Adventure: (2020) Episode 16: The Jet-Black Shadow Invades Tokyo

In this episode, Taichi, Koshiro, and Mimi arrive back in the real world eager to return home, take a shower, and eat fancy cheeseburgers. Then they realize this is the Bad Place.

A character arriving home prematurely is always a weird experience. They’re suddenly thrown from the terror of Digital World fighting and having their lives on the line to the relative safety yet constant bustle of Tokyo. There’s that uncomfortable sense of familiarity after spending so long in the wilderness. There’s the inevitable realization that there’s still business to do away from home and they’ll have to leave their homes and family to return to battle. And that’s when it’s actually happening! Now take all of those emotions, then add in red flags that build to a world that is genuinely wrong, and you’ve got yourself a real trip.

This standard-fare disorientation is what makes everything work. If not for those, all of the warning signs could have been discovered sooner. They’re not used to the usual noise, so they don’t realize it’s too quiet. Taichi might know how long it should take for the train to surface. Mimi might remember which way is home without relying on faulty signs. Most of all, their relief and enthusiasm to actually be home makes them desperate for it to be true, even when evidence suggests otherwise. This creates this lovely buildup where everyone processes the weirdness that they’re supposed to experience, only to be thrown by the weirdness that they’re not.

As she often does, Mimi provides us with the most vibrant and satisfying reactions. She’s the fastest to accept reality, storming through all the logical hurdles and happy to return to the comforts of home. With some characters, that would come across as annoyingly naive, especially when Taichi and Koshiro are still piecing everything together. It is naive no doubt, but what helps us join in on Mimi’s enthusiasm is how much she wants to share her world with Palmon. It’s not just about getting home and showering and eating fancy cheeseburgers, it’s about introducing Palmon to her parents and treating her to the revelation that is avocado. They’re also subjected to the wonky signage dragging them around to the point of exhaustion and gets the team’s first glimpse at the world’s creepy customer service. Mimi’s always going to have bigger reactions to these than the boys.

At the same time, the boys offer a nice contrast in their reactions. Koshiro asks all the right questions, pointing out that they haven’t saved anything, haven’t found the Holy Digimon like they were told to, and finds it odd that the phones and internet are down when they were the only things that weren’t affected by the blackouts in reality. Mimi drowns out his suspicions, and Taichi doesn’t help, hesitantly entertaining the idea that this is real and going through the motions. He’s not exuberant about it the way Mimi is, but he’s still playing along and suggesting they go home, falling into the same traps.

Once the trap is sprung, you’d expect all the episode’s interest nuance to vanish. With everything exposed as illusion, you run the risk of a standard battle, an instant return to the Digital World, and ultimately no consequence. Taichi in fact uses this to his advantage, blowing a hole in the ceiling with no concern for the property damage. He’s the one who tells Mimi the world isn’t real, despite Koshiro probably figuring it out well before him. But Koshiro figures out something more important, which in a nice turn adds color to the fight: not only is Eyesmon stealing data from the real world and causing the blackout, he’s using this data to shield himself.

All of this matters, and it’s the most important thing this episode could offer. Otherwise it’s just eeriness for the sake of eeriness. It even marks the big reunion as Yamato, Sora, and Joe show up for reasons we hope will be touched on later. It’s the first time we get to see all six Ultimates in action, fighting off random artifacts from the real world that could have been just weird Digital World background objects in the original series. A combined attack finally blasts its way through in a massive, glorious shot. Even this doesn’t fix everything. They’re still in the fake reality. Koshiro gets live updates from the real world (which itself is odd) showing that everything’s still terrible and time is running out. Eyesmon is still alive and scurrying away as a new threat configures itself. You expect these sorts of episodes to deliver on both mood and impact. There are moments where those are in doubt, but in the end it delivers enough of both to be more than satisfied.

My Grade: A

Loose Data:

  • As unusual as the kids find their sudden re-entry in the real world, the show is good about showing how the Digimon react to Tokyo. It’s completely foreign to them and while they don’t have the opportunity to make mischief, their awe is nice to see.
  • While Koshiro is perfectly logical about his assessments of the situation, Mimi raises a very good counter-argument in suggesting that maybe Sora’s team did everything while they were messing around riding Kiwimon and stuff. Also love how Mimi refers to it as Sora’s team. Screw you, Yamato.
  • Love how Mimi chalks up her endless circle around Shibuya Station to construction complicating all the usual routes. That’s a mood.
  • The real world update is far more important and far better integrated this time around. Though we do have to wonder how Yuuko is so stable when Taichi’s been missing for almost three days in all of this. Even if it isn’t perceived as the ages spent in the Digital World, that’s still a long time for a child to be missing in this chaos. But go ahead, just leave him a note. Also: Miiko’s alive again!
  • Mimi could have had a serious wave of depression after realizing the world isn’t real. Instead she uses it as a moment of motivation, promising to treat Palmon to an avocado cheeseburger.
  • Love Joe confirming that damaging property is acceptable before charging in with an attack.

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1 comment:

  1. This reboot (so far) hasn't even bothered to show us how Yamato and Gabumon first met, so it's unlikely they'll care about how his group suddenly turn up.