This is the kind of story that’s easy to appreciate. Technically there isn’t an actual villain, technically the kids stir up their own trouble, and technically the conflict is resolved without violence. Everyone carries a real warmth and desire to move forward and do the right things, from the villagers to Shakkoumon to the Cupimon of the past. It’s also really nice to witness a genuine effort at rebuilding society in the wake of Millenniumon. But for all the good feelings, the main objective is for Sora to activate her crest power. We’re supposed to believe it comes from a unique display of love. It actually comes from Sora and Piyomon having superpowers that we have neither seen before nor should expect them to have.
It also makes Sora’s sentiments about doing more than fighting a little disingenuous. Not because they haven’t demonstrated that: everyone’s been shown trying to help Digimon communities in a constructive capacity. We can get behind the kids striving to be positive influences and helping out wherever they can. But it doesn’t change the fact that all of these efforts become violent in the end. Mimi, Yamato, Hikari, Koshiro, and Joe all activated their crests during or as a result of battle. And even though Takeru and Sora had peaceful intentions, Takeru’s activated during a test of strength and Sora still resolved her issue with Hououmon’s signature attack. If helping out Digimon in ways other than shooting at the threats to them was the intention all along, they could have been showing that since the arc started.
One thing that is shown too early is Shakkoumon’s true nature. All the talk of a “benevolent Digimon” and Neemon calling out Shakkoumon as such gives away the twist before it’s allowed to become interesting. That wouldn’t be the first time such foreshadowing proved to be inaccurate, but Mimi singing a song to wake up TonosamaGekomon only for it to be hostile was itself the twist. By suggesting that Shakkoumon is a force of good before seeing him shooting everything in sight, it tamps down the impact of Sora realizing this isn’t his true nature and doing something about it. That made it too easy for everyone to accept Sora’s vision rather than having somebody (somebody, of course, being Taichi) continuing to choose violence.
Sora’s vision simplifies her path forward to a degree that makes it hard to give her much credit for it. Once she knows the full story, of course she knows what she has to do. Anyone blasted with an info dump that vivid would have done the same thing. That makes it really easy to jump into the fight, get Taichi to stand down, and resolve it the right way. We value the kids for doing the hard things, and to do them the hard way with the abilities ordinary children could potentially have (again… Hikari aside). And with the focus on Sora’s ability to empathize, a more natural, more demanding path surely would exist. Going the flashy, easy route feels like too much of a cheat.
My Grade: B-
- This is the second straight episode where we follow Taichi as he finds the featured characters in the middle of something. It’s more preferable to introduce and frame everything from the outsider’s perspective, rather than having Taichi randomly butt into something another kid already started and developed.
- It’s kind of mind-boggling that Taichi hasn’t met Neemon yet considering he was introduced in episode 11, but that totally tracks.
- Aw, the Pomumon taught themselves to fly after episode 40. Feel free to insert a cheap joke about them getting more development than some of the kids.
- The sequence of them trying to bring down Shakkoumon’s stump takes forever. It’s one of the first worrying signs for the episode.
- The doll Sora picks up is supposed to be a dogu figure, clay dolls from ancient Japan that inspire Shakkoumon’s form.
- Man, Neemon is going all in with his chanting to try to calm down Shakkoumon. Good effort there, buddy.
- Did… Garudamon just take a Gaia Force point blank? And survive with minimal damage? Can we talk about that?
- Sora at the start of the episode: our role isn’t just about fighting. Sora at the end of the episode: we are totally going to kick the Great Catastrophe’s ass!
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