Hajime’s back in the mix and the hunt to find Bootmon is on! Now, neither of these elements get ignored: Hajime is a central factor in guiding the team to its target, which they do technically find. Maybe it’s too easy to expect them to get Bootmon without a fight, but Hajime lets them get tantalizingly close before… misfortune strikes. From there they’re driven to a place where they can get distracted by irrelevant silliness and we feel like nothing was accomplished. There’s enough to enjoy in all of it, but it doesn’t quite deliver what we were hoping for.
Where it does succeed is in giving us a proper introduction to Hajime and the force he instantly adds to the team. For all the amazing crap Rei pulled off working solo, Hajime’s contribution to a team setting is just as impressive. He goes from being the captive in peril to lead dispatch in less than an episode! Not only that, but the length of precautions he takes to keep Leviathan out of his business shows a degree of savvy that’s almost hard to explain. Bootmon is locked away in an abandoned part of Deep Web, Hajime uses firewalls and encryption in both his base and the bookstore to ensure security, and he snickers at Rei being an over-protective mother hen. He’s a far friendlier voice than Rei and more patient with the others, yet much of the initial Bootmon debacle falls on his lack of communication to either party, which we can probably call a character blemish.
Bootmon is definitely a surprise, a powerful MacGuffin of an Appmon with the personality of a jumpy kindergartner. The juxtaposition is delightful, a big shiny Ultimate lonely and bored and eager to play outside, while also fleeing at the sight of three hyperactive Standard levels. His instinct to fly away at the slightest surprise is a clever gimmick, even if it artificially prolongs the episode… or the entire arc. At least he leaves a trail of chaos that recalls the fun mayhem of the early days.
Granted, recalling earlier episodes may be fun, but it isn’t necessarily moving the story forward. Bootmon activates a bunch of broken electronics that are inexplicably the cause of celebration at the town festival. This turns on the smartphone with Damedamon who proceeds to ruin the festival in his own special way. Defeating him even carries its own special challenge… and art style. It’s not that this isn’t fun, but it’s familiar territory that felt like an unwelcome derailment from the more important Bootmon chase.
On the plus side, we get to see Ai out of her isolation chamber, dressed up nice and patiently dealing with Watson knowing everything banal and nothing important. Haru’s drive to find Bootmon is no match for her sad eyes at once again facing the prospect of losing a celebration. It’s all very Christmas episode, but at least it gives Haru and Ai some rare moments together. Remember when the first couple episodes leaned so hard into him having a crush on her?
At least the last scene ties a few things together and sets us up for future developments. The emphasis on both Haru and Yuujin’s friendship and Rei’s passive suspicion of Yujin will surely come to a head soon. Bootmon agreeing to help, then flying away at the sound of fireworks is so pure we can forgive it as a plot device. Not quite as forgivable is Appliyama going dark. We don’t even know if Eri had already put in her notice or if this gets her off the hook. It crystallizes her motivation to defeat Leviathan, but it also dodges some potentially spicy character drama for her. Everything’s generally useful and it’s pretty entertaining, but we wonder if we could have gotten better value out of the time.
My Grade: B+
- It’s hard to stress how much Hajime could have avoided problems in the first run in just by preparing Bootmon more for what was about to happen and telling the Appmon that he has a skittish personality and not charge in like freaking maniacs.
- After such a harrowing experience the first time in Cyber Kowloon, the App Drivers head back with no fanfare and no incident.
- The Appmon kindergarten where apps “evolved” into proper Appmon is intriguing and something I wish could have been fleshed out more, especially the idea that the process changed into something more automatic.
- Yep, Dantemon still holding the door to Deep Web open. As you were, good sir.
- For all her kindness, Ai has a shrewd side to her, leading Watson into ranting on the unusual history of the festival when he begins to wonder what Haru and Yujin have been getting up to lately. It’s also about the cleanest way to introduce the idea of a Household Electronics Shrine.
- The art style for the ruined pictures and especially the ruined Ultimates is class, but I really want to know how bad the ruined cotton candy was that it needed to be blurred.
- While the “ruined” Ultimates were a sight, Entermon overcoming the special ability because he didn’t mind the smell is a little too “just because” for me, similar to Dokamon pounding his way through the Calcumon fight. That said, it was nice to see the full-length Portee Melos sequence again, particularly Damedamon’s weak “yay.”
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