This must be what it felt like to watch Hunters as it was airing. There’s more heart and humor in these stories, but it’s just kind of pointless, especially with Leviathan still building power and the looming threat of Sateramon… eventually doing… something to try to catch his bounty. These last couple rounds of filler differ from Hunters in one key way: the focus is on recurring characters and don’t rely too heavily on us caring about one-off cameos. Maripero, and to a lesser extent Sota last time, may be key players, but the emphasis remains on the established team members.
Let’s appreciate how when we say “recurring characters” we’re not just talking about the kids. This is a show with six main characters- Haru, Eri, Astora, and their buddies. Yujin and Offmon are still working their way into main billing while Rei clearly isn’t a big filler episode guy. With Gatchmon getting the spotlight last time and Dokamon featured now, it’s nice that the Appmon get their own star turns! Outside of a couple Xros Wars episodes that happened to focus on a Digimon and maybe one or two spots in Tamers, this never happens! So while these disrupt the overall pace of the series and aren’t thrilling in the least, the Appmon are being treated as actual characters independent of their buddies. Giving them their own filler stories independent of any plot or character arc shows confidence in their personalities. These personalities keep the episodes salvageable.
There is something to admire about a story trying to get at the root of what it takes to move an audience into enjoying and responding to your work. But in the end, Maripero is just a stubborn wannabe too pragmatic about the process of eating large portions to focus on the senses and emotions behind the experience. Her turnaround to respectable reviewer is instant, unrealistic, and happens entirely on a dime on Dokamon’s encouragement. This is his story. He’s trying to prove Eri’s growth has rubbed off on him. He’s as frustrated as her that his critiques of her style aren’t landing right, struggling to articulate the answer. He needs to figure it out before she can, and her success is his as well.
It’s all kind of sweet, but where it runs into trouble is that it still has to be a Digimon episode. The trappings of convention take a cute story about someone passing on a mentor’s message and make it about two Appmon who end up reverting to form by fighting, dying, and coming back to life. It takes a ton of work to get Dokamon in this situation, from Eri being too busy for the first time ever to Maripero refusing Perorimon’s help because she prefers learning from a “lady” reviewer (oh, but Dokamon’s fine!). She needs to stand on him inside a trenchcoat to place the actual order. And the whole thing’s interrupted by a pointless fight with a pointless Appmon just to create some suspense of Maripero getting to review her favorite inviable katsudon place before she dies.
Yes, that’s right, dies. They’re so determined to manufacture a dramatic climax that she announces her associated app is pulling the plug. That’s a pretty random way for an Appmon to die, and not even a forewarning of how mon deaths work in this world (we got that way back in episode 5). It adds a little more sap to the ending, where Maripero’s suggestion that their review trips feel like dates tricks poor Dokamon into developing feelings for her. So we get a sad farewell, a gentle kiss, and all the stuff that would be lovely if it didn’t come out of nowhere. Her revival is just as rough, where she even comes off as vain and unappreciative. All the credit for using Dokamon in a confident way that’s almost touching, but it doesn’t work as a regular episode. If this were a supplemental audio drama, or a five minute crowdfunded short, we’d probably love it.
My Grade: D+
- If anyone gets character development here, if indirectly, it’s actually Eri. The contrast between her reviews in episode 6 and the poetry she’s producing now is tremendous. Contrast that with Maripero’s ability to instantly capture the magic thanks to one pep talk from Dokamon.
- So there are Perorimon variants for every type of food being reviewed? Does that mean every sports team who has their own version of the same app get their own Appmon?
- Maripero has a point about large portion sizes being there as a challenge rather than for the enjoyment of eating. Not that those dishes should skimp on quality, but if quality is all that matters, shouldn’t that be in the domain of a more generalized Perorimon?
- The sudden order for 30 giant katsudon dishes certainly undermines the point that the place is struggling.
- So if the company that produces the app pulls the plug and takes it off the definitely not Google Play Store, the Appmon dies. You’d think Leviathan could manipulate this by deciding Dokamon’s app isn’t popular anymore and yanking it.
- Much as we love Eri carrying out acts of violence, she was awfully out of line punching Dokamon for having the audacity to…feel emotions for someone else and receive an innocent kiss.