In this episode, the subplots with Maki and the 02 kids are reopened en route to the emotionally satisfying conclusions they deserve. Or at least they’re brought up by other characters. Which is an improvement.
Knowing full well this movie would be cutting corners, the hope was that those corners would be the ones that didn’t offer much value doing properly. There are plenty of places that will leave us sort of scratching our heads and unfulfilled anyway, so there isn’t much sense investing too much into tying it up if there’s no serious emotional payoff. Part two makes clear which corners will be cut, and just how much of the sidewalk they’re skimming. One of them was unfortunate but sensible. One makes sense in hindsight but forfeits one of tri.’s best subplots.
It’s a good thing we can appreciate the places Our Future finds emotional payoff in unexpected places unexpectedly easily. With Ordinemon flailing around like a sick animal, destroying the real world just by making contact, Mysterious Man is as psychotic as ever. We’re getting the sense now that while Yggdrasil is moving its pieces as carefully as it can from behind the scenes, this guy’s just out to sew chaos and is elated the digidestined and Homeostasis have been so cooperative. In a fascinating conversation with his counterpart on Team Home-chan, he points out how the two sides aren’t that dissimilar, with one favoring chaos, one favoring stability, and either totally willing to blow everything up to get to that point. Hell, most of the time we see Yggdrasil, he’s the one destroying everything to restore order.
Homeostasis proves it really is little more than Yggdrasil with the power to speak through little girls (although there’s that manga...). Yggdrasil’s two favorite pastimes are terrorizing humanity and resetting the world, so naturally rebooting the human world is the best way to stop it. Hackmon gets plenty of jeers for being complicit in Taichi’s disappearance, but with Ordinemon unstoppable by normal means, they have to consider which is the least bad option. A game of “what would Taichi do” recognizes that simple refusal won’t yield results, but their cooperation is tentative at best. Even if it eliminates the direct threat of Ordinemon, the world’s digital infrastructure ending in a blink is just as troublesome.
For some vague reason, this idea is a total non-starter for Koushiro and he rushes off to bury himself in his computer to find something better. While his attempt to protect the Digimon from the first reboot failed, we appreciated his diligence and performance under pressure. Suddenly he’s got another chance and the contrast between his demeanor now reveals his growth. When he catches himself getting too frustrated, he stops, lets Tentomon in, hydrates, and reflects on the situation. He might have been the character we least expected growth from here, but giving him another chance and seeing it play out makes us realize how better his story is for it.
As usual, somewhere on the other end of the quality storytelling spectrum are Daisuke and company. Taichi and Daigo finding them locked away in stasis and Daigo’s explanation of what happened to them line up with the most obvious scenarios. When the response to their discovery of Yggdrasil’s plot and subsequent defeat and cover-up is a solemn nod, it’s a good sign that this was one of the corners it was acceptable to cut. Not because there isn’t a story here, but because there’s too much of it. How they uncovered the plot, how they were beaten, how Maki and Daigo hid their disappearance from society, and how they’re going to feel about all this once they get out... that would take two more movies! All of that’s a complex organism on its own, and you’re almost grateful this movie didn’t try to scratch that surface and just accepted their appearance would be unfulfilling.
Maki’s fate, on the other hand, is tougher to swallow. Last time we saw her, we watched as her sanity slipped away as she drowned in the Dark Ocean. Fitting end for a villain who betrayed two generations of digidestined because she couldn’t let go of her past? Yeah, certainly. But her story, especially the way it was delivered to us in Loss, is hard not to sympathize with. If we’re to believe that Digimon partnerships are so tight they can transcend time, worlds, and their own memories, that means we can’t outright shun someone who refuses to let go of theirs, no matter how many terrible things she does. You’d imagine most of our heroes would move hell under similar circumstances, and Daigo hints as much. So to simply punish her for her evil deeds feels incomplete, especially in a franchise that loves its redemption stories. This feels like ending Ken’s story with Wormmon’s death or Impmon’s after the Chrysalimon stripped away Beelzebumon. Not that Maki was destined for such a dramatic turnaround, but she did feel destined for a third act we may never get.
My Grade: B
- After Yamato pours out his insecurities into Gabumon’s fur, the way he’s almost afraid to use the goggles to read the skies is appropriate. He knows he’s not ready for this, and his leadership is marked more by sympathetic understanding than strong decision making. Yamato does his best, but he never shakes the idea that he’s the emergency backup.
- The huddled masses in the shelter, which seems to evoke Vamdemon’s roundup in Adventure, includes a surprise appearance by Taichi’s dad. Funny how easy it is to whip up a simple yet recognizable character design for someone who hadn’t appeared in the series yet, isn’t it? Good job doing it for Taichi’s dad rather than anyone else we may have wanted to see all series.
- There’s something humbling about the split-screen evolution sequence only having five Digimon after getting a couple with eight last movie. Shows how depleted the ranks are and how futile that fight with Ordinemon really was.
- Hackmon makes an interesting and revealing point about Mysterious Man still being in the Kaiser outfit- it suggests that the Digital World hasn’t absorbed the real world quite as quickly as Yggdrasil was hoping for. Mysterious Man mentioned he needed to use that disguise in the real world, and it doesn’t hurt to remind us that his continuing to do so here means something.
- Agumon’s food obsession continues to alternate between tiresome and meaningful, sometimes in the same scene. Here, in a situation where it would be more pragmatic to allow those with present partners to take the lion’s share of energy, Agumon’s insistence on staying fit for Taichi’s return is both inspiring and heartbreaking.
- Figuring out how Taichi escaped that fall only getting knocked unconscious while Daigo ended up a bloody mess might be another story on its own. Not a story we have time for this movie, but there are a few reasons why distributing the damage more equitably would have been a better call.
- We will never be satisfied with the way the 02 kids were incorporated into tri, but at the very least, we can enjoys Taichi’s reaction of utter horror at seeing them and his frantic calling for Daisuke.
- Oh, and the real Gennai was in there too. That... probably should have been called out, huh?