Episodic Review: Digimon Adventure 21

Happy Digimon Day!

It’s been a full 13 years since Taichi and the gang saw snow during summer camp and were eventually sucked into the digi-world… and what better way to celebrate than with a throwback episodic review?

Before Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and the best One Piece movie ever, Mamoru Hosoda took part in one of the most influential, creative, and surprisingly thought-provoking children’s anime—Digimon Adventure, directing the two short films relating to the series as well as this here episode. And considering his following works, it shows.

Random sky shots with something flying leaving a cloud trail…

detailed crowds…

as well as other panning shots of detailed background scenery? Yep, that’s Mr. Hosoda for you. Considering last episode was the defeat of a mini-boss (Etemon and his singing shtick just didn’t cut it for me), it’s nice to see a nice, slow transition into the real world. Though while panning shots are plentiful, you’re never given any sense of dragging since it feels like the appropriate pace you’d expect the episode to be going in considering Taichi and Koromon having been sucked back into the real world.

So Taichi checks the map and realizes he’s a couple blocks away from his house. I’m assuming this means the real and digital world have a Chalk Zone style relationship where moving a certain amount in one world is the same amount in the other? Kinda makes you think what would have happened had the portal been opened in a different location in the digi-world? Taichi and Koromon adventures as Japanese tourists in America? I’d say I want it, but considering the Digimon 02 movies, I’m gonna say no. Seriously, screw Wallace and Terriermon… but more so Wallace.

You kinda get a sense of exactly how close Taichi and Koromon are as talking buddies this episode. Notice how even though Koromon’s the only living proof that he even went to the digital world in the first place, Taichi’s still keeping his creepy Twilight Zone-ey monologues to himself. I mean, had he at least allowed Koromon na bit into his thoughts, he’d probably at least be enough help to tell Taichi that his apartment says his family name on the door when he’s freaking out about whether it’s still his family’s apartment or not.

… but no, he just gives Koromon a nice can of product placement while he continues to ramble off all his creepy pasta theories, which similar to creepy pastas are all interesting upon first glance but ultimately wrong. Seriously, collapsed in the park? Daydreaming? Dreams within dreams? No wonder the script was toned down for the American dub.

To this day, I still think Hikari is creepy as all hell this episode. I get that she’s sick and Japanese practices make it okay to leave her alone in the house for extended periods of time, but she just gives off this air of… eeeeeeh. The weird closeup to her whistle doesn’t help ease the mood at all, either. Though it is a nice nod to the prequel movie if you watched it.

This scene was just further proof for me when I was younger that Hikari was actually some kind of evil digimon in disguise. I mean, why else would she offer her own food even though she didn’t eat yet?

… but no. Instead, we’re treated to one of the handful of comedic cool down scenes this episode, which also happens to have one of the more touching lines of dialogue in it. Random: I remember finding an English dub from the Philippines a while back that was a bit more accurate to the original script. Give a message or comment if you have a link to it. I kinda wanna watch it again since I remember that version’s dub of Hikari sounded like a more convincing little kid which really helped the scenes she was in a lot, this one especially.

Still, even with this nice little scene, I remember not being convinced Hikari (or that world) was the real deal until the rest of the cast came back to the real world during the Myotismon stuff.

The episode so far’s had minimum background music, creepy internal monologues, and creepy imoutos. 10 year old me then having this all followed up by creepy ghost digimon going between the worlds was just icing on the freakout cake.

… which is somewhat undone by this random real pic of a monkey on screen. I’m not the only one seeing it, right?

And if random cuts to monkeys weren’t enough, here’s a creepy reminder that the rest of the cast still exists… or at least Kouhiro/Izzy. If anyone wants to prank me, I suggest turning the cap if Izzy into a fully animated screensaver and set my laptop to go to it after a minute of inactivity. I’ll probably kick you or something, but it’ll be worth it.

Aaaaaand more creepy Taichi monologues, though at least he bothered to speak to Koromon a bit this time around. Oh wait:

 “Mom might get angry sometimes, but whatever happens, I’ll protect you. Even Dad…”

Considering the dialogue and his dad’s drunken actions in the short film, I’m getting some child abuse undertones here. Kinda tempted to watch through the rest of the series to see how this plays out. I vaguely remember a handful of Taichi flashbacks, all of which ended in someone crying or hitting someone off screen.

There are some real undertones of Taichi not having the best of relationships with his parents this episode. Maybe he was just shocked to hear his mom’s voice on the phone after so long, but it just seemed weird. Actually, it just seemed really creepy, like everything else in this episode, which is probably why I remember this episode frontwards and backwards after so many re-watches in both languages.

I will say this just came off as more weird than creepy. So assuming that Taichi’s explanation is right and him and Koromon’s jump to the real world caused some instability between the worlds, allowing for random digimon to also make the jump at random… how do the details of this work? At first I thought the digimon weren’t even aware of the jump and their acts in the digi-world were being transferred to the real world in a kind of after effect sort of way, but then we have Ogremon who, while having different colors this episode, seems fully aware he’s in a different world, even going so far as abiding traffic laws before attacking. It just all becomes so odd.

… but the animation’s really nice, so who am I to complain about a small part of one scene? Additional besides…

Whether thinking she was real or some kind of baddie in disguise, this scene still got me.

If Digimon Adventure did one thing right, it would be well fleshed out family drama. You got most of this through Yamato/Matt and Takeru/TK, but once Hikari joined the crew, she proved to be a force to be reckoned with. Even watching the dub, I still remember the episode where Taichi talks about how he always had to look after his younger sister, and how he screams “That’s what I’m supposed to do!”

Friggin’ touching.

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About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic (tapastic.com/series/scramblebouquet) to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (https://tapastic.com/episode/293804).

2 Responses to Episodic Review: Digimon Adventure 21

  1. Philipp K. says:

    You are totally right!
    This entire episode seems to be something like a weird dream, highlighted through the summer heat and cricket noises in the background, it’s like the air is vibrating. Also, the Bolero by Ravel, which is often used in dreamy and abstract scenes during the first and second season, is played in the background.
    But, the thing that got me was Hikari bagging Taichi to take her to the digiworld (at least, that’s what she’s saying in the german dub), and that’s probably the first thing that would come into my mind if i would be in her position. But the fact that she got left behind, all alone, was way too hard for my 11 year old self. And after re-waching this episode, it still gives me the chills.

  2. Daniel says:

    Yeah, I think this episode is a masterpiece of animation, I can’t help but imagine how the series would have been if all the episodes were made like this one, managing so well the paces, times, color, sound, and the takes. You inmediately feel that there is a director directing (duh) behind, trying to tell so many things without telling them really.

    We know the series was made to sell products, the concept came from Bandai after all (correct me if I’m wrong) But I always think about how it had so many elements that weren’t strictly necessary to tell just an “adventure” to impress childs and make them want to have some toys or videogames. With this I mean all the undertones and almost implicit family and social issues you already mentioned… Could there be a Digimon Adventure without all the repetitive “attack/ability scenes” and “evolution scenes”? maybe!

    Maybe as we grow up we tend to over-signify what we saw once as children… after all, it’s all inside us, but it was the director’s decisions that moved that “something” inside us.

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