Adventure: (2020) Episode 60: Vikemon Ventures the Glaciers

In this episode, Joe and Mimi try to fight a ship war with no cannon.

You’re never going to be disappointed by Olegmon. The affable pirate was one of the standouts among the Death Generals, believing in things like friendship and honor, even as he accepted his role as a villain. Bringing him back again is like the encore of a concert, just a couple more moments on stage to make the magic last a little longer. That’s the extent of what we get from him, with no chance to maintain the same impact but nothing done to tarnish his legacy. His opponent this time, Joe, rises to the challenge… but once again only after everything in the world conspires to force him into a moment of glory.

This was the problem with Zudomon’s debut episode. For all of the times he thinks of himself as a leader, it always takes wild circumstances and everyone else backing down for him to step into the spotlight. Faced with Olegmon’s first bombardment, Mimi cowers behind Joe while confronting the enemy through him. Blimpmon and BanchoMamemon are conveniently ill-equipped to defend themselves from proper ship-to-ship warfare. And rather than the mindless evil spirits or corrupted minds other kids had to deal with, Joe’s enemy isn’t even all that bad. Hell, the episode is so desperate to let Joe win it doesn’t even shoehorn Taichi until after the climax!

As hilarious as it was, Mimi’s stunt is awfully disappointing for her character. Suffering through Babamon’s abuse was plenty regressive, but at least she’s essentially taken over the school, to the point where she’s helming a Blimpmon for a field trip. Yet at the first sign of trouble, she’s trying to convince Olegmon that Joe’s actually in charge. So much for strong and genuine! Even her hesitation at Olegmon’s offer to trade TonosamaGekomon for their food supply isn’t a good reflection of what should be Mimi at her peak. It’s late in the series and this is just the Digital World equivalent of a hostile business negotiation. This should be right in her wheelhouse and she falters horribly.

After falling on board Olegmon’s ship, Joe figures out that this is his episode, which inspires him to bravely instruct Gomamon to get them out of their cage. There they learn the truth about the crew’s situation: they had to set sail after their island’s resources became depleted. So Olegmon’s not really a bad guy. He’s basically Moana! It’s also the exact same situation Joe and his company found themselves in after their hot springs evaporated (again). Now normally when you realize that the bad guy’s more desperate than evil, you find a way to deal with things peacefully. Joe… takes a different approach.

He challenges Olegmon, this hulking brute now classified as a Mega-level Digimon, to a one-on-one fight with both Mimi’s food supply and their own subservience on the line. It’s made out to be a matter of pride as fellow captains, despite Joe only rising to the title by accident. The battle is flashy, but goes according to the same script we’ve had all season. The only moment of inspiration prompting Zudomon’s evolution to Vikemon is realizing Joe had a strength inside him all along that comes out when necessary. But why, 60 episodes in, was that even in doubt? They’ve certainly had situations that should have demanded everything from Joe; are they suggesting that they didn’t? It’s one thing to expect a character to continue to surpass their previous levels of potential. It’s another to wait this long to realize that maybe this guy isn’t worthless after all.

It would be another thing entirely if Joe’s path out of this predicament strayed from the usual, but was equally effective. Olegmon’s situation sure lent itself to alternative solutions. This would have been a great moment for Joe to realize his form of leadership differs from Taichi’s, and that perhaps instead of being able to summon the strongest Digimon, he found a way to deal with Olegmon his own way. That might have meant scrambling to take his own hostage while clumsily bargaining for peace, but it would have earned everyone’s respect all the same, while showing off the maturity he insists he has. But no, even with a different kind of premise and a different kind of character, no matter which directions the crests point, all the paths apparently lead the same way.

My Grade: C+

Loose Data:

  • Mimi having everything made of leaves has been a silly running gag this entire series, but the teacup made of leaves raises questions.
  • Maybe it’s a clumsy translation thing, but Kabukimon attributes his assurance that there is warmer land to the south to hearsay. That’s not the kind of reliable sourcing you’d like before packing up and moving everybody.
  • You can tell Joe’s just about done with everything when he doesn’t even fight back against Mimi controlling him.
  • Joe must have not been thorough enough in his story since Mimi was so hesitant to risk TonosamaGekomon’s life to keep everyone else fed. Not saying she should have jettisoned him, but his being tied up on the mast shouldn’t have disrupted her rescue plan as much as it did.
  • If it were any series other than this one, we would be confident that what happened to the hot spring and Olegmon’s island (not to mention stuff like Junkmon’s volcano erupting) were all connected to the Great Catastrophe. This series we can’t assume this is all building up to something bigger even though it absolutely should be.
  • It’s the perfect effect for the episode, but my how well Joe’s thick layered coat billows in the breeze.
  • We’re not sure if their digivices reveal the levels of the Digimon they look up, but given how big and imposing Olegmon is, Joe didn’t do himself any favors bothering to let Ikkakumon attack him. Even Olegmon chides him for not going straight to Zudomon.

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