In this episode, Joe returns to the incredibly hostile hot spring he spent a couple weeks in earlier, only to discover that it remains incredibly hostile.
When we saw Patamon and Tailmon unable to evolve to fight Burpmon, that was a compelling twist. When the team discussed it and decided the remedy was a trip to a hot spring, we rolled our eyes. When we recall that what little we saw of Joe’s week in said hot spring didn’t seem all that relaxing or peaceful, we wonder why he’d want to drag two powerless Digimon and their eight-year-old partners for a visit. Maybe we’d be more inclined to indulge ourselves in the ridiculous moments here if this was an unexpected pit stop in a longer journey. But this was deliberately teed up, an intended destination in a subplot that’s probably going to be important. That makes it hard to call it anything besides a flimsy premise yielding flimsy results.
What we do get is TonosamaGekomon taking Gomamon for his bride after taste-testing everyone on the team. Subjecting Gomamon to all the “maiden forced to marry evil ruler” tropes provide almost all the moments of joy in the entire episode, which is pretty unsettling when you think about it. You would think there would be a million ways for someone as crafty as Gomamon to talk his way into a more favorable position. In an episode meant to feature Joe, you would hope so. But instead he just endures the humiliation until he sees Joe’s obvious trap and manipulates TonosamaGekomon into it. That’s not nothing, but with how exceptional bonds are commonplace and expected in this show, it’s not very much.
As if Joe’s prior experience in the hot spring wasn’t confusing and unfocused enough, he runs into the Nanimon and Blossomon again and swears to help them. Boy, wouldn’t it be nice if we could have actually seen what happened between them so we know what to make out of this relationship now? We know Joe was terrified of these guys, we know he was stuck with them for more than a week, and we know he escaped not through battle or talking his way out of it, but by shooting off a freaking geyser in the middle of the spring. And yet not only is he happy to return, but he’s willing to forgive the hell he put them through understanding that they need their spring back. Joe makes a big deal of the bond with someone he’s shared a bath with, and it’s not like they don’t need his help, but that mantra does a lot of heavy lifting this episode and we never got the context to understand why he should still believe in that.
It adds up to a lack of effort in everything. Joe’s plan doesn’t require a lick of ingenuity, and it goes off without any hitch that might add some suspense. TonosamaGekomon goes down as just another bully, a comically selfish and gullible one at that. His penchant for licking things and claiming brides against their will is outrageous enough for some laughs, but that’s not going to make up for the episode having neither competency nor any real point.
My Grade: D+
- Kabukimon’s song and dance is your typical pomp and hype for a villain, but it becomes additionally dumb when you realize the only point of it is to help TonosamaGekomon steal a bride.
- Monopolizing the only hot spring in the name of being the only one good enough for it isn’t such a smart idea when TonosamaGekomon can barely survive outside of one. Great plan limiting your mobility and practically begging to be overthrown.
- Tailmon, who is particularly annoying trying to narrate this nonsense with a straight face, comments that TonosamaGekomon and Kabukimon’s oblivious adherence to old ritual stems from partially absorbing info from the human world. This is the first time we’ve heard of the human world influencing individual behavior in the Digital World, which would have been a neater concept if introduced earlier and not in a situation better explained by “some Digimon just act weird.”
- We all saw TonosamaGekomon using his tongue to pretend he’s peeling off Gomamon’s imaginary kimono, right? Shame Mimi wasn’t there to direct that.
- We reserve to drop the episode another half grade if it turns out all this actually did help Tailmon and Patamon evolve.
Enjoying Digimon: System Restore? Support the site by joining our Patreon! Special thanks to Patrons Sofia and Laura