Adventure: (2020) Episode 19: Howl, Jyuoken

In this episode, the plot armor is so strong and the enemies feel so non-threatening that even Leomon feels comfortable making an appearance.

Now that we’re back in the Digital World, it feels like a good time to reset everything, setting up the next batch of episodes while taking a short breather from the intensity of the last arc. We get plenty of set-up with a couple interesting turns, a new posse of allies that will hopefully stick around, and a more than solid run of action. There’s no breather though, and the continued constant fighting with no change of pace except more extreme fighting is beginning to get tiresome. There’s plenty to enjoy, but after the disappointment last time and no reprieve to rely on, the premise of the series is beginning to wear thin.

Coming off of a long stretch of the team being separated, then united for three episodes of nonstop action, we were looking forward to a chance to see all six of them together, maybe even giving us some interesting group interactions at last. That’s not happening, with only Taichi and Yamato and their partners in the Digital World while the other four are thrown home partnerless. On the heels of Taichi and Yamato being the only fighters in the final battle of the last arc, it’s frustrating to continue to focus on them here. They don’t even have any meaningful interactions, reacting to everything that happens like good soldiers and executing smooth silent communication like they’ve always done. There’s always potential for fireworks between these two, especially with the developments at the end of the episode, but they contribute nothing worthwhile here.

It’s worrisome when the two main characters, primed for volatility, emotion, and surprise, do nothing but follow the path clearly set out for them. Taichi confirms where the others are, then resumes the original quest for the Holy Digimon like nothing had happened. Even when the bad guys offer enough heavy laser fire to force them to run, they don’t worry about actually being hit by it. Same with their eventual raid on Valvemon, following Leomon and just ignoring all the Troopmon shooting at them. It’s one thing for us to accept that a group of grunts aren’t actually going to land anything on children in a children’s cartoon. It’s annoying when the kids themselves don’t feel threatened. This has been a problem throughout the series, but the volume of Troopmon fire makes it absurd.

As the episode title would suggest (once translated), Leomon’s arrival provides the biggest breath of fresh air. This time around, as teased earlier, he’s the leader of the resistance movement, one that even looks and acts like a resistance movement! He has allies in Falcomon and Spadamon, a fleet of Peckmon for quick opportunistic attacks and retreats, and his trademark righteousness. He is in awe to be in the presence of the Chosen, an opportunity to fill in more of the tale at some point. He also exudes style in the fight with Minotaurmon, standing out against average showings from Greymon and Garurumon. Nothing in Leomon’s role or history suggests he’s going to be sticking around for long enough, but he might singlehandedly carry the show while he does.

That said, the shake-up at the end offers hope, if you’ll pardon the pun. Takeru being stuck in the tube was kind of predictable, but there’s no doubt it will have an effect on Yamato. It has the potential to draw some strong emotions out of him, including erratic behavior and more heated confrontations with Taichi. Devimon holding Angemon captive introduces another wrinkle, perhaps keeping Takeru helpless until the inevitable angelic miracle. It’s promising, but lately the failure to deliver tamps our expectations. We’re not even confident there will be an explanation for why Takeru’s in there and why Hikari wasn’t affected, both of which should be crucial.

It’s even hard to get excited about Koshiro and the others being in the real world with Hikari. Normally, that should be an exciting development, filled with tension given their lack of Digimon, and rife with intrigue and mystery. Now we can’t help but wonder if they’re just written off to give even more focus to Taichi and Yamato. As promising as the story is positioned right now, and for all the things to be excited about in this episode, and all the potential for great things, at some point the show will have to prove it knows how to cash in on all of this gold.

My Grade: B

Loose Data:

  • We’re starting to get a feel for Devimon’s motivation and how he’s able to entice lieutenants like Minotaurmon. Having unfettered access to evolution is a strong temptation. It lands in that sweet spot where it isn’t purely for the evil but also isn’t anything to get sympathetic over.
  • The fact that some people in the real world are already starting to dismiss the effects of the blackout and wonder whether it was even real is completely ridiculous, yet the amount of ignorance in the world today is astounding enough to just about accept it.
  • Joe contacting the police is kind of ridiculed and played off as Joe being Joe, but that’s absolutely a fair thing to do and he absolutely should be frustrated that they dismiss his report.
  • Valvemon is another Digimon that serves as the base to more Digimon and it’s all good. Eldoradimon was on to something in Savers!
  • Hard not to get major Chocobo vibes from the resistance riding in on Peckmon. Also, while a Digimon hanging around their evolved form is hardly unusual, Falcomon riding Peckmon just looks weird.
  • Is Bullmon the first Armor form we’ve seen in the reboot? Not that you’d be able to tell he was an Armor form since they removed the crest of Hope from his cape.

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