Enter Flamedramon (Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 1)
Yo! Welcome to the first installment of my new essay series on Digimon Adventure 02, the second season of the Digimon Adventure! It’s been three weeks since I concluded my review series of the original series and in the interim I wrote an essay series about the great sci-fi anime Gargantia (So check it out if you haven’t already had the chance!). Now, I’m set for another two and half months of focus on this Digimon once again and hope that you will follow along and review the series alongside me! So, without further ado:
It has been three years since the events of Digimon Adventure 01. The older kids are in now in high school, while T.K. and Kari are in Junior High (7th grade to be precise). T.K.’s family has recently moved into a new apartment building and are switching schools in the process. As T.K. leaves his home to go to class on the first day, he meets Yolei, a young girl about his own age, and Cody, a younger, shy boy (and my alter ego) who both go to the same school. they decide to walk there together and see some kids practicing soccer on the pitch on their way. One is wearing goggles and has spiky hair. He reminds T.K. of Tai. As T.K. enters the school and finds his class, he and Kari are seated together, which makes Davis jealous as he seems to have a sweet spot for Kari and doesn’t like her immediate camaraderie with T.K.
Meanwhile, trouble has been brewing over past few months in the Digital World. A human being has entered the world and has a powerful new Dark Digivice that prevents Digimon from Digivolving by draining their power and making them too weak to fight back effectively. He has been using black rings to capture and enslave powerful Digimon to create his own army of evil Digimon. To what purpose? We don’t really find out in this first episode, but I kind of hope it’s evil for evil’s sake: After all, we do know from the Digimon Tag Tamers WonderSwan game that The Evil Emperor is Ken. and that he only became evil after being infected by a black gear, so why have any ulterior motive beyond enslavement, power dynamics, and radical evil?
Agumon, Patamon, and Gatomon are busy fighting off the evil forces in the Digital World, but without the power to defeat any Champion-level enslaved Digimon. Agumon calls upon Tai to help in out in his moment of need against a Dark Snimon and Tai drops everything, leaves class, and enters a computer terminal and the Digital World to help out, but not before sending Kari an email telling her to enter the Digital World too, and quick! Kari doesn’t get the message, instead Yolei does, but she manages to find Kari, T.K. and Davis and bring them to the school’s computer lab to check it out. While on the way there though, we see one more friendly face in the school’s legendary Computer Club President Izzy! He enters the computer lab and sets up the terminal to the Digital World so that Kari and T.K. can go help out.
Tai, Agumon, Patamon, and Gatomon have been exploring the Digital World during this time and the Digimon lead Tai to a cavern wherein rests a Digi-Egg, or Digi-mental, that has the sign of the Crest of Courage: Tai’s crest. As he attempts to pick it up, it dissolves into three dancing lights, which then convert int energy beams that launch themselves out of Izzy’s terminal and into the hands of Davis, Yolei, and Cody, but not as light, instead as new models of the Digivice: the D-3! Yolei and Cody are out of the room when their Digivices are received, and as such, only T.K., Kari, and Davis enter the Digital World, but to the the iconic Here We Go! Theme.
Once inside, Davis inexplicably gets a new set of clothes that are pretty stylish. the group quickly finds Tai and the others who lead them to the cavern where the Digi-Egg of Courage once again resides. Tai, T.K., and Kari all try to pick it up, but to no avail. Davis, however, passes the text and is able to lift the egg. It reacts, glows, and hatches into Veemon, a legendary trickster Digimon who Agumon thought was nothing more than myth. Davis seems to be the new Digidestined of Courage, which places Tai in an odd predicament. Are they both now the Digidestineds of Courage? Or has his claim been invalidated and superseded by the new Digidestined of Courage Davis? Obviously Tai will have a big role to play in some future events of the series as is made amply clear by Digimon Adventure Tri, but are his later actions destined at that point? Or are they just a result of his growth as a person and his newfound ability to take destiny into his own hands even though he is no longer destined to do so?
Also troubling is the fact that when the Digimon Emperor enslaved Unimon with a black ring, Unimon attacked Gatomon, who was only saved from being stomped into oblivion by his hooves because of her hard tail ring. Unimon stepped on the ring instead of her, but she was unable to escape with the ring and is now in a weird situation. Does the ring have a power unknown to us? Why is it there in the first place? All we know now, at this point in the series, is that the ring must be important because the creators specifically wrote a scene in which she loses the ring and later reports to Kari that she lost it. This double emphasis bodes or foretells of future importance of the ring in the future.
The Digimon Emperor releases a Monochromon to combat the four Digidestined (or three if Tai is no longer one amongst their number). The beast attacks the group and Veemon tells Davis that he must be courageous to unlock the power of the Digi-Egg of Courage, which will help him to Digivolve and defeat Monochromon. But he can only muster up this courage when Kari falls while running from Monochromon’s flames and twists her ankle, leaving her incapacitated and at the enslaved Digimon’s whim. Davis jumps into action, the Digi-Egg begins to glow, and he yells out “Digi-Armor Energize!”, which elicits a response from the egg and makes Veemon Armor Digivolve into Flamedramon. This new Digivolution circumvents the Dark Digivice’s draining power and gives Veemon enough strength, as Flamedramon, to destroy the black ring on Monochromon, set him free from the Digimon Emperor’s control, and diffuse the situation, all while the Run Around! theme plays in the background and energizes the moment cinematically for the viewer.
We see the Digimon Emperor and his partner Wormmon licking their wounds from their den of evil control panel room. Meanwhile, Flamedramon de-Digivolves into Veemon and a new device manifests itself in Davis’ pocket. During the encounter we find that Davis broke his goggles. Tai decides that all Digidestined leaders must wear goggles and decides to pass down his own set to Davis, who is now the de facto leader of the Digidestined, as well as the superseder of Tai’s mantle as Digidestined of Courage. The group returns to the computer lab and meet back up with the others as the Digimon Emperor plots their destruction from somewhere within Digital Space.
Ciao for now!
The Digidestined Cody