Adventure: (2020) Episode 18: Countdown to Tokyo's Annihilation

In this episode, the team is exhausted but a new, nasty Mega Digimon threatens to destroy Tokyo! Can they muster the strength to overcome this seemingly impossible situation? LOL no, it’s the feather brigade to the rescue again!

This short “fabricated world” arc has been full of excitement and tension, all building to the big climax here. Not only are the enemies here testing everyone’s Ultimate forms, the culprit behind Tokyo’s disruptions is escalating the situation threatening to destroy the city. Takeru and Hikari are getting more and more attention and you get the sense of something big dropping. Many big things do drop, and the decisive battle and resolution we were expecting does occur. But when you’re excited for so many things at once, it’s hard not to feel disappointment when they’re executed in the laziest way possible.

Among the many challenges of giving everybody Ultimate forms so early is the way it forces the competition to keep up. That period where you can throw Champion after Champion at them is gone, since that level just isn’t going to scare them anymore (why yes, this does raise questions about Devimon!). So next comes the wave of Ultimate level enemies. Once the team is united and it’s six against one, it becomes very difficult for even them to pose a significant threat. Orochimon succeeded through circumstance, tactics, and having multiple heads. We’ll need more of that going forward, because the alternative is patently unfeasible, as we see here with Nidhoggmon.

Nidhoggmon is brand new, sucking up all the internet data in Tokyo, slithering around the entire district, and firing multiple destructive lasers from its mouth at once. Bad enough that they’re already throwing Megas in front of the kids: this guy wouldn’t be out of place as the second form of a final boss! With Tokyo on the line, the stakes are high enough for a final boss scenario as well. To top it off, all of these Ultimates just ran successive fights against Eyesmon and Orochimon, leaving them visibly worn out. It’s a wildly unfair obstacle at this point in the series. From the beginning you wonder how they’re going to get out of it, especially when only Taichi and Yamato bother to even try fighting.

It would be one thing if the show defied all realism and somehow found a way to let the kids defeat Nidhoggmon. Hell, with a clever approach, a fancy show of teamwork, and the right amount of Koshiro hackery it might even be impressive. Instead, the participants of the battle make no contribution to their own victory. Just like last time a spooky countdown appeared to foretell the city’s destruction, Takeru and Hikari bail them out once again. They’re more directly aware of the situation their brothers are facing, but otherwise their situations aren’t all that different. Hikari’s still downtown and Takeru’s still at home when the feathers appear. And once again, together they summon their joint partner Omegamon.

In his previous appearance, Omegamon at least had the courtesy of showing off some impressive moves. Algomon and all of his creepy eye laser things required some dexterity to go with his massive power. Here he just sort of… mashes the block button a lot, hiding under his cape waiting for opportunities to get in a quick shot. He gets the requisite do-or-die moment of charging at the enemy in slow-motion while Taichi and Yamato scream a lot, but that wasn’t even entertaining the first time they did it. He shows up to beat Nidhoggmon instead of the actual characters, even sticking around for the follow-up crisis before turning back into Agumon and Gabumon. There isn’t even a comment on what happened to him last time, cheapening his initial sacrifice. You have to think Taichi and Yamato expect him to show up every time they’re way in over their heads. They might not even be wrong.

The kids don’t even get a chance to breathe, unless you count everyone else not lifting a finger this episode. The world breaks up and they find themselves in the desert, only for everybody to be blown away and separated all over again. Devimon shows up (in sand form!) promising to continue to feed on the real world, and suddenly we’re back where we started. Even though the crisis in Tokyo might be over, that larva thing is waking up, and something might be up with Takeru, it feels like the kids accomplished nothing. With the next disaster already in front of them, what should have been a rousing climax just leaves us exhausted and unsatisfied.

My Grade: C+

Loose Data:

  • Once again, Koshiro is good at relaying the data he’s seeing on his screen, but his explanations leap to a lot of conclusions and sounds more like speculation on what could happen when the clock his zero, delivered as if he knows for sure. At least he’s properly curious about what this Omegamon’s about.
  • As much as we harp on the other four kids for not bothering to fight Nidhoggmon, they’re probably in the right. None of the Digimon are in any condition to battle. Agumon goes along out of obligation, but that’s not in any way a fight they should be starting, much less attacking head-on. It’s desperate, ugly, and we pray that eventually Taichi will be punished for this hubris.
  • One positive is the plan to gather energy by gathering all the excessive data usage in Tokyo through the blackout crisis. It suggests two Digimon working in tandem to drive up phone use and maximize how much Nidhoggmon can eat. The overheating phones is a nice little detail as well, as is Devimon promising to continue feeding on real world network activity.
  • Takeru flickers out as he’s reaching for the feather, while Hikari doesn’t. We see Hikari after that, but not Takeru. There’s a lot to suggest that Takeru’s in the Digital World now, and there better be a good reason only he gets pulled in and not Hikari. No, “Takeru showed up first in the original series” is not a good reason!
  • There’s an argument to be made that this episode reminds us of some of the takeaways from the opening three episodes that felt like they aired two years ago. Seeing the larva thing again is certainly important. But that can be shown without resorting to Omegamon again, and it’s the sort of meddling in a major fight you shouldn’t do just to remind us of Takeru and Hikari’s feathers.
  • The city having power again is almost certainly a temporary reprieve, but if everything looks all right on Koshiro’s computer, you wonder if anyone will make the case that the job is done and they should find a way home. It’s a dubious straw man, the likes only Joe would suggest, but I hope it comes up.

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  1. It's not really relevant but I like how Sora was the only one to try and help Taichi and Yamato out while Izzy and the others just kept sitting on the ground. It's a super quick scene where Sora gets up and manages to get Biyomon to lean on her. Of course nothing comes off it, but still.

  2. I pretty much predicted they'd trot Omegamon out again, and for no meaningful reason other then to wank his popularity.

    Frankly, I had a feeling this three perter was building up to being a cop-out. But the fact it turned out even worse then what I was expecting says a lot.

    This has been a continuing problem with the reboot. In that it repeatedly rides on flashy spectacles and fanservice, rather then focussing on the stuff that made the original incarnation a success. Namely the characters and their growth over the course of the show.

    Here, everyone is just a collection of surface level traits. Or in the case of Sora, little more then a female Taichi, who himself is a just a bland fearless leader.

    One particularly odd moment has Nidhoggmon (who up to that point had been a mute antagonist) delivering one line of actual dialogue, purely to tell everyone what level it is...

    It might be rather optimistic to say that the writers really need to work hard in order to make a comeback from such a lazily executed, hyped up mess of an arc resolution.