It doesn’t happen often in Digimon, but every so often we get a scenario where the main, featured story in an episode isn’t that important, but an unrelated subplot sneaks in that means the world. While Sora and Mimi fought a generic monster of the week at Tokyo Tower, Tailmon wrestled with killing Hikari. While the tamers messed with mud monsters and an uncontrollable bike, Impmon sold his soul for power. While Astora escapes a temple so he can entertain a girl in the hospital, Haru begins to worry about his best friend.
With little time left before the big finale arc, Astora’s story didn’t feel complete. His insistence that he can both be an Apptuber and take over the family practice is nice, but lacked a barrier now that his dad came to tolerate the idea. Something had to get in his way. We weren’t expecting it to be a hulking brute of an uncle who drags Astra to a training temple/juvenile detention facility. It’s an insane concept, and while it offers a unique scenario putting characters in positions we don’t often get to see, it has drawbacks.
The appeal of Astora’s story is that he’s equally devoted to fulfilling both his duty and his passion. Once again, this is his family obligation getting in the way of his Apptube work, and we’re still wondering if he’s really all-in on tea ceremony. And similar to his dad’s health scare, by posing a more immediate and external threat to his lifestyle, Astora isn’t wrestling with the real logistical issues that could stop him (time management, determination, commitment to both fields) but rather overcoming short-term obstacles that aren’t entirely relevant. We don’t learn anything new besides his dedication to his viewers. Ryujiro comments that escaping Alcatra-ji means he’s capable of taking over the tea ceremony school, but how are those really related when friends and sentient phone apps did most of the work?
At least the scenario it poses demands different tactics from the team to get Astora out. Since attack power is useless, they have to utilize app abilities, which is great, and additional Appmon, which is awesome. Navimon and Ropuremon show up to be useful, Perorimon shows up to be not useful, and we get a rare sighting of Astora’s crew. Now we need a Metal Gear-style game where you get to use Recomon, Dogamon, and Dreammon! The situation is completely unlike anything we’ve seen before, and that it demands a new approach makes it fun.
Still, the real development is the opening blow in the eventual unmasking of Yujin. Rei’s been unsure about Yujin for a while now, and finally sees fit to warn Haru about him. In true Rei fashion he does it in the worst way possible, over their bands with nothing more than vague statements of concern. Not why he was looking at Yujin’s data, not where this data was, not what information was faked, just that something’s fishy and to be careful. Way to give a kid anxiety! If his passing glares are any indicator, Rei’s known about this for a while, so there’s no impetus for him to suddenly drop this on Haru. He could have picked a better time and done so in a better way. Like, say, in person.
But now that the secret’s out, it’s all Haru can think about. After all the memories he has about Yujin, to be suddenly told that something’s not right is hard to swallow. It doesn’t take long for a suspicious moment to arise. While everyone gets their downtime, Eri and Astora reiterate their wishes and Haru looks forward to getting back to a normal life, Yujin says he has no idea what his plans are in a world after Leviathan. Without Rei’s bombshell, Yuujin comes off as a simple soccer enthusiast who gets self-conscious and can’t see a future beyond saving the world with his monster friends (Taichi, basically). With Rei’s warning, everything’s suddenly ominous, Haru pushes back on Yujin’s indecisiveness, and those red eyes suddenly return.
My Grade: B
- Somewhere around the first Deep Web trip, they stopped showing the date at the start of each episode, probably since they stopped regularly aligning with the show’s original airdate. To help get caught up, the Perseid meteor shower typically peaks in early-to-mid-August, so this episode would be right around then.
- Astora keeps saying he wants to be an Apptuber in the future, as if he isn’t already a successful one. Eri proclaiming she wants to be an idol makes more sense since she and the company are on hiatus.
- Dokamon and Offmon appear to be playing rock-paper-scissors even though Offmon’s sleeves cover their hands. They keep tying anyway.
- It’s amazing they can take Musimon seriously when he’s explaining the plot with a mouth covered in watermelon seeds.
- Can we talk about how one of the guard dogs straight-up drops an S-bomb? Like it’s actually captioned in Japanese and it’s not just the subbers trying to show off how mature the Japanese version is compared to the dub?
- It’s a cute twist that Astora’s dad and uncle were the fabled two to escape the temple… but did they set the place on fire to do that? And that’s what makes Astora qualified to run the school?!