Adventure: (2020) Episode 20: The Seventh One Awakens

In this episode, the big operation to rescue Takeru goes off… very smoothly actually, considering everything. Sure Angemon ends up dead, but that was so inevitable there’s no point asking why.

These are the good times, people. As much as we can lament the show’s lack of character depth and inability to have any modes other than intense and super-intense, when it does turn it up it’s a little scary how effortlessly exciting it can be. Just take a terrifying enemy, give the good guys some wicked moves to fight it, throw in a bit of desperate determination, and finish it off with wild miraculous fireworks because you can. The fact that we don’t know Takeru or Angemon at all hampers their big moments and there are strange decisions on both sides throughout, but this is the kind of scenario where the show excels, frustrating as that can be.

The show’s ability to recall Digimon from across the franchise’s lore has always been a strong suit, and bringing back Velgrmon from Frontier purgatory is another master stroke. It looks like a harbinger of doom, it has some devastating moves, getting to it with both Greymon and Garurumon requires some inventive tactics, and longtime fans associate it with the very specific yet very applicable feeling of “oh God, why is my brother here and how did he get mixed up with that thing?” The stakes were already high enough with anything snatching Takeru, but giving the job to Velgrmon makes the situation all the more dire.

As you’d expect, Yamato’s going after his brother, terrifying bird demon or not. It’s a tricky rescue with Takeru trapped under this midair monstrosity, but MetalGreymon and WereGarurumon continue to invent new tricks to meet the challenge. These are the spots where the show directs its ingenuity. WereGarurumon surfs on missiles, Yamato runs along MetalGreymon’s Trident Arm and suffers through the defenses surrounding Takeru. It’s a little weird that Velgrmon doesn’t do a lot to stop this beyond its wave of feathers, but it must be more of a big picture thinker, launching the heavy stuff later rather than little moves like evasive flying to shake off its attackers.

Yamato’s big rescue is executed about as well as it can be. He strains, he clutches, he shouts Takeru awake to get him to strain and clutch against the forces of darkness trying to pull him back down. We’re grateful that Yamato had at least told us he was worried about his brother and offered a couple details about his relationship with him. Knowing the stakes heightens a scene like this. As it is, it works well enough, but you can’t help but think about how stronger it could have been. After all, we haven’t seen any interaction between Yamato and Takeru prior to this. We don’t even know anything about Takeru other than context-limited scenes of him at home alone and activating feather magic, and we don’t learn anything about him in his debut.

We also have zero emotional investment in Angemon. His connection to Takeru hadn’t even been established. So when Yamato and Takeru’s crests activate and he frees himself from Devimon’s clutches, there’s no feeling behind it. We’ve had plenty of convenient miracles before; they haven’t been that impressive. When we don’t have any reason to know or care about either Takeru or Angemon, the whole thing becomes less of a dramatic awakening of Takeru’s powers and more of a lucky break.

The same applies to Angemon’s death. The logic makes enough sense: he summoned a lot of power to free himself and stretched it too far. Mostly it feels like this is what’s supposed to happen when Angemon first shows up, therefore it does. It’s certainly a pale comparison to Angemon’s death in the original Adventure series. There we had several episodes of Takeru and Patamon bonding and a worry about not being able to evolve, only to break hearts when it actually happens. This is more comparable to Angemon’s death in Frontier: a handy savior that doesn’t make it past one episode. Everything looks great, and SkullKnightmon stealing away with the digiegg is both a handy way to continue the story and probably the only legitimately unexpected development, but this shows the danger of not building up the emotional connections to make the big moments mean more.

My Grade: A-

Loose Data:

  • Velgrmon doesn’t seem like the biggest team player, but was there really a point to it destroying Valvemon (and all the minions inside) after it already had Takeru and the good guys escaped?
  • Awfully nice of Megadramon to actually do what Leomon says and pursue him while letting Taichi and Yamato continue on after Velgrmon. Also, what are the odds they actually follow up on that battle? Megadramon is a nasty piece and a level higher than Leomon, who isn’t known for his durability.
  • Did… they just intimate that Sora has a family? And that Koshiro’s home situation is complicated? That’s a big step forward, suggesting that these kids might actually have histories and problems beyond getting killed by Digimon. Also, Sora’s look inquiring about Koshiro is the purest.
  • There are a lot of interesting things you can do with the Digimon stuck without their partners, but with a job to do in the network. The question will be how well they can keep the partners in the loop and meaningful without appearing like a contrived miracle if evolutions are necessary.
  • Once they fetch Takeru, Taichi calls for the team to get the hell out of there because that’s the obvious thing to do. Then everybody promptly attacks Velgrmon again for absolutely no reason.
  • It’s not as big a joke in the fandom, but if you don’t count alternate forms like BanchoLeomon (or alternate levels like Seraphimon), Angemon has now died as many times in the Digimon anime as Leomon has. Leomon proper died in Adventure, Tamers, X-Evolution, and tri. Angemon died in Adventure, Frontier, Xros Wars, and here. Bet that’s not going unanswered!

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  1. The dialogue is only "Takeru" and "onii-chan" for like seven minutes, are you kidding me.

  2. I think the main problem with this show is that it's relying on people already knowing these characters. It gives them the most basic of personalities and motivations, and hopes that the viewers' nostalgia will fill in the blanks.

  3. Honestly, I didn't find this episode 'effortlessly exciting' as you seemingly implied.

    It's rather redundant by this point to bang on about how heavily biased this reboot has been towards certain characters. Or the limited level of depth and development going on with the cast in general...

    But it is difficult to feel invested in a show where you struggle to care about the main characters, and are only going by the connection you had with them in a previous incarnation.
    Take that familiarity and nostalgia away, and you are just left with cardboard cut-outs. It's a similar problem products like Sailor Moon Crystal suffer from.

    No amount of flashy action sequences and fanservice can adequately make up for general hollowness. When treated as a standalone product, it is really difficult imagining Adventure 2020 becoming the same kind of hit the original managed. Especially since Toei seems to be under the impression all the public wants is to see the likes of Greymon/Garurumon/Omegamon doing badass things.