With three different things to accomplish at once, it would be easy to forgive a lack of cohesion. All three subplots here are trying to convey different emotions, all of them are very successful. It’s easy to come out of this feeling three different things at once. Those can sometimes conflict with each other, and being torn in multiple directions doesn’t always make for the most satisfying viewing experience. That’s why it’s impressive that the differing sensations of Leviathan rebooting, Haru standing up, and the other App Drivers unleashing God grade all manage to unite under one banner: everyone is elevating their game before the big finale.
We’ve known about Operation: Human Applications for a while now and it’s been properly unsettling even as an abstract. Seeing its full implementation in process takes it to another level. Not only do we see innocent people literally yanked into their phones, we see the conversion process in all of its gory detail: humans fed into a data shredder and ground up into zeroes and ones to feed the beast. As menacing as Leviathan has been, it’s always come with the argument that it’s trying to eradicate the flaws of humanity. That gets stripped away now, and it’s just a final villain eradicating humanity in horrifying fashion.
Eri, Astra, and Rei have appropriately horrified reactions as they witness this. But they aren’t here to react for us. They’re here to bring us a fight between God grades! Most seasons end with massive fights between monsters at the highest level, but the scope of this battle is in another world. These things are huge! And they’re tossing out app abilities like omnipotence and invincibility that feel more like video game cheat codes. While they’re battling Deusmon in a vast Deep Web wasteland, we get lots of shots of their App Drivers watching and cheering along, showing just how immense and strong these things are. Now the kids are the insects flying around on floating squares. The perspective is appreciated.
Along with the horror and hype of the previous two, we also can feel inspired by Haru getting back on his feet. There’s no way to overstate how much Yujin destroyed Haru’s life, so all of the time spent emphasizing it is valid. Now that Haru gets a chance to weep about it, we learn everything he believed about his own self-worth came from Yujin. Lose one, lose the other. With Gatchmon’s pleas not reaching, Yujin appearing before Haru again may not be the smartest tactical move on the surface (we call it the Picodevimon Gambit in these parts) but sending Rebootmon to kill him, or at least threaten to kill him, works just fine. As Haru escapes, reminders of his fake friendship still running through his head, we get a picture of his grief: if the foundation of all his hopes and dreams was fake, his hopes and dreams must be as well.
Gatchmon’s not having any of that, and this fantastic partner speech goes all the way back to the very nature of his existence. He’s an app that helps people find things, and no way is he getting paired with someone who isn’t searching for something. It forces Haru to realize what he really wants, and his question both rattles Yujin and drives Haru to put the goggles back on. He wants his Yujin back, and thanks to Gatchmon he’s going to figure out how to get it.
Leviathan’s realization at the end goes back into the horrifying category, as the giant mech dragon towers over the real world to intimidate everybody. More frightening however, is its ominous statement congratulating the App Drivers for reaching God mode and acknowledging them as Chosen Children. Why’s that ominous, besides the sudden and startling nod to Digimon lore? Because it’s now evident that everything, for whatever reason, was all intentional on Leviathan’s part. The kids earning the Ultimate Four’s chips, Yujin grooming Haru into a protagonist, and spurring him back into action now… all of this was part of the plan. The farther back this goes the more problematic it becomes, but at this stage? Be afraid.
My Grade: A
- How cruel is it that the first place we see Leviathan target is a school teaching the elderly how to use smartphones?
- For the God grade realizations, Eri and Astora see fit to incorporate their catchphrases. Rei… dry as ever. Also, Eri boasting about Poseidomon’s power on top of one of those giant Moai statues was peak center of the universe.
- Can we also say those giant Moai statues were completely random but added so much to that landscape?
- As powerful as Gatchmon’s speech was, it would have been stronger had Haru actually used the keywords mechanic at any point in the previous forty episodes.
- In case the sudden “Chosen Children” name drop wasn’t a callback, the kids seem to have dropped into a park in Shinjuku. If they need help stopping a program running amok destroying humanity, there are kids in the area with experience in that field!