Adventure: (2020) Episode 39: Jyagamon, Potato Hell

In this episode, an adorable piece of fluff with wonderful cameos! Burgamon! Kamemon! Lunamon! Pusurimon! We’re going to keep our attention on these because the actual story is phenomenally stupid.

There are times when you just have to throw up your hands, shed any notion of what a competent Digimon story looks like, and enjoy whatever weird ride the show takes you on. There’s a lot to potentially be bothered by with something like this, from continuing to ignore the main plot, to insisting that Joe remain a cartoon exaggeration rather than an actual human, to the odd and persistent mood shifts caused by a befuddling story. If the main draw of Adventure: has been the intense story and wicked action, this is a catastrophic departure. But since that hasn’t been working anyway, we’re just going to sit back and enjoy this one because it’s adorable as all hell.

It’s impossible to ignore the obvious callback to the last time the heroes took a detour to enjoy the fine cooking of Burgamon and TorikaraBallmon in Frontier. This very much evokes early Frontier episodes, before all the twin brother angst and endless Royal Knight battling. It certainly captures that same appeal of showing the Digital World outside of the war, with random Digimon living their lives, visiting roadside fast food stands and getting their vehicles washed. And boy, these are some random Digimon! Like Frontier, this series has been lousy with random cameo appearances. The non-existent stakes let us stop and appreciate the emphasis on adorable Digimon like Kamemon, Muchomon, Lunamon, and Re:Arise mascot Pusurimon.

The main issue with the Frontier Burgamon episode that we’re all going to draw comparisons to was that it was clearly meant to be filler, but the story itself was quietly very serious and under-served by the silliness going on. There is no such confusion here: they are going for total nonsense here and offer up an appropriately pointless story. Potamon is addicted to the restaurant’s French fries, but they’ve been pulled from the menu, leaving him quite… salty. His hangry fury evolves him to Jyagamon and leads to a rampage.
Potamon’s foodie in crime Joe manages to remain a complete joke even with all the cute things they give his character. Even in giving him a little depth in the first thing he’s shown a passion for beyond studies, he still comes off as hapless. It’s a testament to his limited character that snacking on French fries between cram school sessions deepens him. It really sounds more like a nice fan headcanon than a broad expansion of his personality. Still, it’s effective enough to create a bond with Potamon that justifies getting Jyagamon under control rather than just killing him. This Joe is fun to watch and he gets plenty of moments, but gets us no closer to taking him seriously.

Jyagamon’s rampage also delivers the hard action that’s a regrettable requirement in an episode like this. Once he’s attacking, all the warm fuzzies cease and everyone’s running for the hills. Worse yet, Taichi and Koshiro instantly drop into full battle mode, assessing the situation and fretting over the threat of a ring of spinning potatoes. Treating the situation with any degree of credibility after a first act of cute and silly may be in line with your typical episode format, but taking it as far as it does—even if it’s nowhere near the heights of danger this series reaches—betrays the mood. The resolution is only admirable for taking Joe’s ridiculous show of side dish camaraderie to another level and the sweet revelation that Tailmon takes his claim of being leader as genuine. That’s a nice play on Tailmon’s character, but it didn’t require nearly as much dramatics.

Even with the inane premise, poor attempt at transitioning to the action, and continued refusal to give Joe anything meaty, it coasts by on its sense of fun. Goes to show how much more enjoyable things are when the characters are allowed to enjoy themselves. Real nonsense happens often enough in the franchise. But in seasons most known for it like Zero Two, Frontier, and Appmon, it tends to be hit or miss based on where they are in the story and how much we’re itching to get back to the heart of things. In this series, we’ve know what the heart of things looks like. We’re in no rush to get back.

My Grade: B

Loose Data:

  • It’s very weird for a show, especially a Japanese one, to romanticize the idea of the highway rest stop. I’m enough of a road enthusiast to welcome it.
  • Palmon hits on a nice callback to Mimi talking up avocado burgers in episode 16. Feels like it’s been forever since then.
  • Like many of Mimi’s accessories, the boxes this restaurant uses are made of leaves. Apparently it’s the most versatile packaging material around.
  • Let’s not think too hard about Potamon/Jyagamon’s obsession with eating fried potatoes.
  • While we appreciate any opportunity to include Lunamon, the carwash subplot really was one of those tacked on things that you just knew would come back around to tie into the main action somehow. But again, we got some cute bits out of it so we’re not complaining.
  • While it’s hard to care too much about anything happening in this episode, it is strange that they don’t explain why a burger joint would stop selling fries, even if no one eats them. Implications throughout the episode suggest they’re either not in demand, they don’t have the potato supply to support it, or they’re managed by the same people who run Taco Bell.

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  1. When the older kid is the character written to appeal to the younger audience...

  2. It says a lot really when a throwaway excuse of a filler is generally regarded as a series highlight.

    The structure of 2020 has been all over the place frankly. These recent episodes would have been better suited a good ten/twenty installments ago.

    Maybe they should have made it a straight up comedy to begin with.

  3. What, no comparisons to "WereGarurumon's Diner"? :P

    OK, the Burgermon clinch this as a Frontier comparison, but it's amusing to think Ad 2020 looked at the silly setup for that one and was like: "Hold my beer."

    This feels like such a weird concept for Adventure 2020 filler, though. The world so far has been established to be like the Tamers' Digital World, so randomly having a cute little Digimon hangout in the middle of it is like Takato et al suddenly ending up in Frontier's. At least Mimi's foray into the Gogmamon plot had more in common with Orochi's milkshake possession.

    I kind of like it, though. Given so much relentless intensity, it feels like they're willing to slow down more now, relax, and allow a little silliness into the series.

    Also, whoa at Joe wielding the Thor's Hammer. Even the action's not afraid to look silly this time! XD

    "and Re:Arise mascot Pusurimon."

    I never played Digimon Re:Arise, so I had to look up who that Digimon was. Actually, there's a lot of Digimon media I haven't tried yet (haven't seen Applimon, but I'd very much like to).

  4. Zoomerland Joe is still a highlight in this series.