Digimon Adventure 2020 Episode 5, Holy Digimon, offers fans a whole new history of the Digital World for this show and sets up what looks to be the show’s central plot moving forward. Mega level teases, strategic Digimon battles and a new Digivolution that is equal parts awesome and hilarious make for an essential episode.
Picking up immediately after the events of Birdramon Soars, Tai, Sora, Agumon and Piyomon reach this rainbow mountain and trigger communication with the statues of ancient Digimon after Tai reads and touches mysterious glyphs.
The kids learn about the history of this show’s Digital World and simultaneously, long time Digimon fans learn once and for all that the story of this world is in fact different than Adventure 01. Long ago the forces of evil and good collided. Six familiar mega level Digimon fought for the side of good and won the battle, before being reverted to eggs and more or less scattered across the Digital World like Dragon Balls.
It seems like the Agumon, Piyomon, and Tentomon that we’ve met this far are in fact the same Digimon who foughts as megas all those years ago, seeing as Agumon had an involuntary emotional response to hearing this story. Now, dark forces are back and it’ll take the power of human kids to help those old warrior Digimon get their strength back.
Overall, I’m pretty into this setup. It’s a little black and white for my liking — good and evil Digimon fought and now they’re fighting again — but we do have to remember that we’re adult fans of a new kids’ show. The plot isn’t made to wow us and it’s going to skew simpler.
I would love it if they went nuts and later revealed that this great war with mega level digimon was somehow a reference to the events of Adventure 01. Maybe there was a reboot of the Digital World or even somehow a reboot of the human world and that’s how we can explain how the events of 01 really happened in this universe even though this Tai is ostensibly a different Tai from the first show, living in a different time period. But this would all be super meta and difficult to pull off, and again I just don’t think a kid’s show is going to go for something like that. But I would love to see it. I digress. I’m spinning out into theory video territory here — I can definitely do a “my theories” or “how I’d write Digimon Adventure 2020” video if that’s something you viewers are interested in, but for now let’s focus on the content in front of us.
So after this exposition, the kids are ambushed by a small army of Digimon seemingly controlled by Songbirdmon — which, is probably a completely normal sounding name for Japanese viewers but comes across a little silly in English. Here is where something amazing happens though, in my opinion: the ensuing battle is not just a simple fight where whoever Digivolves first wins. There is strategy involved in this battle related to physical location as the Digimon intentionally pin down the kids, who can’t make a concentrated attack because they’re caved in and surrounded by all sides.
I did not expect something like this from Digimon. It felt like a tactics game, like Fire Emblem (or Digimon Survive maybe?) where your spot on the map is more important than your attack power alone. Team A (Sora, Tai, Piyomon and Agumon) conclude that they need Birdramon to pierce through the barrier so that Greymon can land a decisive blow from a better vantage point. It’s really smart and it was genuinely satisfying to see the chosen children contributing to the battle with their heads instead of just letting their monster friends do the fighting.
Elsewhere, Team B (Izzy and Tentomon) have an ambush of their own to deal with. Tactics takes a bit of a back seat here in favour of playing up an emotional connection between Izzy and Tentomon. I have to say, I don’t necessarily remember this from Adventure 01 but in recent years I’ve been loving the unique bond these two have, as seen in Tri and now here. There is a sweetness to Tentomon not observed in the other Digimon; Tentomon and Izzy both seem like outsiders of the group and Tentomon seems protective of Izzy in a way that is really endearing.
That protective nature manifests itself in a Digivolution, one that is absolutely hilarious to me: we get to see Tentomon midway through evolving to Kabuterimon, which is basically this swollen jacked bug man. It’s gross and I love it. It reminds me of the Ultra Beasts from Pokemon Sun and Moon. Kabuterimon kicks all kinds of butt, the kids confirm their commitment to the newly discovered mission, and once again the episode end shortly thereafter.
But not before two great teases! We get to see a series favorite villain, Devimon, as well as the iconic pink cowboy hat and the girl it belongs to, Mimi. Looks like next episode will see Mimi joining the party (which, side note, I’m now realizing sounds like we’re watching a fantasy RPG, and I’m okay with that).
Overall this episode succeeded in telling us a bit more about this world while building a path for our lead characters to walk down for the foreseeable future. It’s interesting to note that T.K. and Kari’s angel Digimon were NOT present in the flashback to the ancient Digimon battle that showed mega levels of the other kids’ Digimon. This makes me think there will be some exciting twists having to do with their roles in the story. I’m looking forward to seeing how the show deals with two holy Digimon joining the ranks of the 6 hero Digimon of the past.