Playing with fire would be the appropriate cliche for this one. It doesn’t just apply to the situation itself, although the visuals of Taichi and MetalGreymon essentially going feral to stop the Devimon form that already had counts. It also applies to how tradition and character applies to what’s going on here. Do we know or care enough about Taichi to get invested in what may or may not count as a dark evolution? Is the aura of WarGreymon acceptable enough to avoid calling it a cheap copout or premature evolution? The answer to both of those is yes, but only barely. The execution ends up a success, but in an unsettling way where you expect it to trip over its laziness again.
Another simple thing they get right is conveying actual danger. Last time the lack of any consequence to getting hit by Devimon’s attack made it tiresome to watch. Here there’s no ambiguity about Taichi and Yamato getting their asses kicked. While their lack of depth has been a hindrance, they at least have enough of a camaraderie to care about each other and be concerned when the other goes down. Taichi shoves Yamato off knowing things would get dicey. Yamato responds to MetalGreymon taking a nasty hit, driving WereGarurumon to attack and take an even nastier one. DoneDevimon’s strike looks bad on sight, and sure enough, Yamato goes down and WereGarurumon turns back into Gabumon. We’re affected, so we buy that Taichi and Takeru would be too.
But is Taichi so worried about Yamato that the darkness would consume him and MetalGreymon to the extent is does here? That’s debatable, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s not entirely about Yamato’s fall (or even Tokomon barely clinging to a light barrier). That’s because we do know Taichi is worried about this crisis and is hell-bent to stop it, enough to ignore common sense and rush blindly into danger whenever necessary. To him, Devimon is responsible for this disaster, and now it looks like no matter what they throw at him, he comes back more awful. Think of Yamato going down not as the moment, but rather the last straw. What we’re seeing here is two dozen episodes of stress manifesting into an aura of twisted brutality.
You have to refrain from wondering if this counts as a dark evolution along the likes of SkullGreymon or Megidramon. The imagery of Mugendramon and the visceral fight with DoneDevimon that ensues evoke one, but it’s more appropriate to call it an aura borne from the dark miasma enveloping both Taichi and MetalGreymon. And the worst of it only emerges as MetalGreymon’s reaction to DoneDevimon consuming Taichi. That part’s on him. Distance yourself from history and you can better appreciate this nasty clash of two forces of evil. Like the Megidramon fight in Tamers, it’s uncomfortable to watch, riveting stuff regardless of context.
My Grade: B+
- The series is getting wide praise for showing the kids always riding their Digimon into battle. The need for Taichi to push Yamato off to avoid taking serious damage shows why that is and always has been a bad idea. Showing unity with your Digimon partner is nice once in a while, but do it too often and someone’s bound to get hurt.
- We love the situation in the network as a check on this being the climax of the arc. With that swarm of Algomon and the tanker crisis being not quite dead, there’s more to resolve and that’s good to know. We hate the situation in the network because it now looks like a carbon copy of the first three episodes, and with none of the participants adding anything new it’s just sort of tiresome. What I would have given for one of the others to ask Koshiro how they stopped it last time to watch him die inside.
- DoneDevimon may be a mindless shell of himself, but he seems delighted and amused that Taichi is reacting the way he is. It’s a good look for the abomination.
- Patamon’s cute little transformation sequence at the end came out of nowhere and added something to smile about after such an exhausting fight. One of the few times the show recognized the need for some levity and brought the right tone in doing so.
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