Connect with us
'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 21 review: 'The Spider's Lure'
Toei Animation

Anime Reviews

‘Digimon Ghost Game’ episode 21 review: ‘The Spider’s Lure’

Sometimes human malice is the scariest of all.

Spoiler warning: this review discusses specific plot developments from Digimon Ghost Game episode 21, as well as the preview to episode 22.

In my last review I remarked that I wasn’t excited to see Archnemon return this week. I’m happy to say that the Ghost Game crew made me eat my words because she’s never been this scary. Before I get ahead of myself though, let’s establish what the hell I’m talking about.

So what’s it about?

Courtesy of Crunchyroll, here’s a synopsis for Digimon Ghost Game episode 21: “The Spider’s Lure”:

A scientist who is a former colleague of Hiro’s mom drops by. She takes everyone to an insect exhibit at the mall, but they’re attacked by a highly intelligent Digimon who’s hungry for their brains…

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

Stranger danger

Archnemon appears here in both her standard form and in her human disguise, which is almost identical to the one she sported back in Adventure 02. (Certain details like the hat have been made slightly less conspicuous, but that’s about it.) She first appears to Hiro in her human form, claiming to be a friend of his mother who wants to take him and his friends to a museum exhibit.

'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 21 review: 'The Spider's Lure'

This angle doesn’t get used if there’s not something amiss… (Toei Animation)

This scene is unsettling in many ways. We as viewers know that Archnemon means to harm these children, and the way she manipulates them has obvious parallels to the behavior of predators. Archnemon may put on a smiling face at times, but she is very forceful, is clearly only out for her own interests, and does not take no for an answer.

While the kids certainly don’t think her behavior is normal they still go along with it given her social standing as an adult, and they have no way of predicting the full extent of her maliciousness. Nothing ever happens here to cross the line of bad taste in terms of mirroring more explicit abuse, but it’s more than enough to send shivers down the spine. Some of her dialogue gets bolder just before her true identity reveal, but it’s in the form of her talking about eating brains. Thus, the writing pivots to more fantastical horror as opposed to furthering the more realistic horror invoked by the opening scenes.

Before moving on to the meat of the episode, I’ll note some interesting implications that arise from Archnemon’s first conversation with Hiro. Unless I’m having a major memory lapse, Hiro’s mother still hasn’t appeared on-screen. Nonetheless, Archnemon claims to have learned about Gammamon from Hiro’s mother. Though Hiro seems surprised he doesn’t make any indication that this would be impossible. Thus, it would seem he has likely told his mother about Digimon. Given how distant their relationship appears to be and the dangerous nature of Hiro’s adventures, I hope we get more sense of what these conversations must be like in the later episodes.

Good old-fashioned arachnophobia

'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 21 review: 'The Spider's Lure'

My god. (Toei Animation)

It doesn’t take long after reaching the site of the supposed exhibit for Archnemon to reveal her true eight-legged form. The rest of the episode remains terrifying, largely because of how explicit her actions are allowed to be even if shown just barely off-screen. She straight-up eats people (specifically out of a craving for their brains), and the disgusting crunches and other sound effects are more than enough to make one go “Oh my God, this is a kids’ show,” even if we don’t actually see the mangled bodies.

This is partially due to how well the show leans into her spider-like nature. Sure, we’ve seen spider Digimon trap characters in their webs before, but the terror here is especially well-paced and choreographed. The sense of shock and anticipation mounts as it becomes clear that her nameless victims aren’t going to escape in time. The implications of being caught in a web extend throughout the rest of the episode even when our heroes aren’t actually caught; Archnemon’s extensive camera system reinforces the idea that this is still her inescapable domain. Plus, the shots of her unhinged jaw brimming with saliva are a whole other level of disgusting.

It’s notable that the episode gets to Archnemon’s true identity reveal and the resulting action very quickly. It does so without the setup feeling rushed, so the premise gets enough room to breath while still leaving plenty of time left to let the horror build and resolve in a satisfying way. Some recent episodes have suffered from having final battles that conclude quickly after their premises took too long to establish, but that’s not the case here at all.

With regards to the action and animation this week, they’re also strong. Gammamon’s Champion forms are growing on me over time, and I appreciate the different vibes and dynamics they bring to fights. Of course, we also get GulusGammamon’s return at the end, which further contributes to the series’ recent feeling of edging toward something huge. He reverts back to Gammamon willingly this time, but not until after delivering some great cryptic dialogue.

The wrap-up and looking forward

'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 21 review: 'The Spider's Lure'

Toei Animation

This is a great episode. All of its animation issues are very minor compared to the sort the series usually has, and the pacing of the horror is top-notch. Add in the effective interweaving of both arachnophobia and predatory horror and you have a recipe for truly unsettling drama. Next week’s preview is cryptic except for that it should be a Kiyoshiro centric episode, so here’s looking forward to seeing his character get developed further.

'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 21 review: 'The Spider's Lure'
‘Digimon Ghost Game’ episode 21 review: ‘The Spider’s Lure’
Episode 21: 'The Spider's Lure'
This is a great episode. All of its animation issues are very minor compared to the sort the series usually has, and the pacing of the horror is top-notch. Add in the effective interweaving of both arachnophobia and predatory horror and you have a recipe for truly unsettling drama.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
The horror from humanoid Archnemon is truly unsettling
The brutality in sound design is great
The pacing throughout is top-notch
The sense of a major shift coming continues...
Technically the animation isn't perfect, but it's so much better than usual that it hardly bears mentioning
9.5
Great

Become a patron today to get exclusive perks, like access to our exclusive Discord community and our monthly comic book club, ad-free browsing on aiptcomics.com, a physical trade paperback sent to your house every month, and more!

Comments

In Case You Missed It

dark winds 3.1 dark winds 3.1

‘Dark Winds’ episode 3 review: A celebration and mourning of life

Television

the creeping the creeping

[CFF ’22] ‘The Creeping’ review: Ghost story packs emotional punch

Movie Reviews

New X-Men 2099 team introduced in 'Spider-Man 2099: Exodus' #5 New X-Men 2099 team introduced in 'Spider-Man 2099: Exodus' #5

New X-Men 2099 team introduced in ‘Spider-Man 2099: Exodus’ #5

Comic Books

'The Variants' #1 gets Jessica Jones right 'The Variants' #1 gets Jessica Jones right

‘The Variants’ #1 gets Jessica Jones right

Reviews

Connect
Newsletter Signup