Aw, isn’t this sweet? Eri’s stature has risen enough to get her own song… buried in the middle of disc four of an Appliyama CD series. She’s a featured performer at a festival… because Ai pulled some strings with the planners. She meets Hatsumi, an adoring fan who’s been inspired to approach her challenges… which are actually kind of underwhelming by Digimon standards. Her show is interrupted… by an Appmon that’s only sort of mildly embarrassing but presenting no danger to anybody. Cynicism isn’t a good response to a humble story like this, but even if we find the schmaltz endearing, it fails to support all the half-baked plot points.
We get the sense this is supposed to be a step forward for Eri. Appearing on a CD and doing a concert is a big deal no matter the circumstances. Seeing how much she means to Hatsumi reminds her that she’s succeeding at her goal of making people smile and she needs to keep working at it. And her concert is a nice moment, impressing Haru and leaving Tora dumbstruck. But it’s all a reinforcement of things we already know about her. Yes, we know she’s nice despite her idol persona. Yes, she’s in the business to entertain and lives for offering encouragement to folks like Hatsumi. Yes, she’s stubborn as hell. Everything is only giving her momentum, with nothing presented to stand in her way and give us a sense of how she operates with adversity like heavy criticism or something alienating her fans. Copipemon hardly counts.
Is anyone else getting the sense that Mienumon has no plan here? Just think about how much power she actually wields. She can manipulate apps into disrupting the lives of everyone relying on them. She has stealth powers and henchmen. She holds de facto control over a major corporation that has its hooks in everything, including Eri’s idol group! But how does she go about dealing with the lone threat to her dominion? By using an unremarkable Appmon in a childish effort to troll Eri. It backfires in spectacular fashion. To nobody’s surprise, Eri tracks down and defeats the enemy. She handles the situation with grace and earns tons of new admirers that may have seen her face for the first time thanks to Copipemon. Oh, and that unremarkable Appmon was a horcrux. You handed the good guys a horcrux. Nice work, Lucius!
Seriously, what does this accomplish? If you’re annoyed that Eri’s making too many appearances, why make her appear everywhere? If Mienumon believed people will think Eri did it herself as a publicity stunt, she needs to watch that episode of Savers where someone hacked every media channel in the city and became a hit sensation. It turns heads for sure, but we never get a sense of any backlash. Everyone’s confused, but if anyone’s angry at Eri, we never see it. There isn’t even a reason given for why they would need to cancel the concert. If there is any PR fallout over this, Eri’s manager handled it with a couple phone calls. If Mienumon really wanted to damage Eri, she would have no trouble getting her fired, then using a rogue Appmon to manufacture a scandal to justify it to turn people against her. Or… you know… be like every other decent villain and just try to kill her.
Instead we get Copipemon, who offers some hopeful chaos when he clones himself a million times, but it degenerates into the same “find the original” challenge that was trite when the rat Deva did it in Tamers. With Eri taking the starring role in the episode, it should make sense for Dokamon to take the lead in berserking his way to victory, but the story was so central to Eri and her growing reputation that giving the hero role to someone even as adjacent as her Appmon buddy missed the mark. Their relationship wasn’t in play here, and Eri didn’t provide him any new strength. He just took it upon himself to defend her honor. Which is sweet as hell, but this story was about Eri, not him. If anything it reaffirms the episode’s theme as “everyone likes Eri and wants to protect her.” Good for them… doesn’t do much to develop Eri herself.
My Grade: C-
- There’s so much support for Hatsumi it almost undercuts Eri’s role in her life. Not to undersell the anxiety over moving, but her parents are conscious of the effect it has on her and are delaying it as long as possible so she’d have time to adjust. Following Eri might help keep her in a good mindset, but nothing about it feels essential, especially the threat of a delayed/canceled concert.
- Even before the concert, Eri is a very public presence, doing radio spots and walking around. She’s doing all this in her street clothes, often tweaked to keep her from being recognized by too many people. Wouldn’t she be better suited in full idol uniform? Being recognized is the whole point!
- Our award for this week’s most ridiculous reaction to the effects of Appmon mayhem goes to the soccer announcers for calling every player Eri Karan, even though they’re probably at the stadium watching it live where they could see the players’ faces.
- Everything is set up perfectly for Eri to use Super Apprealize for the first time. Spotlight episode, big speech in advance, two episodes after getting the power. It’s Haru in the Calendamon fight all over again, and Copipemon’s abilities made it clear that this one would not be overkill! But no, it’s Dokamon per usual and he has to go Beast Mode to win. Not what we meant by giving the Standards more action.
- It’s fair to be skeptical at Tora suddenly respecting Eri after the Tellermon fight (she saved his life, but that was about it: he did more to win her over), but it moved the needle at least a little, enough to put him in position to be in total awe during her performance. It’s not usually commented on, but he quietly becomes one of her biggest fans from here on out.