Since episode 1 of the new 2020 Digimon Adventure remake reboot series its quality has never been in question. Its animation impressed in the pilot. Its script-flipping reveal of that character in the second episode shocked and awed. Its continual dedication to both paying respect to and innovating on characters we’ve loved for 20 years are all marks of a great series.
But Episode 8 of the new series took things to a new level, with riveting action and genuinely sweet character turns, proving without a doubt that Digimon Adventure 2020 is going to be something special.
ATTACK ON DIGI
The episode sees the kids reaching their destination across the ocean thanks to the sea support granted by Joe and Ikakumon. Mimi is lovingly braiding Ikakumon’s fur — an adorable touch — when the team is blasted out of the water by forces holding down a fort right outside the team’s destination.
The Chosen Children make it to the shore and are saved by the inimitable Matt, wearing a cool-as-heck hood and cape. As if Matt couldn’t be any more cool, the show decided to turn his bad boy levels up to 11 with a cape.
The team retreats thanks to an opening Matt and Gabumon provide them, and take shelter in a cave, where Tai re-meets Matt and Gabumon. Re-meeting Gabumon in particular made for an interesting dynamic since Tai has technically met Gabumon before, just in a more advanced state as Garurumon. It’s like when you meet someone in a work setting versus off hours at a bar. Gabumon is much sweeter in this state and even has a cute reunion with Agumon, too.
MATT VS EVERYBODY
Matt sizes the team up and concludes they’re more or less dead weight, and rides Garurumon into battle in a way that made me nostalgic for Davis and Willis riding Raidramon in the Hurricane Touchdown section of the Digimon Movie — “we’re on a missiooon!”
In what can only be described as the worst decision of Joe’s young life, the sweet summer child decides that surrender is the approach to take. Joe is swiftly blasted by tank type Digimon – really no surprise there, but we at least we get a good bit about “Mimi’s” towel that Joe ruined, which is actually Sora’s towel. On top of that, the plan’s failure forces Tai and Sora into action.
TAI, MATT, AND SORA: LOVE TRIANGLE ORIGINS?
Tai and Sora try to keep up with Matt and Garurumon, and Sora comments on how amazing the new kid is. It’s here I thought “is this the show planting seeds of the famous love triangle of the original series?” Sora and Birdramon cause a distraction that lets Matt advance, but before they split up, Sora gets a cool “name’s Sora, don’t you forget it” style self introduction to Matt. She hasn’t acted this cool in her introductions thus far to Izzy, Mimi, Joe, or even Tai…could Sora think of Matt in a different light than the others? Trying to impress him? HMM…
Tai and Matt infiltrate the fortress and Greymon gives Matt and Garurumon an opening. Mid-attack, Yamato looks around to see the once cowardly Joe shooting him a thumbs up, and suddenly reflects on the fact that these total strangers are helping him. On one hand it felt like this character reached an emotional breakthrough a little too fast (he’s flashing back to events from five minutes ago!). On the other hand it also works at this pace, because it teaches Matt that people can just be fundamentally kind to each other regardless of what they do or don’t know about one another I like this a lot, actually.
Matt and Garurumon power up, that seriously stellar main action theme kicks in, and for half a second I thought we were about to get Weregarurumon as Matt’s Digimon started to light up blue. Instead we see him and the other Chosen Children finish off the battle with impressive combat animation, and the episode ends with both parties, Matt and the other Chosen Children, acknowledging that they’d be toast without the other. Matt is not running in for a group hug but he is quietly acknowledging the perks of teamwork, and it’s the exact state for where his character should be at this time.
The already thrilling episode ends with an equally exciting cliffhanger as the children find a basement in the middle of the occupied fortress town that seems to contain writing that use the language of the Holy Digimon.
More Episode Observations
- Here’s an interesting new dynamic: Joe displays a bit of jealousy over Izzy’s smarts. “As the oldest here I must be the one to lead everyone.” I’m a sucker for characters who THINK they should be the leader — it’s why I loved Davis so much and his dislike for TK in 02 — and I wonder if we’ll see more of a feud between Joe and Izzy in the future.
- At this point it is like a running gag to not give Birdramon an evolution scene. Birdramon evolves twice in this episode and nothing either time! The first time it’s off screen and the second time, Piyomon is dead centre of the screen and we just flash cut to Birdramon. Brutal. I’m not even a big Birdramon fan I just believe in equal rights for partner Digimon.
From start to finish this episode never lets up. Other episodes have impressed and rarely dragged but this episode solidified the show’s commitment to action, stellar animation, and most importantly, character building. It was oddly touching to see Joe and Mimi shoot thumbs-ups Matt’s way despite their sheer horror; to see Sora confidently introduce herself to the new kid; to see Tai accept that he doesn’t need to be the leader in every scenario, letting Matt take the lead; and at the end of it all, seeing Matt thank them all.
Digimon Adventure: 2020 is doing something special, and every Digi fan should be watching.
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