by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Digimon Adventure: ?
I had my concerns, mostly pacing-wise, about Digimon Adventure: throwing all that destiny talk at us at once in last week's episode. So it's kind of a relief that this week's episode sees the kids put that element on the back-burner to focus on the more immediate, tangible issue of the blackouts they're trying to solve. The core plot is still moving forward for us, though, manifesting here in a few more key worldbuilding reveals, and more importantly, the addition of new characters. Yes, the 2020 version of Mimi Tachikawa and her pal Palmon finally make their debut this week, and show that Digimon still has no shortage of new tricks.
This rebooted Digimon has a nicely distinct plot mechanic baked into its setup so far: The kids weren't all transported to the Digital World together at once, so they aren't aware of how many of them there are in total. This makes meeting any new humans an event in itself, and even if we in the audience know the names and faces of the characters being introduced, there's an air of mystery around how exactly they're going to be portrayed. Mimi in this case is particularly interesting since it seems that none of the kids so far have met her before now. This means she's immediately introduced as a wild card compared to Taichi, Koshiro, and Sora, who at least had some base familiarity with each other before getting thrown in on this adventure. Just on a structural storytelling level this does a great job of getting us excited for Mimi's introduction, really making her feel like a brand new addition to the story.
It also helps that Mimi's just cool as hell here. Taichi and Sora have taken on evil dinosaurs and monstrous bugs, but fall immediately into a trap set up by this girl. There's a decent arc through the episode of us getting a handle on just what Mimi's about, but as with the other kids she's portrayed from the start as a genuinely nice, empathetic person. The idea of a character getting set up as the ruler of a particular group could more typically be grounds for them learning a lesson about humility or not taking advantage of others (and was in fact a storyline Mimi found herself in during the old Digimon) but there's a nicer, more novel spin on this take. Mimi is portrayed as someone who, despite being transported to a bizarre world with no idea of what was going on, still couldn't bear to let this little village of Tanemon fend for themselves against attackers.
That's tied up with what we eventually learn about Mimi's background, being the heiress to the huge Tachikawa company we've already glimpsed the logo of a few times throughout this series. It's shown that her grandfather running the company is himself an enthusiastic philanthropist, which carries through to make Mimi's aiding of the Tanemon come across as the idea of noblesse oblige. It syncs up with an optimistic theme in this show so far of people all helping out in times of crisis. The kids are tromping through the Digital World to restore power, of course, but there are also all sorts of people back in the real world doing their part in the meantime. This forms the crux of Mimi's development as we get to know her this episode, as she figures out the best thing she specifically can do to help here, from protecting the Tanemon village to leaving with Taichi and Sora to solve the more big-picture problems of the Digital World and that destiny they've found themselves tangled up in.
That question of what she can do brings up Mimi's actual role in the action so far, as she seems to function as something of a tactician at this point. The Tanemon, with Palmon, had all the abilities at their disposal to trap intruders on their orchard, but Mimi's the one who came up with the plan that actually caught Taichi and Sora. She's also the one directing them in the battle later in the episode. I'm not sure how much good business sense actually translates to battle tactics (Mimi could grow up to be one of those pretentious executives who reads The Art of War) but regardless it's cool to see and an extremely novel take on the character. I'm curious to see how this role will be used within the group moving forward. That more indirect contribution to battle does mean she's not as active as some of the other kids we've seen when things really heat up, and in Palmon's pivotal evolution and battle scene Mimi is reduced to that old cheerleader role more than anyone we've seen so far.
Another issue is that Palmon herself hasn't been defined too strongly, apart from her love and devotion for Mimi as her partner. Thinking about it, this is an issue with many of the partner Digimon, with the possible exception of Tentomon, and leaves me hoping we'll get more insight into the creatures as characters as the show goes on. At least Togemon's still great fun to watch, not that a giant boxing cactus is hard to make entertaining. Both her and Greymon get some great cuts of animation in an episode that otherwise looks a bit stiff in places.
This episode also brings in some more technical worldbuilding to affect the story moving forward. The time dilation effect for the kids in the Digital World is the big one, and I appreciate that they insist they aren't going to use it as an excuse to take too long in their power-restoring quest. And spinning it as ‘lag’ is a fun interpretation in our modern technological times. I do find myself wondering when Koshiro is going to group up with the rest of the gang, or what else he might have to do in the Network area. That speaks to the driving mysteries of Digimon Adventure:, I suppose, that enthusiastic sense to push forward with this story. The show is juggling a lot of characters and plot elements, but it keeps getting its portrayal of those things right in the moment, so I stay freshly interested in it.
Digimon Adventure: is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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