by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Digimon Adventure: ?
Destiny is a funny thing. I remarked last week that Digimon Adventure: had yet to commit to the idea of the kids seen so far as ‘Chosen Ones’ in their multi-world-spanning quest, but it comes right out and says it this week, with that exact terminology and everything. It's an interesting choice at this point, in my opinion, since it shoulders a bunch more responsibility on the children now, apart from their goal of getting the power turned back on in the real world. There are some heavy implications here already for the Digimon partners, it seems, brought to tears as they are by the vision of the power they're destined to wield in the stead of their holy creators. But I'm not sure the gravity of this destiny is coming across as registering for the human element of the partnerships. There's a whole overarching feeling of slowly coming to terms and growing into the power of your role permeating this show.
That works twofold as well, on account of the rebooted nature of this whole thing. Taichi, Sora, and Koshiro aren't just fulfilling the world-saving destiny we could have guessed at already from the few episodes aired so far- There are previous iterations of themselves in a show from twenty years ago that inform anyone with that awareness of who they might turn out to be. So with this destiny-revelation, it peels back a lot of the question of how fast and loose this show might be playing with its particular source material. Even as a magic hologram dragon angel thing is trying to speak in grand-sounding vagaries, those of us familiar with that show have a pretty good idea what he's talking about when he refers to ‘Hope and Light’. I'm not levelling with this as a good or bad thing, it's just a component of Digimon Adventure: I find fascinating, especially with regards to how it interfaces with the long shadow cast by its predecessor.
The series taking its time to introduce and develop the characters into those destined heroic roles doubles back to the ambitions that have been present since those earlier episodes. There was some trepidation when the high-level fused form of Taichi and Yamato's monster pals suddenly appeared just two episodes in. It could create a question of whether any technically-weaker evolutions appearing could have the same impact or be justified in use when this super-strong option was already on the table. This episode makes clear the thematic justification for that decision: The combined white digimon is already mythologized in its first appearance, and with Yamato currently MIA we probably won't be seeing it again any time soon. But with that angelic vision of power, Taichi still resolves to attain that level again as part of their assigned quest to combat the forces of darkness, while the other Digimon all feel awe-inspired at seeing their own ultimate powers they may one day attain. These aren't the old characters and this isn't the old Digimon show, not yet, but it absolutely is going to be shooting for those same heights eventually.
That's a lot of time spent ruminating on the thematics of this destiny-assigning deal, because it's an explanation that takes up roughly half the episode. As indicated, it's an extremely nice presentation that keeps pace with the tone it's set, but it does feel like a lot all at once this early in a story that initially seemed to want to keep things mysterious for a little longer. The rest of the episode then is classic Digimon Adventure:, with the biggest selling point that we get some spotlight action on best boy Koshiro and his partner Tentomon. Koshiro has come across as a bit more empathetic and emotional than he was in the old show, a nice choice that extrapolates already on his bond with Tentomon. But he still has some delightfully technical quirks, like his utter unfazement at being swallowed by a Whamon. His empathy is also communicated in him not wanting the creature to get hurt in their battle with the Tylamon, and interest in other aspects of his personality are piqued by the way he's trying to downplay his mutual respect with Tentomon at this point. To that end, I was a little disappointed that this episode opted not to expand on the meeting between bug and boy, meaning Koshiro's partner officially did just bump into him offscreen. But their current dynamic works well enough that I can at least buy that they got along well enough to hang around each other like they've been doing. And the active roles of the human partners continue to be a thing: Tiny computer nerd that he is, Koshiro's not much of a fighter, but it's good to see him jump to analyzing and trying to attain knowledge to use in the battle.
The presentational aspect of this episode keeps pace with what we saw in the previous one. The high-flying fight with Kabuterimon was a highlight for me, making great use of dynamic action in that wide-open space. It's another hallmark of comparison to the original series, in my case, since fights featuring Kabuterimon, especially flying, tended towards more static renditions of the big bug, but here it's more zippy and fluid. Obviously part of that is this ostensibly being the showcase episode for him, so we'll see how things turn out in later episodes. But Greymon and Birdramon put in good showings this week too, even if Greymon is still the only one with one of those fancy stock-animation evolution sequences. And as one last odd note, this episode continues with the on-screen names for Digimon, including those we'd already been introduced to, like they're helping us consistently keep track like some Digital-Monster-based Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
Every episode of Digimon Adventure: so far has felt like the show ‘just getting started’ to some degree, and this one's no different in being the one to dump most of the stakes at our feet. And that aspect is set to continue as future episodes fully introduce characters who would have been part of the core cast from the beginning. That may create more major pacing issues if it keeps that sort of storytelling up for too long, but for now it still feels right, and is absolutely engaging to follow.
Digimon Adventure: is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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