Episode 7 of Digimon Adventure: 2020 was one of my favorite episodes of the new series, nailing the introduction of one of Digimon’s most real characters in this Joe Kido centred episodes.
With Mimi and Palmon recently recruited, the kids work their way towards the sea and happily realize they’re closer than they thought: Tai, Sora, Agumon and Birdramon volunteer to scope out the ocean from the air, only to get rocked by a cannon-shooting sea based Digimon, Gesomon. Just when thinks are looking dicey they’re saved by Gomamon, who is once again voiced perfectly by Junko Takeuchi, who’s played Gomamon since 1999 and — fun fact — also voices Naruto.
Once back on land, Gomamon explains that he knows all about chosen children and their mission, because he has a partner of his own. In this scene with things calming down, we’re treated to an amazing steel drum variation on the show’s adventure theme that I loved hearing. It really complimented the scenery with its beach vibes. Moving passed that there’s no easy way to be the replacement for internationally beloved songs like “Butterfly” and “Braveheart” , if you can accept the new show’s music for what it is, I think it’s actually proving itself to be pretty fantastic.
Back on plot, we find out Joe knows about his responsibility relating to the Holy Digimon, but resents the burden as he’s already devoted his summer to studying to middle school entrance exams. Anyone familiar with the character knows that Joe and studying go hand in hand, but I thought the show knocked it out of the park showing the turmoil this young kid is and just how destructive societal and familiar pressure to be the best can be. I mean we actually see Joe punching a log and slamming his head against the wall. It was kind of heartbreaking and really…real.
Still, the kids have a mission to accomplish and if Joe won’t help then they decide to improvise without him. I love the shot of the kids here, it remind me of some of the classic key art for the 1999 version of Digimon Adventure. Gomamon is wiling to join, offering some rookie level sea support. Gomamon is quickly overwhelmed and washes up on shore where he’s saved by Joe, who’s been watching from the sidelines.
Gomamon finds the exact words Joe needs to hear: what you need to get done in this world, you don’t have to do alone. It couldn’t be more true — heck, Joe was only able to do the studying he crammed in before the other kids’ arrival because Gomamon was on security and supply gathering duty for him. Joe decides it’s his turn to help Gomamon and triggers his evolution into Ikakumon.
We see a great Ikakumon transformation, a new short Togemon evolution, and here is where I should note that again Birdramon gets nothing! Poor Birdramon. Maybe one day.
The ensuing fight scene once again impressed the heck out of me for not being a simple “power up and then instantly win” match. Ikakumon is not able to wreck Gesomon in one shot, or anything like that. It’s just that Ikakumon’s presence gies the team some well needed ocean support, but the goal is mainly to have Ikakumon drag Gesomon onto the land, where Togemon and Greymon are in their element and can take it from there.
Just the fact that the Digimon are fighting as a unit, playing to their elemental strengths and weaknesses, is really cool to me, and something we don’t get to see that often.
They win — no surprise there — and Joe agrees to join the mission, mainly because the sooner they care care of this whole Tokyo power outage the sooner he can get back to studying. It’s bittersweet, but Joe has a sense of humour and autonomy here that highlights this journey he went on in this 20 minute episode.
Joe is such a compelling character and so much more than “the nerd in the group” or “the scaredy cat” and I’m thrilled that the new show not only recognizes that but spends the time on it. This is a 8/10 episode for me. It would be higher if it had larger movement towards the larger plot, but as a “forming the band” episode before advancing the Holy Digimon plot, I thought it was as good as it could have possibly been.