Adventure: (2020) Episode 46: The Sword of Hope

In this episode, Devimon does his old pal Angemon a solid and supplies him with even more backstory angst, reasons to doubt himself, and the age old question: “Are you tired of being nice?”

There’s always been a strong argument that the two most compelling characters in this series are Patamon and Tailmon. As the featured angels in the ancient war, they carry the show’s mythology with them, wearing some visible scars as they try to navigate a new conflict where they’ve been put at such an initial disadvantage. In Frontier, the angelic palace intrigue was always more interesting than the kids’ battle against Lucemon. This show fell into a similar trap, but it helps to have Seraphimon and Ophanimon be active leaders and combatants instead of cute mascots. While Angemon’s drama here comes from a weird source in a weird vessel that could have been used better elsewhere, it’s nice to finally have something we can sink our teeth into again.

Speaking of Frontier: Sephirothmon! His role then gives a certain trepidation about his function now, especially the whole “battling the shadows of the past” concept that dragged out to mixed results in his first appearance. You could absolutely imagine the Chosen getting sucked into different spheres again, splitting the team up for the umpteenth time as they’re all subjected to mostly self-contained turmoil. But instead it’s four of the kids pulled into a single sephirah, sent by the Vademon to gather data. They need this data to revive the fallen… okay, that part’s pretty Frontier too.

The important thing is we’re seeing the Vademon and presented with tangible signs of their plan to revive Millenniumon. Other than Mephismon, there’s been no sign of any progress in this supposedly urgent crisis. Having this sort of recurring threat would at least help frame these episodes better rather the parade to nowhere we’ve been watching. Sephirothmon gathering data for the Vademon instead of his own selfishness makes him feel that much more relevant. Inside, overwhelming the good guys with massive numbers of previously beaten shadows of foes presents a unique threat and offers some fun callbacks, even if it gets old fast.

This leads to Devimon, showing up in sequence and, true to his original form, far more expressive than all the other shadow clones. It also derails all the fun with Sephirothmon, which could have provided a decent conflict on its own thanks to its ties to the actual villain. They’re pretty loose with the logistics of how a real-ish version of Devimon shows up among all the weakass clones. Honestly, it’s better believing it’s Angemon’s own inner doubts that give him voice. Just as Angemon’s presence triggered Devimon, the reverse holds true as well. Turns out there’s a reason for that!

Let’s be real: Devimon emerging from a dormant Angemon is a pretty useless thing to learn now. His moment has passed and this history lesson comes long after we could have appreciated it. But as pointless as it is for Devimon, it’s another level of depth for Angemon. Patamon’s already struggled with confidence in the face of the overwhelming responsibility in front of him.
Just because he has stronger (and seemingly interchangeable) forms doesn’t mean that he’ll be free of all doubt. Devimon is a reflection of that, all the negative feelings Angemon’s forced to repress in order to carry out his sacred duties. Also a healthy dose of “light requires darkness” and equal balance and all that junk that took original Takeru two full seasons to wrap his head around.

Even with the shambling corpse of Devimon as messenger, it all adds up to Angemon getting into his own head again and we are always here for that action! It’s strong enough to nearly consume him, steered to the symbolic act of murdering his human partner. Of course, Takeru’s having none of that. In most series, it’s the Digimon who has to help the child navigate whatever issues are holding them back. In this partnership, Takeru has consistently been the rock pulling Patamon/Angemon from whatever brink he finds himself in. In the form of an eight-year-old boy refusing to budge with a corruption of his partner bearing down on him, it’s downright badass. He trusts Angemon more than Angemon trusts himself, and that’s the sort of thing that inspires Ultimate evolutions.

Intimating Devimon’s continued presence only works if the show continues to poke at Patamon’s problems. We know how unreliable that is. But it’s the kind of character torment we should be getting more often, and there are enough hints dropped (looking at you, creepy BlackSeraphimon allusion from episode 32) that the argument might not be whether Patamon is the best character, but whether he should be considered the main character.

My Grade: B+

Loose Data:

  • Better Know a Sephira! Not really, just felt good to say again. I’m entitled to callbacks too.
  • Another callback was that just as it was here, the Sephirothmon arc in Frontier started with the kids traveling along a rocky ridge. It was… much darker though.
  • Aw, there was like a half-second moment where we remembered Ogremon was a whole thing.
  • Greymon, Garurumon, and Kabuterimon are all prompted to evolve to Ultimate once they hit the corresponding enemies that got them there to begin with.
  • Stupidly hopeful as we may be about the prospect of more Patamon angst, Sephirothmon using everyone’s attacks against the quartet on the outside is definitely “weakly explored here, could be potentially interesting later, watch it never happen again” material.
  • There’s some nice NeoDevimon mask imagery going on with corrupted Angemon.

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  1. Colon/2020 Patamon is the most genuinely compelling character in this show. Still felt his episode could've been flashier though.

    1. Not a high bar to surpass really.