The execution is far from flawless, but after seeing quickly the show turns stale when the story isn’t advancing, it’s a thrill and a relief when it does. There’s a fair bit of nonsense, but a lot happens: the team claims another jewel shard, Mienumon makes her proper debut, Rei’s now in part-time-ally mode a la early Kouji, and Eri and Tora get both a fight of their own and a bit of development. There’s a lot of meat on this bone, enough to almost forgive the confusing character motivations and how the first fight against the primary villain for this arc has almost no real action in it.
There are two great concepts going on with Tellermon that would play well independently, but are totally at odds with each other when meshed together. While we have to squint to figure out what a “stealth app” means, one devoted to fortune telling is as straightforward as it gets. Tellermon sounds like every app delivering lucky numbers, items, a horoscope, or whichever pseudoscience you prefer to your phone. It’s fun, it’s frivolous, it’s not too specific, it never travels without the disclaimer “for entertainment purposes only.” Eri getting hooked on something like this and Tora playing the annoyed skeptic works out great. Picture Eri having a hard time convincing the boys Tellermon’s infected, since they find her new divinations just as nonsense as the old ones.
Then there’s using an Appmon to introduce the scary power of AI to analyze massive amounts of data, filter noise, and offer up something useful. Looking past the technological supervillains to reality, this is what AI is actually used for. Just… not for cheap fortune teller apps. It may justify why everyone makes idiots of themselves after Tellermon’s infection, but the sudden jolt of credibility for an app like this is sort of incredible and adds the uncomfortable wrinkle that Eri’s wacky superstitions and rabbit costumes are somehow backed up by data.
Regardless, she and Tora have a simple, straightforward adventure together when they’re tasked with stopping the infected Tellermon. We’ve been enjoying their bickering since Tora got here, and we get plenty of it. We hope it doesn’t go away entirely, but there’s a genuine turning point for them as they manage to impress each other. Tora refusing to buy into Tellermon’s nonsense fortunes lets Mediamon smash through them, while Eri reacts fast to save him from death by cucumber. Tellermon’s strange penchant for accuracy makes their meeting halfway a little contrived (Tora could have just gone with “if you think it’s groovy, go with it” and it would be just as effective). But they accept each other as allies, marking real development and a real victory for them.
Meanwhile, Haru chases after Mienumon, with an assist from Rei who also wants in on Tellermon’s data cloud. Mienumon’s first fight is… short and kind of disappointing. And her requisite debriefing with Coachmon covers the same territory as the first ones: human manipulation. She’s had the idea for a couple episodes now, but it somehow takes an infection with a clear strategic motive to make her realize how susceptible humanity is to suggestions from their phones. You’d think she’d have figured this out once the corrupted GPS started sending people off cliffs.
While it’s a safe assumption that Team Leviathan, and possibly Mienumon herself, are infecting Appmon deliberately, their motives have been so inconsistent. At first it seemed to be random havoc. Or are they specifically targeting the Appdrivers? Then it was back to random havoc. You would hope she gets a more consistent gameplan to devastate the population later. For now it feels like they’ve mostly been kidding around instead of really attacking. Until they step it up, there won’t be many more opportunities to bleed in our heroes.
My Grade: B
- Even without the data cloud support, incorporating all four of horoscopes, blood types, personality types, and astrology (going to assume that’s something separate from horoscopes) sounds pretty broad for a single app and has to at least involve some premium services. Unlock tarot for $4.99!
- Haru’s familiarity with the Tela-Tela app is not that everyone in his class uses it, but all the girls in Ai’s class use it. Way to distance yourself from this one!
- Eri manages to play it pretty cool for someone who really is way too caught up in this, having bad mental days when she gets bad fortunes and knowing about the various Mamas around town.
- This is the first time we see the Appmon before and after infection, including the full process. Seeing the stark difference is kind of cool!