Tag Archive | sincerity

The Samurai of Sincerity (Digimon Adventure 02 Episode 14)

(If you missed the part 13, check it out HERE. To go back to the beginning click HERE)

The episode opens with a party that Mimi seems to have attended in the states. Back in the computer lab at the Digidestined’s school in Japan, Izzy is musing over how Kari was able to enter the Digital World without going through a computer terminal portal in the last episode. Yolei notices a new Digi-Egg on her D-3 scanner and the five Digidestined children head off into the Digital World to check it out. Just after they have left, Izzy, who has remained behind, registers a new Digi-portal on his computer. One that has apparently opened in America.

The Digidestined kids are in the Digital World looking for something to eat when they come across a Diner owned and operated by the same Digitamamon who enslaved Joe and Matt as indentured servants in Digimon Adventure 01. The Peter Lorre impersonating egg tells them, after they have eaten, that their total comes to $87 Digi-dollars. Yolei has plenty of Japanese yen, but Digitamamon won’t take their human currency and insists that they work off their bill. Luckily, Mimi and her American friend Michael show up in the nick of time and offer to the pay the bill themselves.

As the gang go back to sit down in the diner while Michael and Mimi order more food, they notice that Michael has a Digimon partner, Betamon! It turns out that a Gorillamon attacked New York City at around the same time that other Digidestined were being terrorized by a Parrotmon in Highton View Terrace. Michael, as well as other children presumably, saw the event and were later gifted with Digivices and Digimon partners of their own as they were called to defend their own areas of the Digital World. Michael’s Digivice is an old model, which means that he is probably no longer a Digidestined, just as the older kids like Matt and Tai have passed on their titles as Digidestined.

The revelation about Michael’s encounter with Gorillamon elicits memory responses from the three new Digidestined Davis, Cody, and Yolei. It seems that Cody was in the plane that was saved from Digital distortions by Garudamon in Digimon Adventure 01. Davis was in the Convention Center being held by Myotismon during his search for the Eighth Digidestined Kari. Yolei saw the battle between Omnimon and Diaboromon online in Our War Game!. These events had an effect on them similar to the events of Highton View Terrace and New York on the other older Digidestined. There were, however, many other children who were held in the convention center and there may have been a few onboard the airplane that Cody was on. Yolei was only one amongst thousands or millions who saw the battle online against Diaboromon. So why were these three chosen and not some other kids? Does this mean that there may be many, many more Digidestined children throughout the world?

When they get ready to pay for their meal, Digitamamon apologizes for his behavior and reveals that he was just cranky and didn’t mean to berate them for being unable to pay initially, but before the payment can be undergone, Gorillamon appears and threatens to destroy the Digidestined with his Energy Cannon attack fueled by a Dark Spiral! Digitamamon blocks the attack and is thrown far off into the mountain behind. Betamon Digivolves into Seadramon and tries to defeat Gorillamon by dragging him underwater, while Togemon assists and destroys the Dark Spiral while Gorillamon is grappled, thereby freeing Gorillamon.

Kari and T.K. run off to search for Digitamamon who soon returns of his own volition, but exhibits evil behavior. Mimi tries to talk sense into him and Digitamamon attacks her in response. Then, the item whose capture was the sole original purpose for their trip into the Digital World finally appears before Yolei: it is the Digi-Egg of Sincerity: the Crest once held by Mimi. Yolei takes the egg and Digivolves Hawkmon into Shurimon with its use, which gives the gang the muscle necessary to pry open Digitamamon’s shell and destroy the Dark Ring that was placed inside when he was up on the mountain.

The episode ends with Digitamamon once again becoming kind and expressing his friendship with the Digidestined. He decides that their meals are on the house too! Yolei has been crushing on Michael pretty hard, and before he and Mimi leave, Michael asks Yolei out on a date. The saved Digimon total for the series has risen to 109. But the Digidestined have been unable to destroy another Control Spire in this venture and are running behind in their quest to free the Digital World from the Digimon Emperor’s control.

 

Till next time,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

Flower Power (Digimon Adventure Episode 35)

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

In this episode of Digimon Digital Monsters, there are three separate arcs going on simultaneously and going through the events in a straightforward chronological manner would be too confusing. So, keeping that in mind, here’s the gist of it all.

Sensing that the Digidestined are closing in on the eighth Digidestined before him (in truth, they’ve already found her: Tai’s sister Kari), Myotismon stages a huge event with all of his forces to smoke the child out. At the beginning of the episode he spreads large quantities of fog over the city that display his corrupting power over Digital matter by shutting down all networks and the electrical grid. This action, in effect, displays the first of his postmodern powers by creating a barrier in communication. Police, firefighters, ambulances, the military, and other groups cannot mobilize to help out in the ensuing crisis without the use of vehicles of other technologies. furthermore, most people cannot even communicate their dismay to others as all phone lines are down. Tokyo has become its own enclosed sphere without the ability to contact the outside world.

Next, Myotismon mobilizes his Gizamon and DarkTyrannomon goons to terrorize the town and attack the Digidestined and their Digimon partners. Next, Phantomon and his cadre of Bakemon ascend upon the town and separate as many parents from their children as possible to make Myotismon’s job of figuring out which child is the Digidestined that much easier. This second course of action is a further attempt to challenge communication between people and to take control of Tokyo. Myotismon’s grasp at hegemony in the area is an immoral act in the sense that it challenges society’s normal power dynamics of money and influence with his own power dynamic of brute strength, thereby undermining the foundation of human societies and showing it to be fragile and in no means universal.

Meanwhile, Matt’s father is working late at his job. The place is some form of tech firm and is immediately affected by the blackout. As all their computer systems shut down and then the lights fade to black, they decide they must go out into the fray to fix the problem. As they do so, they find that communications systems citywide are down, all trains have been delayed, and even payphones are no longer working. Matt and Gabumon, waiting for Matt’s father to return, are back at the apartment. When they notice the disturbances, they leave to investigate, but run into Matt’s father on the stairwell of the apartment building. Matt’s father says hey to Gabumon thereby prompting Matt to wonder aloud how in the world he knows about Gabumon in the first place. The question goes unanswered however as this is the end of Matt’s arc. His father’s company is a tech firm or business of some sort. Could they have something to do with the Digital World? Are they coders or analysts or government-sponsored workers trying to circumvent evil Digimon from entering the real world? I forget, but am spurred on by the mystery to find out in the coming weeks!

The third arc deals with the responses of the other Digidestined. Tai and Agumon run out into the streets and confront the Bakemon and Phantomon as they attempt to take over the town. But Phantomon is an Ultimate-level Digimon who makes quick work of Greymon and seems to nearly kill him with his Shadow Scythe attack.

Mimi, her eccentric parents, Sora, and Joe are all captured by the Bakemon and brought to a large station to wait out the events with the rest of the town’s adults. Sora’s mother and Biyomon bond and decide to dress as Bakemon to sneak into the compound and find Sora. But once inside, the sheer number of Bakemon is overwhelming and any attempt at fighting them is surely doomed to fail. That is until Joe remembers his mantra chant and the whole station erupts in a shrill call of “Bakemon lose your power!”

They retreat and the Digidestined escape to find DarkTyrannomon guarding the place. Palmon finally reaches her Ultimate-level and challenges him head-on. In stark contrast to the sheer power of other Digidestined partner Digimon Ultimates, Lillymon uses the power of nature, and therefore of the inscrutability of life (as opposed to the cold machinery of data), to divorce the darkness of DarkTyrannomon’s heart. This yes-saying to, this affirmation of, life overcomes the corrupting powers of the darkness in much the same way as courage in the face of the abyss and friendship in the face of division did in the past for the Digidestined. It also highlights Mimi’s special ability exemplified by her Crest of Sincerity: a tool that can break the spirit of any ideologically destructive jester. And the purification presages the shift her Crest will take in season two from the Crest of Sincerity to the Crest of Purity.

However, power on the brink of absoluteness can stand no challenges to its scope. Myotismon appears and destroys the purified DarkTyrannomon. Now, the stage is set for a major confrontation between the powers of darkness and obfuscation and the powers of Sincerity and Hope.

 

Till next time,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

Princess Karaoke (Digimon Adventure Episode 25)

(Catch my recap essay on episode 24 HERE. To go back to the beginning click HERE)

So two episodes back Tai, Joe, Matt, and T.K. all finally met up and dealt with Peter Lorre Digitamamon. After escaping from a restaurant that was trying to keep Joe and Matt there as cooks indefinitely, the gang immediately split up again (this time with a game plan for where to meet up next) and went in search of their Digidestined friends.

Now, Tai and Joe are following their Digivice’s tracker feature across a large lake on the continent of Server. As they travel by paddle boat, their Digimon taunt them about not being able to reach the pedals and therefore being unable to help paddle. They arrive at Mimi’s location, which is a gigantic palace atop an island cliff. She has installed herself as princess and made the Otamamon and Gekomon their into her virtual slaves waiting on her hand and foot. The Gekomon and Otamamon’s old master is Shogungekomon who has been asleep for 300 years after losing a singing match to an opponent, they reason that a great song is what is necessary to awaken him. DemiDevimon hatched a plan to send Mimi to the palace where the Gekomon will keep her there indefinitely (he assumes that she cannot sing). However, she uses her singing as blackmail to get the palace’s servants to do her bidding and threatens not to sing if they don’t follow orders.

When Tai and Joe arrive they are surprised by the circumstances and attempt to get Mimi to leave with them. she has grown more selfish than ever and lacks the sincerity she was once known for. Mimi kicks them out of the palace but the Gekomon and Otamamon work with Tai and Joe to try and record Mimi singing into a karaoke machine that Palmon sets up in her boudoir. The plan fails and Mimi jails the two, their Digimon, and even her own Digimon partner Palmon.

Later, Mimi self-consciously has a dream wherein her friends won’t help save her from the dark lords they fought in the past: Devimon and Etemon. Sora, who has been sneaking around helping out whenever she can, goes into Mimi’s room and advises her to do the right thing and sing for the palace’s residents. the next day, she frees her prisoners and sings, but Shogungekomon isn’t happy about being woken up and in the ensuing fight, the palace is destroyed by MetalGreymon who defeats the Shogun Digimon handily.

Overall, the episode is a filler piece. They do achieve the objective of finding one more Digidestined since their earlier split-up in Tai’s absence, but there are no new big bads to face or new Ultimate level Digivolutions. Mimi has to face her own vanity, but we were all aware of it anyhow, and she grows only slightly in the process. Plus, instead of helping save the Digital world, the gang only awoke a powerful Digimon they then had to defeat, leaving the Gekomon and Otamamon without even a figurehead to adore. and they destroyed their palatial home in the process! Talk about a real bummer.

 

Till next time,

The Digidestined Cody

[Part 26 HERE!]

No Questions Please (Digimon Adventure Episode 24)

(If you missed it, check out No. 23 HERE. To go back to the beginning of this blog series click HERE)

Tai, Joe, Matt, and T.K. are all back together and out searching for their other three Digidestined friends. Meanwhile, Izzy and Tentomon have been keeping themselves busy tracking down Gennai. It’s been over two months since their search for the continent of Server and Gennai began and now things seem to be coming to a head in the search, when DemiDevimon once again presents bulwarks to their progress. This time he sets up a series of wooden road signs warning of impending danger along various trails in the forms of falling sludge from the mountainside, a bottomless sludge pit, and “attack sludge”, whatever the heck that is. Of course these signs are over the top and meant to be humorous, but Izzy and Tentomon fall for them hook, line, and sinker and are soon right on top of DemiDevimon’s trapdoor.

The door is activated and they fall through into an odd seemingly endless space. A voice speaks to them in the midst of their cosmic space and offers his help if Izzy will relinquish his curiosity to him. Izzy protests, but eventually relents, as going splat from a fall like that would be far less preferable to some odd request to free his mind of curiosity and questioning. Then things get weirder.

Izzy and Tentomon find themselves in a micro-universe chamber, floating around. Vademon, a Mars Attacks-like alien with tendrils and a large external brain and ray gun welcomes them to his universe. His image is framed yogically as a teacher of eastern mystic religions. He is floating in space and advises Izzy that to become one with the universe he must stop thinking. If he thinks less, he will be happier. Then, in a powerful moment he relates a central theme of the darkness at the heart of Digimon Adventure’s core: “Indifference is the key to success.”

In this essay series, I’ve often made the point that Digimon Adventure is an answer to the postmodern condition shared by so many in our modern world. Sometimes the series makes this blatantly obvious with screenwriter nods to versatility in post-structuralist theories (like in Andromon’s factory) and elsewhere through the use of crests (Sincerity, Friendship, Courage) with names of quaint emotions and values that figures like David Foster Wallace believed could fight back against the emotionally devastating and ultimately true anti-foundationalisms of postmodernism. In this episode, we find that the blatant evil and darkness of the Digidestined’s antagonists is replaced by a softer evil in the form of eastern mysticism, which has aligned itself pretty thoroughly with many of the anti-foundationalisms of postmodernity. His advice to Izzy is to end his curiosity because it is not only a dead end intellectually (the more his curiosity grows, the more foundationalisms he must destroy for himself until he falls into the pit of nihilism), but also leads to unhappiness in the forms of malaise and aporia and existential dread at the vacuity of meaningful foundations and interactions in the world.

Vademon, with his yogic mannerisms of speech and posture, his vaguely Indian name (derived from the Vedas?), and his other-worldly appearance is ultimately unconnected to the Dark Lords who would corrupt and bring pain through their nihilism. Instead, he just deals with Dark Lords and attempts to bring happiness through nirvana, or the snuffing out into non-existence, to his prey by encouraging them to drop out and become like a drop of water into the ocean of all existence. To cease being entirely.

DemiDevimon arrives later and attempts to buy Izzy’s tag and crest from Vademon, but it turns out that DemiDevimon has nothing to offer in exchange (his own curiosity is too feeble and simple to even manifest in a physical bubble as Izzy’s has). They begin to fight over the tag and crest. All the while, Tentomon has seen his friend reduced to a vegetative state. He loses his energy as his Digidestined partner loses resolve, trust, and himself in the artificial cosmos of Vademon’s lair. Tentomon de-Digivolves into Motimon and then into Pabumon, and nearly returns back into the nothingness from which he was originally thrown into this world. Izzy awakens to reality at the last moment and saves his Digimon partner from the void of nonexistence in the brink of time.

The two then escape the room and steal back the tag and crest. Pabumon digivolves all the way back to Tentomon and then into Kabuterimon to fight Vademon, but is bludgeoned by meteors and asteroids in Vademon’s cosmos. Nearly defeated and Izzy now in mortal peril, the Digivice and Tag activate and Kabuterimon becomes MegaKabuterimon, blasts through the space debris, and then through an entire planet with his Horn Blaster attack. The Hey Digimon theme rings out as the two claim another win for the Digidestined team’s values of trust and friendship in the face of inscrutable, deeply-unsettling evil.

Now, Izzy and Motimon (all Digimon revert to their in-training forms after an ultimate level Digivolution) meet up with Matt and T.K., while DemiDevimon takes the punishment doled out by his master, Myotismon, for once again failing to perform his duties. Gennai appears and gives the team new information in the way of a Digimon file full of information on Izzy’s laptop (call it a DigiDex). This time the allure of evil was stronger than any other time before. Will the Digidestined be able to fight against what Nietzsche called our inevitable embrace of nihilism? Or is their fight the beginning of that move beyond nihilism he also predicted oh so long ago?

 

Yours Troubled,

The Digidestined Cody

[This series continued HERE]

The Crest of Sincerity (Digimon Adventure Episode 17)

(If you missed it, check out Skullgreymon’s appearance HERE. To go back to to beginning click HERE)

The Digidestined are again travelling through the desert. I feel it’s necessary at this point to try and dissect why this is so. In more than half of the episodes in this series so far, it seems like the Digidestined wander through the scorching, empty Digital deserts of either File Island or the continent of Server. A few times they have encountered the beach, the jungle, and the tundra, but the desert seems their constant oppressor. In Robert Heinlein’s classic sci-fi novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, the book’s protagonist is a native martian who comes to earth as a young man and must acclimate to his new surroundings. In Digimon Adventure, the children are spirited away to a new world totally different from their human world. This is done in a manner coincident with Alice in Wonderland as their new surroundings lack the logic of their former world. However, Alice doesn’t stay long enough to ever become truly comfortable with these surroundings. The Digidestined seem to do so, but with intense difficulty, and just like the stranger in a strange land, they are alien to their new world totally. And what’s more, for a group of Japanese children, the desert is the one ecosystem more alien than any other.

Now back to the main narrative. While in the desert, they meet their first mirage: a giant cactus they hope will provide them some much needed shade. While mulling around and complaining about the cactus’ unreality, Gennai’s hologram appears and gives the Digidestined some more cryptic information about their current situation. He relates that the tags and crests “will work together to help you create total harmony.” I don’t yet understand this phrase fully, as this episode is the point at which I can’t remember any more of the episodes I watched as a child. Gennai then chides the Digidestined for not caring for their Digimon partners properly and instructs them to learn patience. He then disappears again, leaving the gang with more unanswered questions than they had before he appeared. Leave it to Gennai to muck things up.

A little familiarity with these episodes should tell you a lot about what is going to happen next. In every episode, some odd artifact appears that is a reproduction of human culture. Then, an evil Digimon (the mon of the week if you will) appears to fight them and they defeat it using trust in one another or teamwork. In the first arc, the Digimon all Digivolved to their Champion forms one by one and level by level. In the second arc, each Digidestined found a way to turn around their drifting islands back toward Devimon on File Island to defeat him. During this arc, their strength of character and connections with their Digimon grew exponentially each episode. In this third arc, it seems that they will work together to fight off an evil Digimon, discover a tablet with a crest inscription, and one more Digidestined-Digimon pair is then equipped to Digivolve to the Ultimate level when the time comes.

As such, in this episode, a giant ocean liner appears in the desert after ‘swimming’ across the rough and sandy terrain. The Digidestined are fooled into boarding. A big chicken Digimon, Kokatorimon, who works for Etemon attacks them and tries to contact Etemon (whose dark network is experiencing technical difficulties- typical nincompoop he is) but to no avail. He turns all of the Digimon into stone using his Petrifier attack, except for Biyomon and Palmon. Then a little bit of girl power takes him out.

But not for good. He recoups (hehe) his energy and tries to run them down with the ocean liner. This time a real giant cactus saves the day by blocking the ship from hitting the children and flinging the ship far off into the distance. The cactus blooms and reveals Mimi’s Crest of Sincerity. She then realizes what her main purpose and role in the group is meant to be, that of a straight-talker who brings the rest of the group down to earth and away from troubling and occasionally dangerous philosophical musings.

 

Till next time,

The Digidestined Cody

(Next up the gang encounter Piximon and Tai and Agumon begin to overcome their fears! HERE)

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