in the real world is where our intrigue lies. Instead of the broad question of what’s going on, we’re not asking how they and Meicoomon figure into the equation. Yeah, the door’s wide open for Vamdemon to figure into things yet again, but at least he’d be working under somebody’s control. That’s not normal.
The other half of Team Reboot got exactly what she wanted- Maki is reunited with Bakumon... who forgot everything because reboot. Slight miscalculation there. As little time as present-day Maki has in this movie, for the third time her story runs parallel to a digidestined. In Determination, Daigo challenges her on growing up with Digimon adventures that just won’t go away, and whether it’s possible to balance the responsibility with living a happy life. In Confession, Daigo challenges her on withholding crucial information and we see the devastating consequences of her refusal to share it. In Loss, Maki is confronted with a rebooted Digimon who has no patience for her... but Daigo’s not around to challenge her this time! Her reaction is... considerably less healthy than Sora’s. Whether she now turns to help right her wrongs or she develops a hatred for the digidestined for overcoming the memory loss so easily, Maki’s going on a fun little journey.
So let’s talk about overcoming the memory loss. Ultimates so soon? Really? The best answer is remembering what makes evolution work in season one. Unlike Tamers, where the key relationship is the actual bond with the Digimon (and Frontier with the world and Savers with adversaries and Xros Wars with the collective and Appmon with technology) Adventure’s key relationship is the self. Crest power! The Digimon need to be on board, obviously, and Agumon and Gabumon rewarding Taichi and Yamato for throwing them out of MetalSeadramon’s charge is a beautiful way to introduce the conversation. But it’s about exemplifying what makes each kid them and feeling comfortable with that. The digidestined have accepted the new conditions, they’re confident in themselves, and they’ve convinced their “new” partners to trust them and fight alongside them. Why the hell not?
While Tentomon and perhaps even Patamon’s evolutions feel unnecessary with sequences that kill all the momentum, Sora earns hers the hard way. Beyond all her somehow not-fatal heroics, she sticks to her guns, committed to her partner’s well-being no matter how fussy Piyomon has been. That’s a far cry from Adventure, where she was forced to change to accommodate both Piyomon and her mother. Here she stays true to herself and breaks down Piyomon’s wall. We’ve gotten accustomed to wondering who’s going to help someone out of their personal crisis. For once it’s nice to see someone do it herself.
My Grade: B+
- Much as it set up Sora’s heroics, her leaving Meiko was really, really stupid! Once Mysterious Man saw her, you could see the gears turning in his head before he made his move. You can understand that she felt confident enough in Piyomon to think she could help in the fight (insert reaching analysis about her secret dissatisfaction and fear about her only contribution being Team Mom), but... yeah, not smart.
- I haven’t had a chance to say this since episode 5 of Zero Two, posted December 12, 2011... when the going gets tough, Joe turns into a GODDAMN ACTION HERO. And so does Blue Fish!
- On that note, for as much abuse Mysterious Man doles out, it doesn’t take a lot to bring him down. Child Digimon go to town on him and both Sora and Joe can knock him aside.
- More Mysterious Man being soft- his summons feel kind of weaksauce. Plotmon and Gabumon land effective hits on Mugendramon and MetalSeadramon and you could argue that Vikemon and Rosemon beating Imperialdramon would be kind of an upset. Levels have been less and less important since Frontier, but when even Gabumon expresses surprise that he was able to pull his attack off, we’re free to speculate. Maybe this is why Yggdrasil needs more real Digimon on his side.
- So... that lake has some very odd depth fluctuations when the kids are struggling to tread water one moment, then almost drowning, then standing with the water at their ankles.
- During Tailmon’s evolution, the name “Salamon” shows up on Hikari’s D3, a cute acknowledgment of the international versions. That means that when a dub producer years and years ago used her cat as inspiration for Plotmon’s dub name, it’s now seen worldwide. Never thought we’d get to do this for a review of a subtitled version but... silly dub!
- On that note, while the subtitles using dub names for certain Digimon is inconsistent, confusing and kind of annoying (especially since the name Hououmon was retained in the dub of Tamers and Frontier even kept Bakumon), at least they didn’t call Yggdrasil King Drasil.
- The final scene with Sora, Taichi and Yamato is cute. First they’re late picking up on her being miserable, then they refuse to believe she took care of it on her own. Even though Taichi says Sora tends to take care of herself. Baka indeed...