This has to be my all time favorite Episode of Adventure:⏣ so far.
Previous episodes usually had a few good looking shots of fighting but this episode delivered that sort of action for three quarters of the episode and it's glorious, the kind of battles I expected to see ever since laying eyes on the amazing action shots in the opening.
There is so much goodness here that it's hard to decide where to start.
Let's begin with how impressed I am about the show's continued clever uses of Digimon anatomy in their fights, it was great to see Greymon going for the Kuwagamons' pincers when engaging them in combat. I remember how frustrating it was to watch the Kuwagamon fight in tri where somehow he completely ignored the giant mandibles that could easily crush into his back while he blindly body slams an opponent who he'd have a close quarters disadvantage against because then it's four arms against two. That was bullshit, "approaching the opponent with an easily interceptable flying kick" level of lack of common sense, and the fact that Adventure:⏣ at least occasionally rises above those sorts of failures is enough to make it worthwhile to me.
Greymon's approach is taking advantage of the fact that the size of Kuwagamon's mandibles can actually be a handicap, If Greymon extends his arms while holding them he can control the Kuwagamon's movement while also being out of the range of his four arms, effectively neutralizing the disadvantage he'd have against him in most other close quarters scenarios.
In the Kuwagamon/Kabuterimon fight we also see that the Kuwagamon moves his pincers together when he fires his laser, which could mean that he couldn't just blast Greymon away with his projectile as long as his pincers are held apart.
Similarly inventive was Togemon making use of Greymon's size to hide from sight and launch a surprise counter, which was one of the best points of the episode. That particular part was a bit questionable though because Greymon was held in place by a second Kuwagamon crushing down on his leg but that Kuwagamon is mysteriously gone in the shot when Togemon comes out from behind his back, only to reappear in the next one again.
If it was just a visual slip-up that could be excused, but the second Kuwagamon's presence should have practical consequences as well. After all the show goes out of its way to point out that those Kuwagamon are coordinating their attacks; In that case, wouldn't have the Kuwagamon on the ground be able to warn his approaching "friend" that Togemon was sneaking up? Was he just too busy chomping? Or is the coordination less direct and more just fixed patterns that they trained to execute?
The teamwork continues somewhat later when Togemon is struggling with another Kuwagamon (using the same mandible lock approach as Greymon but being caught in an awkward unbalanced spot after being smashed into the ground upside down) and Greymon forces it to retreat with a blast.
Togemon also gets another interesting attack in, using her Chikuchiku Bang Bang up close to basically grind down a Kuwagamon with her thorns (and punches I guess). This was great because a very common headscratcher in Digimon fights is how many Digimon just straight up never use any attack with range in close quarters even though there are plenty of ranged attacks that would totally work just as well if not better if the opponent is closer. There's a point in avoiding big explosive fireball attacks at point blank, but apart from that it's just a waste of potential that I enjoyed to see finally subverted.
Something that tends to really piss me off about animated portrayals of Bug Digimon is how they fail to use their four arms efficiently, basically acting as if they only had two. Not in this episode
From little things like Kabuterimon striking different poses with each pair of arms, using double elbow strikes, actually shooting two mega blasters at the same time, and then the way he escapes from Ookuwamon's grip while using two of his arms to hold him back was amazing to see (even if the damaged cliff was a tad convenient).
And they kept going with it with AtlurKabuterimon as well! His smackdown against Ookuwamon really showed off the kind of relentless combinations enabled by the additional arms; A strong punch from the upper left followed by a fast jab of the lower left, then a punch from the lower right, and while that gets blocked (possibly a purposeful feint) there's already a double axe handle slamming down with both upper arms!
What's amazing about this that this is not a move that would make sense for any normal human to use, it's slow, telegraphs the intended target like nothing else and leaves you wide open. But that's the human perspective. If you have two more arms you can use to keep the opponent busy... why the hell not? And then he finishes the combo off with his third
set of limbs, a kick with both legs, again something mostly impractical for humans, but works if you can freely propel yourself through the air.
Also when Ookuwamon's head jerked back after being hit with the Horn Bust I thought for a second that we might get another insect decapitation like last episode.
And not only do the protagonists I think we actually see the Kuwagamon fighting effectively and changing up their tactics in response to the protagonist's moves. Note how after Greymon keeps grabbing them, and even manages to keep them at bay using Mega Flame after getting overpowered, the Kuwagamon stop attempting to fight him head on, and instead opt for hit-and-run tactics and disabling Greymon's movement. After one of them is evenly matched with Kabuterimon they also immediately change their tactics to ganging up on him, blasting him from all directions until he is too disoriented to stop them from approaching.
When Greymon still proves formidable, easily smashing one Kuwagamon away from his leg with his once he's in the right position and his Mega Flame still being a threat, they make very sure to deny him all of those options the next time they attack; We see one of them keeping his tail in place while another one pinches his mouth shut to prevent him from using Mega Flame and not only that he also has him grabbed at an upward angle that makes it impossible for Greymon to grab his mandibles again. Even as they continue their attack they opt for attacking him from his back, and make sure to keep his arm in place. This sort of fearsome adaptability really drives home the point that had the fight gone on without AtlurKabuterimon and Koushiro's insight the protagonists' Digimon would have been taken apart with brutal efficiency.
It was just an amazing action performance on all sides. The mirror stones coming back as a plot device was fairly predictable but it wasn't distracting and several times preferable over the kind of scenario we saw last episode, among other times, where nothing is foreshadowed in advance and the plot is resolved with a cheap nonsensical "plan" that comes out of absolutely nowhere.
There's still the ever present annoyance of the chosen riding on Digimon when they really shouldn't.
But even here I was almost about to give the episode a thumbs up, because I thought spotted the first instance of the rider actually giving his Digimon an Advantage: Right after Koushiro arrived on AtlurKabuterimon, it seems the Kuwagamon were so set on Attacking only him
that they made it very easy for AtlurKabuterimon to predict their movement and intercept them with his horn.
But in the end I'll have to retract that praise, as later on we get one of the most idiotic
instances of the trope: Koushiro still holding on while AtlurKabuterimon spins like power drill during Horn Buster. Just....why? He should have been launched in a random direction, puked his guts out or both.
At this point I guess I can spare a few sentences on Koushiro, even though that part seems pretty insignificant compared to the episode's general mayhem:
His development was nice. Was it amazing? Not really, but it featured what the previous episodes didn't: A character who is actually challenged to face a weakness act differently than they did before. For most others the lesson was mostly "carry on like usual but more
", this time they actually make a point, even one that is hilariously antithetical to the original's perspective of it being completely totally fine that Koushiro was all about computers all the time. here, he is made aware that he misses things if he never looks past the tablet display. Powerful stuff right there, pretty sure several classical myths tell the same tale.
I also enjoyed his almost Masaru-esque plan for the fight against Ookuwamon. Under the right circumstances you can just punch away and everything will be fine.
And there also were a few scenes of the other group, mostly consisting of a single elaborate joke about Joe... again. At this point it's probably some sort of mutated offshoot of humor centered exclusively on Joe to the point that it's no longer a Joke, it's more like a... Joek.
There'll be plenty of those next week I'm sure.
Can't enjoy it because it requires me to ignore that all 3 digimon can fly so they didn't really need to go through the maze
As I remember it, they didn't go into that maze because they needed
to, but because for a while it seemed that Koushiro's laptop would have better reception inside
the maze and they wanted to find a spot where they could receive transmissions about the state of the human world without the signal breaking up. If that had worked they probably would have just flown out again but by the time it was clear that the interference wouldn't be fixed there, they were already cornered down there by the Kuwagamon.
If I had more faith in the writing and the possibility of decent foreshadowing I would argue that the Soundbirdmon could have been jamming the laptop systematically and then deliberately weakening the jamming at certain points in order to lure and trap them there... but that's beyond my actual expectations.
Greymon and Togemon could have evolved at any point and solved everything.
They made it clear at the start of the episode that Greymon attempted to evolve but couldn't. Taichi's Digivice was glowing but that stopped when he saw Greymon get smashed down again.
They were getting battered so badly that Taichi simply couldn't muster up enough courage.
I think what made it different from Greymon the MetalTyranomon battle is that Taichi at least had some plan to hold onto but they hadn't figured out how to deal with the Kuwagamon at all at that point. The moment the tables turned thanks to the mirror rocks he got enough confidence to pull it off, it was all about his motivation.
It's not the most convincing reason but they at least provided one.
I did kind of expect Lilimon though but since Mimi activated her crest in a somewhat less direct and conscious way than Taichi, I'm willing to believe that she can't eaily trigger it at will yet. (And I don't think Lilimon would have been much help against Ookuwamon)
But oddly Soundbirdmon was there yet those wild ones emitted that nasty mist!
They probably were not wild Digimon that were hypnotized but actual soldier Kuwagamon that were called in by the Soundbirdmon.
So Kuwagamon/Ookuwamon are no longer shorted range melee types that crushes with the princers.... Huh Honestly I kinda dislike it when certain super shorted range melee types gained shooting energy attacks.
Pretty sure I've seen Scissor Arms fire energy blades in instead of physically cutting some of the video games before. But it was probably one of the games where actual short range attacks didn't really exist.