So let’s see, there’s a darker, more static atmosphere with slower pacing. There’s a character who spends all his time in front of multiple computer monitors, growing increasingly frustrated at his inability to find the right information. Someone’s missing in the void of an unknown digital dimension. An obsession with recovering a missing loved one is clearly unhealthy and leads to unscrupulous tactics. Hackmon shows up to explain stuff. Right in the midst of a critical moment in Appmon, we switch over to tri.
Also like tri., there are a lot of questionable direction decisions that only make sense with a bit of pondering. Mienumon stealing the final Seven Code chip is obviously a big deal, but Musimon and Haru piece together just how vital it is to stop her: they need this code to get into Deep Web. She doesn’t. If she stashes it in there, it’s game over. All we see of the chase this episode is the beginning, the end, and one silly scene in the middle to cut through all the treacle of Rei’s business. It’s jarring and not ideal, but gets away with it for two reasons: Rei pursuing Hackmon’s Ultimate form is a response to the other three buddies finding theirs, and that right now chasing Mienumon is still in the pursuit stage and this lets us skip ahead to the good part without a long montage.
This serves as a frame around Hackmon’s lead on an App Fusion partner, which itself is a frame around Rei and Hackmon’s first meeting. This weird multi-layered bottle episode is a little awkward at times as they pop back and forth between moments where the same characters are in the same room doing roughly the same thing, but at its heart is trying to understand how these two found each other. It’s not a new side of Rei, but sets his status as a pitiful loner up against the fact that he agreed to partner up with a buddy Appmon. For those of us accustomed to the idea that the main cast just automatically have partners, we should commend the show for circling back and questioning how its own process fits with someone who refuses help in all forms.
Thankfully Minerva doesn’t mess around with her questions to unlock App Drives. Rei’s is simple- “Are you alone?” Like Haru, it’s a trick question. Unlike Haru, Rei answers wrong, despite being introduced to Hackmon after he fends off a Leviathan counterattack and offers a partnership. It’s also safe to assume his attempt to get Dezipmon to unlock a path to Leviathan didn’t involve polite persuasion. It isn’t that Hackmon makes Rei suddenly appreciate the value of friendship, even after bailing him out against Dezipmon, but a begrudging realization that he isn’t going to get anywhere without him. Rei considers a partnership with Hackmon a deal with the devil, and it took a necessary amount of desperation to get on board.
And let’s be real, Hackmon isn’t exactly forthcoming with his motives, saying just enough to convince Rei their goals are aligned. He’s more level-headed and conscious of basic social norms, but he’s also straight to the point, not elaborating on why he wants to stop Leviathan or how the App Drive works or if he even cares about saving Hajime. Neither of the two have conceded anything in this relationship. Instead of one pitiful loner holed up in front of a bank of monitors surviving on energy pouches and definitely not Red Bull, now there’s two of them.
It isn’t the kind of deep bond we’d expect partnerships to develop twenty episodes into a series, but it’s effective. Hackmon discovers Dezipmon is Raidramon’s Ultimate partner, and they charge in with no fear from their prior failure. Dezipmon is a handful, with the ability to reduce the size of his location, more acronyms than a teenager, and a look that… may not be easily recognizable to the target audience. It takes the unique partnership of Rei and Hackmon to capitalize off the three and forcing him to acknowledge their strength. Revivemon doesn’t get any action this time, but joins the chase for Mienumon in the end. Their motive for doing so? Entirely for themselves.
My Grade: B+
- What a way to introduce the episode: the date and location markers at the start are hacked beyond use.
- In the biggest shut-in mood ever, Rei is annoyed he needs to run to the store for more supplies, even though the robot cashier means he doesn’t have to engage with another human being.
- We’ve seen Leviathan exhibit some strange powers in the past, but preventing Rei from physically unplugging his computer is one of the more impressive ones.
- Have to admit we were curious about what happens when a prospective App Driver answers the question wrong. Hackmon just disappears and the Drive stays locked. Fun to see, but maybe we hoped for something more drastic.
- Dezipmon’s acronym gag might be one of the most clever speech quirks we’ve seen in a Digimon. Major props to the subbers for having to come up with English equivalents, and boy did they stretch for some!
- The only demonstration we get of Revivemon’s abilities is during the Data Lab segment where he replenishes an empty energy packet.