No doubt the structure of the “Thrilling Ultimate 60 Minute Tour” to rescue Yujin has been formulaic and seems engineered to put the enemy in as beatable a position as possible. It’s silly to get to the end and discover that not only did Cloud actually believe this approach was a sound method of eliminating the App Drivers, but Yujin really was strapped to a cartoonishly large time bomb to be defused with a second to spare. No trap, no twist, all cliché. Thankfully, the inane setup is resolved and forgotten quickly, leaving us with a strong fight, a dramatic turn, and two characters arguing with such force they dominate the stage in a way we rarely get treated to.
Given Knight’s extravagant introduction and mannerisms, it was hard to imagine getting anything realistic or relatable when it came to learning his history. So it’s quite a shock that not only is it easy to sympathize with his story, it glosses over the parts that aren’t original and goes straight for the jugular. Him being a lonely child prodigy stuck overseas won’t intrigue anyone, but creating an app and experiencing how people use it both for good and evil? It establishes his connection with technology and his disillusion when people use his creation to do terrible things. It rationalizes his anger when the human users of his app turn it into a toxic cesspool and the technology gets the blame. Most importantly, it stops well short of excusing him for turning his back on humanity and worshiping artificial intelligence as a savior. As much as we can sympathize, Knight has properly lost his marbles.
His insanity makes his reaction to being abandoned by Leviathan so haunting. With the L-Power distributed, Team Minerva seemingly defeated, and Knight’s mind and mask fractured, there are plenty of reasons why Leviathan may have decided to go in a different direction. We don’t need to know exactly what it is. The act alone isn’t even shocking: bad guys swallowing henchmen has been a Digimon tradition since Devimon and Ogremon. Knight’s initial response is very human in his plea to bargain. Then he accepts his place, certain that his master’s logic is sound and his own death is the best way for Leviathan’s vision to be realized. His shame towards humanity is so strong and poisons him so much he willingly surrenders the most human instinct of self-preservation.
Haru, meanwhile, is so damn human. As much as we should acknowledge the sleek streaking visuals of the Globemon-Charismon fight, Haru going toe to toe with Knight in a war of words is equally arresting. The kid billed as the unassuming sidekick without fame, athletic skill, or computer trickery ends up being both the most appropriate and the most fervent defender of human nature we’ve got. He’s disappointed more than shocked when Cloud is revealed as Knight. Amid Knight’s arguments that AI should control humans, Haru refuses to get caught in the trap of suggesting the opposite, proposing instead that the two can progress as equals. He argues that human emotion and feelings, despite their potential for evil, are still crucial no matter how illogical they can be. All the while he’s brave and unbreakable and feels more like a protagonist than ever before.
His willingness to protect Knight from Leviathan goes another step further, proving why the human heart is so important. It’s an illogical thing to do, of course, but saving the life of another is undoubtedly the right thing. He doesn’t hesitate to use Overdrive, surrendering his energy to allow Globemon to defeat Charismon (in an awesome fight!). Knight, for all his misdeeds, is left alive and alone to reassess his life, offering Rei only the slightest compassion. Haru, while exhausted, gets his reunion with Yujin and a win for humanity. We’ve had plenty of time to talk about the questions on each Appdrive, but now we have to appreciate their nature as questions. They exemplify everything Haru and his friends are fighting to preserve: the power for humans to make choices.
My Grade: A-
- Maybe Cloud’s first warning that things had the chance to go south was that the switch to disarm the cartoonishly large time bomb was in Charismon’s hands on not his own. Globemon was nowhere near beating Charismon but still dislodged the switch. Cloud could have played so many mind games with it in his hands.
- As much as everyone deserves shame for not realizing Leviathan’s connection to L-Corp, Haru at least sniffs out that Knight is Cloud on a hint that’s not immediately obvious. It’s on par with Daisuke using Ken’s leg injury to realize the Kaiser’s identity.
- Plenty of social media apps were around in the window of time that Knight would have been in America (it only would have been a couple years ago, despite him growing two feet). He would have had options to connect with his friends. New social media apps pop up all the time, but it speaks to how out there his thinking is that he preferred to just make a new one.
- It’s nice to have called out, but it’s a shame major issues like online abuse and cyber bullying get relegated to a tragic backstory rather that become a relevant part of the series. These are the topics where you look at the rebooted Adventure series and hope.