Animini: Digimon Adventure -Episode 12- Lillymon Blooms

It’s a new week my Island Guests! I doubt this week will be as amazing as last week but let’s give it a shot! Given the episode title and the set up of last week it was not that hard to figure out what this week’s episode would be about and how it would end. Yet.. something happened.. after this episode ended , it got under my skin! I ended up feeling really REALLY blue and bummed out. It wasn’t because it was a bad episode either.. I mean I would not call it great…but … well let’s just explain while I blog.

The Summary

In the previous episode we saw Mimi plummet to the depths of the ruins she was exploring with Taichi and Koshiro. She now is all by herself.. Palmon’s vines can’t grow up high enough to get them back up, or even communicate with the pair upstairs. Because these ruins are so deep and brimming with a strange energy they can not even use their digivices to communicate.  All of these little elements used .. have been established before.. Palmon’s lift.. the energy in the digiscript, the way digivices work.. once again showing a good plausible set up for this scenario.  Koshiro, with some lag,  works trough the interference to translate these runes and find out of there is a way to save Mimi, while the latter searches for a way up. Both parties soon discover that this place was once an ancient factory for mechanical Digimon. A soundbirdmon makes his way into the ruins and awakens a pile of deactivated digimon.. including Andromon.. the Ultimate level machine Digimon.. many fans of the series know and love. Like in the original series though he gets corrupted and tries to eliminate Mimi. She however is saved by Guardromon. Earlier Mimi uncovered a dusty body of a digimon.. and Mimi being Mimi, wanted to make it shine and polishes it off and smiles to it.. this act of kindness makes him her guardian!

Togemon is no match for Andromon and quickly gets critically injured ,  but Guardromon uses his missiles to attack the environment and collapse it onto Andromon. Thus highlighting that a lower level digimon can take on an Ultimate by fighting smart. It knows Andromon is not defeated yet so he flees with Mimi! Resting up in a little safe haven he gives her a little flower to reassure her and promises he will help her go to the upper levels of the ruins again.  Meanwhile Taichi and Koshiro are descending into the lower levels of the ruins , not knowing what awaits them.  Just before Mimi reaches the elevator Andromon catches up with her and he and Guardromon fight.. leaving Mimi’s new friend Critically injured. Taichi and Koshiro save her but Kabuterimon is easily tossed aside. Taichi evolves Agumon into MetalGreymon.. and here we see a new element come into play.. match-ups! MetalGreymon while super powerful has slow attacks that Andromon can easily take out on the account of having a gatling gun!  Metalgreymon is defeated.. and just about Mimi is about to be killed, her guardian Guadromon grabs onto Andromon and stops him. Andromon then kills Guardromon.. and Mimi feels tremendous pain and anger. These pure and raw emotions trigger her crest of Sincerity and Togemon evolves into Lillymon for the first time. Having no option but to kill Andromon. Using her attack to consume him in leafage.. makes the android snap back to his old self.. just to realise he will die for his sins. Mimi cries and the trio enters the elevator upstairs right after Mimi places a little flower onto the also overgrown corpse of her Guardromon’ friend.

The Positives

Wow… a Mimi episode. A Mimi episode that did not portray her as shallow but as a genuine and lovely bubbly girl that just loves when things are pretty.  A girl that has never faced too much adversity but now is finding herself on an adventure.. and an unwinnable one at that. In this episode the group experiences their first massive loss. While they won in the end they could not save Guardromon. Sure it kind of happened with MetalTyrannomon before.. but that was the noble sacrifice of Ogremon.. it had something heroic. The way Guardromon lost his life felt desperate.. and futile. He did not keep Mimi safe for longer than a few seconds! Yet he wanted to try anyway.. and the last thing he remembered was her genuine smile!  Such a powerful thing! It really embodied Mimi’s Crest well.. but I never would have expected for them to go the negative route and let her experience sincere pain and grief. 

To accompany this episode that packs a serious punch.. is this odd.. pacing and direction. Normally we see the classical three act structure .. where the heroes face a big problem, flee , strategise and return to a fight just to do well but be surprised by a hidden ability that forces them to “awaken” into a new shape or form. This episode does not really do that.  Togemon does not just get defeated it gets put on death’s door.  This is the second time this happens to Palmon.. so I am kind of afraid she might end up dying even if the show continues long enough.  However in the first act.. the enemy is already temporarily beaten and out-strategised.  The second act has no analytical part at all. Mimi is not that type of character, she makes friends and gets taken along for the ride and that is executed quite literally when  Digimon carries her. The third act shows the group suffer complete defeat.. there is not really a moment where tides look to have turned.. sure Andromon goes down one time but there is no epic music beat.. no victory song.. the normal music just drones on. We know this isn’t it. Even when Guadromon gets killed and Lillymon finally arrives, we do not get the regular digivolution theme.. instead the transformation happens to a much more subtle piece of music.. showing it’s too late! The group has survived.. but they haven’t won!

The Negatives

For some reason seeing the friendly metal man get taken down and lose his life made me extremely sad. Sure it is sad to see an episode from the very concept of it but the way it was done .. that final goodbye.. it landed very hard for me, which can be deemed as a good point.. but there are deaths that make me cry that feel like a good cry.. this just bummed me out.  In a way the odd pacing of this episode is very powerful but it makes it also a very unsatisfying episode.  That kick of feel goodness the show has given me so far is nearly completely absent from this episode. Gone are the bright colours, the hype music, the music and imagery synergising. Even the digivolution sequence of Agumon this time felt “off” as if it was forced in.. He had to kill Digimon that were nowhere near his level.. but he could not waste time.. so he could not show mercy. As a result though the fight felt kind of more uneasy than satisfying. 

Andromon I know as one of the best and most amazing allies of the digidestined so to see him snuffed out like this felt.. “wrong”.. In a way I really LOVE that they did this. There is no shooting lethal attacks into someones face just to break whatever spell makes him evil! No .. he got corrupted and they have lethal digimon.. so they had to put it down. Because they are the ones that need to save this world… there is no plot magic saving the good guys. There are bigger stakes at play than a single kindhearted digimon.. he needed to die for the greater good. This stuff is my jam..I love that morality where a good guy needs to make choices and sacrifices. Yet at the same time.. because the original Digmon series exists that gave us our shot of Dopamine.. this course of events feels completely unsatisfying. I love that they went this route.. but I did not enjoy myself persé in this episode. I suffered a bit and actually felt bad after the episode and had to take a long shower to get back a bit. So this one will be hard to grade again.

The Score

Death are a part of anime, and even digimon has richly used death in the past. Some deaths in anime even really hurt.. but there can also be a sense of beauty to it.  This one however did not give me any positives. It is very well written and I really appreciate them going this route in hindsight but I REALLY REALLY REALLY did feel bad from this episode. Not crying my eyes out bad.. just “I can experience no joy” kind of bad. So there is no way I can give this episode a perfect grade. I can’t even say this episode is very good. In a way it is.. but I can’t shake that terrible feeling this episode gave me. On it’s own I think this episode would be horrible.. like if someone sees this as their first episode of Digmon I don’t think they would ever return. The pacing is off, the music is unsatisfactory , the action feels dulled and the colours are super grey, it feels off in every way.

In the bigger picture I can see how it is designed to be like that.. how it is meant to contrast with the other episodes. This episode did confirm that only Taichi and Yamato will get those stock digivolutions as the Togemon digivolution happened without the cool animation and that is a bit of a let down but hey.. Taichi is the leader and Yamato is the second ..  I can live with that. Still though in an episode that bummed me out so much I can not help but crave for seeing that satisfying animation.  In the end I chose to grade this Okiwi.. but it is the wrong grade.. on many levels. It’s both worse and way way better than that.  Yet it is the only way I can express my feelings for this episode. I love the direction.. I hate the episode.  I love the journey. I hate the events. There was enjoyment there but it was dulled by that sensation of being bummed out to my very core.

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