Tag Archive | science fiction

Iblard Jikan

Iblard Jikan is one of the most artistically compelling visual spectacles produced by Studio Ghibli in its thirty plus years existence. The piece is a phantasmagorical and other-worldly in a way that few animations are without also being terrifying. The world of Iblard in its time is revealed in this short 2007 film to be a world of technology sufficiently complex enough to appear magical wherein the denizens of this land live beside nature, harnessing its power whilst simultaneously deriving pleasure through its proximity, through the beauty of living things and the quaintness with which they frame everything else.

Iblard is painted in an impressionist manner with watercolors and pointillist motifs portraying sheer colors and textures, but figuring as objects, as landscapes, as people, and as mechanisms of scientific advance. The landscapes are idyllic and often elegiac in scope: a vision of a world of the future that embraces the beauty of the world without also foolishly dismissing scientific advances that make life easier, more bearable, less grueling, and ultimately more enjoyable.  The artist of this fantastical utopian vision, Naohisa Inoue, is no banal luddite and no conservative fool with a belief in nature as a first principle or of the simplistic a-rational belief in the natural-artificial divide. No, he is a true progressive through and through, which champions the green revolution and where we can go from there with the beauty of GMOs, shorter seasons, higher yields, and the eventual amelioration of starvation altogether (whereas a conservative might bear total ‘organic’ farming as a Good despite its obvious effect of directly causing millions more to die of starvation and lack of food supply each year).

Inoue is not predominately an animator for manga or Japanese animated television series or films. Rather, he paints and works within the fine art medium of the landscape portraitist. Inoue’s interests in surrealism and impressionism, in fantasy and science fiction render him something of an anachronistic painter by the modern avant-garde’s standards. However, in picturing a mystique of nature and techno-fetishism at the same time, he creates works in a lofty spirit akin to David Foster Wallace’s call for a move beyond Postmodern Irony and Referentiality toward a new sentimentality, toward a true love of humanity and a belief in our abilities to move beyond current forms (although not a base belief in human omnipotence, which has been thoroughly de-mystified through the dialectical relation with Postmodern thought).

In 1995, Yoshifumi Kondo directed his first feature film, which was likewise his first film for Studio Ghibli and the first theatrical film released by the company, which was not also directed by one of its patriarchs: Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. The film was called Whisper of the Heart, and it followed the life of a young girl who struggles to find her talents in this world. She is of the liminal age when love begins to bloom and one’s career is still far off, but quickly approaching. And she is imaginative and well-read for her age, but has found no way to use her talents until she meets an ambitious young boy who captures her heart and gives her the push to begin work, to start writing a novel.

In these moments when she imagines the inner world of the novel, she imagines the world of Iblard. And in that 1995 film, Inoue’s paintings of the fictional landscape, its magical technology, and its enchanting people, appear in their full brilliance. Eleven years later, in 2006, Miyazaki returned to Iblard and used its backgrounds and beauty to house his characters for the 16-minute short film Hoshi no Katta Hi, or The Day I Raised A Planet. How these two events led to Ghibli optioning a full Iblard OVA at half an hour in length, with no real market to make a return, and to be directed by Inoue himself, despite him having no previous animation experience, I have no clue. However, I am glad that they took a chance on Inoue’s film just as they had with Oga’s film, The Night of Taneyamagahara, in the previous year.

The film is split into eight short segments, each around 4 minutes long, which feature unique pieces of music and explore successively larger portions of the world of Iblard. As a small cottage in a wood, which could exist in our own world now, transitions to a house on a hill, and then to a small village linked together by amorphous rail cars, acoustic guitars and synth pads shift to traditional Japanese music, likewise played on  these instruments. As the scenes move to larger pictures of entire islands and of civilizations and cities of Iblard, each more technologically complex, beautiful, and surreal in the sheer impossibility of their designs, the music grows. Two guitars, then three guitars, synths and drums and an epic sweep, and then the images finally just took me over entirely and my notes on the film became less like observations, and more like reflections, and then revelries in the majesty of the experience:

‘First the synths, then the drums, building into an epic piece. Landscapes, artifacts, pavilions of times long forgotten, and always the sea, the rivers, the lakes, and the lush islands of Grecian aspect. Peninsulas and archipelagos of mythic, Elysian Andalusian shores, or Dali re-envisioned through Auguste Renoir. People float upwards, ascending to meet these spaces, aloft along winds of will, and toward a piazza of planes: first water, then land, then water, then homes, and so on.’

Or:

‘A music box and bells building a sinister phantasmagoria, a playful nightmare in a world of labyrinthine topography. A Postmodern playground. Cities and industry, blimps and smog immediately absorbed back into the Earth: an effete bourgeois beauty, inestimable. Organs and a Gregorian chant revive within the spectator ancient yearnings for an idyll whose time never was: only to later be constructed by romantics in pensive moods dreaming of past glories. The people here as phantoms in the streets, as matter transfiguring, as science transmogrifying into magic, into mysticism: a transformation so complete it leaves one wondering whether the object is truly science as magic, or magic merely veiled in technologic.’

Needless to say, I loved the film, and I hope you do as well.

 

Cody Ward

Stalker

Andrei Tarkovsky. Unequivocally one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. My favorite filmmaker, Ingmar Bergman, said of Tarkovsky that he ‘is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.’

Stalker. 1979. Tarkovsky’s final Soviet film before leaving the country for the freedoms of the West, the freedom to make films as he wanted, complete and total freed om that produced two more films before his untimely death in 1986 at the age of 1986, the result of exposure to noxious elements from chemical processing plants during his filming of Stalker. A film whose original first year of shots were destroyed by inept film developers unused to the new experimental film stock he used to capture his dreams. A film meant to be shot in the deserts of Central Asian Russia, but which was diverted away after a massive earthquake rendered the locations unusable, and was eventually moved to Estonia, to a lush, swampy area totally at odds with his original conception. A film on which two cinematographers were hired and fired before a third satisfactory figure was found. A film almost doomed from the start that somehow managed to be made nonetheless. A triumph of human will and of Tarkovsky’s tenacity and vision.

The film was an adaptation of a science fiction novel called Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, though the plot was narrowed significantly to involve primarily one arc of action, in one time and one place. The journey of three men to the center of the mythical Zone wherein a Room sits that grants the deepest desires of those who enter it. All previous Tarkovsky films had taken place over days, if not years, but finally in Stalker he managed to tackle the Aristotelian Unity. The end result is something one can only describe as sublime as Tarkovsky was able like never before or since to sculpt with time and guide our gaze into the realm of meditative act. 163 minutes and only 142 shots in the film.

Twenty years prior to the events of the film, an asteroid or meteor (or is as is hinted at in the film, and made apparent in the source novel, an alien arrival) landed on Earth and made a large area completely inhabitable. Those who lived near the area or those who illegally sneak in visitors for lucrative tours of the area, suffer from the effects of what appears to be radiation poisoning as they lose hair, gain skin blemishes, and bear or conceive children labelled ‘mutants’ who are born deformed. The region of exclusion is called the Zone and those who bring visitors to the Room at its core, are known as Stalkers. Seven years later, the Chernobyl incident occurred. The uninhabitable radioactive area around the reactor became known as the Zone of Alienation and those who continued to live in the surrounding area despite government warnings about negative health effects called themselves Stalkers. Stalker, a science fiction film with political, social and religious themes, is ultimately a piece of art, and potentially one with prophetic power.

The film opens outside of the Zone. The Stalker is at home in bed with his wife and daughter, a ‘mutant’ who cannot walk, and seems precocious, but is mute throughout the film. The world is sepia and high-contrast. The world outside the Zone, a secular, atheistic gulag archipelago. There is freedom in many regards, but the religious like Stalker are tormented by the flat affect of a world like this in which faith is dead, God is dead, and life is a prison with nothing to look forward to, no hope of advancement, few joys, and a palpable malaise apparent.

The men Stalker guides are The Writer and The Professor. The former wants to write works that will survive beyond his days, that will be read hundreds of years into the future. But he has sacrificed much of this by writing previously for popularity, writing for the average moron sitting on the beach, just looking for a timely story that isn’t too challenging or troubling or apt to make one think. In this way, the public have written him in their image, and he is no longer a writer at all, just a conduit for the desires and interests of the crowd, of the Them: inauthentic and not worth the paper he’s printed on.

The Professor is more secretive about his ends in going to the Zone. when pressed he relates that he wants to win the Nobel Prize for his research on the Zone, but his true purposes will be revealed as the destruction of the Zone in an attempt to prevent anyone from using it for evil ends in the future.

When the three begin their journey to the Zone, the entrance is guarded by armed men, tanks, attack dogs, and barbed wire. The world is sepia, brown like the muck of the world, like the dirt we all are and the consequent lack of importance we hold as individuals, as a species, from the secular standpoint. But the moment the men pass these barricades and enter the Zone proper, the world is shot using color photography. The images become saturated with color as the interior world of the film, of the dream, become saturated with mystery, with enigmatic connections to an unknown event, and to the miraculous nature of The Room. With meaning.

In the Zone, the world is devoid of industrial sounds and effluents, nature has returned to reclaim old buildings and tanks, and the most constant sound is complete and utter silence as not even birds or insects inhabit this place. The howling of beasts, seen not heard. The image of flowers in fields, without scent. And other fields in which no flowers are physically present, and yet their spectral presence appears through their absence (a key feature of the fields around the Room in which there are no flowers, but I swear every time I remember the film that they were there only to find, upon reviewing, that they are absent indeed). A path to the Room that always shifts, but is invisible and only makes itself apparent to the believer, to the Stalker. A path from which one could seemingly stray and very easily approach the Room with less hassle, but this operation would prove deadly as the Zone is a true mystical space, a true Labyrinth in which beautiful secrets are available to the careful, to the one respectful of its rules, but fatal to the foolhardy who become subject to its death traps.

Stalker’s teacher was a man named Porcupine who once led his own brother to the Room. But his brother was not wary and died along the way. When Porcupine entered the Room for the first time (an action not allowed for Stalkers) he had hoped that his desire for his brother to still be alive would come true. But the Room doesn’t work by granting mere wishes. No. It follows the deepest desire of the one who enters it and as such, it made Porcupine a rich man: a desire he unconsciously, subconsciously held more dear than the life of his own brother. Once this hidden desire was unveiled to Porcupine, once the true nature of who he really was became known to him, he killed himself .

Like the objet petit a, the object-cause of desire, once attained one’s life loses meaning. This object, this desire being the kernel, the core, the constituent unit tying together one’s Being, one’s reason for living, for struggling, call it one’s destiny or one’s goal or one’s dream or one’s hope. Once achieved, a new desire must manifest itself because the thing desired is now had and no longer desired. This is the logic of consumption. But the inmost desire is the one desire that once achieved or gained or held is the end-all be all, the thing that unveils one’s nature and what one truly strives for, what one wants above all else, and how one has constructed his or her self completely around this thing. Nothing can take the place of this objet-grand a. So once achieved, only the void is left, the primal Ground of Being, the precipice into one must look, into which if one looks, the abyss will stare back and in the staring will destroy all but the strongest, all but the Ubermensch. And very few of us have that resolve, that strength. Very few of us have not been conditioned by some form of herd mentality, be it christian morality, or any other religious morality, or some political ideology, or the belief in fairness or decency, or in a sociological necessity of morality and proper conduct, or what have you.

The men reach the room, but cannot venture past the threshold as this liminal step cannot be taken by anyone below the strength of a Hercules. They leave and the Stalker returns to his family, disgusted by the men he guided, by the lack of faith in the world, for lack of even a capacity for faith in the intelligentsia of the world today. And then another truth is revealed. The scene pans out and away from the stalker and his wife and we see his bookshelves. Thousands of texts. The Stalker is, in some way, a part of this intelligentsia, which prompts his greater disgust for their inability to believe, their inability to take the leap of faith and to step over the threshold in the Room, which will destroy them totally in the process, but could allow them to become one with the All. The Stalker has never brought anyone over the threshold and seems himself unable to cross as he has given himself the dictum and the moral call not to do so, like a Bodhisattva foregoing Nirvana and eternal nothingness in order to bring others through toward this truth.

When the daughter of the Stalker is shown, her world is not sepia like that of her father outside of the Zone. No, instead her world is shot realistically, with a color photography saturated with hues. Her very Being is a product of her father’s connection to the Zone, and she carries within herself the beauty of that place. Just as the children of the religious, the progeny of the believers whose belief the atheistic U.S.S.R. meant to stamp out carry the imprint of their secretly devout ancestors with them. And one day; Andrei Tarkovsky seems to say through his portrayal of the mute and lame telekinetic psionic Zone-child; when the world is different and the political units shift, the faithful will emerge once again from out of their hiding places into the fullness of the light and their belief will be akin to a breaking out of the enigmatic color of the Zone and an erasure of the sepia, of grayness, of the bleak reality of a life devoid of meaning brought on initially, and tragically, through state apparatuses and their power to withhold spiritual interpellation.

 

Cody Ward

Society (Serial Experiments Lain: Layer 07)

(Layer: 06)

The street opening, our characteristic beginning quote, this time from the vocal chords of an unseen girl: ‘I’ll tell you but it’s just between you and me. I’ll tell you what’s happening in this society, what’s beginning, just because you don’t know about it.’

Lain is shown back in her room, a new and improved coolant system is in place to replace her previous one that was blown up by a parasite bomb sent by The Knights. The machinery of the new system is too massive to fit within the confines of her space within the home itself, and as such, much of the ventilation tubing and wiring hangs outside of the room from the previously blasted out window pane (ala tech noir like Blade Runner). Lain is networking on the Wired through her terminal, as opposed to travelling within with her avatar. Her older sister Mika stands within her doorway, murmuring under her breath and looking absent-minded. Once Lain notices her and catches Mika’s attention, Mika leaves. Lain notes she that she has been acting weird lately and we know why, this Mika is a stand-in for the real Mika who was destroyed or banished from the real world two episodes prior.

In the city streets, a man wears a complex apparatus of wiring, processors, metal detectors, and a virtual reality headset that connects him with the Wired. He states that he knows the real world and the Wired are connected ‘end to end’. He also states that he can exist anywhere, even without his body, he believes, that he has the ability to send his consciousness elsewhere (a theory we know is false in reality, but works within the metaphysics of Serial Experiments Lain, which is much more mystical than the world in which you, reader, are reading this message). The man is a creep. He’s unshaven, has crooked teeth, and looks like he rarely bathes. the people who see him on the street as he passes, stop and stare in disbelief.

An upscale office building. A woman inside, a secretary enters an office. Her legs are alluring, shot in such a way as to make the audience voyeurs within the sequence. She flips her hair and sits down at a chair adjacent to her boss’s desk. ‘It’s time for the EMA Motor Consortium Banquet.’ The man, like us, is entranced, fixated on the woman’s legs. There is a Knights symbol on his laptop, very similar to the Masonic emblem. He asks the woman for three minutes time before joining her outside of the office for the upcoming meeting.

Lain is shown in class with her cell-Navi, networking in the Wired instead of paying attention to schoolwork or teacher instruction. Her friend Alice seems worried for Lain as the once interior young girl had shown some promise of becoming more socially adept and outgoing in the previous weeks, and is now spiraling back into interiority. Her obsession with the Wired seems to be blurring her distinction between the real world and the Wired, or worse, giving her a taste for the former over and above the latter.

A man is shown in his bedroom, typing vigorously upon his computer (much as I am at this moment). He has long hair and needs to shave (as do I) and is overweight (I’m getting there if I don’t do some exercises soon). The symbol of the Knights is on his computer screen (It’s currently my laptop background, what’s wrong with me?!?!), though he is obviously not one amongst their number as he states: ‘I’m better than you bozos!’ He seems to be competing with The Knights in some way.

Next, Lain is shown outside, on the roof of her school, looking down at the line of houses below, across the street. She is talking to herself: ‘The real world isn’t real at all.’ Her friend Alice appears and asks if Lain is okay, says she’s been slipping in her gregariousness, that she and her friends have been trying to take her out to make Lain happy. Alice also explains that if she is burdening Lain with their outings, that’s okay too and she’ll be fine if Lain wants to skip out in the future. Lain is overwhelmed by Alice’s concern and distraught that she has been hurting quite possibly her only close friend in the real world. The moment takes Lain out of her interiority and back into the real world she just dismissed. she apologizes to Alice and thanks her for her concern, thereby re-establishing their friendship and connection for the time-being.

The next scene is odd and hard to place spatially insofar as the only visual happenings for the viewer are animated traditional Japanese wall scrolls of birds flying about painted treetops and skies. A computerized voice speaks about a compromising of the ‘Information Bureau’s Information Control Center’ that has been cracked and destroyed by some online group. The information has been leaked to the Wired. The voice then alerts its recipient(s) that this news report will not reach the mainstream media outlets until tomorrow, or more obscurely, ‘or possibly yesterday.’

On the Wired, speculation is rife that this event, this terrorist seizing of classified documents relating to the potential safety of the Japanese public, may be the work of The Knights. The full name of the organization is revealed as The Knights of the Eastern Calculus. The group is said to have great influence within the Wired though their members are unknown. A computer voice speaks: ‘They are not only involved in mere information manipulation, they are also involved in the development and distribution of illegal information devices.’ Another voice claims that someone is after Lain, while another person mentions her absence from the Wired for some time.

Another voice describes Lain as powerful for her “Metamorphosis. Her will…. The light in her eyes. Her existence.’ We know by now that Lain has an alternate personage on the Wired. This may be her metamorphosis. Her will is evidenced by her ability to will the world into change such as when her alternate persona threw itself through time and space to the heavens above in the prior episode, or onto the Wired when she is simultaneously interacting in the real world, or when her will destroyed her window pane and the eyepiece of the man in the black suit. The light in her eyes and her existence are more vague and harder to pinpoint meaning behind at this moment within the series. Someone asks if the speaker of these lines is a member of The Knights, and the screen fades to black, revealing that the man gave no answer. Though his lack of a reply is telling in an of itself.

A delivery boy stops by the home of a young, attractive housewife. This delivery boy is the same one who delivered Lain’s Navi to her home in Episode 2, the same kid who was obsessed with Navis and explained that he would get the newest, top of the line model if he had the money. As the woman retreats further into her home to receive her stamp to sign off on the delivery, the young man admires her retreating end. when she returns, he offers to help her set up and use the new Navi she has displayed on her kitchen table. The sexual tension is obvious and the woman calls him out on it, rebuking him for making the advance. The woman’s kid comes home and begins to set up his video game system as she unwraps her package, which contains an unknown item with a Knights logo emblazoned upon it. She speaks to herself, looking more sinister than mere moments prior: ‘The Wired and the real world are one and the same.’

At this point, the businessman had a Knights logo and may be connected to the organization. A fat otaku at his home may be a Knights competitor or wanna be. This young housewife seems to have some connection with the group. The creep with the virtual reality headset could be a Knight, though an extremely eccentric one. And Lain, we know, has an antagonistic relationship with The Knights currently, as her coolant system was destroyed  by them, which would have killed her had she still been inside her room at the time it exploded.

As Lain walks home, the sky is an abrasive mix of dark reds and browns, sinister, hopeless, melancholy, dark, foreboding and very akin to the constant look of the skies in Chiaki J. Konaka’s later anime masterpiece Texhnolyze. The two men with eyepieces in black suits are standing beside their black sedan. They ask Lain to get in, making sure she knows that they only make a request, which could in principle be turned down, and that no harm will come to her if she comes with them. Lain asks who they are, they respond that she will find out if she comes with them. Lain looks indecisive as the screen fades to black. And a mystery looks close to being solved for us if she decides to be gungho and get in.

Back to the man in the virtual reality headset and odd apparel. He is speaking to someone through his headset on the Wired. Says he is breaking barriers between the real world and the Wired (though in a very modest manner that of physical cyborgification that has little to do with actually breaking metaphysical barriers between flesh and data). He wants to become one of The Knights and he receives and acceptance message on his headset. The headset allows him to see the Wired as overlayed atop the real world (much in the manner of those famed glasses by our real world lords and saviors whose names I will not mention here, but should be apparent), but suddenly his vision of the real world is obscured an blacked out. He only sees the image of Lain in his headset, but does not recognize her.

Lain is next pictured within the black sedan, she took the plunge and went on a ride with the men who have been stalking her home and her for the past few weeks. The car stops at an apartment complex and once inside, the group stops in front of a door labeled ‘Tachibana General Laboratories Shinbashi Office.’ They go inside and the businessman is there working on an old Navi system. He asks Lain to fix the machine, which she dutifully does, displaying her advanced knowledge of computer technology that she has picked up in a few short weeks or months. The Navi boots up and switches to the Wired where a voice is claiming that Lain is one of the Knights, while the virtual reality man asks the image of Lain to make him one of The Knights. these vignettes are seemingly unheard and unseen by the real Lain.

The businessman presses Lain for information. He states that online there are not usually real political orders, just otaku-anarchists and idiots that are out to cause trouble and chaos for their own sake. But The Knights are neither of these types. The businessman believes that they are planning to use Lain for something.

Back to the virtual reality man. He claims that he doesn’t believe there is a god in the Wired, though he could be convinced to believe this is he were given the opportunity to truly become a Knight and hear the information they know about the god of the Wired. Three ominous figures appear before him, one of which is the housewife from before. A perfect avatar of her real world form, meaning she has very high computing power, probably uses a Psyche processor, and may in fact be one of The Knights.

Back to Lain one last time. The businessman asks if she is one and the same with the Lain of the Wired. He asks if her parents are really her parents and if her sister is really her sister. It is revealed at this time that Lain does not know her father’s birthday, or her mother’s, or their anniversary, or how they met, or when her own birthday is, or where she was born. Lain breaks down crying, confused by this revelation that she may not be who she thin ks she is, may in fact be the fake one in relation to the Lain of the Wired. Then, she shifts. Her personality does a complete reversal into the shadow Lain, the abrasive Lain of the Wired.

The businessman tells Lain that the borders between the real world and the Wired are evaporating, and that though this may seem exciting and even liberating, it is an extremely dangerous proposition. The abrasive Lain doesn’t seem to care about this and attempts to leave the room. The second bodyguard holds her back, but is told to let her go in an unvoiced command by his boss, the businessman, who merely looks at him and utters his name: Karl. Lain leaves.

At the housewife’s home, a processor is shown in the trash. The processor bears the insignia of The Knights. The virtual reality man is shown lying in a ditch, either knocked out or dead through his encounter with The Knights, even though the encounter was seemingly only on the Wired. The power of that group is beginning to reveal itself. And through the housewife’s spent processor, she gained enough power to destroy the mind of man in the real world through force of processing power alone, through Knights technology, and probably affiliation. Brutal.

 

Cody Ward

[Layer 08: Rumors]

The Last Temptation of the Digidestined (Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 49)

(Check out part 49 HERE. to go back to the beginning click HERE)

ExVeemon runs in head-first to fight MaloMyotismon and won’t give up until he either defeats his foe for dies trying. He punches MaloMyotismon in the face and seems to inflict some damage to the dark denizen, or at least to his pride, before MaloMyotismon releases a ray attack that envelopes everyone in the room in blinding white light.

In the following scenes, the Digidestined find themselves in ideal situations in a dream worlds of their imaginations fostered by the power of MaloMyotismon’s rays. T.K. imagines he is at home eating dinner with not only his mother, but his brother Matt and his father as well, meaning they are no longer separated by divorce and once again reunited as a family. Yolei imagines she is home as well, but without all of her siblings and huge portions of food and desserts for her alone. Cody is in the Digital World with his father Hiroki and is showing him the world that Hiroki and Oikawa wanted so much to see as children. Kari is in a park in the Real World where the Dark Spore children are all safe and happy with their own Baby and In-Training level partner Digimon. No one in that world messes with them or even bats an eye at the Digimon’s presence.

Their Digimon next appear one after another to help bring their Digidestined partners back to their senses. Patamon and Davis work to pull T.K. out of his illusion, as Hawkmon and ExVeemon call into question Yolei’s wish to be an only child, which she realizes is wrong both morally and emotionally as she loves her brothers and sisters. Armadillomon barely convinces Cody that his father is only an illusion as, surprisingly, Flamedramon appears in a hole in the whiteness surrounding the vision which leads them back to the odd realm in which MaloMyotismon is waiting. Gatomon and Raidramon (somehow there are three Champion forms of Veemon running around simultaneously) pull Kari back to her sense and out her daydream.

Meanwhile, Ken imagines that he is in the Digital World in a desert where the Digimon Emperor form of himself is tied to a pillar and is being tortured and beaten to death by a group of vengeful Digimon. Sam arrives and picks up the glasses from the Digimon Emperor and Ken calls out to him. Sam acknowledges Ken’s presence but doesn’t speak to him. Then Wormmon shows up and talks Ken down from his self-loathing once more, and potentially for the final time, as Ken next gives a powerful self-affirmative speech: “I’m tired of beating myself up for the past. I’m not the Digimon Emperor anymore. I’ve paid for my mistakes…. How dare he [MaloMyotismon] use my brother against me! I’m not a tool for darkness! And MaloMyotismon can’t change that!” The five other Digidestined, Armadillomon, Gatomon, Patamon, Hawkmon, and ExVeemon, Raidramon, and Flamedramon show up to pull Ken out of his alternate dimension.

Once back in the odd alternate surrealist reality room, ExVeemon, Raidramon, and Flamedramon all attack MaloMyotismon at once. Here, in this realm, emotions and hopes can become reality, and as such, all alternate forms of the Digidestined’s Digimon partners can manifest themselves simultaneously. All of the Digimon begin Digivolving and doubling until there are five Rookies (Veemon, Armadillomon, Hawkmon, Wormmon, and Patamon), six Champions (ExVeemon, Ankylomon, Aquilamon, Stingmon, Angemon, and Gatomon), eight Armor Digivolutions (Flamedramon, Raidramon, Digmon, Submarimon, Halsemon, Shurimon, Pegasusmon, and Nefertimon), two Ultimates (MagnaAngemon and Angewomon), three DNA Digivolved Ultimates (Paildramon, Shakkoumon, and Silphymon), and two Megas (Imperialdramon Dragon Mode and Imperialdramon Fighter Mode), that’s 26 Digimon, two of which are both on MaloMyotismon’s level vs. just him.

MaloMyotismon seems worried at the prospect, but even more so in the knowledge that his mind illusion attack was completely ineffective against one of the six children (Davis) who “had no fears or insecurities for it to feed off of.” Davis explains that he has no fears or consuming wishes or envy or jealousy and that he just lives his life and is happy to have what he does. And more importantly, that his only all-consuming interest at this moment is defeating MaloMyotismon, which would have been impossible in any world or frame of mind than the one he is now currently within in the first place. Both Imperialdramon’s attack MaloMyotismon with their Positron Laser attacks, which overwhelm him but also rip a hole in-between the worlds and pushes MaloMyotismon into the Digital World.

Once there, he begins to regain his strength by absorbing dark energy from throughout the realm and from the remaining Control Spires still standing. The Digidestined and their Digimon follow into the Digital World, but are now down to three Digimon (Imperialdramon, Shakkoumon, and Silphymon) in the battle against MaloMyotismon who has become stronger than ever before. As he grows not only in power, but in size, dark orbs are emitted from his body, which find their ways to the three Digimon and knock them all out for a short time. MaloMyotismon then rips open a portal to the Real World and begins to send his seemingly infinite spring of dark energy to that world in a bid to take over both worlds at once. And as darkness spreads over the home of the Digidestined at a rapid rate, and the Digidestined Digimon lie defeated on the ground before him, it looks like MaloMyotismon’s plans are about to come to fruition.

The episode ends here, but its time for a little bit more elaboration of the Realm of Emotions (a stand-in title as the place only appears in these few episodes and had no official name as far as I can find). The alternate realms in the Digimon Adventure Universe work like lines that stand in relation to one another in parallel structure when they are balanced. But when they come unbalanced for any reason, the lines, which are normally straight, become warped and bent and therefore closer to one another than ever before. As MaloMyotismon used Oikawa and he used Arukenimon, Mummymon, BlackWarGreymon, The Digimon Emperor, and The Dark Spore children to destabilize the Digital World through the creation of more tools for darkness, the planes were warped. In the Real World and the Digital World, physics applies relatively the same, but with some minute differences in ontic structures of beings (DNA being the basis in the former whilst Data is the basis in the latter). However, in the Dark Ocean, the dark dreams and hopelessness and self-loathing, in a word the dark inclination, of denizens therein make things real. Emotional and rational, that is to say cogitative or willed, forces are the constituent units of being, the ontic grounds of all things therein. In the Realm of Emotions, which is similar to the Dark Ocean, these same forces shape reality, but instead of fear and loathing and depression as the main forces, the forces of imagination, of creativity, of hope and dreams are the main forces. This is the shape of that world.

(Cinema, shot in the Real World but translated technologically through celluloid or digital data, captures the fears and the dreams, the anxieties and the imaginative creativities of its auteurs. It lies at a crossroads of all of these symbolic realms.)

 

One more to go,

The Digidestined Cody

[Concluded HERE]

Oikawa’s Shame (Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 48)

(Check out part 47 HERE if you missed it. To go back to the beginning of this series click HERE)

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.

 

Ciao,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

BlackWarGreymon’s Destiny (Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 47)

(Check out part 46 HERE. To go back to the beginning click HERE)

As the Digidestined in the Real World work to close the Highton View Terrace gateway on their end, the Digimon partners of the six older Digidestined (namely, Agumon, Gabumon, Palmon, Biyomon, Tentomon, and Gomamon) work to close it on their end in the Digital World. But the work is easier said than done and no one knows exactly how to go about it. On TV, government PSAs play round the clock and ensure people that there is nothing to panic about and that citizens should remain calm, whilst also being cautious of leaving their homes at night.

As Cody and his grandpa watch these PSAs from the comfort of their living room, Armadillomon, who has been hiding under the table beneath them, drinks some of grandpa’s ‘prune juice’ (actually packets of Shochu highball). The old man catches on when he feels something weird move against his leg, then Armadillomon comes out from beneath the table and Cody tries to explain to his grandfather about Digimon, but not before the old man confesses that he already knows what Armadillomon really is. When Cody’s father was a boy, he was obsessed with Digimon video games and believed that they were real. He was not a Digidestined like Cody and his friends, but had his own Digimon friend in the Digital World who he met through the internet. Cody is taken aback by the information, but glad that he needn’t explain anything to his grandfather.

Arukenimon, Mummymon, and their master, Oikawa, are hiding out in an abandoned rural house. Somehow, they can sense that one of the children’s Dark Spore’s is almost ready to harvest and begin to make their way back to the city where Noriko Kawada is acting more strange than ever before. She is angry at her mother for trying to give her dinner while she is studying and seems particularly agitated. Cody and Yolei have met up and are surveying Noriko’s house, where they overhear the conversation.

Then Oikawa shows up and offers a Dark Spore injection to Cody. Cody refuses and chides Oikawa for infecting any children with them in the first place. Oikawa claims that the children decided of their own free will to harbor the spores and Cody responds that Oikawa brainwashed them with false promises that they would become superior beings. He then continues to verbally fight back against Oikawa claiming that he has no idea what it means to be a superior being in the first place and that a superior being is “one who helps and cares about others.” Oikawa then detects the surname of Hida on Cody’s backpack and realizes that he is the son of Hiroki Hida, Oikawa’s childhood friend.

As Yolei arrives, ready to fight Oikawa, and Arukenimon and Mummymon arrive ready to protect him, Oikawa calls off his minions and retreats from the scene with them. As he retreats, Oikawa thinks back to his friend Hiroki and how much Cody resembles him not only in appearance but in temperament and idealism. An emotional wave washes over him, weakening his evil instincts momentarily and causing real physical pain. Oikawa reflects that he was a weird child and that everyone picked on him except for Hiroki, then remembers that he has a destiny to fulfill that does not include continued reminiscence of old times and he consequently shakes off his blues and speaks of how he was destined to create virtual beings with his own DNA, his genetic essence. Nevertheless, his emotions win out and Oikawa visits Hiroki’s grave.

When Cody returns home, he asks his grandfather about Oikawa. The old man tells him that Hiroki and Oikawa were once friends. Meanwhile, Ken has taken up duties to follow Noriko. Being an unnaturally precocious child, she knows she is being tailed, stops and turns on Ken, inquiring why he has fallen so low from one-time genius to sentimental Digidestined. Ken explains that friendship and kinship are more important than power, which will only lead Noriko to loneliness. She’s not buying it and starts to walk away. Until her head begins to pulse with pain that is. A red halo of energy sits atop of head and grows until a Dark Spore flower sprouts from out of her noggin.

Oikawa, Arukenimon, and Mummymon show up just as Davis and Cody do likewise. Stingmon and ExVeemon DNA Digivolve into Paildramon as Armadillomon Digivolves into Digmon and the two hold off Arukenimon and Mummymon. During all of the commotion, Oikawa picks up Noriko and runs off with her down the street, where he eventually stops and harvests the flower, absorbing its energy and leaving Noriko drained and nearly catatonic. A force-field of dark energy surrounds Oikawa, then BlackWarGreymon arrives and tries to attack Oikawa, but is blocked by the force field. He asks Oikawa if he created Arukenimon and Mummymon because he was afraid to be alone, which seems to hit a raw nerve and troubles Oikawa all the more.

Oikawa claims that he, a human, has the power to obliterate BlackWarGreymon, a Mega-level Digimon. And it seems that he does, but BlackWarGreymon responds poignantly that “power won’t help you to escape the loneliness you feel because you don’t have any friends. It just makes it worse.” This echoes the sentiments Cody expressed earlier and heightens Oikawa’s emotional instability. If that weren’t enough, Cody’s grandpa arrives and tells Oikawa, who he calls by his first name Yukio, that he became lost when Hiroki died, but that he wants to be friends with him now as it would help both of them to assuage their grief over the loss of Hiroki. Just as Oikawa seems on the verge of accepting the old man’s offer of friendship, the darkness inside of him takes over the rational and emotional Oikawa.

Oikawa attacks the old man head-on and is blocked only barely by BlackWarGreymon who takes the brunt of the attack at full force. We see the image of an unknown, sinister Digimon appear over the face of Oikawa during this moment, before Oikawa takes himself back over and flees the scene in shame. BlackWarGreymon seems on the verge of death after the attack and flies off to Highton View Terrace where he plans to sacrifice himself in the hopes of sealing the portal between the world’s there forever. Although Agumon, Wormmon, and Veemon told him that life could be simple and even boring, it turns out that BlackWarGreymon remained melodramatic and fate-obsessed to the end of his life, but was ultimately able to turn this death-wish and obsession into a positive, which will help the Digidestined and the Digital World for years to come.

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

Duel of the WarGreymon (Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 46)

(Check out part 45 HERE. To go back to the beginning click HERE)

At a Tokyo office building, a man is rifling through a filing cabinet looking intently for some information on Oikawa. When he finds the file, the scene pans up and out to show the Digidestined standing in the office nearby. The man is Ken’s father who worked with Oikawa until only a few days prior when Oikawa left the business without explanation. Although he may have been influencing the activities of Ken, Arukenimon, and Mummymon over the past year or so of events in the Adventure 02 timeline, he seems to only have committed himself in earnest and full-time to his goals in the past week.

Next, we are shown a rest house at the base of Mount Fuji. Oikawa, Arukenimon and Mummymon have stopped their car near the place and have broken into the house. They are watching TV reports and speculation about the nature of the Digimon who recently appeared all over the world. Because the news media have surprisingly short memory spans in the Real World of Digimon Adventure, they have forgotten the incidents of three years prior when Digimon made themselves apparent, and somehow think that the Digimon are related to UFOs and aliens. Oikawa scoffs at the stupidity of these particular humans (who are seemingly much dumber than their child counterparts) and regales his minions with prophecy of how easy it will be to take over the Real World with einsteins like these running the joint.

To the house of Takashi Yoshizawa, one of the children infected by Dark Spores by Oikawa. He has completed all of his winter vacation homework in just one day since his return home and is extremely precocious due to the effects of the spores. His parents look to exploit his genius when TV crews come by for f follow-up on the missing children (Takashi having been one of them). Secretly, Takashi looks down on his parent’s attempts at exploitation and views them as mere insects, mere worthless beings in the way of his success whose presence and constant ingratiation he believes will hold him down.

At T.K.’s house, we learn that his and Matt’s mother is a newspaper reporter and that she has been helping the Digidestined by gathering information and making a list of the names and addresses of all of the 20 children infected by Dark Spores. The Digidestined take this information and split up in groups to monitor the children. T.K. and Cody follow Noriko Kawada and find her to look like an average kid. she even seems friendly or kind as a stray cat is following her and nuzzling up against her leg. But then, the anger and frustration and evil brimming up within her come to the forefront and Noriko kicks the cat out of spite. Elsewhere, Davis, Ken, and Kari are tracking down Takashi, but are turned away from his apartment by his parents who don’t believe their claims that he is in danger.

The vignette structure of this episode is noteworthy as scenes shift every two minutes or so almost constantly throughout, making it one of the more difficult episodes to catalog and follow sequentially. For example, next the scene shifts once more back to the rest house at the base of Mount Fuji. It begins to snow pretty heavily and Oikawa, thinking practically, alerts Arukenimon to the potential problems they may have driving off to their next destination in the morning if the tire chains are not placed on the car. He orders her to go do this work as he is tired of her company, and surprisingly, Arukenimon agrees to follow his orders, though she is not happy about being bossed around like this. Oikawa has all of the power in his relations with Arukenimon and Mummymon, and although seemingly a mere human, must harness something much more powerful and sinister beneath his facade. Whilst outside, Arukenimon sees what appears to be a shooting star, which then comes closer and closer to the Earth like a meteor or an asteroid before landing in the woods down range. But it’s no natural phenomena. BlackWarGreymon has appeared again and is hunting down Arukenimon and the others.

Back in town, the Digidestined meet up and report their findings on the children. Yolei believes that even if they could convince the Dark Spore children that the spores are evil and not beneficial in the end analysis, they cannot do anything to remove them. They must instead follow continue to follow them around in the hopes that when Oikawa gathers them once more, they will be able to do something then to fix the situation. And that in the meantime, by tailing them, they can make sure that the kids don’t cause too much trouble. Groups are formed once again, this time with the older Digidestined kids joining in to help out. Matt and Joe pair up, as do T.K. and Cody, Izzy and Sora, while Davis, Ken and Yolei each presumably go off to tail kids by themselves.

Tai and Kari head toward the Digital World where they meet up with Agumon and Gabumon and find that since Azulongmon sacrificed one of his DigiCores to allow Paildramon to reach Mega level and the original eight Digidestined Digimon to reach their Ultimate levels once more, the Mega level Digimon Sovereign has been weaker. Azulongmon’s defenses are not as strong as they once were and now portals to the Digital World are growing easier to bridge and gain access to from both sides. As Agumon still has much of the energy of the DigiCore within him, he goes into the Real World with Tai and Kari to deal with BlackWarGreymon, who is now known to have escaped the Dark Ocean and returned to the Real World for some as yet unknown reason.

Back once more to the rest house and Mount Fuji, Oikawa, Arukenimon, and Mummymon are battling against and trying to hold off BlackWarGreymon. The Mega level faux Digimon begins to theorize ontologies with his would-be prey and recognizes that he was created by Arukenimon’s Spirit Needles and the Control Spires, but wants to know the answer to the deeper question of who created his creator Arukenimon (and by extension Mummymon). Oikawa reveals that is was he who created them by converting his own DNA into data and designing them. BlackWarGreymon now understands that the reason he, Arukenimon, and Mummymon do not belong to, and are rejected by, the Digital World is that they are less a part of it than they are of the Real World. However, being ultimately digital, they really belong to no plane of reality at all. Furthermore, because Oikawa has used his own mortal coil to create digital beings, he has broken the distinction between the two worlds and transgressed a fundamental ontic boundary. As such, he no longer belongs in either plane as well and should be eliminated.

As BlackWarGreymon readies himself to dispatch his maker, Oikawa seems physically and mentally disturbed by the remarks. His frustrations and near-madness develop into anger and he prepares to challenge BlackWarGreymon head on who jumps into action and is just about to land a blow on Oikawa when Agumon appears and stops him. Agumon tries to reason with BlackWarGreymon that by destroying Oikawa he would be doing something evil himself and that the Digidestined still need Oikawa to save the Dark Spore infected children. But BlackWarGreymon doesn’t listen, recommences his attack, then Tai’s Digivice begins to glow, Agumon Warp Digivolves into WarGreymon, and finally stops BlackWarGreymon’s attack using force. The battle is on between two WarGreymons!

Meanwhile, Kari and Nefertimon are tailing Oikawa, Arukenimon, and Mummymon as they attempt to escape in their van. Aquilamon and Pegasusmon show up just in time to help out in the pursuit, while Stingmon and ExVeemon redirect traffic along the roads leading toward the mountain and Digmon breaks the road ahead in the hopes of physically stopping Oikawa and his companions from escaping. Once Stingmon and ExVeemon have done enough to protect innocent civilians and have sufficiently redirected traffic and closed off their portion of the road, they rendezvous with their friends and DNA Digivolve into Paildramon, but find themselves still unable to stop Oikawa as Mummymon and Arukenimon launch attacks from atop the van. Paildramon then Digivolves into Imperialdramon and heads toward the nearby JSDF (Japan Special Defense Forces) base to prevent Oikawa from nearing it and causing trouble or damage therein. They succeed in doing this, but along the way, Arukenimon and Mummymon knock out Nefertimon, Aquilamon and Pegasusmon and escape through a mountain road.

Imperialdramon changes forms to its much more deadly and aggressive fighter mode and begins to help WarGreymon in his battle against BlackWarGreymon. The two Megas succeed in stopping him and knocking him out, but do not destroy him in the process. BlackWarGreymon laments that he still exists and was not killed in the fight, but Wormmon, Agumon, and Veemon talk to him and succeed in warding off his pessimism, professing themselves ready and willing to be his friend as soon as he would have them. They express the sentiment that life can be simple, even banal, but can still be meaningful without some grand purpose. BlackWarGreymon eventually accedes to their reasoning, picks himself up, and flies off, potentially more optimistic than ever before.

 

Ciao,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

Dark Sun, Dark Spore (Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 44)

(To check out part 43 click HERE. To go back to the beginning of this series click HERE)

After having destroyed SkullSatamon, many of the Digidestined are noticeably shaken up. Especially Yolei and Cody are having a difficult time coming to grips with the necessity of defeating their new Digimon antagonists with brute force, but will quickly learn to come to grips with their fears as the dangers caused by LadyDevimon and MarineDevimon make their destruction the moral choice: the decision that will ultimately save more lives than it takes. Though this utilitarian calculus is obvious to T.K., Kari, and the older Digidestined who have been through enough to lose much of their idealism by now, the newer Digidestined of Adventure 02 still retain much of theirs at the beginning of this saga.

As Davis, Veemon, and Wormmon chase down Arukenimon and Mummymon’s van in the hopes of reclaiming their friend Ken from within it, as well as saving the morbid, creepy children smiling inside, heavy traffic keeps them within distance for some time. But soon it disperses and the two Ultimate-level Digimon and their van appear to be moving much too quickly to catch up with. At this point, Joe’s brother Jim shows up with his car and picks up Davis and the others, the chase is on and the gang look set to catch up with the van. Until they reach a train crossing that is. Arukenimon and Mummymon run the warning lights and barely make it across, while Davis, Jim, and the Digimon are stuck for quite some time as more than one train passes along the multiple tracks.

Inside the van, Oikawa introduces himself to Ken and reveals that they have met one time before. Oikawa attended Sam’s funeral and shot a creepy glance in the young Ken’s direction, with bone-chilling consequences. Later, Oikawa was the one who sent Ken the emails on his brother’s laptop and was ultimately the one who initiated Ken’s molding into the Digimon Emperor. As bats begin to obscure Mummymon’s driving, the van jostles all of those riding within it, knocking Ken to the ground in the process. LadyDevimon is in the air above attempting to stop the van and claim Ken for the leader of her corps: Daemon. Aquilamon and Gatomon DNA Digivolve into Silphymon and begin to fight LadyDevimon, distracting her from her pursuit of the van, though the bats gave Davis and the others enough time to catch back up in their pursuit of it.

Oikawa continues his lecture and informs Ken that he and his father were once friends, but in what capacity they worked together or met we are still not privy as viewers. Oikawa claims that there is a Dark Spore within Ken and that this spore will allow the children onboard to become smarter and more athletic, and eventually to become Digimon Emperors and begetters of chaos in their own right. The children have not been brainwashed as of yet, except by their culture’s cult of personality, which has given such weak self-concepts and strong feelings of inadequacy compared to relative ‘stars’ like Ken that they came willingly with Oikawa, Mummymon, and Arukenimon in the hopes of becoming like Ken, even if it means being injected with a foreign object of evil like the Dark Spore. Oikawa then produces a barcode scanner-like device and scans Ken’s neck, removing some of the seeds of the Dark Spore from within him, which he will later inject into the children aboard the van.

Outside, there are dark tendrils moving through the city as MarineDevimon rises once again from the depths of the Tokyo Bay to terrorize the city and try to steal Ken for his boss in the process. As Jim decides to chase the new Digimon with Cody and T.K. in tow, Davis Armor Digivolves Veemon into Raidramon and rides after the van with Wormmon in tow. Meanwhile, T.K. and Cody Digivolve their partner Digimon, then DNA Digivolve them into Shakkoumon to combat Daemon’s nautical henchman.

Here, the young Digidestined finally learn that they must sometimes destroy evil Digimon to save others who are more important than them and have more moral weight in virtue of their innocence and lack of malice. LadyDevimon is defeating Silphymon because of her killer instinct and Silphymon’s lack of one. LadyDevimon takes a young boy hostage and threatens to choke him to death if Silphymon doesn’t give up his/her attack. Yolei seems ready to let LadyDevimon have her way, but tries to save the boy by attacking LadyDevimon directly, by herself. As LadyDevimon strikes out and is about to decapitate the naive young Digidestined, Silphymon uses all of his/her energy to incinerate the evil the Digimon and save Yolei’s life.

In a nearby hospital, T.K., Cody, and Jim run about frantically trying to evacuate children as MarineDevimon and Shakkoumon fight outside in the street directly adjacent. As MarineDevimon looks set to attack and destroy part of the hospital, and some of the un-evacuated lives within, Shakkoumon makes his own judgment call and incinerates him the evil Digimon. Cody is heartbroken about the incident and conflicted in his emotions, but after seeing the smile of a young sick girl his Digimon saved through their actions, he lightens up a little and begins to understand the killer instinct that his DNA Digivolution partner Digidestined T.K. has had all along.

Finally, back in the van, Oikawa instructs Mummymon to drive toward Highton View Terrace, which he reveals to be something of a dark portal between worlds. An area where the rules of space and time are warped and the planes are close together than most else places nearby, and hence why Parrotmon and Koromon were able to appear in this area in the early days of the Digidestined, during the events of the Digimon Adventure pilot movie. Once there, a dark portal opens up once more in the street ahead of them, but it is not the dark portal they are after. Out of this portal comes Daemon who insists that Oikawa hand over Ken to him.

 

Ciao,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

Invasion of the Daemon Corps (Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 43)

(To check out part 42 click HERE. to go back to the beginning of this series click HERE)

The Digidestined are back in Tokyo once more after their world tour to send back rogue Digimon to the Digital World and destroy Control Spires. (And Yolei inexplicably has a different voice actress in this episode) Once back home, T.K.’s mother mentions that she spoke to one Mr. Oikawa and explains that he was acting strange and mentioned that the vents currently unfolding worldwide were just the beginning. She asks T.K. if he thinks that Oikawa has some connection to all of the incidents that have been going so far, but he has no clue who Oikawa is in the first place.

Back at Davis’ home, June complains about Matt picked another girl at the concert (she saw him there with Sora). She sits in front of her desk in her bedroom  moping around with the ripped up concert ticket in front of her. At Ken’s house, he sits with Wormmon in his room, in the dark, and witnesses an unidentifiable Digimon whiz past in the air above the street below. Ken isn’t sure if what he saw was real, due to the brevity of the appearance, or just his mind playing with him.

At Cody’s, he is sitting in his grandfather’s dojo where in front of the shrine for Cody’s late father. He asks how his father died, which he apparently already knows the answer to. Cody’s grandfather explains again that his father was a police officer who died in the line of duty by jumping in front of an assassin’s bullet aimed for a local politician’s chest. Back at Kari and Tai’s house, Tai advises her that difficult decisions will have to be made by her Digidestined team in the coming days. So far they have not destroyed any real Digimon, but they may be forced to do so soon to stop Arukenimon and Mummymon for good.

Then back to Ken in his bedroom. He is dreaming of a time in the Digital desert. He is still a young boy and has just defeated Millenniummon with the help of Ryo Akiyama and Wormmon. A group pf black gears come flying toward Ryo from the thrashing body of the Millenniummon. Ken jumps toward him, knocking him out of harm’s way, but is instead hit by a gear, in the neck. Ken awakens and asks Wormmon about the incident, who confirms that it actually happened and that thereafter Ken began to grow sick for a time before becoming more and more cruel, and eventually, developing into the Digimon Emperor. Ken has forgotten all about what happened during this time, but his memory seems to be coming back. Outside, two figures in shadow watch Ken through his window from an adjacent building, two Digimon no doubt.

On TV the next morning, there are reports that children all over the city have gone missing. Ken feels as if he knew it was going to happen all along, but can’t explain why. Ultimate-level dark Digimon are appearing all over town too. MarineDevimon appears in the bay and interrupts a wedding ceremony onboard a small cruise ship passing through. Lady Devimon appears on the east side of town. Finally, SkullSatamon appears in the north.

Submarimon, Angemon, and Ikkakumon take on MarineDevimon. The first two focus their energies on rescuing the cruise liner’s passengers, while Ikkakumon Digivolves to Zudomon and holds off their Ultimate-level adversary. Aquilamon, Angewomon, Garudamon, and WereGarurumon attack LadyDevimon, which proves overkill as LadyDevimon disappears as soon as she realizes how badly outmatched she is in the fight. Finally, Paildramon and MegaKabuterimon fight SkullSatamon, but find him to be extremely dexterous and evasive. Paildramon Digivolves into Imperialdramon, and when MarineDevimon disappears below the waters of Tokyo bay, all of the other Champion and Ultimate-level Digidestined Digimon come running to help out.

We are shown an image of Arukenimon and Mummymon driving through the city, planning something as SkullSatamon uses his Nail Bone attack to paralyze Imperialdramon and defeat MegaKabuterimon, Garudamon, Zudomon, WereGarurumon, and now, MetalGreymon, who are weak from being in the Real World for so long without returning back to the Digital World. SkullSatamon lifts a bus full of school children and threatens to crush it at any moment. The crucial time is upon the Digidestined and they have no more time to mess around and try to return him to the Digital World. they must destroy him totally.

Ankylomon, Aquilamon, Angewomon, and MagnaAngemon give their power to the immobilized Imperialdramon who suddenly changes forms into his much more powerful Fighter Mode. He uses his Positron Laser to incinerate SkullSatamon and then rushes forward to catch the bus and place it safely upon the road below. Next, a portal opens in the street in front of the Digidestined. The Mega-level mantled Daemon appears from within it and asks Ken to come with him. He alerts Ken that there is a Dark Spore (the material shot into his neck by Millenniummon) inside of him and that he has need of its power. Arukenimon and Mummymon then pull up in their truck, unveiling its cargo as dozens of creepy, smiling children within. They threaten to harm the kids if Ken doesn’t discount Daemon’s words and come with them instead. In order to keep the children safe, Ken begrudgingly goes with them in the back of the truck, leaving behind Daemon, spurned. The episode ends on this cliffhanger with Wormmon and Davis chasing after the truck.

A quick word about Daemon. A Daemon is one of the seven Great Demon Lords of later Digimon lore. His title is ‘Hellfire of Chaos’, his sin is wrath, his demon is Satan, and his astrological sign and Grecian god is Jupiter. I currently don’t know what all of that information means practically for him,but I do know that it is important not to confuse this Daemon with the Daemon in Adventure 02. They are separate entities in different Digimon universes as far as I can tell.

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

Digimon World Tour Part 3 (Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 42)

(Check out the previous recap essay HERE. To go back to the beginning click HERE)

There are two more regions left with Digimon the Digidestined need to clear out and return to the Digital World. First, to Mexico City. Outside of an apartment complex in the city, Ken and Matt and their partners Stingmon and Garurumon clear out a Control Spire (which has no attendant Digimon nearby for some indiscernible reason). After completing their first mission in the city, night begins to fall and the group head off toward the Mayan ruins and pyramids in Palenque where they expect to find the next Control Spire and the Digimon that were absent from the city.

Once they arrive at the ruins, Matt inquires as to the whereabouts of the Mexican Digidestined who were supposed to meet them there. Ken tells Matt that there is s strictly enforced curfew in the country, so they must not have been able to make it out in time to help. The pyramids are guarded closely by armed members of the country’s military forces who are stationed there to prevent desecration of the site by vandals. When Ken and Matt try to enter by telling a guard that their little sister is lost in the ruins, he knows they are lying and accuses them of just wanting to go inside to tag the ruins with spray paint, and turns them back.

Next, Gennai’s Mexican clone Jose appears and offers to help them sneak into the ruins. He goes right up to the guards and starts showing off weird acrobatics and martial arts moves in an attempt to stall for Ken an Matt. they take the opportunity to sneak into the pyramid and soon encounter a Gotsumon and his human partner Rosa, a young girl who is immediately enamored with Ken and calls him bonita, or pretty. Rosa feuds with Wormmon over his connection to Ken, which she envies, and the group head farther into the pyramids searching for the Digimon surely waiting within.

When they find Minotarumon and Dokugumon hidden within a chamber deep inside the pyramid, they decide that they can’t fight them there without causing damage to the historical monument of the Mayan people. Ken and Matt drive them outside into the open air and Digivolve their partners into Stingmon and WereGarurumon. Rosa joins in the battle and Gotsumon Digivolves into Monochromon (and even gets his own Digivolution sequence, which has been unique to only main Adventure Digidestined thus far). They knock out the Digimon and return them to the Digital World, Rosa falls asleep while on Ken’s back and murmurs something about how cool Stingmon is (defusing their feud), and the group drop her off at her parent’s home where they have been worried sick about her being missing for some time.

Finally, in Moscow, Sora and Yolei meet up with the Digidestined Sonya, Anna, and Yuri, and their respective Digimon partners Snimon, Unimon, and Kuwagumon. There is a huge swarm of Flymon in the sky above that need to be defeated and sent back into the Digital World, and luckily all of the Digidestined present have flight-enabled Digimon partners. however, there is a bigger problem: the two groups of Digidestined don’t have a common language and are having difficulties just getting a plan off of the ground with their inability to communicate. This should be no problem, as Gennai’s Russian clone should be around to help out and translate, but he is nowhere to be found.

The only Russian that Sora know are terms for Russian foods: Piroshki (fried bread dumplings), Borscht (a type of sour soup), and Caviar (fish eggs). Yolei decides that these words will do and designates new meanings for the words through the use of charades. Piroshki will mean go left, Borscht will mean go right, and Caviar will mean attack. The Russian Digidestined understand what Yolei wants them to do, though they must be somewhat confused by the use of food names, and they prepare to for flight as Hawkmon Digivolves into Aquilamon and Biyomon into Garudamon to fight the swarm of Flymon hovering over the city. (I wonder why they couldn’t have just said go left, go right, and attack, as these words would have made more sense to Yolei and Sora and potentially led to less confusion for them, as well as being constant and easy to verbalize quickly. Plus, the Russian Digidestined would have had no difficulty in figuring out what these words meant through the charades at the beginning of their introduction to the terms, just as they were able to differentiate the food words with different directions after the words were re-codified.)

After they defeat and drop all of the Flymon from the sky, Ilya, Gennai’s Russian clone, finally shows up and tells the group about an attack by Mammothmon in Siberia against Russia’s other Digidestined children. Yolei and Sora were looking forward to going out to eat with their friends in a victory dinner, but that will now have to wait as they jet off to even colder climes. The three Siberian Digidestined each have a Frigimon partner and need all the help they can get as Frigimon are merely Champion-level Digimon and Mammothmon are Ultimates. After a near close call when Sora falls off of Garudamon due to the harsh winds and is narrowly caught by Aquilamon moments before almost falling to her death, the team collect themselves, fight the Mammothmon and find themselves still too little to stop the herd.

Imperialdramon then shows up and defeats the Mammoth Digimon at the last moment and send them back to the Digital World through Davis’ D-3 and a laptop Digi-port. Although Sora and Yolei want to go eat with their new Russian friends in Moscow, the plan will have to wait for another occasion. Something is going down in Tokyo and Imperialdramon still has to stop in Hong Kong to pick up the last of the Japanese Digidestined abroad, Izzy and Kari.

Back home, we see a young boy, Hiroshi Shibata, picked up by a van and placed in the back amongst other children. The van is driven by Arukenimon and Mummymon who are obviously up to no good. But what purpose could they have for abducting Japanese children?

 

Hasta luego,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

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