Perhaps the most relieving part of this string of filler hasn’t been the shift to lighthearted stories and lack of exhausting life-or-death situations. Maybe it’s because Taichi was relegated to second fiddle status as the show threw the other kids a bone. Now that the bottle has spun his way again, he’s back to consuming all the oxygen in the room and stifling any attempt at enjoyable content. Some eeks through thanks to the sheer zaniness and stupidity of the guest enemies, but the zaniness and stupidity Taichi himself provides is far less amusing. Not only is his stupidity utterly shameful for a Digimon protagonist at this point in the series, but the show’s lackluster effort to portray it as endearing leaves us wondering how to draft our apology letter to Tagiru Akashi.
Bad decisions are the powerhouses of character development. Kid does something dumb, kid pays for it, kid learns lesson. While we love our deeper flaws and repressive childhood traumas, bonehead mistakes are free real estate. Sometimes they even bring out the deeper flaws (yeah, we miss SkullGreymon too)! For the first half of this episode, all Taichi does is make bad decisions. When he learns that Joe and Gomamon were taken in two different directions, instead of exhibiting a lick of common sense and calling for backup, he and Agumon split up, denying him any firepower and denying his partner any chance of evolution. It is a lapse in judgment totally in character for this moron, and hardly the last one he makes here, but also one that needs to be recognized as a disaster in the making.
Like Hunters, if the main character isn’t going to grow, the job falls to the episode’s guest ally. Nohemon is defeated because he failed at his job of guarding the water source in town once factioning took hold and things got ugly. Which makes sense because scarecrows are pretty useless once the birds aren’t afraid of them. He doesn’t believe in Taichi either, but shows him the way since he has nothing better to do. Until his big shot at the end, he doesn’t actually do anything other than give Taichi bad advice. Even that only works because of a lucky break, but if he wrests some control back in the end it’s something.
If pointless episodes like these are going to find any value, it’s in serving to make its featured characters more likable. They’re often a necessary evil early on as we learn about the characters and begin to root for them. This far in, there’s no reason to swallow Taichi’s mistakes. He’s a bad decision maker and he should feel bad about it. If he won’t, we have no reason to cheer for his journey. After doing everything wrong and again only pulling out a lucky win at the last minute, he returns home and acts like their teammates getting kidnapped and him weakening his partnership to save them alone wasn’t a big deal. Yamato absolutely should punch him in the face.
My Grade: D+
- This is the first time in the anime we have reason to pay attention to Nohemon, and talking through the crow rather than the face is is a fun touch.
- Nohemon asks if Joe was the wimpy human that got carried away. Taichi says yes. Way to stick up for senpai.
- Taichi also ignores all of the Nohemon’s good reasons not to split up with Agumon and also gets mad when Nohemon calls him a kid. Class act, this one.
- When the episode isn’t about him (and sometimes even if it is), Joe continues to be nothing more than a joke character. Asking for a lawyer? Really?
- If shooting a bow and arrow is as easy as Taichi makes it look, then Nohemon really isn’t that special and should have just found a replacement once his arm got chewed off. Anybody would do.
- Why are the two camps fighting over water when Team Gaossmon has a large enough reservoir that it floods the entire cave when busted open?
- Awfully nice of Tyranomon to stand there like an idiot for a second while Nohemon aims his big shot to stop him.
- Much as Taichi and Agumon should have been overwhelmed and defeated in their efforts, a surprise intervention from the rest of the team would have been too convenient an escape. Having said that, Hikari mumbling her brother’s name in her sleep at the start of the episode and greeting him at the end would have offered enough of a BS excuse for how they knew he was in danger that it could have been tolerated.
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