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Digimon Ghost Game episode 6 screenshot of the core team
Toei Animation

Manga and Anime

‘Digimon Ghost Game’ Episode 6 review – The horror of bad singing

Some Digimon are just scarier than others.

Spoiler warning: this review discusses plot specifics from the first six episodes of Digimon Ghost Game as well as the preview to episode seven.

Another week, another new episode of Ghost Game to review. As of last time the whole cast has been assembled, so there’s no more need to worry about introductions. How is our heroes’ first outing as an established team?

So what’s it about?

Here’s the series’ official trailer courtesy of Crunchyroll:

Also courtesy of Crunchyroll, here’s a plot synopsis for Episode 6 – “The Cursed Song”:

Ruli and the gang are researching the paranormal sightings around the city when they stop to investigate a rumor about a haunted karaoke box. It’s said that if a certain song is sung, a mysterious and creepy voice begins to sing along with you.

You can catch up on our coverage of the series thus far with our reviews of episodes onetwothree, four, and five.

Damn, this show is pretty

Regardless of their slight variance in overall quality, there’s one aspect I’ve complimented every single episode thus far on: their visuals. And guess what? The animation and general art direction is still just as excellent this week.

It may be a repetitive note to make, but it’s still worth pointing out as it has a dramatic impact on how enjoyable the episode is overall. Gone are the days of characters talking with few to no mouth flaps, JPEGs getting dragged across the screen, and single stills being panned in or out on for thirty seconds at a time. These characters are expressive; their faces and body language actually change to reflect their feelings and reactions. Not only that, but they stay on-model while doing so (sorry, Xros Wars). The Digimon partners continue to look great as well. Jellymon’s floating head form makes another appearance, signaling that it’ll likely show up regularly. As I noted last week it’s a fantastic design, so I’m glad to see it. Resident mascot of all mascots Gammamon also continues to be adorable, even if just by doing more of the same.

Digimon Ghost Game screenshot of Hiro and Angoramon in the shade of trees

This rendering of sunlight filtered through tree leaves isn’t even for a key dramatic moment, this is just how the show looks. Oh, how far we’ve come. (Toei Animation)

My only complaint art-wise this week has to do with the actual horror. Once we reach the main plot of Sirenmon haunting the karaoke parlor the technical quality remains high, but the actual artistic decisions made are less successful. There’ some very good use of blurring effects, but ultimately Sirenmon’s shadowy attacks are just…globs of vague black energy flying across the screen. There are some scary long arms and some constricting of the victims’ bodies, and it’s certainly standout horror by kids’ show standards. Nonetheless, most of what’s being done here has been done better in previous episodes.

The key issue is that the rendering for most of Sirenmon’s attacks early on just isn’t uniquely tailored enough to the character. Once her identity has been revealed in the latter half we get some fun animation with her attacks sending out literal music notes that fly around and bounce off of surfaces into our heroes. In the actual scenes of the haunting, however, there’s no such uniqueness or charm. Up until her head first pops out of a monitor, the baddie of the week truly could have been anyone.

Digimon Ghost Game screenshot - Sirenmon emerging from a monitor

She does have a nice mask, I’ll admit. (Toei Animation)

So about that plot…

Before moving on to the core conflict at the karaoke parlor, the episode begins with a scene of our heroes traveling to spots where Hologram Ghosts have been sighted. They hope to find more Digimon and they succeed in meeting a gorgeously rendered Youkomon at a shrine. It’s a cute scene wherein Gammamon treats Youkomon like the god of the shrine and asks if he likes his offering. Seeing non-enemy Digimon just going about their lives is always nice, especially since that sort of thing is limited in frequency by the real world setting.

Then we hit the main plot and…meh. I want to be clear that it’s not badly written. The pacing, dialogue, and general flow of battle are all solid. But as I noted when talking about the episode’s animation, the horror vibes just aren’t there. Sirenmon ceases to fit the theme of scary ghost-esque or even just imposing Digimon as soon as she makes her first full-bodied appearance.

Digimon Ghost Game screenshot - Gammamon looking up at Sirenmon

If the most intimidating frame featuring the villain is a shadowy butt-shot, then they’re not that scary. (Toei Animation)

Now, I want to be fair and acknowledge that Digimon’s designs don’t have to be Cool™ or obviously spooky to make for good antagonists. Nonetheless there’s certainly been a theme in this series’ villains thus far, and even the bright pink rabbit Bitmon was made scary last week. Sirenmon’s design could work for a sweet minor character but it doesn’t immediately scream credible threat, and the writing does nothing to compensate for that.

Sirenmon talks about arriving in the human world and falling in love with its music, and it seems like she never meant to terrorize anyone. Except…that’s exactly what she was doing by forcibly binding people. The severity of her actions and general rage at the heroes make her supposed good nature harder to reconcile. Ultimately she flies off to train her voice and become a better musician, and frankly I hope she never flies back. Youkomon, Pumpmon, and Mummymon would all be fun to see again. Sirenmon? No.

Besides having a lackluster villain, the episode is also hindered by just not making any significant contribution to the overarching plot. There’s a line of dialogue pondering why Gammamon doesn’t remain in his Champion form after evolving, but the same question has already been raised before. Youkomon’s scene is cute, but it doesn’t actually provide any new information either. Before moving on to the wrap-up, however, I do want to acknowledge one nice Easter egg this week: the karaoke song that triggers Sirenmon’s attacks is “Kuyashisa wa Tane” by Chiai Fujikawa. It’s just about the only possible Digimon Adventure: (2020) reference that would be enjoyable, and enjoy it I did.

Closing thoughts and looking forward

Digimon Ghost Game episode 7 preview featuring Crowmon

Toei Animation

Paradoxically, this episode’s weakness is also an exhibit of the series’ strengths. Yeah, the villain kind of sucks and nothing actually happens. But was this still a fun watch? Yes, it was. A show with likable protagonists, great animation, smart soundtrack choices, and competently written dialogue can only be so bad, you know? Which is to say that this episode was good, it just wasn’t anything to write home about.

Digimon Ghost Game episode 6 screenshot of the core team
‘Digimon Ghost Game’ Episode 6 review – The horror of bad singing
Episode 6 - The Cursed Song
This episode was good, it just wasn't anything to write home about.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
The animation is lovely as always
The use of the Adventure: (2022) ending song is a nice touch
The opening scene with Youkomon is quite charming
Simply put, nothing that happens matters
The horror elements could have been more successfully tailored to Sirenmon specifically
Sirenmon's departure feels shoe-horned and unbelievable
6.5
Good

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