Adventure: (2020) Episode 14: The Kings of the Insects Clash!

In this episode, it’s amazing how quickly getting outmaneuvered and surrounded brings out the real personalities where nobody can think straight, everyone’s whining, and faulty technology leaves you paralyzed.

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.

Of course, for this to work, there has to be a few allowances. First off, Taichi and Mimi have to forget they can evolve their Digimon to another level. The narrow space and the constant onslaught of Kuwagamon complicate that process, but opportunities were there. Lilimon in fact has the sort of maneuverability that would have been perfect for this sort of threat. There are also corners cut in how all the good guys are knocked down by Okuwamon’s attacks, but they’re healthy enough to not only get back up, but somehow evade the mob in order to retreat. Past that, the winding caverns make it hard to get a sense of where everybody is related to each other, especially with Okuwamon popping up in front of everybody all the time.

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.

Koshiro losing his composure in his own episode is encouraging enough, but it even hits Taichi and Mimi. Taichi doesn’t have an answer for the Kuwagamon maneuvers and worsens their position by pulling them into a narrow space he knows full well could be a dead end. Mimi, two episodes removed from being a goddess to downtrodden machinery, spends much of the time frustrated, whining, and justifiably mortified at being in this situation. It’s ugly, but a good kind of ugly, reminding us that these are still children and they’re going to lose control of themselves when they’re in over their heads. Too much of it can get annoying, but a little more of it would give the cast some needed range.

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+

Loose Data:

  • 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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1 comment:

  1. I'm not entirely sure that Tai forgot how to evolve to a higher level. More that his first attempt at evolving to a higher level fizzled out just as it was getting going. There's a brief bit as Greymon is getting ganged up on where the ring on Tai's digivice starts to get going, but then stops abruptly as the action gets serious. It's as if Tai lost his confidence for a second and the digivice couldn't do anything without it.

    It kind of sounds like Izzy's laptop was suffering from a similar issue as, after he evolves to Ultimate, he notes that it's suddenly operating a little faster than before.