If you read the synopsis of this one you would be impressed. There’s a good story concept with plenty of tension, an infected Appmon posing a serious threat to thousands, resounding character development, a dramatic evolution trigger, plot progression as the team pulls the sixth needle, and a clean resolution. It has almost everything we would want to see in an Appmon episode, doubly so in the middle of an arc we’re still not sold on. Where Eri’s last story left us wishing for more conflict and personal growth, Astora gets a ton of it here. But in spite of doing nearly everything right, there’s just something about all this that doesn’t quite click.
Any time you have health scares, things get real in a hurry. Dad dropping the bomb that Tora should spend two years training in Kyoto is enough of a punch, but Dad dropping raises the stakes. They upset a tense equilibrium Astora has going, reminding him that following both his family footsteps and his personal dream may not be possible for much longer. Everyone in the household is respectful about these two opposing forces, but there’s still a fear that Astora’s story will end up a rehash of pursuing what he wants versus what his family’s school needs.
Where we reach a disconnect is assuming Apptubing is simply a want and tea ceremony is simply a need. We’ve never gotten the impression that Tora has a disdain for tea ceremony. If it absolutely was “not groovy” to him, it’s hard to see him feeding into it only due to obligation. Both of his parents seem to understand he needs to follow the path he wants, and rejecting it now would give his father time to make arrangements to pass on the school. At the same time, even if Apptubing itself isn’t the most crucial activity in the world, being an App Driver might be. Hiding in Kyoto and losing Musimon puts them at a key disadvantage in the fight against Leviathan, who’s endangering the whole world. Which is really more important here? This would have been a good time for Astora to tell his parents about Musimon, maybe even promising to go to Kyoto once the mess is settled.
This dilemma ends up being one of those times when the need to introduce an enemy Appmon distracts more than compliments. Medicmon grooves nicely with Ryutaro’s health problems, but otherwise his presence is a complete afterthought. The usual montage of torturing over-reliant app users and spontaneous operating room dance parties carries some extra weight when we’re dealing with people’s health. That should have gotten more attention! These infected Appmon have been straying into dark territory for three straight episodes, but this one has so much else going on the show doesn’t get to take advantage of it. We don’t even get to see Medicmon fight, another shame since there’s no apparent reason for Haru and Eri to struggle against it. Haru’s aversion to shots doesn’t cover it.
Astora, meanwhile, has to tangle with Dreammon instead. It’s odd that a non-infected Appmon would take it upon himself to work against his purpose to give Astora nightmare visions of both of his possible paths ending it heartbreak. And he doubles down, pulling Astora into an AR Field to force him to choose between abandoning either Musimon or his father. It’s a nice moment (punctuated with some clever comedy) where he doubles down on his commitment to pursue both, but even if it satisfies Dreammon, the only real resolution is his additional commitment to do the same thing he’s been doing since we met him. For this to work, that has to become harder and harder to do, with both paths throwing wrenches at him. It’s weird to say everyone’s too nice and understanding in this situation, but for Astora to overcome his hurdles, those hurdles need to be a lot taller.
My Grade: B
- How much are they holding back given Ryutaro only collapsed due to exhaustion and not something like a heart attack? It’s not the wrong move per se, but they could have punched harder.
- Astora’s worrying about disappearing for two years in Kyoto. Musimon’s worried Astora will have to shave his head.
- So… Jenny! Astora’s English mom he calls by her first name! A character like that is almost wasted being just a mom. The backstory of her meeting Ryutaro is adorable, as is Astora getting sick of hearing it all the time. Also, other than maybe Suguru Daimon, it’s hard to imagine someone’s parent inspiring a bigger reaction of “wow… that explains a lot.”
- It’s a shame Dreammon proved to be just a white noise app because I was so ready to make an ASMR joke.
- Dreammon taking on the form of a tapir ties in with their mythological role as nightmare eaters. Fellow tapir Bakumon has similar abilities.