It’s a good thing this show isn’t afraid to be cheeky early on. Until we get through this series of introductions (T-1 to Tora!) and back to the intriguing plot we saw glimpses of earlier, it’s all we have to skate on. It’s a very “early Savers” kind of story with maybe a clever illustration of how Digimon, even non-infected ones, can impact reality without much impact on anything long-term. Even Dokamon finding his App Fusion partner and Haru finding another Seven Code Appmon seems out of place in an episode that seemed perfectly content to be forgettable filler. Early on this is all well and good, especially since it gives us a more rounded look at Eri. But you get the sense that if not for exaggeration and adorable silliness, there’s not much left.
With such a bombastic introduction, it’s nice to immediately pivot to Eri struggling at something. Better yet, it’s a food review: something much harder than it looks, capturing the right adjectives to describe flavor and texture. It doesn’t take an expert critic to see she’s bad: Gatchmon knows it, Haru knows it, Eri knows it, and her manager knows it. Clearly, she’s going to have to bear down and put in the effort to improve her descriptive vocabulary and parse out different flavors of parfait, right?
We should be fair and acknowledge that she visits Haru and Gatchmon to learn more about the food blogger behind the app hoping to get some pointers rather than the quick fix she resorts to. Either way it gets her into the library and shows Watson gawking at her, demonstrating how well Haru plays off her by comparison. Around Watson she drops into her character instantly, much to Gatchmon’s frustration. Haru doesn’t blink at her fame and is just sort of bemused by her eccentricities. Eri may not be comfortable when they call out the chinks in her armor, but she’ll drop it for them anyway. Especially if they introduce her to Perorimon!
There’s something refreshing about the way Eri and Perorimon conspire. Neither are completely honest as Perorimon had been basing his food commentary on stolen Yelp reviews while Eri decides to base her commentary on him whispering in her ear rather than train under him. But they come to a fragile agreement on helping each other, stand their ground when the partnership frays, and ultimately unite when they need to. Eri is at about the right level of self-serving, somewhere in that Hideaki range where it can’t be called benevolent but nobody’s getting hurt or cheated (too much). She’s ambitious, and that’s okay! While there’s an unspoken personal incentive to becoming a star idol, Eri’s out to entertain.
Nothing else in the episode is as compelling, and far too little time is spent playing with their scheme. Instead of dialing into the interesting parts, the resolution ends up being more of the same. Another Appmon going viral, another news report, another tragedy for the poor guy in the afro (who has now been in more episodes than Yujin), and another AR field. The enemy doesn’t even have anything to do with Perorimon! He’s a suspect for about a minute, but his refined palate makes Eri doubt he’d eat just any old data from the beginning. Nope, it’s just Gomimon, who seems so unimportant he looks like a recycled Garbagemon.
The encounter is short and not that clever and somehow checks off two milestones. Perorimon offers to Applink with Dokamon, not because he’s compelled by justice to join the cause but as revenge for Gomimon gobbling his reviews. And that’s how Eri finds her “super rare” App Fusion combo, literally on her first try. It’s both random and obligatory, and the action game/dining guide app combo doesn’t have as much obvious synergy as Dogatchmon’s partnership. In an even more remarkable coincidence, Gomimon’s one of the Seven Codes, giving Haru an item for his scavenger hunt (or rather Eri giving it to him because what the hell is she gonna do with it?). At least it means another one down. There’s a fun gag when Gatchmon goes through the trouble to search for Gomimon’s weakness, only to be annoyed when Dosukomon one-hit KO’s him. But again, that kind of silliness only takes them so far.
My Grade: C
- Watson being shocked that an idol would be hanging out with Haru seems like a standard extreme reaction for him. Ai, the nice childhood friend, being surprised Haru could have a famous friend is hilarious and borderline savage.
- Eri taking her shoes off before she stands on the furniture is one of the better visual jokes exposing her true personality, and the fact that she’s so damn consistent about it, including her debut episode and moments where she’s under legitimate duress, make it an impressive character quirk.
- Watson correctly points out that Eri and Haru seen in such close proximity would be probably start some unsavory rumors that could derail an idol’s career. This is worth keeping in mind in future episodes when she’s out in the open with the gang in her very weak disguise.
- Dokamon’s frustration at Eri’s attention to Perorimon was a cute dynamic that could have used a tiny bit more love. After waiting so long for her to Apprealize him, he’s rightfully annoyed that Eri releases Perorimon in a hot minute.
- It’s barely noticeable and never acknowledged, but at one point Dokamon checks the wifi connection with his ears.
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