Since we first saw the red glow in Yujin’s eyes back in the first episode, we’ve had questions. And so we speculate and come up with potential answers. The most popular theories suggested that Yujin wasn’t actually human, but some sort of AI-powered bot presumably working for Leviathan. We had a good laugh cracking jokes about Skynet having a Terminator unit in the game. Once we came to adore Haru and Yujin’s relationship, the theory was never disproved, but we had hope that there was some sort of twist to preserve one of the purest friendships Digimon has ever seen (not involving actual Digimon). Now we hit the big reveal and… nope, it’s exactly what we suspected from the beginning.
The episode plays out like the Red Wedding. There’s a slow-going, almost menacing feel to it, building up the dread during a careful climb up the cliff Yujin will surely push Haru off of. That inevitability makes their simple conversations work. They have simple interactions reminding us of their tight friendship (TWO dap exchanges)! Their talks about upcoming entrance exams hit many of the same notes as tri. as they stare into an unknown future. But while Taichi laments how he drifted apart from his old friends, Haru and Yujin consider each other their only certainties going forward. It’s slow and not all that deep, but it’s hard to peel your eyes away knowing how bad things will get.
And bad it is. Right after promising they’ll always stay friends, Yujin coldly orders Shutmon to kill Bootmon. The scene itself is set up and framed well as we watch Haru’s entire life collapse, but the big reveal is a little underwhelming in the end. That’s what happens when something is telegraphed from the very first episode. Subtle clues here and there are wonderful, but these were giant, unavoidable bulletins blaring at us every ten episodes or so, interspersed with genuine soft moments where you just want the best for both of them. It’s a cruel game and a little unsatisfying that Yujin turns out to be the Terminator unit we suspected from the beginning and, apparently, his friendship with Haru was a long trap.
Perhaps the bigger surprise in the episode is how willing Rei was to allow it to happen. His observations have led him to all sorts of clues and all sorts of trouble, and he’s not the type to ignore something as concerning as false data in Yujin’s history. Surely he had to have formed guesses and surely some of them had to involve Leviathan. So why would he sit idle and let Hajime put Yujin in a prime position to capture the one thing Leviathan’s after? The implication here is Haru’s the only one Rei told about this. We can see that Rei has softened up since Hajime’s return and shows sincere concern for Haru. He’s more mellow now, smiling more, and even seems self-aware about his Choo Choo obsession. It’s a lovely evolution of his character, but this is the sort of situation calling for a paranoid taskmaster desperate to keep Yujin away from Bootmon.
The rest of the plan is brilliant, however, and once Gatchmon delivers his payload it seems like a pretty easy win. Eri and Astora just have to startle him one more time… and that ends being comically difficult. It definitely feels like padding, but the sudden inability to scare Bootmon is a fun test of Eri and Astora’s loud personalities. Scaring and surprising should be easy for them! It goes to show how unhappy Bootmon must be if he’s not only afraid and lonely, but so used to being surprised that it doesn’t alarm him anymore. It’s a subplot that feels like a subplot and can be forgotten as such, but we’ve seen worse time-killers before.
It also balances out the melancholy in the main story. Everything does its job here: the wistful parts are wistful, the comedic parts are comedic, and the tragic part is tragic. It also leads full steam into the final arc, which is worthy of celebration after so many detours. It’s just sad that a moment so devastating also has to be exactly what we feared from the beginning.
My Grade: B
- With his name dropped directly, this is a good time to point out that one of Watson’s friends is named Kenta. Which is just so appropriate. And let’s not forget Watson’s real name is Takeru.
- Bootmon’s proximity explains everything turning on randomly, but why creepy science guy showing up on all the screens on repeat?
- It’s not the first time we’ve seen an Appmon suck on a USB drive to read it, but that’s such a silly mechanic and they could use it more often.
- I wonder if everybody with social anxiety sees Bootmon’s perception of Gatchmon extending a hand and fears that’s what everyone they try to make a connection with feels.
- Astora and Eri have the job of being as obnoxious and startling as possible and one of the first thing Eri tries is using Calcumon to show off a nerdy math trick?
- The Yujin reveal is one thing, but Shutmon goes ahead and obeys orders after only one confused glance. For someone introduced with major control issues, he now has an unquestioning obedience that would give Gabumon pause.
- Yujin’s declaration of a “miscalculation in simulation of Bootmon acquisition” reads differently after future reveals and raises some interesting questions. Like what the miscalculation was considering Leviathan supposedly anticipated pretty much everything else that’s happened so far.