Island of Misfit Boys (Digimon Frontier: Episode 07)
(Catch the previous episode review HERE)
The first five episodes of Digimon Frontier dealt mainly with establishing the lore of the series including the narrative of the Legendary Warriors and Lucemon, and the present conflict with Cherubimon who is working to fracture the entire Digital World. In those episodes, our protagonists were focused on gaining their ‘Spirits’ or fighting abilities to survive in this new, unfamiliar world. Finally, the sixth episode of the series introduces a minor villain who is a Legendary Warrior like the Digidestined kids. Through all of this plot development, very little of my least favorite (though often necessary) element of a narrative has been present thus far: character development. Episode 07 picks up the mantle in this regard and begins to flesh out our least identifiable character thus far: Koji.
After the events at KaratsukiNumemon Mountain in the previous episode, the Digidestined find themselves separated once more into two factions. As J.P., Zoe, Bokomon and Neemon travel downstream on a large log, presumably heading in the direction of the Forest Terminal, Takuya, Tommy and Koji fall from their own chaos vortex, after the fracture of the mountain, onto a large floating island housed atop a powerful zeppelin.
The island is a themed area based around toys and vibrant colors, and thereby the gang is lucky to have fallen thereon as a large ball-pit softens the impact and leaves them unharmed. As they investigate the town, the three find it largely abandoned except for the presence of various seemingly conscious, sentient action figures and toy trains. As Tommy is a 3rd grader, and still of prepubescent years, he finds the whole experience to be an upgrade from the rather austere deserts and scary slave labor industrial camps of previous adventures in the Digital World. Koji, unfortunately, deems Tommy’s joyous behavior and willingness to dally and play with toys during their stay on the floating island to be troublesome. He chastises and chides Tommy on numerous occasions for his boyish ways (despite Tommy being just that: a boy) and works to spur on his comrades in the development of a plan to escape the island.
Takuya calls Koji out for being a jerk and contradicts him by telling Tommy to have a good time while on this seemingly innocuous island. Just then a toy train large enough for the three boys to ride upon comes zooming by. The three hop onboard until they find a roving Monzaemon in the fields. They dismount the train cars and approach the bear for advice on how to get back down to the ground below when , all of a sudden, Monzaemon picks up Takuya and throws him to the ground, playfully. The Champion-level Digimon is bored and wishes for his newfound friends to engage in wrestling or some such sport with him to pass the time. The boys run, eventually managing to hide from Monzaemon in the process, whose calls can be heard aft wondering aloud whether he is now playing hide and seek.
The Digidestined’s hiding place turns out to be a carnival food stall filled with ice cream and cotton candy. Takuya goes for the latter and offers up some to Koji and Tommy. The latter of which delights in this worldly pleasure, the former of which finds this all to be another big distraction from escaping the island and heading toward the Forest Terminal to rendezvous with their friends who must surely be heading toward the same landmark if they too survived their fall from KaratsukiNumemon Mountain.
All the while, the audience knows that blimp beneath the island is piloted by a group of nefarious ShadowToyAgumon who wish to fly their island to the Real World in order to seek revenge against all the children there who have thrown out their toys or neglected them over the years. We also see the ShadowToyAgumon leader cast an evil glance toward Monzaemon that transforms/Digivolves him into his dark Ultimate form as WaruMonzaemon. So it comes as no surprise to us when the Digidestined exit the carnival food stall arguing only for WaruMonzaemon to appear during this distraction to kidnap Tommy and take him away to the large Lavender Castle tower in the centre of the island. Takuya and Koji notice just in time to see where Tommy is being taken, but not quickly enough to immediately take action and give chase to WaruMonzaemon. Takuya expresses his annoyance at this turn of events comically: ‘Why do evil things always run faster than normal things?’
Koji immediately blames Takuya for Tommy’s disappearance in spite of the fact that it was Koji’s cold-heartedness that led them to argue and turn their gazes away from Tommy in the first place. Takuya counters by questioning Koji’s ability to communicate with other people and wonders aloud how he acts with his own brothers and sisters. Koji responds that he has no siblings, is an only child. finally, Takuya reminds Koji that Tommy is just a scared kid who needs their support to get through the traumatic experience of leaving home and entering a dangerous world like the Digital World. He calls upon Koji to imagine he were Tommy’s age, which prompts Koji to finally understand.
What happens next, occurs in pretty quick succession as Koji and Takuya run off toward the Lavender Castle to save Tommy, have the drawbridge pulled out beneath them, fall to the moat below, and are rescued by the vigilante hero Pandamon. He explains that while the ShadowToyAgumon took over the island, he fought back as hard as he could. But now that WaruMonzaemon is under their command, Pandamon needs the help of the Legendary Warriors to return his home to its former glory. Pandamon leads Koji and Takuya to a stairway that opens up onto the courtyard of the castle. There, the two Spirit Evolve into Lobomon and Agunimon, respectively, and battle a veritable army of ShadowToyAgumon who transform and combine their Lego-like bodies into Tank forms and finally into two Mecha that are only defeated by trickery and a bit of teamwork on the Digidestined’s part.
These ShadowToyAgumon release a ton Fractal Code and revert to good ToyAgumon before Koji and Takuya run up the stairs and into the tower only to find WaruMonzaemon devolved back into his benevolent form as Monzaemon, playing video games with Tommy, who has also, incidentally, grown much stronger throughout the experience of being kidnapped and overcoming his enemy by discerning his true nature and motivations: playfulness and the wish to have friends who engage in games alongside him. When the gang returns to the castle’s courtyard, Pandamon is there. He reveals that the ToyAgumon will land the island for a time to drop off the Digidestined back on the continent. But elsewhere, their friends have somehow managed to beach their log on the shores of unfamiliar territory where prospects of finding the Forest Terminal quickly dwindle as J.P. Zoe, Bokomon and Neemon realize they are lost.
Ciao for now,
The Digidestined Cody