Adventure 02 Re-Plot

Jaybird C

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So the other day I encountered the "How would you fix 02" thread on the Digimon subreddit and thought it would be fun to contribute, though I was technically almost half a year late, and decided to write down a few general thoughts.

Being long-winded, I ended up writing three paragraphs of general thoughts and upon self-reflection, thought two very bad things: "This should really be more in-depth," and, "What happens next?"

The result is a long and wordy synopsis of an alternate run of 02, which I post here for the amusement of others, to read, comment on, or add to. Since I don't seem to have the ability to wrap it into a collapsible section, I have contained it in a quote to section it off and further wrapped it in spoiler tags to make it easier to pass over in the long run.

NOTE: The following is merely a sketch, length notwithstanding, and hasn't had all the impurities (fluff, loose threads, etc.) removed from it; to do so likely require a further rewrite of multiple arcs. I currently have no intention to develop or refine it further, being burnt out and having other, more productive things to work on.

One of the key changes to the Kaiser arc involves spending more time developing Ken, and his relationship with Daisuke: they shouldn't be strangers when everything hits the fan, hence the following character arcs for the two of them:

Daisuke's arc is about his new situation as the appointed leader, in which he barely has any room to do anything, between Takeru and Hikari automatically undermining him by virtue of being everybody's seniors and the older team doing only a fair-to-middlin' job at mentoring them, being more than slightly rusty at hero-work themselves while reminding him, Miyako (who is dazzled by how cool the whole Digiworld thing is), and Iori (who is mostly striving to keep the peace) that they are bottom-rung backup. However, the *expectations* handed down to him with the goggles are still quite high, so a general air of dissatisfaction with Taichi's choice in successor and Daisuke's awareness of it are both growing. Despite his devotion to the job -- no one can say Daisuke doesn't put in the work -- he grows less enthusiastic about all things Digital, team included, and devotes more time to soccer, only to be approached by another player named Ken Ichijouji, who expresses sympathy about laboring under the high expectations of others and how it's never quite good enough sometimes, but who encourages him not to give up, which advice Daisuke takes; through repeated encounters the two become friends.

Ken, on the other hand, has since the emergence of his own genius spent his life as little more than a performing monkey, in his opinion, constantly being required to demonstrate his talents in interviews and shows and generally not even serving but merely entertaining other people, and sees the Digital World as an excellent (if curiously nostalgic) opportunity to take matters into his own hands for once. He conquers the Digital World so quickly that if he didn't know better, he'd chalk it up to some kind of inspiration, but he quickly grows dissatisfied with his victory until strangers come to challenge it. The prospect of making use of his talents for his own pleasure and accomplishment-- which was what drew him to the game in the first place -- is so great that Ken actually appreciates the other players, as annoying as their victories are, and in particular the one named Motomiya Daisuke, who is the only one with any sense of flare. So when whatever the Hell is wrong with Motomiya's guild starts causing his opponent-in-chief to show less interest in the Digital World Ken realizes he ought to intervene to get Motomiya back in the mood.

It's after their latest soccer game that Ken unknowingly gives himself away and Daisuke figures out the identity of the Digimon Kaiser, much to his chagrin. With new incentive, he redoubles his efforts for a chance to get at Ken and figure out what the Hell is going on with someone he considered to be a close friend, only to find Ken cut him off by retreating into the Digital World entirely, and Ken enters into a one-man Lensmen's arms race to finally take charge of the game, while convincing himself that Daisuke's concerns about "enslaving Digimon" are really PsyOps meant to keep him from winning. When Chimaeramon emerges and is finally taken control of by Devimon, Wormmon abandons and betrays Ken in favor of helping Daisuke and V-mon in blatant violation of the established rules of "Partner Digimon", cluing Ken in to the fact that he was mistaken about the nature of the game, and realizing that the only reason he thought it even was a game was because of what he was told, cluing in to the fact that he's been influenced from the outside. He fails to reassert command of the situation and ends up watching helplessly as Magnamon and Wormmon destroy Chimaeramon and Wormmon dies. Daisuke tells Ken to go home.

Once the empire falls, Daisuke and Ken's arc takes a backseat to the other team-members. My thought here would be to focus on Takeru and Hikari now and their relationships with the team; they've spent the first big arc playing mentor and guide but now all the Powers That Be are coming out of the woodwork -- Holy Stones, Holy Beasts, Homeostasis, and maybe even the Dark Area (no Dark Ocean, Dagomon and the Fille-Friendly Fishmen are pointless) -- and they are both of them completely inadequate and just as dependent as the others in the face of all this new information. All illusions about Hikari, who only spent about three weeks in the Digital World during her first trip, and some of that sick and helpless, are completely shattered. Gennai arrives and does his quasi-effective mystery man thing. Much discussion ensues about the Light, the Digimentals, and the fact that every Digimon on the team is an ancient descendant.

A moment to describe Takeru's and Hikari's arcs as they occur to me:

Takeru's mixed loyalties are starting to pile up on him. He's always considered himself one of "The Seven" with the original Adventure crew, but quietly enjoyed the new group for the simple reason that he was an equal (only an equal, as Daisuke would always remind him). But once the empire falls, not only is his status as the team's in-the-know member lost, the others unlocking their Adult-level Digimon make him realize his sole advantage is the fact that Patamon and Tailmon have the Perfect-level MagnaAngemon and Angewomon, which are more powerful but not as versatile as the team's other Digimon. Less secure than he once was among his new peers, he starts nudging Taichi and the others to start participating more frequently for the company and to distance himself from the new kids, which increases the difficulty in original members' lives and inadvertently sows conflict in the group over opposing opinions and direction. Lines are drawn.

Hikari's character arc has nothing to do with darkness. Her issues are about being the digital world's de facto pawn, something to be moved, manipulated, captured, and used by the various powers that be. Her sympathies with Ken are based in the fact that he too is a victim of manipulation and abuse by mysterious powers. Now that the Light is coming into play, she'worried about her place as a Digidestined and on the team, and whether or not it's her or the Light inside her that really matters to the cause. In order to assert her position (to herself as much as anything), Hikari starts being more upfront about herself and suspicious of anything not completely forthright about its intentions (more than slightly due to Miyako's influence). She's especially suspicious of Gennai, 'cause she's aware of his tendency to keep secrets, but things really start to go wrong when the older Chosen start taking a closer hand in things for some reason until she realizes Takeru's been talking to the older Chosen behind her back, which then leads to her pushing back against Taichi's attempt to micromanage her group, and setting off the finale when in the heat of the moment she hears Takeru mention "the Seven", of which she is certainly not a part.

Meanwhile, Archnemon and Mummymon are out and about, weird quasi-Digimon that make it their business to tamper with the fabric of the Digital World through the Holy Stones. They got exactly what they wanted from the Digimon Kaiser -- his custom-built tech -- and produce endless home-grown monstrosities from fused towers; in response and atonement, Ken and Stingmon strive to fix the mess on their own terms, which doesn't particularly jive with the team. Takeru learns the hard way that MagnaAngemon rocks against Demon-Man types but is otherwise stuck relying on his own strength, which isn't always enough. With Archnemon cultivating her mockeries of life for as much advantage as she can muster against the team's various Perfect-level digimon (she's quite the tactician in her own right, and plans for upcoming bouts by having Mummymon spy on which Chosen are entering the Digital World; despite being a sniper, Mummymon doesn't shoot, however, as they're under orders not to kill the Chosen), the younger chosen come together (Iori in particular bonds with Takeru over the way their lives used to be) in the midst of the group's upheaval and start producing new Jogress evolutions: Paildramon, DinoBeemon, Silphymon, and Shakkoumon, imbuing the team with essential versatility at the next level of strength and taking enough advantage that they cop to her creepy lover's spying and adapt. Daisuke brokers a peace with and between the Yagami siblings that results in the original team being put on the reserve until the active team can determine what the situation needs and make the appropriate call for backup, with protocols for advance notice to be on-call for special occasions, and also starts working on getting Takeru and Hikari to reconcile. Archnemon's desperation forces her to start playing with Final-level monsters and, wouldn't you know it, her first attempt turns out too perfectly for its own good.

BlackWarGreymon, who doesn't especially like the idea of being born to be a slave, takes a turn for the disloyal and moves to destroy the holy stones to spite his creator, forcing the Chosen to muster themselves and all their allies to fend him off, aided by Hikari being taught that the blessed Light within her is a catalyst of Digimon growth, giving her authority to endow Digimon around her with health and the power to evolve, wrapping the whole Digital World up in a tactical and strategic arms race between the Chosen and BlackWarGreymon ultimately ending with Taichi and WarGreymon called in for a no-holds-barred all-out bout with their opposite number.

BlackWarGreymon's chance at peace is interrupted by Archnemon's spite (during Black WarGreymon's quest, Mummymon bizarrely starts working independently of Archnemon, to intervene, to remind her what they were working for, and actually brings surreptitious aide to the Chosen, including information dug up about Digital World history about its ancient gods) and the last Holy Stone is ultimately destroyed, leaving the fabric of the Digital World terribly frayed. The Holy Beasts are unsealed [This is inelegant. Needs a better transition.], drop some lore about the Digital World and the First Five, and immediately begin activities to patch and repair the Digital World, which requires Gennai and the original team to work on restoring seven new Holy Stones, with each infused with the lights that once filled each Crest. Takeru requests that he may stay with the active team in case they need him, which is granted and he finds himself welcomed with open arms.

As security, all active gates into the Digital World are shut by the authority of the Holy Beasts and the team briefly left on their own recognizance. Christmas Happens. Mistletoe Happens. Daisuke belatedly remembers that Homework Happens. Daisuke's sister Jun finds out that Jou's brother Shuu Happens. Miscellaneous Life Happens. Iori and Miyako visit the grave of the late Officer Hida, and they teach Hawkmon and Armadimon that Death Happens, too. Their remaining team join them and Hikari and Tailmon consider Wizarmon, whose ghost brought guidance to them in the days of the empire. A creepy man with pasty white skin and oily black hair communicates creepily with a fairer sex ex, and the fairer sex ex informs her son, Takeru, that a stranger started talking to her about her boys and trouble and that means Digimon.

Word comes through from the Digital World that trouble is indeed brewing -- with the digital world in such a frayed state, it's easy to see the darkness below beginning to fulminate. The team responds that trouble's already there, given that dark towers have emerged in the real world. The Holy Ones realize that the Dark Towers are physical channels directly to the darkness below the Digital World, which means someone is trying to bridge the gap and bypass the Digital World completely, much worse than the apparent danger of the darkness breaching into the Digital World. Gennai sends word out around the world to other Digimon to be on the watch for emerging residents of the Dark Area. Daisuke and Taichi disagree on how to deal with the world situation and Daisuke ends up traveling to Tamachi to connect with Ken while Taichi deals with Gennai and discusses the world issue. Daisuke and Ken approach the Dark Tower and are confronted by the Demon Corps.

These three Digimon immediately split and Daisuke and Ken struggle in vain against SkullSatamon, whose is tied up in aerial battle until they hit the beach and SkullSatamon decides to paralyze Paildramon and let it drop from a mile in the air, the paralysis so thorough Paildramon cannot even degenerate. Iori and Takeru encounter MarineDevimon in the bay menacing all boats in the area, while Miyako and Hikari find LadyDevimon in the park taking potshots at civilians.

On Iori's and Miyako's arcs:

Iori is caught up between competing family obligations; with the sudden loss of his father, an emotional rift appeared in his family, which had a striking effect on Iori's moral upbringing. When his father was alive, Iori was taught the duties of a policeman sometimes involve the path of what is known as the life-giving sword, a last resort that by killing evil men one may give life to the thousands they would harm. But with the death of his father, a pall fell across even Hida Chikara, Iori's grandfather, who nearly gave up his practice as swordsman and teacher in the aftermath, only to very recently, before Iori's new year of school, to resume his practice. Iori's mother, who had encouraged her father-in-law to give up teaching the sword, had been dismayed upon learning Chikara's plans to teach Iori the art of the sword and only begrudgingly allowed Iori to begin learning with Chikara's promise to only teach Iori for defensive reasons. Iori accepts this but eventually can't help but ask his grandfather about the life-giving sword only to hear from Chikara that he prays Iori will never have to wield any sword not made of simple wood, for his mother is right, and death is a terrible thing. For the whole year Iori has been keeping these things in his mind and trying to reconcile the push and pull of his mother, his father, and his grandfather. For Iori sees the D-3 very much like a sword.

Due to the accident of being the fourth child of busy, working-class parents, Miyako was raised as much by her siblings as by her parents and unfortunately learned to carry the secret worry of insignificance. In her desire to stand out from her more accomplished and regarded siblings, she began to pursue niche interests, dye her hair, and adopt a frank in-your-face personality. But even the act of standing out didn't drive away her worries, and she realized she still felt insignificant and that there was no point to her existence. With the sudden crisis of the Digital World erupting all around them, Miyako struggles to contribute to the team and takes her failures especially hard, because her lack of self-worth in conjunction with the severity of the Digital World work has quietly convinced her that her work as a Digidestined is the only thing that gives meaning to her life.

Back with the plot, LadyDevimon in the park is causing mass panic and torment when Hikari and Miyako intervene, taking the time to enjoy crushing the humans underfoot. When she's on the brink of killing a civilian, another interferes and saves him only to get taken hostage; her hostage allows LadyDevimon to hold Angewomon at bay, crippling the hostage and Miyako with terror at the prospect of someone dying (Miyako convinces herself it's all her fault), since LadyDevimon is taking advantage of her human shield to take potshots at Angewomon. Garudamon and WereGarurumon are called in for assistance, but LadyDevimon -- who is more nimble than Garudamon and can fly over WereGarurumon -- is able to keep the reinforcements at bay. LadyDevimon gloats over her enemies and her human shield and mocks him for having no worth save the use she has for him and when she's done with him, she'll kill him and his life will end in nothingness. The sight of despair on his face at his meaningless life drives Miyako to remind him that he's not worthless, not as long as he's ever helped someone. The reminder gives Miyako the drive to pull Hikari into a jogress for Silphymon (which requires them to surrender their original advantage with Angewomon), who is agile and mobile enough to outpace LadyDevimon and secure the hostage, helped by Miyako taking a skateboard to LadyDevimon's head.

Iori and Takeru struggle with how to handle MarineDevimon, who has taken the whole of Tokyo Bay hostage. An initial approach with HolyAngemon only managed to demonstrate MarineDevimon's penchant for treachery and brutality, hiding in the deepest parts of the bay where HolyAngemon's attacks can't reach. Since waiting isn't an option (MarineDevimon is actively preying on people), and engaging him in standard combat isn't, either (MarineDevimon has unquestioned homefield advantage in the water), the only way forward Iori and Armadimon can see is to go after him, flush him out, and kill him, which is a prospect no one relishes, especially Iori, who keeps remembering his family's big argument about violence before he began studying kendo. Despite the obvious way forward, Takeru argues with him that any plan that ends in Iori's death is a waste, which offends Iori greatly, as his father lost his life protecting people, so much so that he nearly abandons Takeru on the shore, before remembering his father's sacrifice and that the goal is to win. So Iori, pressed, has an idea in which Takeru can aid him. By entering the water with Submarimon, Iori help lure MarineDevimon out and then calls in Takeru and Angemon's Hand of Fate, which can reach, injuring and distracting MarineDevimon, and allowing Submarimon to go for the kill.

(Note to myself: I'd love to put evolution sequences for Silphymon & Shakkoumon in there, but they never happened in the original show, so I haven't written the fight scenes for them; the MarineDevilmon scene would have to be rewritten).

With Paildramon down, SkullSatamon mocks Ken and Daisuke and expresses dismay over the ease of battle in light of what Ken did during his first trip to Digiworld, and chalks it up to Ryo's clearly inferior replacement. The ensuing realizations cause the devil glee, with Daisuke stunned at learning of his status as a replacement and Ken distraught from the last of his buried memories, the Dark Seed, and what it lead him to do. The sight of Ken faltering snaps Daisuke out of it, and he realizes that even if he's not meant to be on the team (as SkullSatamon's mockery has made clear), the job still needs doing and he's still being counted on. SkullSatamon points out he's already failed and moves to kill Paildramon and the still emotionally catatonic Ken just to rub Daisuke's face in it, only for Daisuke move to take the blow himself, and his willingness to die because the job requires it is what unlocks Imperialdramon, who kills SkullSatamon with a Megadeath before the devil can get up to his old tricks. Takeru, Iori, and Jou are the first to arrive to see the light show and Jou is able to patch Daisuke up as Imperialdramon wastes the Dark Towers at once.

(The treatment of the Daemon Corps. is <strike>obnoxiously long-winded</strike> important because it's basically filling the same purpose as VenomMyotismon did in Adventure, transitioning into the final act of the story and character arcs and bumping the team up to Final-stage Digimon).

With the dark towers in Japan taken care of, the team moves to lend aid to Chosen around the world. With the Digital World destabilized, the Sovereigns weren't able to sustain it and all the Digimon in it, so some were evacuated to Earth, and the appearance of the Dark Towers is not only opening a channel to the Dark Area, it's also causing panic in the Earthside Digimon. With the Holy Stones now partly restored, the Digital World can start receiving Digimon again. Koushirou presses Gennai for information on the Dark Area and the Demon Corps. Gennai makes note that the command to raise the Dark Towers came from Earth and that the Demon Corps' illustrious lader has yet to make his appearance; the Dark Towers were able to filter the deceased Digimon's data and send it back to the Dark Area, where it's being reformed for an inevitable upcoming return). The older team learns that Daisuke knows about Ryo, but whenever they bring it up he insists it doesn't matter and a drop in morale ensues. Ken is trying to cope with the weight of not knowing where the Dark Spore's influence starts and ends. Hikari worries about who's calling the shots and whether they'll be able to put a stop to it. The slaying of MarineDevimon weighs heavily on Iori's mind and he worries what methods the group will have to resort to in the future, given the prospect of facing Digimon who aren't evil. Miyako is starting to feel useless in the face of her teammates' gloom. Takeru tries in vain to cheer the group up but is having no success and quietly wonders if they're going to drift apart despite him.

Together with the younger team, the older team decides to split up into six units of two, and ultimately sorts thusly: Mimi is to work with Daisuke (in the hopes of getting Daisuke to open up), Yamato will work with Ken (knowing what it's like to be manipulated by evil forces), Jou with Cody (to come to terms with what needs to be done without dread), Sora with Miyako (who has herself been in the position of trying to bring aid to everyone without success), Koushirou with Hikari (so as to investigate the causes of the disturbance and try to see who's behind it all), and Taichi with Takeru (on what can be done to bring the group together). In this format, the older team has better success as mentors than they did initially, being closer to the newcomers and more able to help them.

Daisuke, it turns out, really doesn't mind about the Chosen and V-mon keeping Ryo a secret from him but hates them looking down on him and feeling sorry for him because it drags morale down and the job is already tough enough. Despite the instinct to keep it to himself, Ken is able to share his worries and as fearsome as it is having the dark spore inside him, he realizes that identifying it allows him to relax a little and keep an eye out for negative influences. Iori quietly makes peace with the fact that Digimon aren't split up into malevolent dark area entities and pure innocents and accepts the necessity, though he takes joy in being able to resolve things peacefully. Miyako eventually lets go of the idea that the meaning in her life has to depend on other people, as they exist in their own right, too, and defining herself by others' the actions and decisions is unhealthy. Takeru accepts that he's not in as crucial a position to the team as Taichi was to the original and that he's going to have to trust the others to come together on their own terms. Hikari realizes that the lack of direction and coordination regarding the Dark Towers around the world means that there's a lack of interest, which means the interested parties are all in Japan.

With morale and focus restored, the group reunites and returns to Tokyo and finds trouble. Archnemon and Mummymon have returned with their master in tow, and Oikawa has brought all the boys to the yard -- Demon himself arrives, seeking out the human responsible for manipulating the affairs of the Digital World, and the inhabitant of the Dark Area in particular, in order to show his "appreciation". BlackWarGreymon has arrived, sent by the Four Holy Ones, as a last-ditch defense against Demon's riot (mostly by pointing BWG in Demon's direction and saying "He's Strong"). Oikawa takes advantage of the Chosen's new mêlée à trois to abduct Ken by forcing his hand through the hostages he and his Digimon had been collecting while the Chosen were away, and reveals the Dark Towers arriving in the real world was meant to distract the Dark Area residents and lure them away from the digital world while the Chosen were still helping to restore it, as he needs it safe and intact. Ken learns of Oikawa's plan (to generate enough dark energy to force open a gate by duplicating Ken's dark spore, which he quickly does), but recognizes the signs of dark inspiration -- Oikawa has inexplicable knowledge of the digital world; materials he can't account for; a peculiar hatred for Taichi, Yamato, Takeru, Hikari, and their Digimon; and a certain symbol in his collection identical to the one featured on the Kaiser regalia -- and asks Oikawa who he works for.

Ken's question infuriates Oikawa, whose lack of answer and self-awareness confirms Ken's suspicions of yet another party, while Oikawa, in a Kaiser-ish attempt at one-upsmanship through violence, taunts Ken over his lack of resource and power. Ken answers back that he'll take what life throws at him, which incidentally happens to be the chosen's chaotic free-for-all, which Hikari and Daisuke deliberately lead after the truck to keep things from getting out of hand. Demon proves easy to maneuver, having an interest in punishing Oikawa, while BlackWarGreymon is all in for the fight. Reuniting with Ken, Daisuke co-unlocks Imperialdramon Fighter Mode to get a handle on the combat, and Demon is proving too powerful to defeat by conventional means; sending him to the Digiworld isn't an option, since Hikari points out the Four Holy Ones sent BWGmon to prevent that and nobody particularly wants Demon there anyway. BlackWarGreymon, infuriated at the realization he'd been manipulated into this fight, ultimately finds peace by finally asserting his own will -- to Hikari's grief -- and turns himself (being made of Dark Towers) into a Dark Gate for a few seconds, through which Demon is banished via blaster-fire to the face.

Unfortunately, Oikawa escaped in the last burst of chaos and the Dark Spores have bloomed quickly, and he is on the brink of opening the gate when he encounters Iori's grandfather Chikara, who talks him down as the chosen arrive, which in turn forces his influencer to appear, force the matter, and escape into the world of dreams. In here, the foundation of the whole digital world, Myotismon becomes the nightmare in the world of dreams, which gives him influence over the whole of the digital world, and immediately starts ruining it, newly finished Holy Stones be damned. The younger team are trapped in their illusions, save for Daisuke, who calls the old team in for one last round of backup while he tries to figure out how to get his team back. Iori, Miyako, Hikari, Takeru, and Ken work themselves out of their illusions, which allows Daisuke to come collect them. The team suss out that BelialVamdemon has tied himself in to the world of dreams through the dark spore children, and the younger team bring them together, affirm them, steady them, rally them, and offer them -- as they were lured into this by the promise of Digimon -- the chance to really evolve Digimon this one time. Together, they focus the whole group's willpower through the D-3s and co-producing every evolved form their Digimon have ever taken while simultaneously leaving BelialVamdemon with feet of clay and finally annihilating him.

Oikawa, injured from physical trauma, gives his life as in the original version and becomes butterflies that begin to heal BelialMyotismon's inflicted ruin. Loose ends are tied up, peace returns, and the gates stay open.

End draft.
I have not posted anything to the subreddit out of common decency.
 
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