Adventure: (2020) Episode 02: War Game

In this episode, Taichi and Yamato are thrown so far off the deep end that all the teamwork in the world can’t stop them from relying on their magical little siblings to save their asses.

There are two routes you can take to continue introducing the audience to the world, the conflict, and the characters after a premiere that gave us just enough of all three to whet our appetite. One is to slow down and reinforce what we’ve had already with a little more detail, getting a little more quirk out of these characters when they’re not performing in crisis. The other is to keep the intensity but introduce another character in the same way. This tries takes to the latter approach, but any attention it can spare for Yamato gets buried in a final act that escalates things just a little too far and requires the sort of intervention that carries unwelcome conditions. Somehow, things are now moving too fast and too slow at the same time.

Like Agumon last time, anything we learn about Yamato is done through the filter of action mode. He has no patience for nonsense. He’ll accept help, but expects Taichi to keep up and won’t wait around. He’s not stubborn enough to ignore how valuable a resource Koshiro is, but isn’t giving much more attention than that. He wants only vital information from Koshiro, maps and directions instead of superfluous details like which weaponry is being activated or where it’s heading. He expects Taichi to figure out the plan against Algomon rather than spelling it out for him. Still, he cares enough to hesitate bringing up a risky plan against Algomon’s (first) evolved form. There’s enough to work with, but there isn’t anything to separate him from someone like Kouji. Knowing how complex a creature Yamato can be, what we have so far is pretty unremarkable.

More compelling is Garurumon and Greymon. Apparently they have a history involving a past conflict, and while Taichi and Yamato are awkwardly feeling their way around each other, this was just another battle for their partners to fight together. Greymon is surprised Garurumon’s still alive, they keep score on saving each other, and there’s plenty of trust there for Taichi and Yamato (particularly Yamato) to take cues from. It’s suggests not only that some of the partner Digimon were involved in  a war in the past, but that it might actually matter in the show. This is a seed we can hope will sprout into something great.

We’ve seen plenty of Our War Game tribute in prior series, but this one’s so loudly advertised it demands attention. If they didn’t broadcast all of these connections in the episode title, they’d be a lot sillier than it comes across. For the most part, it puts some nice polish on several of the movie’s critical moments, making a pleasant overall motif. The tribute element even makes the threat of Tokyo getting nuked more wholesome than it probably should be, not a bad thing considering we’re only in the second episode. We get all our fond memories of Koshiro accessing things he shouldn’t have access to, heroes zipping through the internet, the dire countdown timer, and Taichi and Sora not talking.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t know when to stop. The first time Algomon revived itself was great. Yamato was hesitant to suggest a plan until Greymon and Taichi insisted they were willing to take the risk. It was indeed a bold move, a surprising and dramatic win against a frightening new form. Stop the episode there, take a breath to finally tell us something interesting about Yamato, and we’re sailing along. But no, the second revival wears out the welcoming homage, denying Taichi and Yamato a well earned victory that should have sufficed at this point. They show enough gut to sort of justify calling an ensuing evolution earned (had Taichi not earned two of them last time), but not to the point of jumping three levels and giving us a Jogress of two Digimon we haven’t even met yet.

Omegamon is just pure fanservice, totally unnecessary, and one fewer thing we’ll have to look forward to down the road. There will be other surprises to replace this one going off prematurely. And there’s going to be more to the mysterious feathers that made this miracle happen. We should also hope they won’t have access to Omegamon every time they hit a pickle. Still, throwing him out in an over-extended battle in such an early episode suggests more desperation than both the show and its heroes should convey right now.

My Grade: B

Loose Data
  • While Yamato is too focused on the actual crisis to get a good feel for him, Taichi’s character is reinforced nicely, calling Yamato a friend despite the demeanor and waving away Koshiro’s ridiculous degree of web sleuthing by simply saying he’s awesome.
  • Handwaving Koshiro’s awesomeness with a computer is a time-honored tradition, but note that this time elite hacking skills only take him so far. He’s getting American military insiders to leak classified and sensitive information to a ten-year-old foreigner.
  • Yamato silently draws fire and leaves Taichi to figure out on his own that he’s supposed to go for the ringleader. This is fantastic stuff and tells us something about Yamato… but somehow despite giving Taichi the opening both of them still get a clean shot on Algomon to pull off that cool combined attack thing.
  • Since Hikari and Takeru provided the miracle that made Omegamon happen, should we be calling him their partner instead of Taichi and Yamato’s? Actually… we haven’t met Takeru yet, so perhaps he belongs to Hikari and “some unknown kid with an implied connection to Yamato.” Yeah, this was all a wee bit early.
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  1. My theory: With the massive end credits focus on Yamato and the early arrival of Omegamon, we’re going to get an early Taichi-Yamato feud, with Yamato split from the rest of the team and on his own journey of growth (a la Dark Masters arc) so that Omegamon isn’t around to fix every situation.

    1. More than likely. Though hopefully with less sentient tree influencing. Can't trust 'em, especially when you're in the middle of having an existential crisis.

  2. It’s cool when Greymon and Garurumon become Omnimon