Adventure: (2020) Episode 42: King of Inventors, Garbemon

In this episode, if you thought Koshiro was a badass with a computer, wait until you see him with a rubber tube and tempura absorbent.

This run of story-light, character-focused stories has been much more entertaining than the long drag of Taichi vs. the world. At the same time, this extended string with no plot puts these episodes under increased pressure to deliver. Especially now that we’re back where we started, having gone through all the non-Yagamis to bring us another spotlight on Koshiro to make up for the last one being so lousy. The story itself is as standard as they come as they meet a new friend with a problem, then solve that problem for him. There aren’t any real surprises, but some interesting role assignments and the way they’re explored draws out enough charm and intrigue to get by.

The first thing it does right is understand that even an episode that doesn’t advance the story can still reveal things about the world and the characters that might be relevant. That falling refrigerator we saw a couple episodes ago? Just the first sprinkle in a rainstorm of falling real-world artifacts that started since the black lightning cleared up. Less troublesome weather for sure, but no less a mystery and one Garbemon is determined to explore. It plays with a previously introduced concept in a more full, more fulfilling way, establishing it and opening the gates for any sort of exploration, be it the next inter-world plot crisis for Koshiro to fix or an excuse to have the characters react to random streetcars and vending machines.

If there’s anything that can be called a surprise, it’s that Garbemon (who we’ll remind everyone is a blob of scum in a trash can) is likable, genuinely committed to science, and has enough of a sad backstory to raise questions about his motivations. He takes a shine to all the real world junk raining down on him, including the loads of tech Taichi and Koshiro bring with them. You’re expecting him to either let his need for revenge consume him or go overboard trying to reverse engineer their digivices or Koshiro’s laptop… something validating the use of what’s always been a stock villain Digimon. Instead his fervor shines through, any conflict between seeking science or seeking revenge never gets dramatic, and he turns out to be just a fun character we want to see more of.

Naturally, Koshiro vibes with him instantly. It’s one thing watching Koshiro playing superhacker, gathering information from randos on the internet and piecing together a solution. It’s a solitary act, often excluding even Tentomon, leaving him with nobody to play off of. With Garbemon, their mutual yearning for discovery bounce off each other, elating both. It doesn’t raise the energy the way a high stakes situation should, but there’s an comforting appreciation for the scientific method that lets Koshiro operate in his element without confining him in front of a screen.

It also shows off his ingenuity in a more tangible way, making him get his hands (and, in this junkyard, everything else) dirty. His interventions with the tanker and ISS situations languished because we couldn’t see what he was doing. He gave his reports, citing information and contacts we can’t see, intervened in ways we only vaguely understand, and only involved the other kids and the Digimon at the last minute. Here we get to watch him play MacGyver and show off his ingenuity in the heat of battle, putting pieces of his device together and using it for as simple an objective as stopping an enemy Digimon. All in the thick of a battle where AlturKabuterimon and MetalGreymon occupy the enemy and provide constant assistance where needed. It’s a far better look and continues to show that Koshiro is better utilized offline.

The episode was always going to be limited in nature, and it doesn’t go out of its way to be ambitious. That’s not a bad thing, as the idea of Garbemon going off the deep end seems untrue to his character. But other elements, like how to process surviving such a horror and moving on, only get touched lightly. Hit that more forcefully, especially the way that topic seemed to touch Koshiro, and we’d really be cooking with oil. It’s still a pleasant episode in a long run of them, and while we can’t fault it for not trying to punch above its weight, we wonder how long the show will continue sandbagging.

My Grade: B

Loose Data:

  • This is now the third straight episode splitting up a united team. While playing with characters more directly, it’s still costing us chances to really play with the dynamic of the team as a whole. Let’s hope they stick together next time the plot escalates so we can finally see it in action.
  • Glad to see that Taichi is gracious enough to recognize that this really is Koshiro’s moment and to only have a bare minimum presence, jumping in when he needed to fight but being generally useless everywhere else.
  • We have to hope that DIM card Koshiro grabbed from the junk pile will turn out to be relevant later and not just cheap crossover marketing.
  • Boy, Koshiro’s reaction to the brief discussion on survivor’s guilt sure suggests that that’s relevant to him. One of those notable character moments you really feel like they should have expanded on already.
  • The oil absorbent “katemete poi poi” is such a specific item described with so much detail that it was very obvious it would be relevant later.
  • Tyumon continues to be the character you don’t really think about at all until he suddenly comes out of nowhere with a boat full of loaded drama. His bravery after the loss of all his comrades didn’t need any emphasis, his insistence on helping Koshiro saying it all.

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  1. Meh, Meh...

    I feel in light of all the non-stop action you are indeed being a lot more lenient with glorified (and boring) filler you would have slapped a 'D' on in any other series. This show is just spinning it's wheels now for me...

  2. I remember hating this filler episode more, but now I strangely like it. I do wish something of value happened outside the USB (for better or worse)