Spoiler warning: this review discusses specific plot developments from Digimon Ghost Game episode 9, as well as the preview to episode 10.
When the preview to this week’s episode revealed that Clockmon would be the series’ first recurring villain, expectations were built for some sort of plot progression as well. That’s exactly what we got, albeit not in the form I was expecting. Does the execution make for a satisfying break from so many ghost-of-the-week sightings?
So what’s it about?
Courtesy of Toei Animation, here’s the official preview for Digimon Ghost Game episode 9 – “Warped Time”:
Courtesy of Crunchyroll, here’s a plot synopsis:
Something is off with Hiro’s sense of time. He’s constantly late, and almost misses his curfew. Ruli suggests a trip to the library for a change of pace. They meet some unexpected visitors and learn the cause of Hiro’s problems.
So, how is it?
First thing’s first: I’m happy to report that this episode has the highest quality animation we’ve seen in several weeks. The characters’ expressions change to match the dialogue, no still is lingered upon for unnaturally long amounts of time, and the flow of action feels smooth and natural. Clockmon’s stitch-mouth continues to look appropriately disgusting and the rendering of Hiro’s growing tiredness and detachment from reality is well-done. There are some tricks used throughout that likely saved a bit on costs, but they’re incorporated in such a way that the repeated and distorted animation still feels appropriate for the events in question.
We’re nine episodes in, so it feels like an appropriate time for some lore dumping. Said exposition comes courtesy of classic characters Bokomon and Bakumon. It’s nice to see Bokomon return since he hasn’t gotten any time to shine since Digimon Frontier ended way back in 2003. His role as a walking spout of information is a nice nod to his older iteration, and he looks extra cute and professional in his long white doctor’s coat. It’s also always great to see Bakumon show up. As far as I’m concerned Bakumon has one of the best designs of any Rookie who’s never been partnered with a DigiDestined child. He doesn’t play a major role here, but any time spent with a levitating dream boar on screen is a good time.
As far as the actual lore dump goes…it’s not much of a lore dump. Bokomon doesn’t deliver shocking new revelations so much as just clarifies various tidbits of information we’ve largely gleamed or seen hinted already. Nonetheless, there’s still a sense of clarity attained via the thorough explanations of Digimon’s various physical states and how their abilities vary between them. The most notable aspects of the conversation come from talk of the Digital World and portals to it. There’s a real sense here that the plot is actually building to something, and I’m excited to eventually see this series’ take on the Digital World proper.
As previously mentioned Clockmon returns as the villain this week, and his time distortions are legitimately scary. They go beyond the simple but creepy aging attacks he used in episode one to cause temporal distortions all around Hiro, causing large swaths of time to pass around him without his knowledge. As a result he is frequently late to commitments and is unable to get a full night’s sleep, rendering him exhausted and unable to function normally. It’s a conceptual horror, and one that would induce a major sense of powerlessness in anyone afflicted by it. Removal from proper time constraints is effectively removal from reality, rest, and healthy social interaction, making it one of the most layered terrors in the series thus far.
As far as the conflict’s resolution goes, your mileage may vary. The battle with Clockmon is brief and resolves rather quickly out of a sense of reciprocation. Hiro and co. help Clockmon, so he decides to stop terrorizing them. On one hand, this conversion of foes into friends has occurred virtually every episode. There are definitely thematic concerns to be mined from having a villain be less easy to sway. Nonetheless, the series is clearly committed to this sort of redemption arc and there are far worse plots to repeat. This is a kids’ show, and there is a moral importance to teaching kids that people we dislike aren’t necessarily evil and can even become our friends.
The wrap-up and looking forward
All in all, this week’s installment provides some solid course correction. The animation is back up to snuff, we get a firmer sense of what the plot is leading up to, and there’s a unique and layered horror angle that manages to feel fresh even coming from a villain we’ve already seen before. Here’s hoping that next week’s episode manages to keep this momentum going.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!