The Yamato/Gabumon partnership was an source of intrigue early on in the series. The novel idea of having this established relationship for Taichi and Agumon to aspire to generated some early tension and posed questions about how this more experienced pair came to be. Thirty-six episodes later, everyone’s forgotten about that. They’ve had some good moments throughout the show, but nothing capturing the story potential hiding in their past. Out of nowhere, after being absent the last ten episodes, Yamato and Gabumon’s history is finally explored and we discover that it wasn’t all that interesting in the first place.
As we feared, it was indeed the case that Yamato spent several days riding aimlessly through the wilderness and Joe spent several days stuck in a hot spring. Here’s hoping they were able to eat and sleep somehow, and a moment of silence for Joe’s shriveled fingers and toes. Unlike Mimi’s tale of corporate warfare, which included video footage, catching up with Joe and Yamato neither warrants nor receives any fanfare. Joe’s entire story is told to us by him, with only the climax slightly entertaining before getting cut off. Yamato’s only picked up very recently with Gabumon’s capture.
It’s left up to us to observe Yamato’s character development, a negative in that there wasn’t any where we’d normally expect it but a positive in that it plainly does exist. Rather than put it in the story’s resolution where it belongs, it’s in its set-up. For starters, the fact that Yamato agreed to try to rescue all the Digimon from Mephismon is a shift from his prior reluctance with Sora’s crusades. It’s a little different now in that he doesn’t have an excuse to refuse now that Takeru’s in safe hands, but Gabumon didn’t get much of a voice in the earlier debate. This time he’s calling the shots. The bigger note is how he doesn’t hesitate to ask Joe for help. Given how the rescue functions, you can tell he plotted that mission out hoping he could go solo. Acknowledging its impracticality and showing some vulnerability to a team member he’s never taken that seriously is an honest moment for him.
Taking a lesson from Hunters, if we can’t count on the featured character for value, it all comes down to how entertaining the weirdness is. The weirdness may not all be engaging here, but at least there’s plenty of it! They jump right into Gabumon being crucified, as strange a visual as it is disturbing. Mephismon’s creepier here than in his last appearance, which is saying something since his last appearance was in Tamers. This all helps bolster the main story. On its own, it’s pretty hollow, but show Yamato struggling through a painful demonic seal to get to Gabumon, and at least you have a slick package.
My Grade: B-
- As overdramatic as Gabumon’s crucifixion is, it was awfully nice of Mephismon to install a platform for him to stand on. Clearly the point is the ritual and not the cruelty.
- Once again, Yamato is not at all fazed by the Troopmon’s laser fire. The explosion on the other hand…
- Any credit we give the episode for incorporating a Millenniumon shard is taken away with Gomamon clumsily reminding the audience that the shards are connected to the main plot Taichi abandoned two episodes ago.
- While Takeru’s comments would have been far more productive at the end of Yamato’s flashback or layered over his big moment, he does go into more detail about the divorce than the original series gave us. It remains to be seen if that’s going to be at all useful, but it is appreciated.
- The only takeaway I could gather from Yamato declaring Gabumon his first friend is that he only considers Takeru a little brother. It is something different, but does create a point of separation between the bros that could be explored further, because Takeru probably wouldn’t hesitate in calling Yamato a friend.
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