Tag Archive | Television

From Dawn to Duskmon (Digimon Frontier: Episode 20)

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

Arbormon finally returns back to the lair of the Legendary Warriors of Darkness, where he commences weight-training to get into the proper headspace for battle. Mercurymon enters the room and begins to insult Arbormon’s intelligence using terminology that Arbormon does not understand and thereby Mercurymon has his fun whilst preventing lighting a fire or provoking the ire of his dim-witted companion. Duskmon, however, understands Mercurymon completely and later picks up on one of the would-be thespian’s exterior monologues reflecting his wishes to hide the Seraphimon Fractal Code from Cherubimon and to later use it’s powers to become the Dark Lord of the Digital World himself.

Despite the fact that Duskmon has not yet fought any of the Digidestined and has remained on the sidelines, presumably planning some machinations for their later defeats, he is still a devoted follower of Cherubimon. As such, he relates the information he overheard from Mercurymon to Cherubimon who later summons his Legendary Warriors and requests all of their Fractal Code. Mercurymon, of course, withholds the Seraphimon code, and Cherubimon intimates to Mercurymon that he knows all about the data and will allow Mercurymon to keep it in trust for the time being, but will take this data anytime he sees fit in the future.

Elsewhere, the Digidestined have come to the end of the line for their Trailmon companion who has plenty of track ahead on which he could travel, but decides to end the journey abruptly. The reason? They are fast approaching the Dark Gate to the Dark Continent, which is an accursed space that no Digimon is known to have entered and escaped. Bokomon’s book of legends has a page about this territory. Unfortunately, the pages are completely blank as if no one had ever been able to fill these pages with a firsthand account. As this route is dangerous, Bokomon suggest they avoid entering it, but Takuya reasons that this path is the fastest one toward the Rose Morning Star and furthermore that they are five Legendary Warriors all with Beast Spirits who probably would be able to handle anything they encountered within the Continent of Darkness. As Beast Spirits are Mega-level equivalents in terms of power, Takuya is right here because they’re most powerful opponent, Cherubimon, is still only one Mega-level Digimon.

They head through the Dark Gate and into a pitch black morass of forested terrain. However, after a few minutes, the Digidestined gang come across a glade with glowing moss, which they investigate and eventually pick up as a light source to help them see their way through the forest. There are Digimon in the Dark Continent that seem to be trailing the Digidestined everywhere they go. And when the group reaches a cave, the Digimon start repeating everything the Digidestined team says, even tongue twisters, to a tee. Koji throws his moss in the direction of the voices and reveals a group of bat-like Pipismon who are adept at mimicking sounds, are known to be docile by Bokomon, and are even somewhat cute by Zoe’s standards.

Just as the Digidestined begin to enter the cave, Arbormon appears and threatens to defeat the Digidestined once and for all. First he destroys the Pipismon and absorbs their Fractal Code for extra energy before Slide Evolving into his Beast Spirit evolution as Petaldramon. And for the first time ever, the Digidestined do the most rational thing in response: they all Spirit Evolve to their highest level. BurningGreymon, KendoGarurumon, MetalKabuterimon, Zephyrmon, and Korikakumon all battle against Petaldramon to greater or lesser effect until the plant dragon Digimon consumes a few trees and thereby expands in size and power to a level beyond the other Legendary Warriors present. The effort all looks for naught as our heroes strain under the bondage of Petaldramon’s vines and malicious attacks until BurningGreymon uses his fire powers to free himself and then slowly the Digidestined combine their efforts to incapacitate Petaldramon at each turn by striking at vines, his tongue, his arms, and eventually flipping the big lizard on his back before doling out a decisive blow.

Petaldramon’s Fractal Code displays itself and KendoGarurumon Slide Evolves into Lobomon to absorb this data along with Petaldramon’s Beast Spirit of Wood. Petaldramon reverts to Arbormon and suddenly Duskmon appears from out of the surrounding darkness. Arbormon welcomes his comrade who is surely there only to help out in the battle at hand. Yet, Duskmon immediately cuts Arbormon in half and absorbs the remainder of his Fractal Code as well as his H Spirit of Wood, which defeats Arbormon totally and leaves only three Legendary Warriors of Darkness for the Digidestined to defeat. The audience is meant to have a feeling that Duskmon will be more powerful than any of the previous Legendary Warriors of Darkness, besides maybe Mercurymon whose reflective powers are seemingly impenetrable.

What’s even worse is that the Digidestined are all out of their element while Duskmon is within his domain as the principal Legendary Warrior of Darkness. We know he is of superior intellect as he understands the speech and intentions of Mercurymon quite well. We also know that Duskmon is mysterious and may have many powers that could prove surprising and thereby effective against the Digidestined, especially after their battle with Petaldramon that left them somewhat drained and weaker than if they had been going into this next battle fresh. Finally, we do not know if Duskmon has a Beast Spirit. But if he does, it would come as no surprise if that plus his advantage in the domain of darkness gave him the decisive advantage in this particular situation.

And well, we all know who the Legendary Warrior of Darkness truly is because no spoiler goes unspoiled for a series that has been around for over fifteen years. But for the purposes of this particular review series, I won’t give any of that away yet in the hopes that those who have not yet watched this series will do so and follow along with me.

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

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You Want Fries with That? (Digimon Frontier: Episode 19)

(Catch the previous review HERE)

Since Petaldramon’s defeat a few episodes back, he has once again been out of the picture. At the beginning of this episode, we get a sense of how tired he is of fighting against the Digidestined because he has seemingly left his old party as a member of the Legendary Warriors of Darkness and has instead created his own legion of Chamelemon and set up a secluded forest hideout within a large mansion on the outskirts of Hamburger Village. His motives have changed from helping Cherubimon to fracture the Digital World further and instead, Petaldramon and his troop’s new objective is to eat as much good food for free as they can by using their brute strength and numbers to thereby live off  of the land through force.

The episode opens as the Chamelemon and Petaldramon enter the Village in the dead of night, seek out and find the town’s best chef, consume all his burgers to taste test their quality for themselves, and then kidnap the Champion-level Burgermon to bring back to their hideout as their personal chef. However, this head chef has a wife Burgermon and many young TorikawaBallmon children who he must support and protect. They plead with Petaldramon to return their father, but Petaldramon merely responds that he will be back on the next night that the Digital World’s three moons overlap in the night sky, and if the mother can create a better burger than the one’s made by her chef husband, then he might consider returning the head chef.

The Digidestined enter town with their previously-won all you can eat burger tickets from the Great Trailmon Race in the hopes of stuffing and engorging themselves to near bursting with hamburgers. However, they learn about the Chamelemon from the family of the Burgermon who was abducted and decide that to eat the best burgers, they must first help out in some way and return the old chef to his home. Zoe decides that they ought to create their own new burger recipes for the Chamelemon to try out so that they can follow them back to their lair, defeat them and their master, and return the head chef back home. Unfortunately, none the Digidestined have any experience cooking and as such, Takuya and Koji’s new recipes are horrendous, and J.P. and Zoe’s are only so-so. However, Tommy accidentally drops the onions he dices for his burger into a boiler, which cooks them in an ideal manner and then he accidentally drops them into salad dressing. The result is a sauce that tastes delicious and unique, which goes perfect on a burger.

The Chamelemon arrive that night., try the burgers, and immediately kidnap J.P., Zoe, and Tommy, while the TorikawaBallmon follow behind in the shadows attempting to help in any way they can. The group eventually arrive at the large mansion in the forest where they are incarcerated into a kitchen with iron bars where the head chef has been preparing food for some time: none of which has managed to assuage Petaldramon’s hunger in the least. What’s worse is that the TorikawaBallmon are captured and also incarcerated within a bird cage. As Tommy teaches the head chef how to prepare his new burger recipe, Petaldramon gets antsy and requests a burger immediately, giving the crew no time to finish their work. As such, Tommy and the others immediately Spirit Evolve into their H Spirit forms as Kumamon, Beetlemon, and Kazemon, free the TorikawaBallmon with whose help they locate the camouflaged Chamelemon, defeat them, absorb their Fractal Codes, and then  watch as they revert to Armadillomon and scamper off into the woods environs.

Next Petaldramon arrives and the Digidestined Slide Evolve into their B Spirit forms as Korikakumon, MetalKabuterimon, and Zephyrmon, which allows them to defeat their foe once again. The Burgermon finishes his masterpiece burgers and tells the weakened Petaldramon to go to the kitchen to consume them. He does so, eats them, and immediately falls asleep for a long nap, which is undisturbed even as the Digidestined destroy his mansion and the rubble falls all around him. The Digidestined return to Hamburger Village with the Burgermon and TorikawaBallmon in tow where they are well-received by their fellow Burgermon and the Digidestined seemingly have a place to stay for the night as well as the possibility of redeeming their Hamburger Village meal tickets at the best eatery in town.

Unlike the town in the previous episode, Hamburger Village is only seen at night and for very brief moments during the day when the Digidestined arrive. Therefore, we learn little about the daily goings on in the town and about the variety and number of Digimon living and working therein. World-building of this ilk is always an interesting matter when watching these episodes of Digimon Frontier that are mostly filler in nature, as not much else is going on. The Digidestined all have their Beast Spirit and Human Spirits, have not yet arrived at their next destination The Rose Morning Star, and are unable or unwilling to finish off Petaldramon, which would be important plot point that they could have easily accomplished in this episode after defeating him. Furthermore, we hear nothing more from Ophanimon over the D-Tectors and learn nothing more about the backstory of the series or about Cherubimon, and our characters don’t even really develop any throughout this episode in terms of character.

It is always cool to learn more about the Digimon native to the Digital World of the Frontier Universe like the Burgermon who have both Rookie and Champion-level forms that are both referred to as Burgermon. And that the previously seen EbiBurgamon is a Rookie-level variant form with Shrimp based attacks. Or that TorikawaBallmon Digivolve into Burgermon and that Armadillomon can Armor Digivolve into things like Chamelemon. This episode also tells us that Arbormon/Petaldramon’s interests lie less in destroying the Digital World and more in living a comfortable life wherein he can have fun through battle and eating. But beyond that, there is very little of interest in this episode that helps move along the plot in any tangible manner.

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined

[Continued HERE]

Bizarre Bazaar (Digimon Frontier: Episode 17)

(Catch the previous episode review HERE)

As the Digidestined travel upon their raft along a rapid river current, Arbormon awakens beneath the ocean where he was left after Grumblemon’s defeat and the subsequent cave-in a few episodes back. Arbormon appears unscathed as if he had just taken a long nap, and he is somehow alive despite having been under water for quite some time. This would make sense if Arbormon were the Legendary Warrior of Water. However, he is the Legendary Warrior of Wood, and there are no trees that can grow and survive whilst completely submerged in water as they require sunlight. And while earlier Digimon shows played a bit with the rules of their series, they were at least internally consistent and did not play so fast and loose. The reasons why this season is considered the worst of the first four are becoming more apparent with each episode I watch.

As the Digidestined reach the Autumn Leaf Fair, the Toucanmon begin to depart with the camera they traded for the D-Tectors. The town is full of Digimon of all levels from Baby to Mega. This is to expected of a large trading fair, but is once again unsettling as the entire Digital World is currently at under threat of destruction by Cherubimon and there are many Digimon present who could easily help in this battle against evil. There are fourteen Ultimate level Digimon at the fair including very powerful ones like Phantomon, Etemon, Myotismon, Lilymon, Piximon, Taomon, and Vademon. There are seven armor Digimon including the Mega-level equivalent Golden Armor Digimon Kongoumon. Finally, there are three Mega-level Digimon: Jijimon and Babamon (arguably not fit for fighting) and the Royal Knight Gallantmon who could defeat any of the Legendary Warriors of Evil even when in their Beast Spirit forms and potentially even Cherubimon himself. The team who helmed Frontier no doubt just populated this event with tons of recognizable Digimon without giving pause to think about this inconsistency or even without explaining it away as a group of selfish Digimon who only care about turning a profit.

The Digidestined immediately begin searching every shop and stall in town as soon as they arrive, but find no leads on the whereabouts of their D-Tectors. J.P. and Zoe take a 30-plate Restaurant challenge that J.P. surprisingly loses as Zoe wins and is rewarded with a handful of train tickets for use all Trailmon lines in the Digital World. Tommy finds a little hole in the wall shop run by a Datamon more obsessed with playing an arcade machine game than making sales. The game is a Space Invaders variant in which the good guy is a Togemon shooting spikes toward enemy Pagumon. And Datamon is absolutely terrible at the game.

As such, Tommy intervenes, reassuring Datamon that he is a great gamer who has had tons of experience playing video games back in the Real World. And Tommy’s no joke after all as he quickly ascends through levels to reach the final mothership boss and manages to beat the game. A cartridge is released from the system as a prize and Datamon immediately stores it away in a locker behind the counter of his shop. A locker wherein the four D-Tectors are spied by Tommy. Tommy tells Datamon that they belong to he and his friends, but Datamon refuses to return them. However, Tommy is persistent and manages to get Datamon to relent just a tad. Datamon promises to hold the D-Tectors for up to an hour while Tommy goes out and searches for something to trade for them.

Luckily, Tommy quickly runs into the Toucanmon on the outskirts of the city and is able to chase them down and take the camera, which they drop when falling through the ice and into the waters below. Tommy is too good-hearted unfortunately and he goes back to save the Toucanmon who reward his kindness by immediately taking back the camera and running away. Neemon saw Tommy leave town and reported this to Takuya and Koji who, as a team, go to the outskirts of town and find Tommy crying. They console him and after learning of his ordeal head off toward Datamon’s shop. But Arbormon, who tracked down the Toucanmon and Datamon arrives first with the Toucanmon in a sack. He plans to trade back the camera to Datamon for the D-Tectors, but Datamon checks out the camera first and finds a short film thereon that shows Tommy saving the Toucanmon from drowning. He refuses Arbormon’s trade deal, so he Slide Evolves into Petaldramon, destroys the shop and beats up Datamon before the Digidestined can arrive on the scene (sans J.P. and Zoe who are still out at the eating competition).

Datamon gives Tommy his D-Tector, which has been upgraded with the data that was within the cartridge from Space Invaders: the B Spirit of Ice! Tommy immediately Spirit Evolves into his new form as Korikakumon and doles out a beating to Petaldramon for a time before losing control of his Beast Spirit and becoming trapped in Petaldramon’s vines. Datamon returns Takuya and Koji’s D-Tectors, and they Spirit Evolve into Agunimon and Lobomon, respectively, to free their friend from Petaldramon’s bondage. Why they don’t just Spirit Evolve into BurningGreymon and KendoGarurumon to help destroy Petaldramon for good? One reason could be that they wish to only aid Tommy and thereby allow him to take all the glory in this battle. The result is that Petaldramon retreats and is not destroyed right there and then. Overkill was the proper decision that Takuya and Koji once again refused to make, and thereby the proper answer to why they did not Spirit Evolve into their Beast Spirits is that they are idiots.

The episode ends as night falls and the Digidestined team have regrouped. Ophanimon speaks through their D-Tectors and tells them that they must make a choice right now to either return home or to continue their journeys as this is the point of no return. Everyone agrees to continue onward and they are advised to head next toward the Rose Morning Star, which is quite some distance away. But the team do have those train tickets Zoe and as such they use them now to get as far they can toward their destination. All five Legendary Warriors of Light now have Beast Spirit Mega-level equivalent forms. They have the egg of Seraphimon. But the Legendary Warriors of Darkness have only four members, three of which have Beast Spirits and one of which (Duskmon) is so aloof as to currently cause no problem for the Digidestined. Things are looking up.

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

The Swiss Family Digimon (Digimon Frontier: Episode 16)

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

The Swiss Family Robinson is a classic novel, which this episode’s title references. The story of this book is one of a schooner, which is shipwrecked somewhere near the isles of the East Indies. A family onboard decides to craft a makeshift raft out the remainder of their ship on which they sail to a nearby island. There, they work together to collect as many supplies as possible from the ship, including a wide array of livestock and food stuffs they were lucky to have. They build shelters and explore the island until they come to understand it’s ecology well enough to sustainably use its resources and to thereby live for as long as possible there until being rescued at the book’s end (though, notably, a few amongst their number decide to remain on the island).

The tale is a Christian allegory expressing the socialist ethic at the core of Jesus’ message: to share all resources amongst one another fairly to live a harmonious, communal existence without simultaneously pillaging the earth of its resources and instead being good shepherds and retainers of the world’s store and goods. As expected, this episode of Digimon has very little to do with such a message or ethos, and is instead so named merely as a pun on the fact that the Digidestined build a raft in this episode, despite its construction’s purpose being totally different from that of the aforementioned Robinson family from Switzerland.

The Digidestined are still searching for the wily Toucanmon who nabbed their D-Tectors during the last episode. J.P. and the other Digidestined boys are also reflecting on just how creepy they found Calmaramon to be and how they hope profusely that Zoe’s Beast Spirit will not be similarly monstrous and scary to set one’s upon. All the while, the Toucanmon recline on a cliff-side high above the Digidestined, where they debate what to do with the D-Tectors now that they have become disillusioned by Ranamon’s vicious Beast Spirit and have thereby revoked their memberships to the Ranamon fan club: Begone thot! They decide that they may be able to sell the D-Tectors to other members of Ranamon’s club who have not yet seen her new Beast Spirit form, and thereby fly off to a nearby island to deliberate once more upon the best place to seek out a buyer.

Zoe and the others see the Toucanmon flying through the sky towards the neighboring island and decide to swim off in pursuit. However, a group of Gomamon surround the Digidestined and warn them to return back to shore as there are a series of powerful whirlpools near the other island’s approach. These Gomamon explain that they once lived on the other island, but after a mysterious earthquake these whirlpools appeared that threaten to drag anyone who swims near them beneath the waves. What’s more, a few of their friends were still on the island at the time and have no way to escape. Zoe offers the Digidestined’s aid in returning the Gomamon to their island and into the fins of their friends once more. To do so, they construct a raft to approach the island, which is sturdy and big enough to avoid being pulled beneath the whirlpools.

All this time, Calmaramon has been back at her hideout training herself to master her Beast Spirit Evolution so that she can defeat the Digidestined once and for all. It comes as no surprise then that when the Legendary Warriors of Light approach the shore, a tidal wave appears and Ranamon within it who immediately attacks the crew. Zoe Spirit Evolves into Kazemon, but it once again no match for Ranamon who is within her element at sea as the Legendary Warrior of Water. Kazemon is dragged into a whirlpool, but finds a mysterious glowing light that leads her to a large clam shell that opens to reveal her Beast Spirit of Wind. Zoe emerges just as Ranamon attempts to destroy her friends, and then Beast Spirit evolves into Zephyrmon.

Unlike Calmaramon, Zephyrmon is physically attractive and far from monstrous. All the boys, and especially J.P., swoon as Ranamon goes on a tirade about how this new form means nothing because Ranamon still has a fan club who admires her beauty and Zoe has no such club. The argument is petty so Zephyrmon ignores it and instead begins to fight Ranamon who is forced to Slide Evolve into Calmaramon. Calmaramon has a new attack that involves spitting out acid ink toward her enemies. She directs this at the Gomamon and unarmed Digidestined below, which prompts Zephyrmon to block the attack and thereby take the hit. Her weakened state allows Calmaramon to capture Zephyrmon within her tentacular appendages and transform the mise-en-scene of the battle into an eldritch conflict between the sea peoples and the sky peoples.

Luckily, the other Digidestined have realized Calmaramon’s true weakness: her vanity. They insult her with a tirade of verbal abuse about how creepy she looks and thereby manage to distract her long enough for Zephyrmon to escape her grasp and begin her own attacks anew. Calmaramon decides to use her most powerful spinning top attack to diffuse the situation, but it seems she has still been unable to control this power and instead spins offscreen into the distance, once more finding herself ineffective through lack of control.

The Gomamon thank the Digidestined for returning them to their friends: finding the Beast Spirit of Wind stopped the whirlpools. And the Digidestined reflect on Zoe’s beauty in all her Digimon forms as well as her awesome ability (not unlike J.P.) to almost immediately control her power within her Beast Spirit. Finally, our crew questions the native Gomamon about the current whereabouts of the Toucanmon and are told that they left during the previous battle and were presumably heading toward the continent. Specifically toward the Autumn Leaf Fair: a trader’s market where they are planning to sell off the Legendary Warrior’s D-Tectors to the highest bidder.

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

Taratata

(Check out my previous Frederic Back film review: ¿Illusion?)

Taratata is a term you probably haven’t heard unless you’ve studied French, and even then, I studied French for four years at University and Quebecois culture, politics, and dialect for a full semester and still didn’t know what it meant. Google Feedback defines it thus: Onomatopée exprimant l’incrédulité, la défiance, le mépris. It is used as an onomatopoeic interjection expressing incredulity, defiance, or contempt. In the context of a short film by Frederic Back it is used with a political sense in mind.

But first to the film’s production history. Back’s previous film was released in 1975 and throughout the latter half of 1976 and the first few months of 1977, Back worked to create Taratata which would become his fifth film. Unlike Back’s previous experiments, Taratata is shorter than its predecessor. Rather than slowly working his form toward lengthier narratives, Back decided to condense the narrative and remove all extraneous content to make it as concise and cohesive as possible. He worked with one assistant (Suzanne Raymond) who aided Back as an in-between artist, tracer, and colorist, but otherwise left him to his own devices.

After doing a bit of research, I found that Back used assistants on half of his projects hitherto, but always for different reasons. On his first film, Abracadabra, Back had six assistants assigned to his production from a higher up at Radio Canada Broadcasting in order to speed along his process. Back chafed at these restraints and on his next two films, he refused assistance altogether, instead opting to create his films entirely by himself. This is kind of extraordinary as both of those films were released within one year, and it is only when Back had assistance that his production times began to drag on. For his fourth film, ¿Illusion?, Back again had an assistant (this time only one). And somehow his production time on that film (less than a minute longer than the two he created by himself) took a whopping 18 months to create. Although Taratata is three minutes shorter than that film at 8 minutes and 30 seconds, it only took him 8 months to produce. Suffice it to say that Back was an experimental filmmaker who took his time going down interesting rabbit holes and producing his work part time while fulfilling his main duties at Radio Canada.

The film itself is about Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day in Quebec, which is an ancient European religious holiday that had previously been celebrated in the old countries for hundreds of years prior to colonization and European imperialism in North and South America. In Quebec, the festival was a celebration of Quebecois heritage and history, and Back shows this as parade floats of colonists and natives, of fur trappers and patriots, of the church and of traditional music and dancing, and of frontiering and exploration float on by through the streets.

A young boy attempts to watch the parade from a light pole, but finds himself viewing the latter half of the parade wherein the American flag is draped along many floats. This signals the parade of modernity that America represents to the world: Industry and its hazards like pollution, child labor, unsafe work environments, and alienation from one’s labor and one’s life. Militarism and its discontents like imperialism, slavery, death, the war machine, the military-industrial complex and the buying of politicians that signaled the death of democracy and a shift toward a corporate hold on politics. Nuclear science, the atomic bomb, nuclear energy and catastrophic accidents like Chernobyl. Skyscrapers and mega-architecture, the birth of cities, Durkheim’s studies on suicide, mass malaise and existential dread in the face of living life as a media being artificially made to revere to spectacle through advertising and other such forms of anti-Free Market propaganda (because remember, enough advertising is what makes a brand the ‘best’, not its actual qualities. Logic dictates that there are better soda companies than Coke and Pepsi, but we keep buying those because advertising perpetuates the rich company’s popularity despite it potentially not tasting the best or being the most affordable. Advertising is, in this sense, anti Free Market.).

The scared child who has witnessed this parade evades the scene by running down a morbid backstreet where he falls asleep until night falls. Once awakening, he returns to the main streets and finds trash littering the ground where this once great revelry of Quebecois pride and heritage passed through in its current devolved form. The boy imagines the grandeur of a great parade without politics and without the machine. And his vision is so potent and nostalgic and beautiful that it manifests in the minds of those denizens who were similarly disaffected by the charade of a parade Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day has become. All gather around to dream together of a better day, and the little boy retires back to his side streets with a smile across his face for the first time that day.

In the years leading up to Taratata, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day was undergoing some real changes for the worst. It had become a day celebrated by the right wing and by nationalists who wished to revoke non-Catholic and non-French-Canadians from its celebration and thereby from an essential element of Quebecois-ness itself. In 1964, there were protests against the then-Governor Vanier of this right-wing nature. Again in 1968 there were riots against Trudeau’s visitation of the event as he was notably an inclusive politician and head of the Liberal party. In 1969, nationalist riots erupted like never before through anti-immigrant rhetoric and the effigy/icon of Saint-Jean-Baptiste was toppled and destroyed. Finally, in 1970, there was no Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day parade event at all.

Throughout the 1970s, these problems remained. But it just so happens that in 1977, the government passed a law mandating Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day a national holiday. This helped to transition the day definitively away from nationalist rhetoric as it became a time when many Quebecois were off of work and could celebrate the multi-faceted, multi-ethnic background and current reality of Quebec together without a preponderance of religious or traditional-ethnic rhetoric being associated. Today, this parade is a celebrated event and often fun parade for those of Quebec in which politics often comes to the forefront. However, these politics are often more inclusive and leftist, and thereby more in keeping with Back’s ideals and with the ideals of freedom and social liberalism on which Western democracies are based. And otherwise, this day has returned to being a celebration of heritage, history, and the multi-cultural present reality of the province that refused to be assimilated by English Canada so many times in its history.

 

Ciao,

Cody

[Next up: Tout Rien]

Beastie Girl (Digimon Frontier: Episode 15)

(Check out the previous Digimon Frontier episode review HERE)

It’s been five episodes since the now-departed Grumblemon stole Zoe’s H Spirit of Wind and rendered her useless in battle. Now that J.P. ensured it was returned to her, it seems appropriate that she will be able to use it asap in this, the first episode since she regained the power.

The episode begins with Mercurymon and Ranamon at their home base discussing the events of the previous episodes from their own perspective. Ranamon orders Mercurymon to track down Arbormon and bring him back to the base. While Mercurymon accedes to this demand, he also tells Ranamon that he believes she must be terrified without a Beast Spirit since three of the Digidestined Legendary Warriors now have their own Beast Spirits and were able to destroy Grumblemon because he had lost his. Although, Ranamon objects to this line of reasoning, once Mercurymon leaves, we find Ranamon studying a map of the Digital World, scrutinizing every detail for some body of water previously overlooked wherein her Beast Spirit of Water may be hiding. When she zeroes in on such a place, Ranamon decides to head off in its direction.

By luck, or chance, or more likely the machinations of a screenwriter forcing forward the plot through a Deus ex Machina, the island that Whamon drops the Digidestined off at just happens to be in the area where Ranamon plans to search for her Beast Spirit. It also just so happens that one of Ranamon’s fan clubs (this one composed of Toucanmon) resides on the island and has received express directions to search for the Beast Spirit throughout their area. Instead of the Beast Spirit, however, the Toucanmon find the Digidestined and crew on their island’s coastline rejoicing and even boasting about how their good fortune as of late. The pieces of information that pique the Toucanmon’s interest most include Zoe and J.P.’s fawning over one another as Zoe boasts about the return of her H Spirit and thanks J.P. profusely, while J.P. boasts about now having his very own Beast Spirit and Zoe responds affirmatively about how cool he is. Besides being a deservedly saccharine moment (maybe one of the first openly romantic moments between Digidestined kids thus far in the franchise), it alerts the Toucanmon that these kids are the Digidestined and that they have Beast Spirits.

Therefore, the Toucanmon concoct a wily plan. They open up Toucan Paradise: a seaside resort that offers free food, lodging, and beach supply rentals to the Digidestined to get them to stay around. While the Digidestined are out lounging on the beach and in the surf, the Toucanmon enter the changing rooms and steal the boy’s B-Tectors in the hopes of giving them to Ranamon so that she can have the Beast Spirits housed within. The plan is a failure from the very start for a few important reasons. 1. These are the Beast Spirits of Fire, Light, Thunder, and Earth (as Gigasmon’s Spirit was absorbed by Takuya’s D-Tector) within the D-Tectors. None of which are usable by Ranamon, the Legendary Warrior of Water. 2. No one but Digidestined have hitherto ever been able to use a Digivice and even if Ranamon could use the Beast Spirits, she would probably not be able to draw them out of the devices. 3. Zoe is notoriously picky about what she wears, and as such, takes a very long time to pick out her outfit. So when the Toucanmon try to enter her changing room, she is still within it, gets freaked out and yells out to the others.

The other Digidestined enter the room quickly without thinking that she might be half dressed and quickly run the other way when Zoe screams again out of embarrassment. The Digidestined learn that their D-Tectors are missing, but luckily Zoe still has her own D-Tector. When Ranamon finally makes her appearance, Zoe is finally able to Spirit Evolve into Kazemon for the first time in five episodes and go head to head with one of the evil Legendary Warriors. Its the fan service fight all Digimon fans were waiting for (and it excites the Toucanmon as well), until Ranamon senses the presence of some force beneath the waves. She submerges and finds her Beast Spirit of Water, then transforms into Calmaramon. Although basically a more adult version of Ranamon with tentacles (which is arguably even better), this Beast Spirit form of Ranamon is seen as ugly and creepy by the Digidestined and by Ranamon’s Toucanmon fan club who all immediately revoke their memberships and run off with visions of the ethereally-beautiful Kazemon instead.

Although Kazemon stands no chance against Calmaramon, the Water Beast finds this form new and alien and thereby difficult to control. Thereby, Calmaramon attempts to use a spinning attack against Kazemon, but only ends up becoming dizzy and flying off into the distance where she is no longer a threat for the time being. With this pressing concern out of the way, the Digidestined return to tracking down the Toucanmon to find their D-Tectors, which will come in handy if Calmaramon returns. This is necessary because Zoe, the only one with a D-Tector currently, still has not found her Beast Spirit and a returned Calmaramon would soon overwhelm the team if she becomes able to control the unwieldly power of her Beast Spirit.

As the review of the events of the episode is over, and I’ve yet to reach my minimum word count (1000 words), I’ll discuss a point I mentioned above only in passing. Mercurymon seems to sense that Ranamon is searching for her Beast Spirit and has some sort of complex that she has yet to find one. A common response in such a discourse that we might expect from Ranamon would be to shoot back at Mercurymon by asking why he was so concerned with her Beast Spirit when he didn’t have one of his own. However, since Ranamon does not make this response, we now know that Mercurymon already has a Beast Spirit form.

By the episodes’s end, this means that Mercurymon, Arbormon, and Ranamon all have Beast Spirit Evolutions. Duskmon is still an enigma. But this increases the odds in the the Legendary Warriors of Darkness’s chances slightly as they have at least 3 Mega-level equivalents in their party just like the Digidestined, but as evidenced from previous episodes, the Dark Warriors have better teamwork and tactical fighting skills as a unit in battle. As of this moment, they may be stronger as a team than their Digidestined counterparts.

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

Can’t Keep a Grumblemon Down (Digimon Frontier: Episode 10)

(Check out the previous review in this series HERE. Or go back to the beginning HERE)

Episode 10 of Digimon Frontier begins at the dawn of a new day. Takuya, Zoe, J.P. and Tommy awaken to find Koji, Bokomon and Neemon gone from amongst their midst. While momentarily waylaid by this unnerving discovery, one of the kids quickly finds a piece of paper with a message addressed to them from Koji. In this letter, he says that he has left their company to actually get something accomplished and to to find his Beast Spirit without the other Digidestined hindering his progress (Something which is a real problem as the past three episodes- in which he was in the company of the others- did not move Koji any closer to finding his B Spirit of Light). The letter also includes an postscript by Bokomon and Neemon alerting the others that they are following Koji to keep him out of trouble.

Near the Forest Kingdom, a lone Gotsumon investigates a series of mysterious ruins. Amongst an outcrop of rocks on the edge of a cliff stand three large stone faces not unlike those in Easter Island in our own world. Gotsumon interprets and inscription on the side of one of these stone edifices, which reads thus: ‘When the third eye opens, the Spirit shall awaken.’ Also along the side of this same stone facade is a symbol, which astute viewers will immediately recognize at the symbol of Light. And as for the reference to the third eye, this is not some mystical notion about achieving enlightenment through a vision quest toward the ‘Light’, but a very tangible clue toward unlocking the secret of this stone quarry. We know this because a panning shot shows us that two of the stone heads hold jewels in their eyes that make them appear as if they are awake or alive, and the third head has no such jewel set into its eye.

The scene then transitions once again to a different set of circumstances and characters as Koji investigates his surroundings in an attempt to gain his bearings whilst simultaneously making himself sparse to avoid detection by Bokomon and Neemon who have been following him incessantly since his departure from camp that morn. As he runs through a patch of high grass, Koji finds himself perched precariously along the edge of a cliff overlooking another seemingly endless field of wild grassland. Bokomon and Neemon, however, are not so careful. So when they emerge behind Koji from the grasses, they bump into him and all three find themselves tumbling headlong toward the grasslands below. Once there, they meet with a little Gotsumon, the selfsame as in the aforementioned vignette, and Koji tries to ask the little guy for directions to the Forest Terminal. Gotsumon rebuffs his acquaintances and runs off to camouflage himself on top of large rock.

However, the events of the story move along in rapid succession from here on out as the mountains of Gotsumon Village behind the group are suddenly rocked (hehehe, get it?) by Grumblemon in both his H Spirit form and as Gigasmon. The Fractal Code for this territory is released and Grumblemon begins to absorb the land just as Gotsumon leaps into action to defend his home. Koji fortunately stops the petite rock Digimon and Spirit Evolves into Lobomon to try and stop Grumblemon’s hideous advance. But the struggle is short lived as even as five H Spirit Digidestined previously had no effect on Grumblemon’s B Spirit form as Gigasmon. The villain defeats the hero and threatens to destroy him totally, but luckily Gotsumon grabs Lobomon and hides him in amongst the crumbling rocks from the mountain before eventually carrying Lobomon and leading his friends Bokomon and Neemon toward a hideout for the Gotsumon underneath a large boulder adjacent to the mountain.

When Koji comes to, he hears the other Gotsumon chiding the little would-be hero Gotsumon for spending so much time trying to track down the Legendary Warrior ‘Spirits’ to battle Gigasmon. Gotsumon leaves the hideout knowing something they don’t: the final gem, or ‘eye’, of the statues was revealed during the disintegration of Gotsumon Village and all he has to do now is to go and search through the rubble to find it before claiming his own ‘Spirit’ artifact. Gigasmon meanwhile has found and ambushed our other four Digidestined friends, beating them handily in the process and even exposing Zoe’s Fractal Code as Kazemon, and thereby taking her ‘Spirit’ for his own. Zoe is now without options to aid her friends in combat and it seems that the others will also lose their ‘Spirits’ in this battle. That is, until Koji arrives on the scene and manages to lure Gigasmon away from the others and toward the ruins that Gotsumon has been investigating.

Once there, Gigasmon launches a powerful attack that threatens to destroy Koji completely and he almost absorbs Koji’s H Spirit of Light before Gotsumon intervenes and saves Koji just as Koji attempted to save Gotsumon’s Village previously. Gotsumon holds off Gigasmon long enough for Koji to regain his composure and to place the gem within the eye of the final statue. The three stone heads launch a beam attack toward Gigasmon the aggressor, which gives Gotsumon a break, as well as yielding Koji enough time to claim his B Spirit of Light and to Spirit Evolve into KendoGarurumon, his untapped power form. Through this new Digivolution, Koji is able to defeat Gigasmon momentarily by knocking him off of the adjacent cliff and into the waves below. but is unable to reclaim Zoe’s H Spirit of Wind in the process. Although Koji grew as a person by allowing himself to trust Gotsumon and to help him as a friend despite knowing he was unable to defeat Gigasmon without the B Spirit upgrade, he was unable to truly destroy Gigasmon, and thereby, much of the the Digital World’s Fractal Code is still tied up in the form of Grumblemon and what’s even worse, Zoe will be unable to help her friends in the fight from here on out until Grumblemon is defeated.

Finally, a substantive episode!

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

Welcome to My Nightmare (Digimon Frontier: Episode 09)

(Check out the previous review HERE)

Now that the Digidestined gang has been reassembled, they are jointly back on the path toward the Forest Terminal within the Forest Kingdom. However, when we pick back up with our protagonists at the outset of this episode, J.P. and Tommy are totally exhausted and in need of rest. The area in which the group decides finally to retire for the evening is also home to a large apple tree whereupon grows savoury Meat Apples, which are raw until cooked at which point they deliver delectable tastes from prime rib and filet mignon to the more common tastes like meat bun, fried chicken and hot dog.

The group reclines within a comfortable glade and prepares a fire to roast there apples within. Unbeknownst to the group, however, a Bakumon (or Tapirmon) has been stalking their every move for some time now and seems to have an evil plan in store for the Digidestined. Such dangers are the last thing on everyone’s mind right now as food and sleep are the most pressing matters for most, and Koji is more interested in reflecting on why they were unable to defeat Gigasmon (Grumblemon’s second Digivolution form) despite all five of the Legendary Warrior Digidestined going up against him. He asks Bokomon about this new Beast form acquired by Grumblemon, but Bokomon can find nothing related to the topic in his book of legends until Neemon notices a foldout page. Once folded out, this page mentions that the Legendary Warriors each have a Human Spirit form (the one already acquired by the Digidestined) and a Beast Spirit form.

J.P. finds this information distressing as it basically means that they are all once again at square one in the search for powers that will allow them to return home. Koji continues to reflect upon this Beast Spirit revelation alongside a message he received from his D-Tector when he first arrived in the Digital World: ‘Everything will become clear when you find your spirit.’

A cloud appears above the forest glade, which dims the area and activates the TV trees in this TV Forest. The images thereon are of the Real World as Bokomon explains that this forest is something of a video gateway to the other world. While all the older kids find the images soothing after such a long absence from their own world, Tommy finds them depressing after he sees an image of his worried mother on one of the screens. And after Tommy falls asleep that night, his worried state will be the perfect vehicle for the evil Bakumon to cast Nightmare Syndrome on the little guy and instill within him an anxious dream about his friends deserting him or bullying him. This causes Tommy to awaken and attack his friends, first with a large stick from the fire, then by Spirit Evolving into Kumamon, freezing the campfire, destroying many trees, and targeting his friends with his ice attacks.

Everyone awakens before being turned into icicles and then they run off in separate directions. Takuya fortunately notices the glimpse of a figure just out of eye shot, a figure moving through the adjacent trees at a breakneck pace. He passes this information on to Koji who Spirit Evolves into Lobomon and uses his power as the Legendary Warrior of Light to send up a beam that alights the surrounding forest and reveals Bakumon’s hiding place to Takuya. As Lobomon fends off Kumamon, all the whole careful not to hurt the little guy in the process, Takuya Spirit Evolves into Agunimon and tries to catch Bakumon.

Yet, the little nightmare Digimon is quite quick and avoids being captured. Bokomon and Neemon notice that Bakumon is missing his arm ringlet that gives him his powers and they decide that Cherubimon must have made Bakumon turn evil by stealing this ring and thereby manipulating Bakumon’s personality in the process. During the discussion, Bakumon strikes back at Agunimon with Nightmare Syndrome, which throws Agunimon into a dream world of negative emotions in which he begins to imagine that his friends are in truth his foes. Unlike Tommy, Takuya has a stronger will or resolve and is able to reason his way out of the situation as his friends would not under any normal circumstances turn on him for no reason. As such, Takuya breaks the mental bonds of Bakumon’s attacks and goes on the attack, launching a fire projectile toward Bakumon. Agunimon then takes the little guy’s Fractal Code, which returns him back to the good form of Bakumon.

Bakumon’s transformation likewise releases Tommy from his mental bondage to the evil Bakumon and as such, the gang returns to their travels, for a time, before succumbing once more to fatigue and deciding to call it a night. Their hopes for good dreams are aided by an appreciative Bakumon who now casts his dream magic on the Digidestined to destroy their nightmares and cede toward them a peaceful night’s sleep. Watched over by Bakumon, none of the group find it necessary to keep a night watch. Nonetheless, Koji finds himself unable to sleep and keeps thinking about what truth might be revealed to him once he finds his Beast Spirit. Just then, he is shaken from his stupor by a message from his D-Tector informing him that his B-Spirit awaits him, but that he has some growing up to do before it will become apparent to him.

Like the previous two episodes, Episode 09 is largely about character development. Its purpose is to show us the Digidestined under pressure in a situation that will reveal their characters. But this is also an episode about story development, and specifically about explaining what was going on with Gigasmon a few episodes previously. If anything else it introduced Meat Apples to the story, which was quite possibly one of the weirdest items introduced to the Digital World at this point in the anime’s development. And Bokomon and Neemon’s constant bickering and comedic potential as a straight man-goofy man pair are first made totally apparent here for viewers of the English dub especially. So that’s something.

 

Ciao for now,

The Digidestined Cody

[Continued HERE]

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