The Piximon Cometh (Digimon Adventure Episode 18)
Three crests down, four more to go. The Digidestined seem to be progressing smoothly through this third arc in Digimon Digital Monsters and they manage to keep giving Etemon and his lackeys the slip. The only problem, they still don’t know how to reach the next level of Digivolution and since their encounter with Devimon on File Island, Tokomon still hasn’t been able to Digivolve back to his rookie form Patamon, let alone his champion form Angemon.
After collecting the third crest, Mimi’s Crest of Sincerity, the gang are once again travelling through Server’s desert, musing about their destinies and how they can Digivolve further. It seems that most of the group believe they will be able to Digivolve once again when all of the crests have been collected (which is in line with the whole one episode, one move toward arc-completion motif).
While they are travelling along, a mass of black wires (Etemon’s mode of corrupting Digimon as opposed to Devimon’s black gears) surface from below the sands, bringing an infected Kuwagumon with them. This time Kuwagumon is much more powerful and larger than the one they fought at the series’s beginning. Kuwagumon captures Tai and Agumon who are both too afraid to Digivolve for fear of unleashing Skullgreymon’s nihilistic, destructive power once more. Luckily for them, they have a guardian angel in the form of the diminutive ultimate-level Digimon Piximon, who appears and defeats Kuwagumon.
Piximon berates the gang for being unlike the Digidestined he had imagined. They aren’t acting too courageous, and often, it is the children who protect their Digimon instead of the other way around like it’s supposed to be. He brings them to his hideout to train with him and the gang is relieved to find his home in a space-warp hidden from Etemon. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a tropical jungle either (they’ve been sojourning much too long in the desert). Piximon gives the Digidestined menial chores to do while Tai and Agumon must find their way out of a pitch-black cave of memory.
Whilst therein, Izzy and Matt go searching for their crests, alone, and at night, without their Digimon. While on the way to the crests, Matt asks Izzy why he wants to get the crest. He replies that he is intrigued to see Kabuterimon’s next Digivolved form. Matt replies that he himself wants to Digivolve, but not literally. He reflects on his desire to learn more about himself and he wants to become stronger and more courageous. These words will, I believe, be important in the development of Matt’s arc, but also in the realization of how to Digivolve to the next level for the whole team. Not only must the Digimon grow more courageous and learn to trust in one another more, but the Digidestined must do so as well for everyone to reach the next level and defeat Etemon.
Later, when Matt and Izzy find themselves down a well that holds their crests, they manage to get themselves in trouble too as the well is outside of Piximon’s safe domain. Etemon picks up on their trail and sends Tyrannomon to engage the two in combat. The others, minus Agumon and Tai, come to rescue but are unable to overwhelm Tyrannomon. Too weak to fight back, the Digidestined hide behind Piximon’s protective shield and wait for Tai and Agumon to return from their journey into the Heart of Darkness to face their fears head on.
In the cave, Tai and Agumon awaken to find themselves in a small boat upon a river Styx between reality and memory. Tai recognizes a bridge from his youth in Highton View Terrace and engages with the memory. He and Agumon find a young Tai falling off of his bicycle and stating, “I’m never gonna learn to ride my bike.” He is afraid of falling and hurting himself. Tai and Agumon guide him along and push the bike until little Tai has gained enough speed to take over on his own. This vignette has helped Tai and Agumon to realize that their impotence in the face of Kuwagumon was due to their fear of losing control. They now know that working together and believing in one another is the key to overcoming their fear. They escape the cave, face Tyrannomon squarely, Digivolve to Greymon and leave Piximon’s domain, both of them now stronger and more self-assured than before.
As for the English title of this episode, it is a reference to Eugene O’Neill’s play, The Iceman Cometh. But I see no real parallels between the two narratives. Probably just some odd choice on the part of a producer. That book is about lost souls living their lives at the bottom of bottles of whiskey while on skid-row. They create deceptions for themselves and pipe dreams that give them meaning in their lives, even though they know these to be fictions. Seems more akin to the story of my own life than to the lives of our Digidestined. Bummer.
Till next time,
The Digidestined Cody
[Next up, Datamon!]