One thing Appmon’s been lacking is true impact moments. Every season has a handful of spots that are so exciting, dramatic, or upsetting they’re among the first memories to recall when we think of Digimon. Appmon has had a few strong episodes, but we have yet to see a killer moment. Sakusimon’s defeat is the closest thing we’ve gotten, but even that doesn’t feel big enough. Meek little Haru diving into an infected pool to swim after his fallen partner, triggering an Ultimate evolution? Now we’re talking.
Maybe it wasn’t what we were expecting going into a Valentine’s Day themed episode though. From a character standpoint, losing focus on the holiday festivities is disappointing. The first act entices us with all sorts of cute points. Gatchmon feels bad for Haru when he only gets obligation chocolate from Ai. Haru has this unexplained anxious look watching Ai give chocolate to Yujin. Eri says the holiday is exciting for boys and girls alike, but in a measured way… and without giving chocolate to anybody. You kind of wish they’d draw this out a little more and use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to give us more of these intriguing relationships interacting outside of app fighting. Granted, something like that couldn’t take up the whole episode, and the action we got in the last two holiday themed episodes was pretty lousy. Halloween was okay at least!
Ever the romantic, Watson interrupts all the Valentine’s fun gushing about a new OS launch. He’s kind enough to explain what an OS is and, as a proud, loyal, definitely not iPhone user, brags about his side’s dominant market share. Thank goodness for Apple fanboys or this would be criticized for being unrealistically shoved-in exposition. It helps frame this OS war, helping broaden the scope to a global stage. Mienumon, still on a high after her trolley experiment last time, decides to work on behalf of L-Corp itself and its top OS competition. It’s more big thinking: hack the newest version of the most popular smartphone operating system, thereby corrupting phones across the globe. Her being able to waltz past Waffle’s extensive protections using Stealth Hide seemed a bit too easy, but chalk it up as a win for her.
Once we see the global catastrophe and the charge in to save the day, the intensity ramps up even despite Tora’s selfies and Musimon’s dabbing. Haru has to make the charge to the inner server room, infested with too many Virusmon for Dogatchmon to handle. Maybe it’s a surprise the Virusmon drag him into the purple stuff so easily, and it certainly feels like Dogatchmon gives up too early. This is where moving all that Valentine’s Day stuff to a different episode may have helped draw this out more. Either way, Haru goes swimming.
This is where building up Haru as a more timid, polite, rational main character pays off. It makes this moment, where he abandons all reason and throws himself into certain death for his buddy, all the more powerful. His clumsy swimming, teary wailing, and the onset of infection sells the desperation of the scene. It’s a true gogglehead moment, but having someone like Haru makes it work more than comparable moments like Taiki doing something crazy to rescue Shoutmon from limbo… twice. It also has some serious Our War Game vibes… can you count backwards from 929,431,937?
The initial Super evolutions were discovered more than earned, lessening the dramatic impact. The higher level chips activated on stronger character moments, but were afterthoughts with their forms already accessible. Compare that to a crowning moment like this, where Haru’s suicidal support for Gatchmon results in a shiny new form. Globemon pulls out all the stops in both visuals and ability. He searching the planet for every infected OS and wipes them all out in the one minute the App Drive affords him. We’ve seen some higher forms look overpowered in their debut episodes, but this takes it to another level! Haru earning Globemon and Globemon saving the entire world instantly are the sort of badass moments that can make you instantly forgive whatever little critiques you have about the episode, and the series itself.
My Grade: A-
- Eri’s comment about Valentine’s being stimulating prompting Gatchmon to wonder about the chance of fusing with Timemon somehow tops Watson’s OS ranting as most awkward transition of the episode.
- Yujin is the only one in the group using L-Corp’s OS. WHAT COULD IT MEAN??
- What’s the bigger question here? How Rei was already in Waffle’s server area watching Mienumon’s activities, or that Rei can apparently listen in on Haru’s conversations at any time?
- The possibility of infecting humans when they’re within the sea of the net was sort of tossed out there but really needs to be explored more. Obviously Haru showed signs of it while rescuing Dogatchmon, but can we make a bigger deal out of that? It would certainly make more of a threat out of Musimon’s infection than dabbing with the Virusmon.
- So… the third stage is called Ultimate and they have to do a fusion to get there. With terminology like that, who needs a dub?
- If there’s one thing Mienumon got wrong here, it was her disappointment in believing her operation failed. Yes, she was thwarted, but the infection left such a bad impression that everybody switched over to L-OS anyway. Because that’s certainly a thing people with iPhones can do.