Sometimes it’s as simple as pounding them into submission and seeing how they respond. One of the downsides of the kids having such a pulse on their situation and objective, along with the confidence in their abilities to deal with heavy situations, is that everyone other than Joe is incredibly poised most of the time. Until everyone feels comfortable letting their guard down around each other, that keeps them from being as expressive and honest about themselves as they might be if they were thrown in suddenly with no idea what’s going on or what they’re supposed to be doing. Solution: pin them in a cavern and overwhelm them with well organized opponents. That’ll open them up.
It’s harsh to pick on this sort of thing because these issues are commonplace in Digimon, and it’s historically rare to have any sort of complexity in battle sequences, much less ones that held up. But that’s the sort of thing this series has excelled at, making it noticeable when it falls short like this. Characters conveniently forgetting about higher evolution and inexplicable survival when the sequencing suggests inevitable defeat are old school flaws. In that same sense, fields where the older seasons reign supreme—the character development and putting us in the minds of the kids as their partners reach new heights—are on full display.
What you end up with is a traditional, straightforward new evolution experience. Koshiro has shown concern at his glitching tablet for a couple episodes now, an obvious buildup to full shutdown and having to work without it. That not only helps make the cavern maze more of a threat, it means Koshiro is left completely flummoxed when he’s expected to help navigate. He shuts down, convinced he’s helpless and missing an important piece of himself. Kabuterimon comes through with a classic partner pep talk, another staple we haven’t seen much of this season. It highlights how Koshiro’s ability to gather data through his tablet has been incredible, but it’s the way he processes and interprets that information that brings value to the team. Kabuterimon just needed to remind him his tablet wasn’t the only way to take in that data.
The effort as a whole doesn’t add up to a legendary episode. Koshiro’s issues are still very simplistic and both presented and resolved in the most obvious way. And the issues with the fighting are unusually weak for this series. But that’s not a problem we expect to crop up very often. The show has proven itself too adept at action to miss the mark on a regular basis. But it did need to show us characters at conflict with themselves and kids losing their cool under pressure. Seeing that on the screen is an encouraging sign that they’ll be able to put everything together at some point.
My Grade: B+
- The other team bookending the story with a cheap gag at Joe’s expense works surprisingly well, even if we’re getting a little tired of everything happening at Joe’s expense. Sora insisting that Piyomon take a break from transport duty is sweet, and it’s proof that Yamato is still a jerk… just one that stopped fighting and is silently tolerating Sora and Joe’s annoying habits.
- The update from the real world is helpful, but disconnected from everything. It’s not tied to Koshiro accessing it, nor does it involve Takeru or Hikari. Considering how much emphasis is put on Koshiro’s perceived helplessness without his tablet, us getting this information for free and for no reason seems out of place.
- One of the best setups for Koshiro overcoming his issue is his frustration in the tablet not giving him information on Kuwagamon, then Tentomon just saying everything he needs to know.
- Compounding the question marks over why MetalGreymon and Lilimon didn’t show up earlier is watching Agumon, Tentomon, and Palmon evolve in real-time in just the coolest in-motion scene. Clearly didn’t need a pause in the action that time! Further compounding them is MetalGreymon showing up and being the same size as regular Greymon.
- Koshiro helping Kabuterimon out of Okuwamon’s grip was important and all, but once again it’s the same “target something that will fall on the enemy” tactic that was used like three times in Mimi’s episode.
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