(Check out the previous episode review HERE)
In the lore of Digimon Frontier, there were ten Legendary Warriors who restrained Lucemon after he became the tyrant of the Digital World. Now that Cherubimon has appeared on the scene and threatens to destroy the Digital World by absorbing all of its Fractal Code (presumably to build the world anew to his own specifications at some unspecified future time), the Legendary Warrior’s Spirits have appeared as ancient artifacts that the chosen ones, or Digidestined, must track down and use to fight back.
That said, our original cast of kids who arrived in the Digital World for this purpose could have numbered far greater than ten in number as there were at least dozen of children in the Shibuya Station Underground Terminal back in Episode 01. This means that some of these children will become spooked and turn back to their own world, thereby not embracing their destinies by virtue of their own free will, or worse, some children will be unable to return to the Real World or find ‘Spirits’ and will probably become trapped in the Digital World or be killed by aggressive, evil Digimon following Cherubimon’s orders.
As our protagonists number only five, however, there are five open slots for other Digidestined to become Legendary Warriors if their temperaments are suitable to the particular ‘Spirits’ they are able to find. Because Digimon is not a 12-26 episode kind of series, much of the series’ first half will be spent in powering up our characters and introducing them to other characters who will recur throughout the remainder of the series. As such, we can expect that our protagonists will begin to meet the other Legendary Warriors in the coming episode. And in fact that is exactly what happens beginning with Episode 06, immediately after all of our protagonists have gained the ability to Spirit Evolve.
The episode begins as Koji scales a treacherous mountain path barely wide enough for one to traverse by foot. He finds a cavern wherein a group of KaratsukiNumemon are locked up behind bars. Just as Koji attempts to help these Digimon out, Grumblemon appears behind him and throws him out of the cavern and off the mountain.
At the foot of the mountain, there is a bustling Digimon city wherein the others try their best to find food. Unfortunately, Bokomon is broke and Zoe’s human money is worthless in this world, so the group are turned away from every eating establishment including the one run by the Golden Armor Digimon Kongoumon. The very presence of a such a Legendary Digimon, presumably with the strength of a Golden Rapidmon or a Magnamon, who has devoted his life to cooking food and making a profit rather than fighting back against Cherubimon’s evil forces and the increasing fracture of the Digital World is a bit confusing. But hey man, it’s a free country, at least until Cherubimon takes total control that is.
Luckily for the Digidestined, they find a sign in town that seems perfectly directed toward themselves both in their state of hunger and in their designation at Digidestined with the power of the Legendary Warriors: ‘Heroes Wanted: All Your Meals For Free!’. J.P. narrows in on the message and alerts his friends to it. Within the building adjacent to the sign, they find a group KaratsukiNumemon whose eyes alight with joy once J.P. explains that he and his friends are the heroes that they have been looking for.
The KaratsukiNumemon lead the Digidestined toward their village in the mountains along a treacherous path with inverted loops hitched onto a cargo Trailmon. There, they find that the village is oriented on the face of the mountain in such a way that only slimy Digimon like Numemon could live there without falling directly to their doom upon the rocks below. Fortunately, the KaratsukiNumemon have invested in a series of rope ladders that allow the Digidestined to reside in this domain while they learn the story of Grumblemon who has arrived to steal their mountain’s Fractal Code, was unable to find it and thereby decided to kidnap all of the female KaratsukiNumemon in the village to spur on the men to find the Fractal Code for him. The Digidestined also find Koji within the village whose fall was miraculously cut short by the villages outer gate.
The food of the village, many-colored cabbages and heads of lettuce that taste of what one wishes most to eat (steak, chicken, potatoes, even asparagus in Takuya’s case), is exquisite and the KaratsukiNumemon are more than accommodating. This all changes when Takuya mentions that they will surely be able to defeat Grumblemon with the help from the ‘Spirits’ of the Legendary Warriors. After this revelation to the KaratsukiNumemon, they begin to act differently toward their heroes and insist that the Digidestined rest for the night before beginning their journey in the morning. All the while, the denizens of the village restrain the Digidestined and their friends Bokomon and Neemon while they sleep and tie them to sticks overhanging the cliff-side where they can be cut free to fall to their deaths at any time.
The Digidestined awaken to find the KaratsukiNumemon pissed off that Legendary Warriors came to their aid. Their reasoning is that Grumblemon himself is apparently the new holder of the H Spirit of Earth and is thereby a Legendary Warrior himself. The KaratsukiNumemon believe that the Digidestined, likewise Legendary Warriors, must be cahoots with Grumblemon and only came to the village to trick its denizens, waste their time, and force them to give up the location of the mountain’s Fractal Code. When Grumblemon himself appears to warn the KaratsukiNumemon to help him find the Fractal Code, he makes it apparent that he has connection with the Digidestined whatsoever.
Next, the KaratsukiNumemon free the Digidestined Legendary Warriors from their binds and a battle ensues in which the combined forces of Agunimon, Beetlemon, and Lobomon are unable to defeat Grumblemon who is himself in his H Spirit form. Kazemon and Kumamon fly off and free the female KaratsukiNumemon during this battle, only to return just as it begins raining and Beetlemon uses the rain’s cascading motion as inspiration to strike the mountain side with a Thunder attack that brings rocks cascading and sliding down toward Grumblemon with enough force to finally defeat him.
Or so he thinks. Grumblemon possesses the next form of Spirit Evolution and in his current form he activates this B (or Beast) Spirit of Earth using a Slide Evolution technique that releases his most powerful form as Gigasmon. The combined attacks of all the Digidestined in their H Spirit forms are not enough to even put a dent in Gigasmon’s defenses, and what’s worse is that the rock slide uncovered the mountain’s Fractal Code beneath its face. Gigasmon takes the code and plunges the area into chaos, destroying the KaratsukiNumemon Village and sending everyone plummeting hundreds and thousands of feet into the void below.
Ciao for now,
The Digidestined Cody
(Check out the previous review HERE)
The Digidestined are still traveling toward the Forest Terminal. However, Koji has been more tactful than his counterparts thus far and is reclining in style within the cabin of a train while Takuya’s crew trudge along through tracks in the desert toward the terminal. I guess you can say that the old adage ‘two heads are better than one’ doesn’t really apply to one with an above average intellect like Koji.
Like the previous four episodes of the series, episode five is used to round out our characters and power them up with ‘Spirits’. And as J.P. is the last one of the gang without a spirit, its now finally his turn to make himself useful. What the episode lacks that all previous ones had to greater or lesser degrees is the addition of backstory from Bokomon’s precious book of legends. Whereas the other episodes managed some sense of gravitas, or relative importance, to the narrative at hand, this episode’s dearth of backstory leaves it a little lacking in interest.
Nevertheless, it begins as Takuya, Zoe, Tommy, J.P., Bokomon, and Neemon sojourn through a desert storm along a set tracks that leads them to a place known as the Wind Factory Corporation. Therein, a group of friendly, but cowardly, Kokuwamon toil away in the industrial townscape creating electric fans for use by their masters: the Goblimon foreman, Minomon guards and watchers, and their boss Snimon. Worst yet, these enslaved Kokuwamon are tortured using fear tactics into releasing their latent energy to perpetuate the factory’s operation.
Snimon and his goons rule through fear and trembling, through brute strength, and nonetheless all there know that might is not actually right. The Kokuwamon work for no wage but a subsistence level of energy (food) and housing. They are protected from Cherubimon’s ravages of the Digital World whilst within this dark factory, but only because their captors are complicit in that dark lord’s scheme. The plot would be relatively innocuous to a viewer in Switzerland or its peaceful ilk, but to American viewers who themselves live within an empire of power and terror and most likely hire out their work to corporations complicit with that empire’s evil schemes (even just through taxation that might support MIC) for something below a comfortable living wage, the parallel is all too real. That said, the factory is evil partially because it is based on slave labor and partially because it supports and is supported by an evil regime outside of itself; it is deemed evil by our young protagonists who understand this all implicitly; and hence, I would conclude that even a children’s TV show like Digimon is never quite as simple as one might initially imagine (But hey, Miyazaki’s already taught us this lesson with his films, no?).
The Kokuwamon tell the Digidestined of their past glories before being forcibly abducted by the Goblimon. These diminutive Rookie-level electric beetle machine Digimon once lived in the forests and roamed freely. They were happy there, but as the elder often says, not so much ‘here’ (the factory). Takuya reasons that the Kokuwamon have only two real options if they wish to return home to their forests: 1. They must fight back and free themselves by using force against force, fire against fire. 2. They should run away from the Goblimon. However, the problem with option two is that the evil in Wind Factory remains to either track down the Kokuwamon and enslave them once again, or even worse yet, morally speaking, the Goblimon might track down a different group of Digimon to enslave, and thereby the Kokuwamon will only be passing along their enslavement to another group.
Everyone agrees that the only way forward is option one. Takuya even draws up a plan for Zoe as Kazemon to distract the Goblimon and Minomon guards by destroying the front gate and alarm systems, while Agunimon, Kumamon, and everyone else infiltrates the factory in the dead of night to destroy the assembly lines therein. However, J.P., who has still been unable to find his own Legendary Warrior ‘Spirit’ doesn’t like the idea of being a mere accomplice in this plan. He wishes he had the strength to help out and because he does not, he responds by refusing involvement.
Beyond the factory situation itself, the only other interesting element of Episode 05 to comment upon is J.P.’s relationship with a Kokuwamon youth. The tyke has never seen the famed forests of his ancestors because he was born into this hideous captivity. He has hopes and dreams for freedom from the factory, for the pursuit of his happiness without the chains of slave labor. And he entrusts his hopes with J.P.: the eldest of the Digidestined and the largest of their group.The little guy doesn’t know that J.P. doesn’t have a Spirit like his friends and thereby latches onto him as one with a strong character and amiable personality.
That night, Kazemon’s distraction succeeds in giving her friends an opening to invade the factory. Kumamon, Agunimon, and the swarm of beetle-like Kokuwamon defeat Goblimon after Goblimon, destroying as many industrial artifacts as possible along the way. But when they reach the inner sanctum wherein the assembly line is housed, Snimon appears and manages to defeat Agunimon just as the Goblimon make one last rally to repel Kumamon and the Kokuwamon. J.P., inspired by shouldering the weight of all the hopes and dreams of the Kokuwamon, jumps into action, and strikes Snimon with a large crane machine in the room. Snimon’s counter-strike destroys the machine, revealing the H Spirit of Thunder hidden within the metal beams that once held the crane aloft.
J.P.’s D-Tector finally alights upon his own destined Spirit and he uses it to Spirit Evolve into Beetlemon. In this form, he easily defeats Snimon totally and absorbs his Fractal Code within the D-Tector. The group manages to escape the factory just as it explodes and as a strong wind blows through the village carrying away the insubstantial Minomon. As the Kokuwamon celebrate and the Digidestined brace themselves to go back out in search of the Forest Terminal, an evil Digimon named Grumblemon in a cave nearby receives a report on the fifth Digidestined ‘Spirit’ discovery with much displeasure.
Ciao for now,
The Digidestined Cody