As much as anything, one of the forces propelling the show forward has been the mystery driving all of the events. You’ve got the interference with real world infrastructure, the feathers powering Omegamon and their connection to Takeru and Hikari, and how both of those are directly steering Taichi and Sora to this temple. There’s often an element of mystery at the start of every season regarding the odd circumstances allowing these kids to partner with monsters. Usually it fades away once the first villain is introduced and everyone focuses more on what’s trying to kill them rather than why. This time around the mystery offers enough teases to suggest something really textured and compelling. But the kids arrive at a bunch of answers earlier than normal, and we’re a little disappointed to learn it’s basically the same routine we always get.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: “long ago there was a battle between good and evil, good won through great sacrifice, and now children have to tap into an ancient power to stop a new threat.” This is the same formula as the original Adventure, Zero Two, and Frontier… maybe even Tamers if you squint just right. This isn’t necessarily a problem: it’s a proven formula for a reason, and the point of reboots are to retell old stories through a modern lens. It’s just unsatisfying to have four episodes of fun intrigue only build up to something so ordinary. Especially when the notion of chasing after angels and resurrecting the spirits of ancient warriors feels like a pale imitation of Frontier. Hell, the angels are even poised to be Seraphimon and Ophanimon again! There are worse plots to mimic than Frontier’s and there’s time to develop more, but something so underwhelming stands out in a show that’s looked so strong.
Everything’s holding together fine, but it’s one of those things that makes you stop and question what’s really remarkable about this series. One thing’s become clear: at this point, it isn’t the human characters. We can stop and adore these kids for charging into the action head on and being their best selves. But it’s episode five and seeing them already being their best selves isn’t all that engaging. We gave Sora a pass because everything else clicked so well (and because we never get enough of Sora at her best), but now that the story is poised to be so average, we’re looking elsewhere for our superlatives and find ourselves digging more than we would like.
Unlike with Sora, there are nuggets to be found with Koshiro’s proper debut. They just aren’t handed to us. He’s very nonchalant about being inside a Digimon’s stomach, but be assured that he is in fact aware of this despite his focus on gathering information. You can’t always be sure with him. While his head is in the game, his need for information and consideration for others come awfully close to faults when he chooses to leave the relative safety of Whamon to both see what’s attacking him and spare him from the abuse. He even insists that Tentomon drop him to let him attack the Tylomon, a sweet visual that sets up the inevitable evolution. And after the danger, his refusal to elaborate on a rare moment of emotion adds something compelling, especially mixed with his instinctual selflessness.
It’s there, but in too small a quantity for it to be a compelling draw. With only three human characters present we should be getting more out of them. Taichi and Sora continue to roll with every punch thrown at them, so many in this episode they actually come off as bland and invisible. Piyomon ends up being the standout in this group, calling out uncharacteristic behavior in the Dokugumon and coming up with the big breakthrough against their web. She and Agumon also have a wonderfully complex reaction to seeing the ancient warriors: obvious shadows of their Ultimate forms. Their emotional connection to things they don’t remember (including Agumon not recalling Omegamon) is worth acknowledging, but again, now that it’s clear what’s going on there, it can only do so much to move things along.
My Grade: B
- Soundbirdmon is a pretty versatile little guy, and a nice way to provide both a spying network and get a high number of varied Digimon under enemy control. It also gives Koshiro something to sniff out in the middle of the Tylomon fight. We’ll see how far they can stretch the power of sound waves, but for those essential purposes it’s effective.
- The funky shapes of the data inside Whamon suggests that it’s fragmented, a nice substitute for portraying digestion.
- A lot of usual suspects in that band of angelic Digimon, but Rasielmon and ClavisAngemon are notable participants.
- Reinforcing the notion that the Digital World’s connection to the internet is going to matter is how the Valdurmon entity considers it an unexpected wildcard in its plans. Let’s hope it makes for a nice wrinkle in this affair.
- Man, they freak out a lot about not being able to break through the overhead spider web only for it to get resolved trying the most obvious solution.