The predictability of Yujin being a Leviathan ally instrumental in capturing Bootmon doesn’t change the fact that it still happened. Now we witness the ramifications of this. Yuujin kicks Operation: Human Applications into full swing, God grade is unlocked, and Haru is comprehensively broken. No matter the unusual path we took to get here, and no matter how much it was telegraphed, there’s no questioning the impact of witnessing such a devastating blow to the team.
For all we could have suspected about Yujin, the show offers no mercy: this is full-on worst case scenario. Yujin was an agent of Leviathan from the moment he and Haru first met, monitoring Deneimon’s family from a young age in case Minerva’s creator had extra tricks up his sleeve. Even his personality was programmed to compliment Haru’s, presenting the protagonist Haru idealizes and responding to Haru in such a way as to make him feel valued. Supposedly, everything’s gone according to Leviathan’s plan. That’s a generous assumption, since this was in place before Hajime was involved, Bootmon was a thing, as well as a few thwarted schemes like the entire essence of Mienumon. We’ll circle back to that.
Haru pleads and denies and gets nothing but Yujin’s programmed tears and more layers to the travesty. There’s almost as much heartbreak reserved for Gatchmon here, who’s itching to stop the plot and exact some revenge… but can’t. He’s helpless to do anything but watch as Haru’s life shatters. There’s no dramatic screaming or anger or vow to continue fighting. Just stunned disbelief that gives way to silent torment.
On the business side of things, the emergence of Deusmon becomes both an incredibly intimidating and strangely logical debut of a new level. Instead of a new incrementally more powerful villain showing up at the end arbitrarily, Bootmon has to upgrade to the premium package. All the Bootmon chasing in the last few episodes becomes justified and falling right into Leviathan’s trap makes the kids look like a right bunch of suckers. The Ultimates are now obsolete, as it usually goes, but Deusmon’s power of “whatever the hell it wants” is especially frightening. Oujamon, Entermon, and Revivemon go down easily and they and their drivers are sucked into Deep Web feeling suddenly helpless as the Operation develops.
It’s all wonderful character management. Haru is beyond repair right now and we all know it, so the attention shifts to the other three. Their spirits are low and the struggle weighs them down more than ever, but they haven’t checked out the way our protagonist has. Team Katsura bang their heads together to realize they’ve drawn enough information from Deusmon to allow the good guys to reach God grade in turn. Rei, as always, is determined to keep the team focused, even catching ire from Eri, who wants to find Haru. While he insists on focusing on their own challenge, Rei’s development again emerges when he allows Eri and Astora to back out if they don’t feel up for the long odds they’re up against.
Deusmon must have done a number on Eri and Astora, as their usual motivators fall flat this time. It takes their buddies to step up and assure them they’re willing to fight and will accept any consequences, providing more solemn triggers that utilize their go-to phrases in a more heartfelt way than usual. They also acknowledge that as daunting as Deusmon is, it’s not the first time they’ve had their necks on the line. This is just a matter of scale. Rei’s will was never in doubt and his big moment is instead with Hajime, but Hackmon still chimes in with his effort to help Rei open up.
It would have been easy to soften the blow as the situation reaches the climactic brink. There were plenty of chances to offer clearer signs of hope. This isn’t the time for that. The only hope we get is that these God grade Appmon will somehow help turn the tide, and even then we know the team isn’t complete without Haru. Instead, the main aim now is to drag our heroes to the lowest point imaginable, and it does that with precision. As the Operation begins, for the world, this isn’t even the bottom yet.
My Grade: A
- This episode nicely illustrates the way Eri uses her “Big Bang Punch” mantra to overcome fears, to pump herself up, and most fascinating of all: as a defense mechanism. When Rei dropped the Yujin bomb on them, she threw it back at him out to shield the truth more than anything.
- One of the creepier concepts of the Yujin project was the idea of replacing him with a different body every year to simulate physical maturity. If done gradually enough, and perhaps during a time when they’d naturally spent some time apart, it could really work.
- Eri insisting they need to be with Haru, imagining what he’s going through, and being unable to help is one of the more touching moments she’s provided all series.
- Between the L-Corp sleuthing, his suspicions about Yujin and his surprise that the Ultimate 4 chips just happened to be the keys to the God grades, Rei is really good at realizing there’s a revelation to be had without actually sniffing it out or doing anything to prepare for it.