Well… it’s a plot. It’s just not a very good plot: collect seven completely arbitrary Appmon that have the code that will unlock the key to defeating Leviathan. It’s the sort of annoying game-expanding quest you find in RPGs. Perhaps that’s appropriate given the first Seven Code acquired, but it’s a disappointing way to structure the first half of the series. We have a world of clever ideas inspired by contemporary life; you’d think they could come up with a better way to string them together than the old “find the seven magic thingies” routine.
But before we can be disappointed by that, we first have to be disappointed by the resolution to the Cameramon (ahem… Caméramon) encounter. Dogatchmon fires one shot with zero impact and Caméramon scurries away, his only response another reminder how to pronounce his name. Maybe if the last episode ended with Caméramon having the advantage pre-fusion we might have something to work with. You can have Haru pull the desperation move at the start of an episode. Not like it’s a climactic evolution or anything. As it is, it makes the whole encounter look short and pointless. Both App Fusion and the entire essence of Caméramon deserve better than that.
Gatchmon and Navimon’s bickering injects some humor and character into the explanation that follows. You would think a search app and a navigation app would make a nice cohesive unit, but who doesn’t love Digimon on the same side getting fed up with each other? Perhaps their arguing undermines the idea of them being compatible for fusion, but it turns out the whole process is sort of random anyway. Link two Appmon together and there’s a small chance you’ll get a fusion! It’s like a Gacha game! Later on when episodes are written to make us believe characters earn their higher levels, this notion of chance has to be forgotten or it undermines and takes away all the romanticism.
At least the episode gets full use out of its random Appmon. You have to get more creative to show how a crappy mobile game can cause havoc in the world. So you end up with subway stations demanding fetch quest items instead of fares and vending machines dispensing items and equipment, all leading up to a dungeon so arbitrary and grueling no game designer would allow it (well, maybe in the NES era). But this is good! We have sentient mobile apps and just saw definitely not President Obama asking locals for directions; no sense playing for realism now!
Laughably poor as it is, Awesome Excitement Dungeon brings out the best side of Haru, one that survived the protagonist hype and will set him apart once he develops into a proper leader character. When faced with a seemingly indestructible monster (definitely not a Minecraft Creeper), Haru has the foresight to search for a walkthrough. With that in hand, his nerdy little self genuinely enjoys the random twists and turns the game offers, and shares his love with Ropuremon once he and Gatchmon reach the final boss. We’ll have plenty of fights solved through brute force, so let’s appreciate one resolved through sincere joy and a suggestion not to read internet comments.
In the end, it still comes back to Ropuremon representing not a corrupted Appmon pacified with love but as a key to collect as part of a bigger game. As with App Fusion, the randomness of it all is more of a detractor than an element of mystique. So far the two codes we’ve seen are Mailmon (representing a vital productivity app) and Ropuremon (representing a failed and forgotten game app), so they really could be hiding literally anywhere. Putting the codes inside actual monsters creates the implication that they are parts to collect rather that sentient creatures. It continues the unsettling trend from Xros Wars that acquiring monsters is more important than befriending them. Haru will no doubt vouch for the Appmon, but in the end they’re still stamps for him to collect on his conveniently acquired tablet.
My Grade: B-
- The Dogatchmon fusion spits out a greyed chip that Gatchmon promises will be useful soon. It’s strange that they’d bother giving it to Haru now, that Gatchmon knows it’ll be functional at some point, and that we’re apparently supposed to think Applinking to Dogatchmon versus Apprealizing to Dogatchmon has some sort of narrative distinction.
- So… Gatchmon really waited a whole week to explain to Haru what was going on with Dogatchmon? How did he hold it in that long?
- We’re going to come to appreciate the ever-suffering dude with the wicked afro as the show goes on, but for now let’s take a moment to appreciate Watson constantly having his life ruined. May it continue.
- There are a whole bunch of wild implications to Ropuremon’s flashback showing him in school and even apparently having parents. It’s so absurd and trope-heavy I’m ready to write it off as an exaggeration.
- Gatchmon and Navimon’s arguing prevents them from forming Dogatchmon, resulting in Sukasimon, a hilariously inept Appmon that’s poised to be a mainstay. Honestly, this kind of failure poses a better evolution wrinkle than Applink or App Fusion and it should have been used more than a couple times.
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