Adventure: (2020) Episode 40: Strike! The Killer Shot

In this episode, the one bright side to denying Sora any character development is she can continue to be cool soccer girl in perpetuity.

Back when Sora was first introduced, her inclination for action and instant rapport with Piyomon were appreciated, but came with reservations about the direction her character arc would take. Fast forward thirty-six episodes… and nothing has changed. This is a spiritual successor to that episode, establishing her good communication with Taichi, willingness to fight for causes she believes in, and a lot of fun moments where she gets to kick some ass. Thing is, we’ve seen all of those already. What we haven’t seen yet is a good indicator of what they’re doing with this character. Like the earlier episodes focusing on Mimi, Yamato, and Joe, the lack of any development in otherwise enjoyable and much-needed spotlights is frustrating and feels like a wasted opportunity. But like episode four, we’re so enamored with this iteration of Sora that we’re not sure how much we care.

Both the original series and the reboot introduced Sora the same way: Taichi’s soccer friend operating on a similar wavelength as him, willing to go all out to protect everyone she cares about. In the original series, of course, her less girly attributes were a facade built up due to some serious mother issues and her actual nature embraced her own maternal side, something foreshadowed from the very beginning. This Sora intimates none of that. Her fierce attitude stems from a will to protect the weak, a round of soccer invigorates her so much her passion for it must be genuine, and the only sign of mommy issues is complaining about a lecture after she disappeared during an evacuation order. Otherwise her relationship with Piyomon and her openness fighting for what she loves suggests no such baggage.

This creates a dilemma. Original Sora’s development from petulant wannabe tomboy to loving mom friend experimenting to find herself is a striking and well crafted character arc, even through recent entries tri. and Kizuna (or at least its Memorial short). But looking at the end product, an embrace of femininity when her earliest perceptions were an antithesis of it can come off as disappointing and regressive. After the first arcs of Adventure, it’s shocking she surrenders the “coolest girl” crown to Mimi so decisively. It’ll be hard to topple reboot Mimi in that regard, but Sora’s antics here make it competitive, at the expense of anything interesting about her character. It lacks any nuance, it doesn’t develop, it’s heavily exaggerated… and it’s a hell of a lot more entertaining that what the original Sora becomes.

As much fun as she is to watch, the failure to capitalize on the opportunity to do something with her can’t be given a pass. Her original development reinforces that. Not because we should expect or demand she progress in that direction, but that we know how easy it is to progress her in any direction. Her unsatisfying landing point even offers an added urge to see her take a journey that doesn’t sacrifice her fire. But to take that, she needs flaws to overcome, and the fact that she hasn’t shown any (at least none presented as flaws), can’t be ignored because we like watching her kick a soccer ball.

Really, this would have been fantastic as an earlier episode, especially when it was Taichi and Sora running the show more or less on their own. It’s the kind of story that defines a relationship rather than embellishes and progresses one, which is the point we should be at. We love seeing Taichi and Sora’s rapport, but we’ve loved it from the beginning. While the added attention to it is appreciated, it doesn’t add anything new and looks out of place when the entire team is together and excuses have to be created to leave the other six on the ground.

At least the other six find ways to provide amusement. The falling fridge subplot is as pointless as the main plot, but at least it draws Yamato into his harmless confrontational mode that never disappoints. And as much as they waste the chance to develop Sora, Pomumon gets as more than a single-episode character is usually afforded, overcoming a sense of helplessness and poor flying skills to make a real difference. So it’s clear that the show does know how to develop characters. We’re just left waiting for them to develop the characters we want.

My Grade: B-

Loose Data:

  • Wait, so Sora is not only playing, but she’s also the official? I’ve heard of calling your own fouls, but that seems questionable.
  • He’s probably had it with him, but this is the first time Joe’s bugout bag was mentioned directly. And Sora raided it to get a whistle.
  • All the speculation about the floating island and not one of them wondered if that might be a fragment of Cloud Continent still hanging up there.
  • Pomumon is inspired by fruit, so being able to be converted into one makes as much sense as anything in the Digital World, but it’s vague how that same process also works to convert Taichi and MetalGreymon.
  • This episode is masterful at cute background stuff, particularly Takeru and Hikari playing volleyball with the Digimon while Yamato and Mimi have their silly fruit juice argument.
  • Bold of them to disrupt an evil fruit conversion operation, then taking a bunch of fruit home with them under the assumption that it’s all fair trade and not made of other Digimon.

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  1. I think the writers got the memo about structure all wrong. Instead of starting out with some lighter episodes to establish the world, the characters and the relationships between them, then increase the tension, give them countdowns, crisis to solve, excuses to bring Omegamon, they're doing the exact opposite. By episode 2 or 3 they were stopping a missile from hitting Tokyo, now they're eating burgers with fries and playing soccer. It's weird.

  2. This episode didn't really click for me. Maybe because (like it's been pointed out) everything about 2020's plot feels like it's been thrown in a blender. Going from arc after arc of virtually non-stop high stakes action to a string of meandering filler is just jarring. Even if it allowed Sora to finally get some attention it's otherwise pointless. Even then they still have to involve Taichi and Metalgreymon in the final battle anyway, rather then give it totally to Garudamon. Plus at this point they can easily just pull Wargreymon on a whim when it suits the plot, rather then waste time dragging these fights out...

  3. I'm just glad a cursed character like Sora got an unironcally good episode after so many duds in zoomerland.