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'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 16 review: 'The Maneater's Forest'
Toei Animation

Anime Reviews

‘Digimon Ghost Game’ episode 16 review: ‘The Maneater’s Forest’

The limits of nonlethal violence are tested.

Spoiler warning: this review discusses specific plot developments from Digimon Ghost Game episode 16, as well as the preview to episode 17.

Ghost Game has entered a decompression period between story beats, specifically the death of Bokomon and whatever the next big development will be (likely the arrival of Ultimate evolutions). As such the characters are continuously facing villain-of-the-week-esque threats but with plenty of retrospection along the way. These down periods are important for developing characters and themes, but does this week’s episode pull that off successfully?

So what’s it about?

Courtesy of Toei Animation, here’s the official preview for Digimon Ghost Game episode 16: “The Maneater’s Forest”:

 

You can catch up on our coverage of the series thus far with our reviews of past episodes.

So how’s it look?

Just as this episode is a midpoint plot-wise, it’s middling in terms of animation as well. It’s far from the heights of episode two but also significantly better than the series’ worst offenders, resulting in a visual experience that’s just…fine.

The best moments all involve the hauntings in the forest. On multiple occasions we see swarms of eyes appear across the tree line before Digimon appear in full. The sight of disembodied eyes always packs an immediate punch so it was a smart choice for building up anticipation. We also get some fun shots of trees becoming animate and attacking campers.

With that said, though some of the imagery is fun it’s never actually scary. There’s just not enough detail or contrast in the presentation for the eyes or trees to be unsettling. The vibe is more like an episode of Scooby-Doo, which is perfectly fun in and of itself but doesn’t meet the horror expectations set by the series thus far. The fog effects also fail to make an impact, and more or less just look like filter effects cast over the screen.

Children’s struggles with capital punishment

GulusGammamon’s arrival a few weeks back was important on several fronts. On one hand it displayed a usually hidden aspect of Gammamon’s personality, and on another it led to a series first: the outright slaying of an enemy Digimon. Hiro’s worries about both of these developments play a pivotal role this week.

Before the action really gets started, Hiro and Gammamon spend some time alone fishing in the forest. It’s a sweet scene full of obligatory cute mascot moments, and one that really gives Hiro a chance to think. The camping setting is an ideal choice for removing the characters from their busy lives and social circles, and we get the sense that Hiro is truly looking after Gammamon as a big brother.

'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 16 review: 'The Maneater's Forest'

D’aww. (Toei Animation)

When the time comes to fight this week’s big bad (Jyureimon, more commonly known in English as Cherrymon), Hiro’s worries threaten to cost our heroes the win. The forest’s other resident Digimon, NoriShellmon, instructs BetelGammamon to use his flame attacks to burn Jyureimon down. The strategy makes perfect sense but Hiro refuses as he finds the method too brutal.

Ultimately Jyureimon is defeated, but only after having one of his arms blown off. While there’s certain a difference between killing and maiming, the show doesn’t congratulate Hiro for his comparably moral decision. There’s still a sense of unease surrounding the limits of nonlethal tactics, and said uncertainty is mirrored in NoriShellmon’s departing words. When Hiro asks him to keep protecting humans should the need arise, NoriShellmon simply states that he can’t promise he’ll be able to save everyone. The show’s willingness to include such uncertainty is a major plus and likely points to even more difficult decisions to come in the future.

'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 16 review: 'The Maneater's Forest'

A future that hopefully makes this icon actually scary or just leaves him out entirely. (Toei Animation)

Miscellaneous reactions

  • The shot of Angoramon riding atop the bus while everyone else sits inside it is cute.
  • As a fan of seeing obscure Digimon animated, I appreciated the choice to include NoriShellmon instead of regular Shellmon.
  • Bystanders lumping Digimon activity in with urban legends and folklore continues to be a nice touch.
  • I’m a few weeks late with this observation, but why is the new ending theme just a straight-up love song?!
  • The reveal that Jellymon conned Hiro’s passwords out of Gammamon is fun.

Wrapping up and looking forward

'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 16 review: 'The Maneater's Forest'

Nature isn’t being very kind to these kids lately. (Toei Animation)

This episode will likely be somewhat forgotten going forward, but it’s still an example of how to properly depict downtime between crucial events. Past actions still weigh heavily on the heroes’ minds, and we get a glimpse into Hiro’s worries outside of just fighting. As for next week it looks like our heroes’ physical limits are going to be tested via a villain taking advantage of the freezing cold, so that should make for an interesting obstacle. Here’s looking forward to it.

'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 16 review: 'The Maneater's Forest'
‘Digimon Ghost Game’ episode 16 review: ‘The Maneater’s Forest’
Episode 16: 'The Maneater's Forest'
An example of how to properly depict downtime between crucial events.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
There are some fun visual moments via the disembodied eyes and animate trees
The character introspection is woven into the fight scene effectively
Gammamon and Hiro get some nice spotlight away from the rest of the cast
The animation doesn't lend itself well to actual horror this week
8
Good

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