Hey, it’s still technically an episode. We still have to review and grade it.
This is the first time Digimon has done a blatant recap episode, although Adventure and Savers had episodes that sure felt like one. But those were late-in-the-season looks at how far everything’s come. This is an introduction selling the series to new viewers. To that end, it does a serviceable job introducing the very basic story, characters and concepts. Many of these are novel enough to stand on their own and certainly nothing here will deter anyone from starting to tune in. But Appmon’s biggest assets lie in the details that are glossed over here, and we only get glimpses of the creativity and awareness that make it so fun to watch.
Functionally, summarizing the series to this point is the most important part of a recap. It does this enough to get the general point across, but the general point doesn’t do Appmon justice. The characters only get the most basic descriptions, making them all sound like typical archetypes. It took a few visits for us to learn otherwise. They tell enough of the story to catch us up, but without some of the more recent twists it feels awfully basic. Concepts like Applink and App Fusion are explained well but aren’t that interesting, while the really cool stuff like the impact of infected Appmon, Deep Web, or L Corp’s research are only hinted at.
Naturally, they can only fit so much into one episode, but there are other ways to convey the show’s attitude. Recaps don’t have to be just voiceovers with recycled animation talking about what’s happened. There are interesting framing devices you can utilize, especially when you’ve got all these Appmon, characters making names for themselves on their showmanship, and a pretty self-aware attitude. You’d think it could offer a little more than straightforward explanations from Haru and Gatchmon. No surprise that Astora’s asides end up providing the best moment when they count how many times he and Eri say their catchphrases. That’s the kind of spirit that shows off the cute quirks of the series, and more of that would sell it more than a dry introduction of the story.
My Grade: D
- Man, Haru and Gatchmon drag each other more introducing each other than they do in the actual show. Gatchmon says Haru “couldn’t be less special” while Haru describes Gatchmon as trying too hard to be cool.
- Gatchmon’s search terms to pull up Eri includes “twintails” and his terms for Rei include his jelly pouches.
- Astora’s other fun callout focuses on the random moments of serenity Appmon have after being purified. Again, more emphasis on stuff like that would have been a major improvement.
- Astora is strangely proud and Eri strangely defeated when it’s revealed that he used his catchphrase 62 times versus her 42. Astora has only been in 20 episodes.
Digimon Universe App Monsters Opening 2: Gatchen
Gotta say this has turned into one of my favorite openings. It’s frenetic, exciting, and there may be a video somewhere on Twitter of me playing it on a cat keyboard. Granted the full version is even more insane and kind of goes off the rails like Days. The animation has some heartwarming shots and some foreboding foreshadowing. Thumbs up all around!
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