Welcome to My Nightmare (Digimon Frontier: Episode 09)
(Check out the previous review HERE)
Now that the Digidestined gang has been reassembled, they are jointly back on the path toward the Forest Terminal within the Forest Kingdom. However, when we pick back up with our protagonists at the outset of this episode, J.P. and Tommy are totally exhausted and in need of rest. The area in which the group decides finally to retire for the evening is also home to a large apple tree whereupon grows savoury Meat Apples, which are raw until cooked at which point they deliver delectable tastes from prime rib and filet mignon to the more common tastes like meat bun, fried chicken and hot dog.
The group reclines within a comfortable glade and prepares a fire to roast there apples within. Unbeknownst to the group, however, a Bakumon (or Tapirmon) has been stalking their every move for some time now and seems to have an evil plan in store for the Digidestined. Such dangers are the last thing on everyone’s mind right now as food and sleep are the most pressing matters for most, and Koji is more interested in reflecting on why they were unable to defeat Gigasmon (Grumblemon’s second Digivolution form) despite all five of the Legendary Warrior Digidestined going up against him. He asks Bokomon about this new Beast form acquired by Grumblemon, but Bokomon can find nothing related to the topic in his book of legends until Neemon notices a foldout page. Once folded out, this page mentions that the Legendary Warriors each have a Human Spirit form (the one already acquired by the Digidestined) and a Beast Spirit form.
J.P. finds this information distressing as it basically means that they are all once again at square one in the search for powers that will allow them to return home. Koji continues to reflect upon this Beast Spirit revelation alongside a message he received from his D-Tector when he first arrived in the Digital World: ‘Everything will become clear when you find your spirit.’
A cloud appears above the forest glade, which dims the area and activates the TV trees in this TV Forest. The images thereon are of the Real World as Bokomon explains that this forest is something of a video gateway to the other world. While all the older kids find the images soothing after such a long absence from their own world, Tommy finds them depressing after he sees an image of his worried mother on one of the screens. And after Tommy falls asleep that night, his worried state will be the perfect vehicle for the evil Bakumon to cast Nightmare Syndrome on the little guy and instill within him an anxious dream about his friends deserting him or bullying him. This causes Tommy to awaken and attack his friends, first with a large stick from the fire, then by Spirit Evolving into Kumamon, freezing the campfire, destroying many trees, and targeting his friends with his ice attacks.
Everyone awakens before being turned into icicles and then they run off in separate directions. Takuya fortunately notices the glimpse of a figure just out of eye shot, a figure moving through the adjacent trees at a breakneck pace. He passes this information on to Koji who Spirit Evolves into Lobomon and uses his power as the Legendary Warrior of Light to send up a beam that alights the surrounding forest and reveals Bakumon’s hiding place to Takuya. As Lobomon fends off Kumamon, all the whole careful not to hurt the little guy in the process, Takuya Spirit Evolves into Agunimon and tries to catch Bakumon.
Yet, the little nightmare Digimon is quite quick and avoids being captured. Bokomon and Neemon notice that Bakumon is missing his arm ringlet that gives him his powers and they decide that Cherubimon must have made Bakumon turn evil by stealing this ring and thereby manipulating Bakumon’s personality in the process. During the discussion, Bakumon strikes back at Agunimon with Nightmare Syndrome, which throws Agunimon into a dream world of negative emotions in which he begins to imagine that his friends are in truth his foes. Unlike Tommy, Takuya has a stronger will or resolve and is able to reason his way out of the situation as his friends would not under any normal circumstances turn on him for no reason. As such, Takuya breaks the mental bonds of Bakumon’s attacks and goes on the attack, launching a fire projectile toward Bakumon. Agunimon then takes the little guy’s Fractal Code, which returns him back to the good form of Bakumon.
Bakumon’s transformation likewise releases Tommy from his mental bondage to the evil Bakumon and as such, the gang returns to their travels, for a time, before succumbing once more to fatigue and deciding to call it a night. Their hopes for good dreams are aided by an appreciative Bakumon who now casts his dream magic on the Digidestined to destroy their nightmares and cede toward them a peaceful night’s sleep. Watched over by Bakumon, none of the group find it necessary to keep a night watch. Nonetheless, Koji finds himself unable to sleep and keeps thinking about what truth might be revealed to him once he finds his Beast Spirit. Just then, he is shaken from his stupor by a message from his D-Tector informing him that his B-Spirit awaits him, but that he has some growing up to do before it will become apparent to him.
Like the previous two episodes, Episode 09 is largely about character development. Its purpose is to show us the Digidestined under pressure in a situation that will reveal their characters. But this is also an episode about story development, and specifically about explaining what was going on with Gigasmon a few episodes previously. If anything else it introduced Meat Apples to the story, which was quite possibly one of the weirdest items introduced to the Digital World at this point in the anime’s development. And Bokomon and Neemon’s constant bickering and comedic potential as a straight man-goofy man pair are first made totally apparent here for viewers of the English dub especially. So that’s something.
Ciao for now,
The Digidestined Cody