Appmon Episode 43: Wake Up, Sleepmon! Return of the Appmon Championship!

In this episode, a wonderful, emotional moment bringing Rei’s arc to a satisfying conclusion gets sandwiched between tiresome nonsense and an unlikely plot dump.

We’re used to the show mashing together two or more different segments into one episode. The three featured here are even more thematically related than some of the other attempts. It’s clear none of them were developed or interesting enough to stand on their own. They all have some sparks of creativity and in the end gives the overall story a herculean push forward as we near the home stretch. But the tonal shifts from silly Appmon hijinks to emotional domestic drama to Hajime’s storytime are too strong for one episode to handle. The result leaves this clumsy and disappointing, which is a shame since it contains a moment we’ve been building toward all season.

Should we give them credit for realizing they didn’t have enough new entertaining ideas for the Sleepmon Happy Good Morning Championship to fill a whole episode, ask why they didn’t with such a large roster, or chide them for putting all this fanfare on a premise so flimsy? There are a few inspired moments: Musimon and MCmon spur Eri into keeping the “we just look alike” gag going, Dokamon worries about his new competition for Eri’s top fan, and Gatchmon psyches himself out looking for advice on waking sleeping children. It’s nice to see some long-forgotten Appmon again. Granted, it’s also a reminder that this roster is always available and never get used. It’s also disconcerting that despite setting it up with such flair, the whole thing peters out by the end of the first act.

Then, suddenly, we go from loud competitive Appmon vying for supremacy to a touching montage of Rei returning to normality. It’s sweet and striking and gives us such a fascinating new glimpse at Rei… but we weren’t ready for it! It takes a while to come down to its speed, realizing that despite Hajime stuck as Sleepmon, his mere presence is enough for Rei to act like everything’s gone back to normal and he can resume his quiet domestic life. The super hacker cooks for Sleepmon and takes him on shopping trips and shrine visits, caring for his brother no matter what form he’s in. The edge comes off and he’s more content than he’s been all season. He got what he fought so ferociously for, and now he’s free to sit under his vine and fig tree.

Then, suddenly, Hajime’s human again. We don’t even see it. It’s another jolt in an episode with too many of them, and maybe it needed a little more of a pause since we’ve been waiting for it for so long, but at least what triggered it was both sweet and logical. Leviathan struggles to account for smells and touches being closely tied to specific memories, so the smell of burnt eggs—just the way Rei used to make them—broke through and tapped something. It’s a genuine moment, an outpouring of emotion from a most emotionless protagonist. It’s just a little wasted squished where it is.

Then, suddenly, rather than revel in Rei’s hardfought victory, we’re down in Ai’s spice den for a long explanation that really could have waited. We had enough details to tide us over for a bit, but no- Hajime needs to tell us his plight and he needs to tell us now! It’s not a bad twist at all: rather than the innocent hostage we believed him to be all season, he had his hands in the whole process. In fact, he solved Leviathan’s puzzle and “won” the game instead of Rei. His coding expertise, which apparently rivals Rei’s, created this Bootmon fellow everyone was supposed to be looking for ten episodes ago. His unauthorized lurking turned up Leviathan’s master plan to convert all humans to data; his conversion was punishment for this breach. Bootmon is key to Leviathan activating his final plan and needs to be found before Leviathan does. That’s… a lot to unpack. It sets the agenda for the next batch of episodes, but given how important it is just to have him back, it would have been nice to just let us breathe all that in.

My Grade: B

Loose Data:
  • At both the beginning and end of this episode, Rei delivers some nasty sideeye to Yujin. It’s consistent with his reactions to him before. We all get there’s something going on here, and if Rei does too he really needs to open his mouth.
  • When Yujin marvels at the Cyber Arena being in the school gym, Haru reminds us that’s where they met Rei. When Rei… had Hackmon viciously attack everybody. That’s an awkward moment.
  • Navimon is quick to boast about his newfound strength coming out of the Duo and renews the rivalry with Gatchmon everybody forgot about. Shame there’s really nothing a navigation app can contribute to the specific goal of waking up Sleepmon.
  • Someone waking up after their snot bubble pops is an ancient anime trope. Adventure even had fun playing with it. It gets explored in a hilariously scientific fashion here.
  • Once the attempts to wake Sleepmon get into the truly pathetic and ridiculous, it’s nice to see Offmon showing a bit of sadism with his “plan B,” just outright blowing him up.
  • It’s a little strange Leviathan sought one human genius under the belief that all AIs had their human creators breathe life into them. While there were plenty of brilliant individual minds inspiring progress in the field of artificial intelligence, many specific AI programs tend to be the work of universities and conglomerates creating something tangible out of the research.
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