In this episode, the voices in Takeru’s head compel him to dive into another giant pit. Somehow Yamato enabling this behavior turns out to be the right decision.
There are two nice things about a boss fight where a bunch of meaningful things happen. One is that, well, a bunch of meaningful things happen: the chain of events here isn’t all that different from last time, but the impact of those events leave us so much farther along in the end. Two is that it feels more like a culmination of a story arc instead of a continuation, leaving us expecting less character development and more payoff. It isn’t actually a culmination, but it marks a big turning point in the war with Devimon. For that, drama takes priority over character, and skewing expectations that way turns out a rousing success.
Not to say this episode doesn’t develop character at all. It’s not introspective or tells us anything about who these kids are in their regular lives, but we have a much better sense of what’s going through Takeru’s head than we had before. And it isn’t just himself! The power of angel feather magic has him hearing voices pushing him into being useful. That continues here, as he’s compelled to follow his cliff descent with some platforming over a pit of darkness. This insight even answers our question from last week: yes, he is definitely a cryptid.
If there’s one thing Takeru himself adds, it’s his unquestioning faith in these voices, and the unshakable belief that everything will work out if he listens to them. There’s no doubt, nor any Hail Mary mentality: he is confident that whatever drags him into these situations will deliver. This pushes him into these seemingly terrible decisions like charging straight at SkullKnightmon and triggers some strong crest reactions that disrupt DarkKnightmon. There’s even a suggestion that witnessing Yamato and Taichi fighting Nidhoggmon and his desire to help is what propelled him into the Digital World. If that tracks it’s maybe not the tidiest explanation, but we’ve certainly seen worse. Either way, his willingness to keep fighting, certain of a good outcome, reflects the hope we need to see out of him, especially when so much of what’s going on with his character has typically embodied the Crest of Light in the past.
The show’s insistence on shiny new powers for the Ultimate Digimon is present as well, but at least this time it’s an improvement. For starters, Yamato doesn’t prompt the upgrade: this is WereGarurumon all the way, inspired by Takeru’s determination and Yamato helping him. It also fills a big hole in his game, giving him wings to zip in and ultimately save the brothers from the soup. After all the incredible acrobatics needed for him to offer anything against Velgrmon, it’s a useful option to have available. Who knows if it will this smooth once they get to the others, but after the flop last time it’s good to know it can be done well.
My Grade: A-
- Takeru taking the lead in the spooky hallway until the moment they’re attacked, where Agumon and Gabumon instantly and instinctively jump in front of him, is a cute touch, no matter how obvious.
- Okay, so Sora and Koshiro can evolve their Digimon through the computer. That does take some of the intrigue out of the network situation, although considering what happened last time a swarm of Algomon showed up there’s still plenty left over.
- The only thing that would have made Mimi’s scene better was making her car stupidly big and showing her giving directions forcing it to wind through tiny residential streets. Also we have a name for Grandpa! Genichiro already has that over Joe’s parents.
- The episode generally does better about being aware enough about the kids’ exposure to laser fire to make the Digimon get in front of it. Still, there’s one spot early in DarkKnightmon’s first phase that demands a massive eyeroll.
- WereGarurumon’s upgrade does suggest two things in common with MetalGreymon’s that might prepare us for the future. One is the involvement of direct contact with dark energy morphing into these new weapons. Another is that it’s perhaps more about the Digimon than the human in this instance. That could reframe last episode as MetalGreymon hearing a pep talk to not quit… not that that makes the scene any better.
- When the castle blew up, did anyone’s first thought go to whether ElDoradimon was all right?
- Glad that they didn’t shortcut Angemon’s return by having the egg hatch as Tokomon or even Patamon (pause for hard stare at Frontier). He’s all the way back to Poyomon. Even if it doesn’t take 20 episodes like the original series, it’s not going to be a fast recovery.
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