Adventure: (2020) Episode 65: The Great Catastrophe, Negamon

In this episode, it turns out the internet is responsible for corrupting Negamon to the point of pursuing total destruction. Yeah, that sounds about right.

From the way it was introduced last time, it was easy to fear that Negamon would be a mindless force of destruction like Nidhoggmon or Millenniumon. Now that we’ve seen him in action, it sure seems to be. Thankfully, it had an ace up its sleeve: a hype man! With the kids trapped and helpless, Algomon does the sensible thing and spends the entire time explaining what Negamon is and why it’s like this. And as far as tragic backstories go, we’ve had a lot worse. It’s still a long slog with a disappointing finish, despite the efforts of the partner Digimon to offer actual entertainment, but at this point having a villain that’s anything more complex than “it’s just evil” is worth acknowledging.

You also have to give it some begrudging credit for isolating the kids from their Digimon. That’s a tactic that doesn’t get utilized often enough, and a spooky tentacle pulling the Chosen Ones into an unreachable void is an effective way to kick things off. It’s uncomfortable and terrifying for the kids, and super jarring for the Digimon. It may have even taken them out if not for the digivices. Maybe all the chatter was awkward conversation after an unexpected survival. Either way, actually providing a reason they’d survive disintegration is a marked improvement from the kids’ unexplained ability to withstand laser fire, explosions and molten lava throughout the series.

Once there, Algomon presents Negamon as one representing the balance and cycling of all the forces of the Digital World. While the idea of a background maintenance deity going rogue is a Digimon mainstay, this interpretation is the first genuinely unique Digital World mechanic the series has given us since it presented how the human world network connecting to it. To Negamon, the Digital World is a series of processes, leaning into the endless death and rebirth of Digimon to give the world a sort of unending pulse that cycles through endlessly without leading to anything. All of the triumphs and tragedies of the world are just the peaks and valleys of an endless wave, the will to survive and urge to destroy just programmed instincts. The new perspective is appreciated, but the real important takeaway is that it confirms the notion of Negamon’s neutrality and demanded an extra push to make it villainous.

That comes from the Digital World’s connection to the human world. While the digivices connected to allegedly human children to elevate the potential in Digimon, Negamon found… the internet. To no one’s surprise, it found all its negative elements and allowed it to corrupt it into something that desired total destruction. As basic and as cynical as that sounds, there’s no denying an underlying reality to it, and the network’s reaction to the various real world crises earlier in the show suggested a panicked idiocy that supports this conclusion. It’s trite, but it also lends itself to an easy resolution where the internet shows positivity and support towards the Chosen as they fight Negamon once it begins affecting the human world. That note of hope will be important as Digimon has never lent itself towards cynical conclusions. As dire as Appmon’s warnings about AI were, it still ended with a message that it and humanity can co-exist.

Of course, this sort of pontificating makes for an incredibly dry experience. Thankfully the earthbound Digimon present us with something completely different. Their comically exaggerated efforts to launch themselves up into the void are a shock to the system, totally out of place from this kind of episode. Thank goodness. It’s tempting to roll your eyes at the idea of all eight partners loaded into Garbemon’s cannon or that Searchmon would be able to launch them far enough to matter. But then it loads and launches Komondomon, who flings them the rest of the way. At that point it’s beyond rationalization and you just have to marvel at the spectacle.

There’s nothing redeeming once they draw close. The kids give their usual shallow platitudes about not giving up, which reaches the Digimon and leads to an endless string of stock evolution sequences that will make you wonder if this is Loss. Between them are standard shots of blocking big lasers and one-shotting Algomon. It’s disappointing not just in how it’s presented, but without Algomon to speak for it we’re left with just Negamon. As intriguing a story as it has, in the end we might still be stuck with another mindless force of destruction.

My Grade: B

Loose Data:

  • Nice attention to detail with Lopmon and Tailmon finally getting to meet. Given their histories the reunion should have more emotional impact, but there are more important things at hand. But if this were Frontier the sexual tension would have been undeniable.
  • Boy, there are some serious “trapped by Apocalymon” vibes coming from that white void. Makes you relieved that Negamon and Apocalymon have drastically different tragic backstories.
  • Seeing the real world at the end should be filling us with excitement like we’re going to get something akin to the real world arc of original Adventure or even Savers. It’s going to feel more like its brief appearances in the climax of Frontier and Xros Wars, with the likely addition of that “everyone sends supportive emails” scene of Our War Game.

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  1. At this point I'm more excited to see this banal/repetitive series finally come to an end.

  2. This show is overly safe/milquetoast but I like the obscuremons

  3. What is this anime. Why does it go out its way to show off below the standard in story and just plain ol' characterization. Why does it just bluntly ignore everything that needed to be there.. Just for some high quality animation?
    Maybe in the end. This was a simple dare. A message. "Digimon is for kids" and maybe "You guys want bad? You thought Adventure Tri was BAD? OH BUDDY WAIT YOU SEEN NOTHING TODAY "
    But I do like the effort when it's given. Devimon is far more menacing. The crests are awesome as always and well come on. Millenniumon. Just a few left then poof. We are done my new friends!

  4. Really it's frankly absurd how this show keeps on recycling the same stuff over and over again.
    Having a big mindless baddie who steadily goes through various forms in a lazy attempt to build hype. But will eventually end up being defeated by a stronger attack courtesy of some DEM, usually due to Taichi/tagalongs believing in themselves.

    The plot (or what passes for one) clearly is being made up on the fly. With sudden info dumps like this trying to inject in some degree of substance, but will ultimately be meaningless in the long run. Because at the end of the day all that really matters is seeing the likes of Wargreymon/Omegamon doing cool things...