Adventure: (2020) Episode 12: Lilimon Blooms

In this episode, Mimi’s skill at gaining allies with unconditional compassion keeps her alive long enough for her skill at destroying enemies with righteous fury to kick in.

If you’re looking for a unique story that stretches the potential of these characters, you’re not finding it here. This is textbook Mimi we’re dealing with. The unlikely show of compassion, having that compassion rewarded with a protector, the heartbreak that ensues, the resolve borne from that… it’s all here. In untrained hands, it would feel like a rushed best hits package, and at worst a pale imitation of the moments that made Mimi the best character in the original series. Slick as this show is, with its attention to all the big elements of the medium, it crafts a wonderful experience that makes this character shine like never before.

It’s no secret that the best thing about this series is its production value. For all the questions we can ask about how it manages its cast or whether these Ultimate evolutions are coming too early in their personal journeys, there’s no doubt that it’s been exciting to watch. There’s a commitment to fluid animation, rousing action sequences, and a soundtrack repurposing old favorites and weaving in new music. The storytelling it does with them isn’t always there. Although this episode treads very familiar ground, it uses all of the extra budget to make the story beautiful, presenting it in a heightened state. The Ghibli allusions are not only appropriate, they’re almost on the same level.

While the whole series has brought it visually, what sets this episode apart is the way it keeps the story delicate. Give us all the giant, epic clashes in the world, but the real test is knowing how to shut up and let Mimi be Mimi. Alone and surrounded by piles of scrap metal in a disused weapons factory, she realizes these were once Digimon and actually feels sorry for the poor creatures. One show of genuine sympathy stirs a Guardromon to life to protect her from a possessed Andromon. The premise is Dark Masters Mimi all over again, but Guardromon is an inspired choice. A big lug communicating with nothing but steam output and broad gestures, and a level mismatch against Andromon. He takes charge of Mimi’s care as the two try to nurse Palmon back to the health while finding a way back to the surface.

Guardromon shows off some smart thinking against Andromon, but his trick doesn’t work a second time after they’re dragged out of an elevator. The show does its best to prevent Taichi and Koshiro from interfering as long as they could. Taichi shows some rare hesitation, electing not to jump down the giant pit trap, opting for an arduous climb instead. He and Greymon also get stuck fighting a bunch of Hagurumon there solely to make sure MetalGreymon doesn’t show up too early.

This allows Guardromon to make his final stand, protecting Mimi to the apparent end. He gets one more moment after MetalGreymon finally arrives and all hell really breaks loose and Mimi is properly exposed to Andromon’s deadly right arm. When Andromon finishes him off, that’s when the fire comes out. What comes out of Mimi is easily the strongest show of genuine emotion we’ve seen so far. From her, even a stock “never forgive you” speech is heart-wrenching. It’s also a subversion of expectations: most possessed Digimon, especially Andromon, especially early on, especially in a Mimi episode, is a candidate to be turned around to help the good guys. Mimi squashes any thought of that, with the only thing on her mind unleashing vengeance with Lilimon. Even if the personal journeys don’t match up with Ultimate evolutions, when the emotions run this strong it still works.

Having Lilimon do what MetalGreymon couldn’t might be an obvious move in her debut episode, but it’s rarer than it should be. Far too often the lead Digimon is otherwise occupied or, in the worst cases, as responsible for the win as the debutante. MetalGreymon’s inability to stop Andromon in just his second appearance is a bold step for a series putting so much emphasis on Taichi and Yamato. It’s quietly kind of an off episode for Taichi, getting drawn into a meaningless fight with the Hagurumon and being incapable of anything more than trying to hit Andromon as much as possible. Everyone else thinks outside the box, attacking the ceiling or other random fixtures. It’s a little thing compared to Mimi’s turn, but anything taking Taichi down a peg is a good sign of potential to come.

My Grade: A

Loose Data:

  • Koshiro mentions that his computer is acting up on him. Here’s hoping that turns into a thing!
  • Mimi’s quest to find a way out of the factory is undermined just a little bit by the giant staircase in the background of the room where they found Guardromon.
  • Once again, there’s a quick catch-up of the other team. What’s nice about the way Gabumon and Yamato comfort Sora is they’re basically making the same argument from last episode, only spinning it in a way that isn’t confrontational. She seems to appreciate it. Joe continues to not travel well.
  • Her ability to get the better of Andromon through speed is established well, but Lilimon’s special skills get highlighted here in a way they never have been. She was always the least showcased Ultimate in the original series, so let’s hope this show of power continues.
  • There’s a moment where Andromon does seem to feel remorse for his actions. There’s a fair question about whether he’s actually dead or incapacitated, and Lilimon’s more of a reformer than a killer, so don’t assume that’s the last we see of him. With luck, he’ll want to join as a good guy later and Mimi’s “no forgiveness” cry is challenged.

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  1. I find it strange that Guardromon didn't explode into data bits when it was killed but we got the nice scene in the end, with Mimi quietly mourning over his moss covered remains so it's cool

    1. I think that's a heavy indication that he's not dead, meerly broken. Andromon likewise is still intact, just immobolized.