I love puns, and dad jokes abound in my own day-to-day repartee, but the title of this particular episode explodes even my brain. A little aside I recently heard from a friend: ‘I just finished work for the week and was looking for a place to cash my check nearby. Found this bank, so I pulled in. Saw it said 24-hour banking, so I immediately left to find someplace else. I didn’t have that kind of time to wait around, ya know?’ This one’s by Steven Wright apparently.
Agunimon returns to the Digital World an immediately feels differently in these surroundings. He has finally realized as a Legendary Warrior who can inhabit and use the Spirits of ancient warrior Digimon that he is more than a mere human being in a video game. No, he is at least partly Digimon himself. What this means is Takuya now has an innate contact point with the Digital World as his homeplace where Digimon like himself are born, live, and die. And he has a new power: being able to sense the change of the seasons and of the weather patterns in this digital landscape. He will later use this power to help his friends out in the battle ahead.
First, Agunimon comes across Bokomon and Neemon who have separated from the others during Agunimon’s short absence. They are being tormented by a Sepikmon and his Spirit Boomerang weapon as the beast wishes to have friends, but also requires his friends to dance with him. As Bokomon is an intellectual averse to dancing and Neemon has two left feet, they both refuse and continue to be berated by the Shaman Armor Digimon. Agunimon arrives and manages to catch the Spirit Boomerang and give Sepikmon a quaint little lesson in friendship by explaining that to be friends he must merely not harm his would-be friends with his weapons. The four bond for a moment and Sepikmon reveals that he knows the whereabouts of their friends, which he can lead them to by throwing his boomerang as if a homing beacon of sorts. They decide to follow the weapon and eventually find the Old Castle grounds where their friends are being held.
There, J.P., Zoe, and Tommy have been chained upon a large ceremonial slab where they are being held against their will by Mercurymon, Ranamon, and a trio of Datamon who are tinkering with the Digidestined’ D-Tectors in an attempt to draw out and steal their Legendary Warrior Spirits. What’s worse, Koji has found his friends in this predicament, but is prevented from interceding on their behalf because he is so widely outnumbered and because the Datamon are protected within a force field that prevents him from nabbing the D-Tectors and adding his friends into the fray of the battle. Calmaramon and Mercurymon are also torturing the apprehended Digidestined by tickling them and making them sneeze with a feather across their noses in the hopes that they will learn either the secret to unleashing and thereby stealing the Spirits, or information regarding the whereabouts of their friends.
When Calmaramon begins to use her dark powers to torture J.P. through physical pain, Koji finally intervenes in the scene and fights Mercurymon and Calmaramon single-handedly. It is during this futile battle that Agunimon arrives on the scene. However, he does not immediately enter the fight and instead senses a change in the weather. A storm is approaching with heavy winds, thunder and lightning, and snow. These elements will help stoke of the flames of his own fire-based attacks, strengthen Kazemon’s vortices of wind, amplify Beetlemon’s electric surges, and snowball the strength of Kumamon’s ice, while not effecting, but not harming Lobomon’s Light-based arsenal. When the storm finally settles in, Agunimon jumps into action and distracts Mercurymon and Calmaramon while Lobomon frees his friends and their D-Tectors, thereby allowing them all to Spirit Evolve into their H Spirit forms and dole out a beating to the two Legendary Warriors of Darkness present at the moment.
Mercurymon and Calmaramon run away to the Old Castle to lick their wounds and complain about the Digidestined’ team’s newfound tactical fighting approach. And the Digidestined meanwhile thank Takuya for returning to help them out in this moment of dire need while forgiving him for leaving them behind while he did. Hell, if he had not left in the first place, this newfound strength of his would have never surfaced in the first place. Takuya reflects on his newfound understanding of himself as truly part-Digimon and tells the others how this realization has helped to unlock previously un-thought of power and skill. Everyone is simultaneously in awe of Takuya’s new headspace as a leader and proud of his growth as a person.
The only really unfortunate part of this episode is that neither Calmaramon nor Mercurymon were defeated fully by the Digidestined while they had the chance. This could be due to the tactical problem they all share regarding their unwillingness to use their much-stronger Beast Spirit forms in lieu of their more agile H Spirits. If they had all Spirit Evolved to their B Spirits, they may have only had to have dealt with one more Legendary Warrior of Darkness (Duskmon) before moving along to tackle the bigger problem of Cherubimon. But hey, all in good time right? Still 27 episodes to go.
Also, earlier I stated that Mercurymon must have a Beast Spirit evolution because of his willingness to rib Ranamon for not having one (this was before she gained her B Spirit). After all, how can one make fun of someone else for not having a particular thing if they too are so indisposed? However, in this episode, Mercurymon was almost in dire straits, in danger of being defeated by the Digidestined. And yet he did not Spirit Evolve into a stronger form that may have helped him. This leads me to believe that he may still not have such a form at this point. But I’ll just have to wait to find out more.
Ciao for now,
The Digidestined Cody
(Catch the previous review in this series HERE)
Better half an egg than an empty shell. Before watching this episode of Digimon Frontier, I thought it prudent to find out if the title had something to do with another piece of media of which I was unaware. Especially insofar as the past few episodes have all made reference through punned titles to pop culture references, unfortunately to lesser effect than any such title shave been put to use in previous Digimon series. Somehow, despite being an American from the South, I had not heard the phrase from which this title derives. Though the meaning is clearly something similar to ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’ Though the former proverb tells us to cherish the things we do have as we could have nothing at all, and the latter reminds us that it is better to hold/have an experience than to just observe it from afar. The meaning in this episode, however, is little more than a pun on the events therein, but a pun that actually makes sense within the context of the episode unlike the punned titles of the previous two episodes.
The Digidestined finally make their way to the Forest Kingdom, which they find mysteriously clouded by a deep fog. There are tracks for Trailmon to traverse all along the path followed by the Digidestined, but there are no Trailmon in sight to bring them to the Forest Terminal itself. However, there is a ramen shop near a sign directing them toward the Forest Terminal, which affords the group an opportunity to rest and refuel before continuing onward. What’s more is that the shop owner is a friendly Deramon who offers the weary travelers their first meal free. Unfortunately, Deramon has a faulty cookbook or horrible taste and therefore the food tastes horrendous and no one can even scarf down one bite despite how hard they try and despite how much their stomachs cry out in hideous gurgles for nourishment. The Digidestined insult Deramon by telling him the truth about the quality of his vittles, which enrages him enough to respond back that they ought to just go into the Forest Terminal: a domain from which he has never seen a single soul return.
The Digidestined are just about to leave and head in the direction of the Forest Terminal when they receive a message on their D-Tectors redundantly advising them to immediately head toward the Forest Terminal. So they do so, but we learn throughout the montage of sequences in which the Digidestined use their D-Tectors to find the correct path forward, that so too are Grumblemon, Ranamon, Mercurymon, and Arbormon slowly traversing this path, following the tracks of the Digidestined all along the way. Eventually, the path leads our diminutive protagonists to a large Castle where they are greeted with hostility and caution by Sorcermon who believes them to Cherubimon’s lackeys. Fortunately, the misconception is quickly cleared up and the Digidestined are revealed to be humans bearing the powers of the Legendary Warriors of yore who are not in fact in the service of the Dark Lord Cherubimon, but are instead being called toward their destinies by the voice of Ophanimon through their D-Tector devices.
Sorcermon next leads our friends into the inner chamber of his impressive domicile wherein Seraphimon is found encase within a crystal that is dissolved upon the Digidestined aiming their D-Tectors toward him. This event or encounter apparently passes all conditions in a prophecy once told that Seraphimon would be freed from his bondage by a group of humans. We learn furthermore that Seraphimon was entombed therein because he was close to defeat by Cherubimon, was saved by Ophanimon, and was left here to regain his strength in a place that Cherubimon could not track down.
Seraphimon himself eventually comes to and learns that the human children who freed him are actually bearers of the Spirits of the Legendary Warriors. He relates the ancient tale, which Bokomon made apparent to us once before, in which human type Digimon and beast type Digimon fought against one another and led the world to ruin. Lucemon appeared and managed to bind them and restore peace to the world as it benevolent dictator. But absolute power corrupts absolutely as they say, and so Lucemon became a true dictatorial presence of malevolence until the ten Legendary Warriors appeared, defeated him, and restored peace once again. The Legendary Warriors appointed three Champions to protect the order of the Digital World. These were Seraphimon, Ophanimon, and Cherubimon. The latter of the three eventually turned evil and you know the rest of the story. But the most intriguing part of this narrative is what has been left out. Namely, why exactly it was that the 10 Mega-Level Legendary Champions were unable to rule the Digital World and protect the peace themselves. Perhaps, the world may never know (or it might come up later when I rewatch that Digimon Frontier film I vaguely remember from the days of my youth).
Seraphimon advises the Digidestined to return back to their world now that he has been revived and should be able to take up the pressing battle himself. It’s a good thing that the Digidestined are hard-headed and refuse to do so, because, as we saw in the first episode of the series, an H Spirit Legendary Warrior Evolution is equivalent to or stronger than an Ultimate-level Digimon. Furthermore, a Beast Spirit Evolution is so much stronger than an H Spirit Evolution that it can take on and defeat at least five H Spirit Evolutions with no problem and is thereby at least on the level of Mega. Cherubimon is a Mega and he has five lackeys: 1 of which (Grumblemon is stuck as an H Spirit), the other 4 of which either have B Spirits or can find them. This means that the worst case scenario for Seraphimon in such a battle would be he and Ophanimon (if he could track her down) versus five Mega level Digimon of at least his strength level. These are not good odds!
Just as Seraphimon begins to plead with the children to leave this potentially life-threatening situation, Grumblemon and his goons enter the room. Immediately, the Digidestined Spirit Evolve into Beetlemon and Kumamon (J.P. and Tommy’s best option currently) and Agunimon and Lobomon (Takuya and Koji’s biggest derp moment in the entire series thus far). Because neither Takuya or Koji made the smart decision to transform to their Beast Spirit Evolutions as BurningGreymon and KendoGarurumon, they are in a four to four battle against opponents with the same power levels. However, Cherubimon’s forces have more experience fighting individually and as a team and thereby overwhelm the human Legendary Warriors and Sorcermon as he attempts to prevent Grumblemon from reclaiming his Gigasmon Beast Spirit from Takuya. Seraphimon manages to hold off the four aggressors, but is ultimately defeated when his attack is reflected by the metal mirror of Mercurymon, the Legendary Warrior of Steel.
Mercurymon then absorbs Seraphimon’s Fractal Code, which forces Seraphimon to revert back to a DigiEgg. Zoe nabs the egg, Sorcermon hits a secret wall switch when the team is backed into a corner, and everyone escapes to the secret Forest Terminal where a Kettle variant of Trailmon awaits them. However, Sorcermon gives his life to stay behind and distract the evil Legendary Warriors for as long as possible to ensure that the others make a clean getaway.
And then, just like that, the title of the episode makes sense. The kids have Seraphimon’s egg and were able to get it before the others destroyed it and rent it asunder into a mere shell. The hope now is that the Digidestined will be able to track down the voice in their D-Tectors and ask her to restore Seraphimon to his former glory as a necessary and formidable ally in their battle against Cherubimon. My second hope is that they will never again bring a knife to a knife fight by Spirit Evolving into weak H Spirit forms when they have the option to bring a gun to the knife fight and Spirit Evolve into their B Spirit Evolutions instead. But hey, that’s just wishful thinking.
Ciao for now,
The Digidestined Cody
The Nightingale Club. A figure lurks in the shadows, appearing visually identical to R. Dorothy Wayneright, though dressed in a red cape and hood. The figure kills one of the girls working at the club and writes a message in lipstick on the mirror in the girl’s dressing room, a message that seemingly only Dorothy would know the meaning of: ‘Cast In The Name Of God, Ye Not Guilty!’ The question and response written out by a Megadeus within its cockpit to only its true Megadeus (a negative answer, and the subsequent expulsion of the false Dominus would be prompted by ‘Ye Guilty.’).
Roger Smith learns of the incident from Dan Dastun and tracks down more information on the event through his informant The Big Ear at the city’s Speak Easy club. He learns that the woman who was murdered claimed to have regained memories of the past, pre-Event information from more than 40 years ago. However, the girl was barely 20 years old at the time, and thereby the recovery of such memories seems impossible.
The killer, known as R.D., takes down a Taxi Driver next and has been linked to one more previous murder through her Megadeus-tied M.O. message in each case. Dastun calls in Roger for questioning (which may suggest that Dastun knows about, or highly suspects, Roger’s identity as the pilot of the Megadeus) and finds that he knew only one of the victims: the dancer at Nightingale called Ellen Weight. She had previously contacted Roger to help her out of some predicament, but was killed before he could meet her and settle the details.
In this episode’s constantly shifting spatial logic, Roger next visits Norman in the underground where he is working on repairing Big O. He asks the old man, ‘Have you ever thought about the fact that you can keep the Megadeus in perfect condition like this?’ Instead of answering directly, Norman asks Roger if he wonders why he is able to pilot the machine so effectively, only to receive an answer in the negative. Norman responds likewise to Roger’s first question: ‘Right. Then neither do I.’ The conversation is over between the two at this point, and Roger sulks off elsewhere the ponder the question of why he is such an effective pilot of Big O despite not even being born before The Event of 40 years ago, and thereby bracketed from all knowledge before it, including information regarding the piloting of such machines. At the beginning of the series, his policy was to never go digging into the past lest he cause more trouble than need be. But now, Roger Smith is so curious about his past that he is willing to break his own rules and begin searching for the truth. This curiosity seems to have developed through his connection with Schwarzwald.
Then, the episode fasts forward to the end confrontation between R.D. and Roger in the subway beneath the city. This will occur on multiple occasions and in each instance Roger will awaken to find he has dreamt these occurrences that will later come to fruition. Memories of the future seem to corroborate the belief that Roger has lived this timestream on multiple occasions, that the world of Paradigm is a infinite time loop, and that the memories of other people in the city might be similar in nature, like deja vu, rather than being memories from before The Event, which may have never happened in the first place. As for the episode of deja vu at hand, R.D. stands opposite Roger in a subway and calls to him in an obscure fashion: ‘That’s right. you should know too… You want to know?’ The meaning of which remains enigmatic even by the episode (and first season’s denouement). A fire fills the space and Roger’s visions transport him to a library wherein a book is burning, and then to a city where flying Big Duo Megadeuses scorch the Earth below, as Big O’s and an as yet unknown white Megadeus (Big Fau) destroy all in sight from the ground. A group of children with shaved heads are shown watching the carnage and as the vision zooms in toward one particular child, a young boy, it reveals a barcode hidden within his retina: and android. Roger awakens in bed, stands up, and peers outside his window to find Dorothy standing on the balcony looking out over the city, in the rain, and without an umbrella.
Another man, a porter at a hotel, is killed by R.D., bringing up the death toll to 4 people, all seemingly disconnected from one another. Dastun seems to suspect Roger of the murders and asks his deputy whether Roger Smith was present in the hotel during the murder. Apparently he was there for some reason or other, and at this point, the viewer begins to get the unsettling suspicion that during Roger’s blackouts, something may be happening without his conscious knowledge. Roger meanwhile visits Big Ear once again and finds that the only connection between the four victims is that all supposedly began to have memories of the past, despite none being old enough for this to make any sense. His suspicion should be, by this point, whether he himself may be one amongst their number, another person whose visions are actually memories of the past as well.
He decides to visit the apartment of Ellen Weight. There, he finds a photograph of a building that he immediately recognizes, and which triggers memories of those five bald children once again. He visits the building and realizes that he has been inside before once he enters its premises. Moreover, the library within, its shelves devoid of all texts, is the selfsame as that from his visions from the prior day. Angel appears, in a red cape and hood, and tells Roger that he shouldn’t go digging any deeper, that her warning is one from Alex Rosewater and the heads of the city who are concerned that he isn’t ‘utilizing the Megadeus appropriately.’ She references how Schwarzwald uses his own Megadeus to try to destroy Paradigm and wonders aloud what Roger’s purposes are. Then, she leaves just as suddenly as she appeared, and Roger realizes that not only has he been a pawn of Paradigm insofar as he has unquestionably used the Megadeus to protect the city and prevent memories from awakening, but that the visions he has been having may be memories of his own, that the child android may be himself.
He seems to realize all of this, though he refuses to bring the realization to the conscious level and instead registers it all through another vision of flames. He awakens beneath he city, in a subway standing across from R.D. once more in another flash-forward sequence. She speaks: ‘That’s right. You already knew…. Me? I am…’ then she cuts her sentence short and smiles. Roger awakens within the library and finds a book on a nearby shelf titled Metropolis (cementing that celluloid text as an inspirational one on The Big O). Inside of the book is a library card with the names of all four victims (Ellen Weight, Mathew Brown, Larry Flannis, Nancy Bolton) of R.D. inside, with a fifth and final name: R.D. Does this signify that R.D. has found the book before Roger (and before Angel who presumably left it behind for Roger to find)? Does it mean that R.D. is a target, and the culprit of these murders? That Roger really is the assassin?
Roger needs answers, and to this end he returns home to gather some supplies for what may turn into a lengthy trip. Whilst at the mansion, he asks Norman about the whereabouts of Dorothy, who has only seen on the one occasion in the past week. Roger hasn’t seen her around either, which piques Roger’s suspicions as the woman in his visions looks so much like Dorothy. He leaves for Aislebury, a farming district of Paradigm, to track down the author of the text Metropolis, which recounts the same events from the past as in Roger’s memories: the city being destroyed by roving machines, all of the books being burned, and child androids watching as it all happens. This is the first half of the book is complete, and the second half is blank, and Roger has tracked its author Gordon Rosewater down to find out more information about why this is.
The ruler of the Police State known as Paradigm, and the CEO of Paradigm Corp., Alex Rosewater learns from Angel, his personal assistant going by the name Patricia Lovejoy (seemingly to infiltrate the company as a spy without Rosewater’s knowledge), of Roger’s whereabouts. She thinks it may not be a good idea to let Roger visit Alex’s father, but he simply responds that it won’t make any difference as ‘the awakening is already well under way.’ It seems Alex Rosewater has set some plan into motion, which he believes to be in such an advanced stage as to be impossible to halt.
And at the farm, Roger meets Gordon Rosewater who has become an old man, a seemingly senile man who speaks often in metaphor and very rarely in a forthright manner. Roger feels an immediate affinity for the old man who he seems familiar with. He explains to Gordon that his book recounts the tale of him implanting memories into children 1 years ago, and that four of these kids have grown into adulthood now and began to ‘remember’ these memories (presumably of what occurred before The Event), which led to their deaths at the hand of an at-large assassin. The man begins to talk about the tomatoes he currently farms on his land, how they are made synthetically to taste like real, organic tomatoes, and that over multiple trial runs they might eventually become just like the original thing. This seems to lead to conclusion that Gordon Rosewater created the children too, as stated in his incomplete book, to mold human beings into authentic copies of some previous original lifeforms, and that he intends to do once more in the future.
However, Gordon also claims that everything in the book is a lie, that the events therein are absurd: ‘The world destroyed by a cataclysm, giant robots running amok over the Earth, the power of the creator wielded by the hand of man.’ The problem with his dismissal is that such giant robots do indeed exist, that much of the world surrounding Paradigm has been destroyed, and that Roger, as a man (of sorts) does indeed control the power of a God as the pilot of Big O, as the Dominus of a Megadeus. The old man’s senility is expressed here as it seems that the book really did recount events from the past and that Gordon Rosewater has either forgotten these events, or more mysteriously yet, retreated into madness to avoid having to think about the atrocities he may have had a hand in starting. Gordon tells Roger, as the latter makes way to leave the farm and continue his investigation elsewhere, that he must ‘find the answer to your question in yourself. You can do it. No, you should be able to do it.’
The next frame of the episode shows Roger heading back into Paradigm proper, a sprawling Metropolis, a dystopian world akin to the 2019 Los Angeles’ of Blade Runner. Roger follows a lead to an address where he finds R.D. far ahead, entering the mansion before he himself. He follows a subterranean passageway and eventually comes face to face with R.D. who explains that despite the fact that androids are not supposed to be able to harm people, she has never had this built-in limiter, that she awoke with a desire, with a need, and with a program that told her track down those who remembered their pasts. In this way, R.D. performs a function similar to that given to Roger Smith by Paradigm (need I say, programmed into Roger Smith): to prevent memories from surfacing and thereby, to maintain order within the city.
R.D. tells Roger that she is merely following programming orders, that she is doing as commanded and acting according to her nature. Then, to drive home the point that Roger too is some form of android, she asks Roger who commands him. Roger refuses the implication, and grasping toward his own freedom, claims that he remains uncommanded. She asks why he pilots the Megadeus then, the ‘sacred chariot of Mankind. Those who pilot them are intended to be commanded. If you admit that you are not, then you must perish.’ And it seems that Schwarzwald’s final thoughts on the Megadeuses has been confirmed. That they do indeed do the commanding. But roger is no mere slave and has somehow managed to find his own way toward freedom, a path that Big O sympathizes with, which has led the Megadeus to act according to the will of its Dominus rather than commanding the Dominus, subtly, and acting in accordance with the will of Paradigm.
At this point, Roger has seen R.D. close enough to identify her as R. Dorothy, even though she calls herself Red Destiny. The psychological impact of such a betrayal is troubling and confusing to Roger who has always known Dorothy to break her programming in the past rather than harm him. She raises her pistol and clips Roger’s arm. As the two begin the subterranean chase between cat and mouse, Roger calls Big O, but hi signal is jammed and no information can exit this subway access tunnel. And as all seems lost and Roger stands within range of the psychotic rogue android, Big O miraculously rises from beneath the ground, crushing R.D. in the process. The real Dorothy emerges from the cockpit and explains that she was helping Norman renovate the Megadeus when it began to move on its own. The psychic connection between Roger and Big O has grown strong, and neither seems to be the total master in this mutual relationship between two electronic peers.
But more pressing concerns than those existential questions burning at the back of Roger’s mind appear immediately. In the ocean beside Paradigm, three foreign Megadeuses have appeared and threaten to destroy the city. Roger, Dorothy, and Big O emerge from beneath he city to protect it, even though this may be a programmed response to the danger. Dastun mobilizes his troops and looks on fondly at Big O as it heads toward the opposing Megadeuses. Angel looks on from the sidelines, holding a red balloon as a visual signifier linking her to the mysterious foreign terrorist in Winter Night Phantom. She complains that ‘it’s too soon. If the power is released now, you’ll ruin everything. Can’t you see that?’ And it becomes obvious that these Megadeuses are being piloted by co-conspirators of Angel’s who are working to take down the city from the outside just as she does so from within as a spy.
Finally, Roger’s monologue, and what would have been the final word from our protagonist if The Big O was not popular enough in the West to spawn a 2nd season (it was barely watched at all in its home market of Japan): ‘We have choices. Some of us like to stand in the rain without an umbrella. that’s what it means to be free!.’ Dorothy at his side, the umbrella references her proclivity to stand in the rain without one, just as R.D. explained that if it rained, it would be her natural reaction to cover herself with an umbrella. Whereas R.D. was programmed and had no free will, Roger, Big O, and Dorothy are persons (albeit constructed ones) with a sufficient complexity as to be truly free. And if this episode became the ending of The Big O, their paradoxical decision to protect the city they live within despite it being a programmed response they have dismissed and then re-signed onto, would have been one of the most radical choices ever made in anime history, or in sci-fi history for that matter.
Cast in the Name of God,
It’s morning on what seems to be a weekend day and Jeri is out and about on the town looking for someone to hang out with. She heads over to Takato’s parent’s bakery and buys some bread, inquiring all the while as to whether he is around, only to learn that Takato has already left for the day. When she leaves the shop, she looks pretty downtrodden and disappointed. But Kazu and Kenta show up and divine that she too is looking around for Takato. They tell her that they’re heading to the park to find him and the others in the hopes of spying some Digimon battle action and then proceed to drag her along with them.
Indeed, Takato is at the park, hanging out inside of Guilmon’s den with him, as well as Rika and Renamon, and Henry and Terriermon, who appear to be discussing the Devas. Henry seems to believe that their Digimon Sovereign cannot be your average Digimon if he was around before they were and ceded the powers of life and bio-emergence to them. However, Renamon’s scouting mission with Vajramon seems to have given them almost no other useful information about this new enemy, despite the fact that they have already defeated half of the Devas and are surely set to fight the Sovereign sooner rather than later.
Kazu and Kenta explain to Jeri that they wish they were Digimon Tamers with real Digimon partners so that they too could fight Devas and help out Takato and the others. Jeri claims that she doesn’t even like Digimon, the video games, card games, or real Digimon for that matter. But this is instantly controverted by a ton of Digimon cards falling out of her pocket. When the three look up again to watch Takato and the others, they have exited the scene. Kazu and Kenta run off to track them down once more, leaving Jeri behind. But unbeknownst to them, most of the Digi-action is going on in the park as Calumon shows up soon after and eats sweet buns from the bakery with Jeri, while Makuramon watches the duo from the bushes nearby.
Jeri begins to wonder whether Calumon might be her Digimon partner, but finds that Calumon isn’t so sure of this. A very small, Rookie-sized Mouse-machine hybrid Deva named Kumbhiramon next bio-emerges from within an adjacent Digital Field in the underground sewer system and attacks the two. Jeri tries to get Calumon to fight him, but Calumon is too cowardly and the two end up running away from the Deva instead.
Next, a Leomon inexplicably appears from within a fountain and begins to fight off Kumbhiramon, hitting him hard enough with his sword to send the Deva blasting off into the sky. Jeri takes an immediate liking to Leomon and claims that he is her Digimon partner and she is his Tamer, but Leomon is like a newborn with no knowledge of the meaning of these terms. He isn’t sure what it means to be a Digimon partner or a Tamer, and also Jeri has no D-Power to establish her role as a Tamer in the first place if Leomon did know what one was in the first place. Jeri acts almost flirty with Leomon, who then runs off and hides in confusion, but is found time and again by Calumon who thinks the ordeal is a game of hide and seek.
Eventually, Leomon passes by Guilmon’s den and decides to hide within it. Takato and Guilmon show up, followed by Jeri and Calumon, and decide to challenge Leomon to a battle. But Jeri defends Leomon, claiming that he is her Digimon partner, and then begins to chase him around the park again. Takato calls Henry and asks if he thinks Jeri could be a Tamer just because she says it is her destiny, but Henry decides that she’s probably just delusional and decides to head over. Next, Takato calls Rika and asks for her opinion. She decides that there’s no way Jeri could be a Tamer as she has no D-Power, but is intrigued enough by the proposition to run down to the park too.
Kumbhiramon shows up again and uses his Deva Clone ability to make six false versions of himself with which to confuse and battle Leomon once more. Jeri borrows Takato’s D-Power and tries to use Modify cards to aid Leomon in battle, but finds that none of her attempts have any effect whatsoever, meaning she probably isn’t destined to be a Tamer. But as we know, in the Tamer’s Universe very little is destined, and most interesting changes occur through force of will, meaning if Jeri continues in her persistence that she is a Tamer, and if Leomon eventually assents to the possibility, they may become partners after all.
Henry shows up and Digivolves Terriermon into Gargomon to help Leomon defeat the clones and eventually, Kumbhiramon himself. That makes seven Devas down and five to go. When Rika and Renamon arrive, they find that Makuramon is there too and has been watching the battle while standing, unnoticed, behind Takato and Jeri’s back the whole time. They run off to battle Makuramon, but seem to lose him in the forest during the chase. After Jeri’s attempts at aiding Leomon in his combat against Kumbhiramon failed, she crumpled under the pressure of disappointment almost literally and fell to the ground, crying in sorrow. Leomon feels sorry for Jeri and leaves ‘before her tears make [me] stay,’ showing that he has developed an affinity for her over the course of the evening and may be on track to become her partner yet.
Takato and Henry try and console Jeri, but she tells them to leave her alone. She stays on the ground, crying, and feeling sorry for herself and imagining that she isn’t special like her friends who have become Digimon Tamers. This defeatist mentality will have to be overcome before she can gain the strength of will to truly take her destiny into her own hands and become a Tamer in earnest.
But what about Hypnos you say? Earlier in the episode, we see that Janyu and his friends from college are employed by Hypnos and work long hours late into the night. They are attempting to crack the code Shibumi has been spreading around the city through Blue Cards and other phenomena, but have currently had no luck as the encryption key is unknown to them and would take months to brute force. At the end of the episode, an earthquake-like shaking of the building is registered by Janyu and his friends within the building, but is left unexplained.
Ciao for now,
The Digidestined Cody
The Dark Spore infected children have been directed to meet upon the Highton View Terrace bridge where Oikawa will meet them to bring them into the Digital World. The Digidestined have luckily been following the Dark Spore children and keeping an eye on them, meaning that they are privy to this information as well. Izzy, Joe, Matt, and the six young Digidestined are all hiding out in some nearby bushes waiting for Oikawa to appear. Meanwhile, Tai and Sora are together elsewhere, following Noriko Kawada as she walks around town and eventually makes her own way to the Highton View Terrace meeting place.
Izzy’s mom calls him on his cell phone and expresses her interest in helping him and his friends in any way she can. Matt and T.K.’s dad is corralling the technological forces at his disposal in the Television station while their mother works to collect information using the resources at the newspaper office where she works as a reporter. Ken’s dad, who used to work with Oikawa, is searching through the records of his company for any potentially useful information on Oikawa. Sora’s parents and Joe’s older brother Jim are working together to scout out the area around Highton View Terrace to give their Digidestined relatives the heads-up on when Oikawa and his goons arrive and where from. Izzy’s mom has decided to help out by making food and buying snacks for everyone, which she discreetly delivers to Izzy and his friends, making sure not to break their cover in the process.
As Oikawa, Arukenimon and Mummymon watch these events unfold from atop a nearby apartment building, Izzy’s mom has another good idea of how to help out. She decides to go visit the homes of the Dark Spore children’s parents to explain what has been going on and that their kids currently need them there to help out. If anyone can help to bring the kids back to reality, it would be their loved one after all. As she runs off to gather the parents, Oikawa appears on the bridge with the 19 Dark Spore children. He attempts to open up a Digital gate to the Digital World, which should be blocked by BlackWarGreymon’s sacrifice to close the portal indefinitely.
The Digidestined approach the bridge and Ken confronts Oikawa about what his purposes for picking him as Digimon Emperor in the past were. Oikawa responds that he chose Ken because he was emotionally vulnerable in the wake of Sam’s death and because Ken was a Digidestined, nothing more. He also explains that the Control Spire technology were originally designs from the Dark Ocean. By having Ken create these devices within the Digital World, he weakened the defenses of the that world, which normally only allows children to enter it as their perceived innocence is not deemed a threat. Oikawa’s lifelong goal has been to visit the Digital World, but he was never able to as a child, and now with the Digital World’s defense much weaker after the creation of the Control Spires and Azulongmon’s usage of one of his 12 Digi-Cores, Oikawa may finally be able to achieve his dream.
As he continues to try to open the Digital Gate, he channels the energy of the 19 children and manages to open a portal. As he and his precocious young charges enter the gate, it starts to immediately close and become smaller. The six young Digidestined, plus Arukenimon and Mummymon, just barely make it through, thereby leaving behind Matt, Joe, and Izzy. Oikawa’s dream seems realized for a brief moment until everyone realizes that the world they have entered is not the Digital World, but an odd, surrealist playground where one’s dreams and hopes and desires can warp reality.
As Oikawa begins to emotionally break down, the Dark Spore children show signs of similar emotional distress at not being in the place they too had hoped to enter, where they might have met their own Digimon partners and become Digidestined like their hero Ken Ichijouji (when he was Digimon Emperor that is). A giant mouth appears in the air above and begins to prophecy that the Digital World will forever be beyond the reach of Oikawa. He states that they are in a “world of despair where their souls will be consumed by darkness,” a place that is “no place for you to hide nor hope for you to escape.” Oikawa recognizes the lips and the mouth as his own, and the voice as similar to his own. The voice is owned by a parasitic being who Oikawa has hosted for the past three years since the death of his friend Hiroki. His sadness and hatred at the time weakened him and allowed for his possession by the Digi-Core corpse of an evil force whose voice Gatomon recognizes immediately as Myotismon!
Myotismon states that Gatomon’s tail ring was the basis for the concept of the Dark Spiral (an odd offhand comment that has little to do with what is going on at the time), then Oikawa begins to feel really ill. A white light emits from his mouth and a clone of Oikawa is formed from the energy. As Oikawa collapses to the floor, drained of all strength and life-force, the clone approaches the Dark Spore children. Arukenimon and Mummymon block the Digidestined and their Digimon partners from intervening as the Oikawa clone harvests the energy from the children’s Dark Spore flowers and uses it to take on a Mega-level Digimon form as the powerful MaloMyotismon. He then commences to destroy both Arukenimon and Mummymon out of sheer malice. The two, who were engineered from DNA, from Oikawa’s genetic essence, will never appear again and cannot regenerate like normal Digimon. Their final confrontation is sad, uncalled for, tragic, and ultimately a little heart-wrenching as viewer’s watch the comic relief of Adventure 02 killed off in brutal fashion.
The Digidestined do not immediately jump in to fight MaloMyotismon as they fear for the safety of their Digimon partners. after witnessing the brutality of MaloMyotismon and his strength, they are scared that their friends could end up just as dead, and worse yet, trapped metaphysically within a realm outside of the Digital World (meaning they cannot regenerate normally as Digi-eggs in the Primary Village and are instead subject to the metaphysical laws of this realm, which are currently unknown). However, they have one ace up their sleeve: the gungho will power of their leader Davis Motomiya! He and ExVeemon charge into battle all the while advising their friends that they cannot let fear control them. The outcome is anything but certain as the Champion-level ExVeemon is horrendously outmatched by MaloMyotismon, but anything could happen.
The Digidestined Cody
(For part 2 click HERE)
In this episode, we finally find out the identity of the Digimon Emperor (and I’m finally able to start typing in his 3-letter name as opposed to the double caps, two-word designation I’ve been using so far). The opening images are of a young boy sitting at his computer desk and working on a new design for the eyeglasses of the Digimon Emperor. We later find out his name is Ken Ichijouji when he stars on a cable network access channel the other Digidestined are watching. Ken is said to have won the National Computer Programming Contest. He is also a prodigy chess player, a math whiz kid, a rising judo star, and a great soccer/football player. The others think that he is so brilliant that he may even be able to help them find out who the Digimon Emperor is and defeat him, but little do they know.
This episode begins the character development for Cody, my obvious favorite in the series (that is my name after all). While the others are in the computer lab hanging out with their Digimon and Yolei is giving them snacks from her parent’s convenience store, Cody sits in the cafeteria, staring at his plate and the one tomato left on it. He is too full to eat and must wait or force himself to do so because he doesn’t waste food. His late father taught him this lesson years ago. He is a disciplined young man who is conscientious and also quite curious about the world around him, but he has a strict set of rules that he adhere to which help routinize his life and make things manageable for him.
We see Ken inside the Digital World putting his whip to use against the helpless Elecmon, guardian of the Digital World’s Primary Village where DigiEggs return, receive warmth and nurturing care, and are hatched into Baby Digimon. When Elecmon runs away, Ken sicks Tuskmon on him. Elecmon ends up caught and is forced to fight in a gladiatorial coliseum against a fellow Elecmon who has been enslaved by Ken’s black ring. A few friendly Gotsumon try to save Elecmon and are caught in the process by Ken. they are then enslaved and forced to fight against each other for Ken’s amusement, much to the ire and distaste of Wormmon who voices his naysaying about the cruelty, but is just as cruelly dismissed by his partner Ken.
As the Digidestined enter the Digital World, Ken appears to them as a hologram and claims that they are trespassing on his territory because only Digidestined humans belong in the Digital World. He justifies his claim that they are not Digidestined by saying, “Only perfect beings can be Digidestined. I am the only perfect human being.” He sends five enslaved Tyrannomon to “evict” the other Digidestined from “his” territory, but luckily Cody picks up on the signals for two new DigiEggs on his D-3 radar. While Flamedramon, Digmon, and Halsemon distract Ken and his lackeys, Cody, T.K. and Kari run off in the direction of the eggs. they happen upon a cavern where the eggs rest upon earthen pedestals. They hold the signs of the Crest of Light and the Crest of Hope: the Crests once attributed to Kari and T.K., respectively. But just as all the other six past Digidestined seem to have lost their claims to destiny and are no longer Digidestined, Kari and T.K. surmise that they too are no longer Digidestined and that the eggs must be for some other kids.
Cody says it’s worth a try to approach the DigiEggs anyway and when the two do, the eggs glow and their old Digivices are transformed into D-3. When they try to lift the eggs, they find it easy and are then able to use the power of Armor Digivolving to Digi-Armor Energize their partners Gatomon and Patamon who change into Nefertimon (The Angel of Light) and Pegasusmon (The Flying Hope). They leave the cave, the Going Digital! theme begins to play in the background, and the two use their new strength and powers to defeat and free the 5 Tyrannomon from their black rings (thereby bringing up the total of Digimon freed from Ken’s control in the series to 9). Ken leaves to lick his wounds and regroup to fight another day.
When the five new Digidestined kids return to the computer lab in the real world, they discuss what the next step should be in the fight against the Digimon Emperor. He is human and lives in the real world as well as the Digital World, so Cody suggests they should track him down and defeat him in the real world. The others dismiss his notions as childish for some reason and stoke the fires of self-doubt and self-loathing within the psyche of the young boy. Why they are so cruel makes sense: They obviously don’t mean to be mean by dismissing his suggestions. But why they don’t think his suggestions are valid is another question entirely.
Finally, we have a new issue at hand. In the Adventure Universe, the older six Digidestined have old Digivices that can no longer open the portal to the Digital World. They are losing their claims as holders of certain crests and as Digidestined in lieu of younger kids who they instead help through mentoring relationships. But T.K. and Kari, who were also a part of their old group of 8 secondary Digidestined (the original five Digidestined came before and are discussed in Digimon Adventure Tri as well as alluded to in Digimon Adventure 01), are still Digidestined and still can use their Crest powers through their new DigiEggs and Armor Digivolutions. Is there an age limit on being a Digidestined in this world? If so, does that mean that in two year after the events of Digimon Adventure 02 that Kari, T.K., Davis, Ken, and Yolei are no longer Digidestined, but that the younger Cody still is one? Does he make new Digidestined friends in the future and is this a space for a Digimon Adventure 03 series? I wish I knew. But the theories may grow stronger or weaker as I find more evidence supporting or dismissing claims and questions in the coming episodes of Digimon Adventure 02 (not to mention as I go and see the last three Tri films in theatres in the coming months!).
Ciao for now,
The Digidestined Cody
The episode begins with MetalGarurumon and Matt threatening Agumon and Tai. Unlike last episode where they seemed almost evil in their dispositions, words, and actions, however, this time around Matt seems unsure of himself. He is fidgety and seems to recognize that what he is doing is wrong and goes against his designation as a Digidestined and especially as the holder of the Crest of Friendship. Nonetheless, MetalGarurumon attacks and Agumon Digivolves to War Greymon to defend Tai. All the while, Tai and Matt are fistfighting and Matt becomes even more disturbed by his actions as they tussle.
In the forest nearby, Kari sees a block of shimmering lights invisible to the others. She approaches and finds that the light is sentient and attempting to make contact with her. A white light emanates from the being and absorbs the whole Digidestined group, de-Digivolving WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon and ending their battles as well as their Digidestined partner’s fight too. The group find themselves transported into a world of light where a voice speaks through Kari as its vessel and recounts the fall of the Digital World to the evil forces of the Dark Masters.
Once, there was darkness and light and the balance kept things in motion and movement without erring on the side chaos (darkness) or perfect nonaction and joylessness (light). Then the Dark Masters appeared and began to shift the by destroying good Digimon and creating more Evil ones. A group of non-Digimon non-human Humanoids occupied Myotismon’s Castle and found the chosen DigiEggs. They visited the human world at Highton View Terrace and found the Digidestined, analyzed their genetic codes, and created Tags and Crests and Digivices customized to each Digidestined child. When the Dark Masters (Piedmon along with many Guardromon and Mekanorimon) appeared and attacked the compound, they destroyed most of its workers. Piedmon took the crests, but a young Gennai fought back and grabbed the DigiEggs and Digivices. He escaped the Dark Masters and flew off to File Island where he left the Eggs to hatch in secrecy, but along the way he dropped Gatomon’s egg, thereby explaining why she was hatched away from her Digimon compatriots.
For a time, the Digimon Adventure’s writers made it seem as if the Digidestined were on a mystical quest pre-ordained from time immemorial. Now we know that the Digidestined were a random group of children who just happened to have the aptitude to do the job of destroying the Dark Masters. We know that their Digimon partners could have been other Digimon and that the Digivices are not mystical objects, relics of a time long since forgotten, but rather the creations of a group of digital people programmed to protect the Digital World. There was always a spiritual note hidden underneath the Digidestined quest that served as a hard kernel of unexplainable metaphysics to counter the forces of postmodern and nihilistic evil they faced. Now, the Digidestined are truly alone in the metaphysical space of the narrative and must continue to fight despite their knowledge of no pre-ordained quest or world historical force pushing events forward. they now know that they can possibly lose and that the fate of the Digital World really is up to them totally. How they will respond above this new aporia, this new chasm or precipice always existing but just now apparent, is an issue to be decided in the coming episodes.
The being channeling its voice through Kari also expresses a lesson very pertinent to Matt’s current struggle against Tai. When a Digidestined acts against their nature, as exemplified by their Crest’s power, they may potentially corrupt their own Digimon and create more evil and destructive forces in the Digital World. This occurred already when Tai’s courage turned erred on the side of extremity and became foolhardiness thereby corrupting Greymon and turning him into SkullGreymon. In that instance, Agumon was still a relatively weak Digimon and did not have the energy to remain in his corrupted Ultimate form for long before de-Digivolving back into Agumon. However, now all the Digimon are stronger and a corruption of Gabumon into a corrupted Mega could be absolutely catastrophic for the Digidestined and the Digital World.
When the Digidestined return to the forest clearing, Matt is done fighting. But he realizes that he still must learn more about himself and decides to go off on his own quest for a time. This time on good terms. Mimi is tired of fighting and wants a break from the senseless violence that resulted in the death of her close friend Chumon, as well as Wizardmon, Whamon, and Piximon, all of whom she liked. She decides to stay put for a while and Joe chooses to stay with her. The other five Digidestined begin their journey anew and leave their friends behind for the meantime, but go forward with the hope and the belief that as Digidestined their paths may be different, but they are sure to end up at the same place and be reunited. If they had paid enough attention earlier to the fact that their quest’s outcome is not certain, they would not be sure of this belief and realize it is unwarranted. At this point, it is not certain that they will ever join together again. But we know otherwise.
The Digidestined Cody
The Digidestined previously failed to stop Myotismon and his henchman from going through the gate to the Real World. They also were unable to make it through the gates in time to follow them. Now, Myotismon has a huge head start on them in the search for the eighth Digidestined child.
Gennai appears to the Digidestined once again in his hologram form. He advises them to come to his home where they can meet face to face. Gennai turns on his beacons that alert the Digidestined to his abode underwater. They don’t know how to go about reaching his fortress until Gennai makes the waters part, revealing a stairway to his home. The Moses motif is obvious in that Moses is said to have parted the Red Sea to bring his people to safety from the Egyptians. Here, Myotismon and his henchman have left the Digital World and so the Digidestined are in no real danger. Rather, the parting of the waves reveals Gennai’s home and the information they need to continue their pursuit. This places the Digidestined in the problematic symbolic role of the evil Egyptians chasing out Myotismon, which delegitimizes the whole interpretation. Oh well, it was worth a shot.
Gennai lives in underwater beneath a freshwater lake. But there are halibut, saltwater fish, swimming past the windows. Joe remarks on the weird situation and Gennai responds that he has to feed them popcorn, salted pretzels, and lots of mixed nuts to keep their salt levels up. Weird. And in the world of Digimon possibly not even tongue in cheek.
We later learn that Gennai, though he appears to be human, is neither a human nor a Digimon. Rather, he is a digital being styled after humans without any attributes like digital powers, digivolution, or an essential nature or type like Digimon. This in-between sort of existence is a little debilitating for the schema Izzy has been trying to build for existences in the Real World and Digital World. Occupying no essential position, Gennai is the remainder that escapes easy identification, the example that dissolves the rule, and one more instance of continental philosophy’s notion of mystery. As an example, he deconstructs the notion that there are Digital beings with Digimon attributes whose coding can be converted to molecules and atoms in the real world, and that there are real beings with human attributes whose DNA can convert to data in the digital realm.
While in Gennai’s home, Izzy asks him more questions than the rest of the gang combined. He wants to know more about the digital world and how it functions. Who Gennai is and what he is. How the two worlds are connected. And many other things. Gennai advises him on many of these subjects and clears up a question I had about an earlier episode that introduced Digimon types. There are three types of Digimon essentially: Data, Virus, and Vaccine. Unfortunately, he doesn’t explain what the difference between these types consist of. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that the Data types are natural and uncorrupted Digimon who are largely good by nature. The Virus types are corrupted by incomplete or infected data and are similar to viruses in that they target and attack uncorrupted data and devices. The Vaccine types are those that protect the digital world and cure or complete corrupted data by defeating or mending virus types.
We also learn that the only portal between the Digital World and the Real World that is currently accessible to the group is the one in Myotismon’s lair, so the Digidestined must return there. They must arrange the Digimon tarots into the correct pattern to open the gate to the real world. But if they make a mistake and place them in the wrong order, or place the wrong cards (there are ten cards and only nine slots), they may end up creating a portal to a different world. The notion that there are more worlds than the Real World and the Digital World is new and exciting. It tells us that the world in Digimon Adventure is one wherein the notion of multiple timelines may exist (and Tai may be fighting evil with Veedramon instead of Agumon in one of them) or where there are an infinite number of other universes in a multiverse where all can have negative effects on one another. This puts the Digidestined’s role as saviours of the worlds in more drastic relief. Not only do the fates of two worlds rest on their shoulders, but potentially of an near-infinite number of worlds as well.
Ultimately the gang fight off a number of Devidramon in the castle, as well as the giant spider Digimon Dokugumon and his minions, before placing their trust in their de facto leader Tai to choose which cards to place. He defers to Izzy and yields his decision-making to him instead because of his intelligence and good decision-making in the past. They work together to figure out the order of cards and Tai makes a split-second random decision on which card is the fake. They make it through the gate in the nick of time and find themselves back at summer camp and well on the way to finding the eighth child before Myotismon is able.
Till next time,
The Digidestined Cody