Tag Archive | darkness

O Brother, Who Art Thou? (Digimon Frontier: Episode 30)

(Check out my previous review HERE. To go back to the beginning of this review series click HERE)

Again with the titles. We all know the reference of this one to a wildly popular Coen Production with all its attendant black humor and southern gothic references. And we know that Koji and Koichi share some relationship as near-identical persons, which means they are almost definitely brothers. So the name is a fun pun on the situation in the anime, but has little to do with the film it references thematically or narratively, and therefore, I’d have to certify this title rotten just like so many other lame puns I’ve commented on in this series in particular hitherto.

As BeoWolfmon continues to search for Duskmon in the shadows of the Dark Continent, his Digidestined friends track him down to help him defeat Duskmon if need be: a prospect that is highly likely now that both Koji and Takuya can Fusion Evolve. But Cherubimon is fed up with his minions being defeated so handily and he intervenes to prevent the Digidestined’s forward progress by caging them in a circle of black javelins with a large covering of darkness above. Patamon is an intuitive little Digimon luckily and uses his brains to suggest they dig their way out of the place when the rest find the black javelins impenetrable to all attacks. When they escape, Patamon- as the Rookie-level form of the Digimon protector Seraphimon- can sense the light emanating from Koji/BeoWolfmon and is able to get the crew back on track toward finding him.

The rest of the episode is pretty paint by numbers stuff that had previously already happened. Duskmon and BeoWolfmon duke it out. As the animation quality of Digimon has rarely been on the level of a Gainax or a Studio Trigger, the action sequences aren’t really fulfilling enough to warrant half an episode of jumping around and breaking stuff just to result in another draw, but that’s what they do anyway. They both see their human forms during the battle again and again they react in a confused manner to these images. They question each other in the hopes of getting to the bottom of the mystery between them, but instead of discussing the matter like two individuals who both stand to gain from a rational encounter, they continue to battle on and eventually one becomes the victor: BeoWolfmon.

Because Cherubimon is a god-like Digimon in terms of power, his apparition appears from out of the blue, out of the veritable machine to bestow upon Duskmon a new power. But first he alerts him to some of his past and allows Duskmon to realize that he is really a human boy named Koichi who searched after Koji and ended up in the Digital world because they are brothers. Koichi remembers his grandmother on her deathbed confessing to him that his father and brother are still alive and well (though we do not learn anything about why he was abandoned to live with her instead of with them). He sought out Koji and managed to find himself alone within the Digital World instead where his fear and self-loathing got the better of him.

There, darkness overwhelmed his spirit, which called toward Cherubimon like a magnet. Cherubimon offered to be his friend and to bestow upon him the power of the Legendary Warrior of Darkness, which would help him to survive in this hostile, new world. But the power came at a cost as Koichi became less and less human and forgot his identity and his past. He even forgot his main objective for coming to this world in the first place: to find his twin brother Koji. And now, after remembering all of this information and falling into a deeper state of depression, Cherubimon unlocks Koichi’s Beast Spirit of Darkness, which allows him to become Velgemon. From the vantage point of this stronger form, Koichi is able to overcome BeoWolfmon once again, though he is still emotionally grappling with his current knowledge and therefore, manages to fly off before the darkness consumes him totally and he destroys his brother Koji.

During this entire encounter, Koji knows only that whoever Koichi is, he looks awfully like himself. He seemingly has no knowledge of having a twin brother or a sibling whatsoever in the real world, and therefore probably thinks that Duskmon’s inner human image is something like a head game meant to throw Koji off while they battle. And that makes sense from his perspective as it would also be hard to believe that a human child who came to the Digital World from the real world would even be able to be corrupted by someone like Cherubimon. We know, because of Ken in Digimon Adventure 02, that human children can become corrupted when they enter the Digital World. However, Koji is a relative newcomer and the rules of the game might not be so apparent to him here.

Nevertheless, the battle is over for now as the Digidestined reunite and continue their long sojourn through the Dark Continent toward the ever elusive Rose Morning Star.

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined Cody

Stuck in Sakkakumon With You (Digimon Frontier: Episode 27)

(Check my previous episode review out HERE)

Most of the Digidestined team have escaped from Sakkakumon while their friends Takuya and Koji continue to muscle on through the various areas within. J.P., Tommy, and Zoe Spirit Evolve into their H Spirit forms as Beetlemon, Kumamon, and Kazemon and attempt to reenter Sakkakumon to help out, but find a nearly impenetrable electric net force-field blocking their progress. Duskmon appears, and as his strength within his H Spirit form is well beyond a Mega-level Digimon, he is able to push on through to seek out Koji within the Darkness Area of Sakkakumon’s internal matrix.

As the other Digidestined have no way of entering the matrix themselves, they decide to try and contact their friends through the D-Tectors in an attempt to alert them to the presence of Duskmon. Zoe manages to get a hold of Takuya and tell him to track down Koji for back up, but they cannot seem to connect with Koji because of the interference of negative emotions and energy fields within the Darkness Area. Takuya makes double time to the nearest active eye portal, but finds himself within the Ice Area rather than his intended target. There, he is immediately attacked by an Ultimate-level Digimon called IceLeomon whose noble character shines through his possession by Sakkakumon. As Agunimon, Takuya tries to talk him down and bring him to his senses, but finds this impossible as the hold over his will is too strong. Instead, he swiftly decommissions the old lion heart after a quick, but intense exchange of blows, digitizes his Fractal Code, and finds that two new eye portals open up in his vicinity. One of these will lead him outside to his friends, while the other leads back to the internal corridors of Sakkakumon. Takuya chooses the latter path in the hopes of finding Koji before Duskmon lays waste with his sick fighting skills (forgive me, I’m listening to J Dilla as I write this).

Meanwhile, Koji didn’t have very long to wander through the Darkness Area before Duskmon appeared and grasped him by the throat threatening his life if Koji didn’t reveal who he was and why he seemed to have some relationship to Duskmon. Duskmon invades and interrogates Koji’s memories to learn more about him forcefully and finds out a bit about Koji’s life during the few days before he left for the Digital World. The story goes that Koji’s mother is dead and that his father finally moved on three years ago when he found another woman to fill the hole in his heart and give him a renewed emotional life. He and that woman got married and Koji has always been a little gruff toward her as he considered her unnecessary to the household and as no real replacement for his mother.

However, once when his father tried to talk to him about being nicer to her and trying to include her more in his own emotional life, Koji lashed out with is disaffection. She was coming up the stairs at the time and overheard the conversation, which hurt her feelings. Koji realized that she was no saboteur trying to take away his father from him or trying to replace his mother, but a real person with emotions who loves his father and wishes to become closer to him as a step-mother as well. On the day when Koji received the text message beginning the journey to the Digital World, he was in a flower shop looking to buy a bouquet for his step-mother and father’s three-year wedding anniversary. This was a big first step toward reclamation of something like a healthy household relationship, but the message was urgent and he ran out and left the Real world before he could give her the flowers and become closer.

The images of Koji on the train toward the Shibuya Station Underground Terminal trigger memories within Duskmon’s psyche of a boy who looks like Koji following after Koji and Takuya toward the station on that day. It seems that Duskmon may, unlike his fellow Legendary Warriors of Darkness, be a human child at his core who has merely turned to the powers of the darkness. Furthermore, he is a child who looks identical to Koji and therefore probably has some biological connection to him. These memories force Duskmon to his knees, which allows Koji to escape his grasp and Spirit Evolve into Lobomon. Cherubimon appears within Duskmon’s conscience and advises him to continue his fight and to keep working to plunge the Digital World into total darkness. He continues his fight and Lobomon continues to be beaten even as he Slide Evolves into his Beast Spirit form as KendoGarurumon.

And then, Seraphimon’s DigiEgg begins to move around in Bokomon’s waste band. It eventually comes dislodged and flies high in the air where it discharges a beam of light energy into Sakkakumon, through the Darkness Area, and directly toward Koji’s D-Tector. This light gives him the new power of Fusion Evolution, or the ability to simultaneously use both his Human Spirit and his Beast Spirit in battle. Koji triggers this new evolution potential and becomes the Super-Mega-level Digimon BeoWolfmon. This form can go toe to toe with Duskmon fairly well, but the abundance of light energy immediately defeats the Darkness Area and expels the two Digimon from without Sakkakumon’s body, throwing them far into the furthest reaches of the Continent of Darkness where Duskmon begins to run and BeoWolfmon gives chase as the apparent aggressor. The tables have turned in the battle against Duskmon and soon Cherubimon and the Rose Morning Star will be the primary focuses of the Digidestined.

But first, Takuya is still stuck within Sakkakumon and it seems that no one will be able to re-enter and help him finish off the final two regions. The first, the Light Area, is likely to prove no problem for Takuya as just another region that happens to have a strong Ultimate-level Light -type Digimon defender therein. If Agunimon can’t hack that, then BurningGreymon might be able to. The final region is the Steel Area where Mercurymon himself may be awaiting Takuya’s arrival. This is a more difficult foe to defeat as his reflective mirrors and hardened metal body reflect most types of attacks, including fire-based ones like those possessed by Takuya. If he can get some of that Seraphimon DigiEgg energy, however, there is probably no limit to what his powers can do and the Legendary Warriors of Darkness may be no more in short order.

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

Darkest Before Duskmon (Digimon Frontier: Episode 21)

(Check out my previous Digimon Frontier episode review HERE)

This episode begins in media res as Duskmon, the H Spirit Legendary Warrior of Darkness, faces off against the five Digidestined in their Beast Spirit Evolutions. In the past, the Beast Spirits of Earth and Wood, Gigasmon and Petaldramon, were no match for the Digidestined when in their own Beast Spirit forms. As Duskmon is only in his weaker H Spirit form one would imagine that this battle would go relatively smoothly and he would be defeated rather quickly. However, Duskmon lays waste to his opponents without breaking a sweat. He is within his domain and as we will later learn, his Spirit of Darkness is not the true form of the Legendary Warrior’s power that he commands.

No, Duskmon has been corrupted by darkness and the evil within his heart preys upon his senses and emotions in its all-consuming manner, which makes his H Spirit form stronger than even a Beast Spirit (which is a Mega-equivalent form). Duskmon’s H Spirit is even stronger than five Beast Spirits, which means his power level is well above that of your average Mega and would presumably, therefore, challenge even the Dark Emperor Cherubimon’s strength if they ever came to blows.

The Digidestined fail to make a dent in Duskmon’s defenses even with coordinated attacks and teamwork, and as such, Takuya gets annoyed and rushes in to fight on his own, which only gets him knocked out. When he comes to, his friends have reverted to their H Spirit forms to capitalize on increased agility and BurningGreymon rushes in and uses his strongest fire attack to toast Duskmon. Takuya believes he has defeated Duskmon, but Koji went sword to sword with their enemy and knows he has been holding back throughout the entire battle, so he suggests they run away for the time being to regroup and come up with a better plan. Everyone listens to Koji, much to Takuya’s chagrin as he believes, illicitly, he has defeated Duskmon for good.

After the Digidestined escape and bed down for the night far away from where they encountered Duskmon, J.P. lights a fire and talks with Zoe for a time about their team dynamics. He recognizes that its a good thing to have a hot-head like Takuya and a cool, calculating figure like Koji on their team as it helps their team to be dynamic like the very fire beneath his feet, which would go out if smothered by too much wood or if the wood was packed too closely together. The moment serves as romantic sort of character development meeting between himself and Zoe, as well as a counterpoint to Koji and Takuya who still don’t understand that their team’s strength lies precisely in its multitude of voices and opinions.

During this time, Takuya has been making a plan for a new attack formation against Duskmon. Tommy finds Takuya in the woods after his planning and learns of the new objective, which he immediately champions to the others. Tommy does this because he looks up to Takuya as a brother figure more than any of the other Digidestined and even hero-worships the guy to an extent. When they emerge from the woods, Takuya presents the plan, which involves a well-thought out flank attack with elements of surprise thrown in. Koji, however, requests a private audience with Takuya where he reminds his comrade that this is no game and that if they fail in their fight against Duskmon that could spell the end for them all. Koji’s focus on death is important here as the kids really could be killed in the Digital World and are not necessarily bound to win just because they are Digidestined. Takuya counters by saying he trusts in their ability to work as a team and that Duskmon will track them down no matter how far they run anyway.

This argument is compelling and almost sways Koji, but he has the firsthand knowledge of actually battling Duskmon hand to hand, and is thereby sure that they could in no way defeat him given their current power levels and the vast differential of that power versus Duskmon’s. The argument ends when the two hear their friends fighting in the distance. It seems Duskmon appeared at the least opportune time possible.

Tommy, Zoe, and J.P. Spirit Evolve into their B Spirits as Korikakumon, Zephyrmon, and MetalKabuterimon before holding off Duskmon long enough for their friends to arrive and join in. Koji arrives as KendoGarurumon and Takuya as Agunimon. The latter approaches Duskmon and finds his attacks wanting just as did Koji before him. He instead holds Duskmon in place long enough for his comrades to launch their most potent weapons toward the Legendary Warrior of Darkness. And again, not a dent to his defenses, Duskmon returns the blow by striking his sword across the mid-section of Agunimon, but Koji shows himself to be a true team player by jumping in to intervene and take the blow himself. This nearly cleaves him in twain, leaving his friends thumbing in awe and terror that Koji has almost been killed. Takuya, especially, is upset and expresses his fear and sadness at his friend’s current state by calling out his name.

And then an odd thing occurs. Duskmon, after hearing the name ‘Koji’, begins speaking it to himself. He finds some part of himself, deep within rebelling against all his attempts to finish the battle. And he understands not why his mind recoils so to this name, which means nothing to him as far as he can tell. Duskmon ceases his attacks and a ring of darkness escapes from around his body, enveloping all those in its perimeter. Takuya falls into a deep state of depression and self-loathing in the knowledge that his actions may have killed his friend and brother in arms Koji. And as if in the Dark Ocean, he is transported to another area of the Dark continent where a voice speaks to him and tells him he is being delivered to the the Dark Terminal where a DarkTrailmon waits for him if he wishes to return back home to the Real World.

Takuya seemingly takes this option and leaves his friends behind so as to avoid responsibility for jeopardizing their lives ever again. The irony is that without one of the Legendary Warriors of light, the Digidestined team is all the weaker and may in fact be at a dangerous disadvantage without Takuya, no matter how haughty and hot-headed he can be.

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

An Old Enemy Returns (Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 19)

(If you missed part 18, check it out HERE. To go back to the beginning click HERE)

The last episode left off with Yolei and Kari staying behind to nurse Hawkmon back to health whilst their male counterparts ran off to find Ken’s base elsewhere. The joke was on them, however, as the base later appeared in the sky above the canyon that Yolei and Kari’s vantage point in the trees overlooked. At some point the guys found this out and returned to Kari and Yolei in the brush, which is where this episode begins: with the gang back together again after a brief search party split.

The situation can’t stand for long unfortunately. As everyone is asleep, T.K. wakes Cody and Tentomon, plus Patamon and Armadillomon obviously, to leave on their own in search of Ken’s base. With T.K. searching the sky from the back of Pegasusmon (and Tentomon following along) and Cody submerged beneath the waves inside the cockpit of Submarimon, the two are sojourning across the Digital Ocean in the hopes of the finding Ken’s base, which has somehow disappeared once more (and seemingly broken continuity, for no obvious reason I might add, with the previous episode’s climax). Cody finds the base underwater and enters it through a cave in the rocks.

All the while, a large whirlpool opens up near the base. Ken notes a powerful force near the whirlpool that has presumably created the phenomenon and rushes headlong into it in hopes of finding and submitting to his control the beast lurking therein. As Cody and Armadillomon explore the base, their transmission to and from T.K. are blocked by the evil force. Cody manages to find the engine room and the prison complex, takes a mental note to return to engine room to destroy it with the others, and advises Armadillomon to Digivolve into Digmon to begin freeing the Digimon prisoners in the base. Then, the base enters the dark whirlpool.

Back on land, the girls have woken up and decide to Digivolve their Digimon into Nefertimon and Halsemon and fly off in the direction of T.K. and Cody, thereby leaving behind the apparent leader of the group: Davis. When he awakens, the news that everyone left him behind is pretty depressing, but he manages to use his gung-ho forward thinking spirit to begin his and Veemon’s own trip to join the others. As he reaches the edge of the shoreline and plans to knock down a tree to hollow it out as a canoe, he pushes against it, triggering the tree to fall forward, the land to become a small island and detach from the rest of the land mass, and begin carrying the party toward the others, the base, and the whirlpool.

Ken’s base approaches the edge of the whirlpool and flies into the open air. There are ghosts and spirits of evil Digimon swirling around the edges of the whirlpool reminiscent of the Cthulu Digimon and dark lord hypothesized in Chiaki J. Konaka’s episode of the series (#13). Could this evil Digimon be the ruler of the Dark Ocean? Or is it the Digimon prophesied by the ghost of Wizardmon: namely, Myotismon? As T.K., Tentomon, and Pegasusmon find the cave and enter quickly to rendezvous with Cody and Digmon, Ken tests the waters by sending three Mekanorimon to probe the abyssal tides below. The enslaved machine Digimon are quickly swallowed whole by the waves and never seen again, but then Devimon appears from the waist up out of the waves and Ken seizes the opportunity to analyze his data and begin using it for himself in the design of his Chimera Digimon.

A voice tells Ken to “Beware the Darkness,” meaning that the being controlling these waves is not Devimon, but a different Digimon using Devimon as a temptation for Ken. Ken ignores the threat and finishes his design of Kimeramon as a beast with the head of Kabuterimon, the hair of MetalGreymon, the body of Greymon, the legs of Garurumon, the tail of Monochromon, a SkullGreymon arm, a Kuwagumon arm, two Devimon arms, two Angemon wings, and two Airdramon wings. The beast is repulsive, but strong and begins to fight the newly arrived Digidestined Digimon Nefertimon and Halsemon. T.K. has seen the image of Devimon, his one-time nemesis and the being whose own destruction required the sacrifice of Angemon so long ago. He helps Tentomon, Cody, and Digmon to free the last imprisoned Digimon onboard and loads them onto Davis’ newly arrived island, then leaves them to confront Ken.

Once the two finally meet, T.K. makes fun of Ken as a pretender and a fake, which incites Ken’s rage and insecurities. This forces Ken to ask out irrationally as he decides to whip T.K. in an attempt to disrupt his own self-loathing and re-establish himself as the dominant figure in their interaction. But the whip attack is taken in stride by T.K. who doesn’t even move with the blow and shows Ken to be much weaker than he believes himself to be. T.K. then lashes out and punches Ken as Wormmon tries to protect his master and is thwarted by Patamon who himself suggests that the two fight. This suggestion is much to the ire of Wormmon who dislikes fighting and instead demurs, showing his personality as a good Digimon to the Digidestined for the first time. Patamon then Digivolves into Pegasusmon and flies off with T.K. to join the battle against Kimeramon, leaving Ken on the ground, momentarily defeated to muse, “I guess I’m not as cool as I thought I was.”

This episode introduces intrigue and plot elements hitherto absent from the series. It sets up a larger dramatic arc that will carry the through-line of the rest of the series and it does so by connecting the new villain with an older evil force: Devimon. The episode functions in such a manner to incite and excite past fan interest while still being unique enough to interest new viewers to the story, to the narrative. I look forward at this point to reviewing the next few episodes as it has been years since the series aired and I saw it on television in the States. I hope you’ll continue to follow along with me too.

 

Later,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

The Crest of Friendship (Digimon Adventure Episode 51)

(To check out the previous essay in this series click HERE. To go back to the beginning click HERE)

This recap series aside for a moment, I’m super pumped up about today. The Digimon Tri: Confession DVD was just released to the North American market and a bunch of my friends and I have been weebing out. I’ve forced myself to wait to watch it until the English sub was finished so that I could watch and compare the sub and dub. Plus, I’ve got a soft spot for some of the original English voice actors. Look for my reviews and essays on Tri in the future.

Now, back to the episode. Tai, Izzy, and Kari are by Piedmon’s manor on top of Spiral Mountain and WarGreymon is fending off the last Dark Master, biding their time until the other Digidestined arrive to help out in the fight. Sora and T.K. are searching for Matt, whilst Joe does the same in an attempt to find himself in the process, and Mimi is travelling the Digital World gathering allies for the final confrontation. We haven’t seen Matt around for some time now and it seems about time for a progress update on his quest.

Gabumon and Matt have somehow ended up in a dark subterranean tunnel. Gabumon knows not how they got there and Matt doesn’t care as he’s fallen deeper and deeper into a depressive state. He believed that his purpose in life was to protect his brother, but now that T.K. has grown up and become self-sufficient Matt’s protection is no longer necessary. With his source of purpose undercut, the subliminal abyss of darkness and meaninglessness constantly waiting just below conscious awareness, assaults him full force and breaks his will. His eyes become darkened and he stops walking. A dark shadow that has been growing behind him moves toward him and is absorbed by Matt’s body. Internally, he is in a thick darkness, floating as if under a portentous sea at storm.

Matt muses on his past and tells Gabumon that when his parents split up he felt afraid to cry, to express his emotions in that moment. And he held back because he believed he had to stay strong for his brother. He felt alone in those moments and has had difficulty opening himself up to others ever since. Gabumon expresses his friendship and tells Matt it’s okay to cry. This elicits a realization in Matt that he was never really alone and that his friends and family care about him. This realization dissolves the black cloud hanging over his head as well as the dark tunnel they were trapped within.

Joe and Gomamon are nearby and immediately finds Matt and Gabumon. It seems that Joe’s quest to prove his reliability ends up with him being in the right place at the exact right time to find his friends. Joe gives the harmonica back to Matt who initially discarded it due to the emotional expressiveness it brought about for him. At the time, playing it only intensified and amplified the painful emotions he was feeling and deepened his depression, but now it has the potential to amplify his positive feelings and help him become a Digidestined deserving of the Crest of Friendship.

Next, Sora and T.K. find Matt’s boat. As they search for him and Gabumon by foot, a hole opens up beneath them and drags them below. It seems that Sora has also not fully resolved her own issues and insecurities. Her trap is self-loathing over not trying hard enough. It is true that she is on a mission to find Matt, but she believes deep down that there is not enough time to search the Digital World over, find him, and return him to the top of Spiral Mountain in time. If she can’t find Matt, she thinks that the world will end and that it will be her own fault. By taking all of this responsibility onto her own shoulders and dwelling on it, she has become mentally blocked. Luckily, T.K. finds Matt and Joe and the two of them are able to drag her out of her misery and move on toward the battle with Piedmon.

As the four arrive to the top of Spiral Mountain, they find that Tai has been pushing WarGreymon too hard. His armor is cracked and Tai himself has been thrown around a bit in the process as well. He has previously forbade Izzy and Kari from sending Tentomon and Gatomon to assist him in an attempt to conserve their energy for when Matt arrives. And although he was probably wrong for taking such a huge burden upon himself at the risk of injuring himself and his Digimon, he proved himself to be a good leader. Matt lands and his Crest of Friendship glows, emitting a powerful light that encloses WarGreymon and rehabilitates his form, thereby putting him back in tip top shape for the battle ahead. As Gabumon Warp Digivolves into MetalGarurumon, the Hey Digimon! Theme rings out and Digidestined children (minus Mimi) ready themselves to save the Digital World.

 

Ciao,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

 

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