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'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 24 review: Twisted Love
Toei Animation

Anime Reviews

‘Digimon Ghost Game’ episode 24 review: Twisted Love

Are we human, or are we horrific digital plant monsters?

Spoiler warning: This article discusses plot specifics from Digimon Ghost Game episode 24, as well as the preview to next week’s installment.

Every now and then Digimon comes through with a gut punch. Unexpected deaths or revelations regarding characters’ pasts recontextualize events and elevate the drama to new heights. What makes past instances of this different from this week’s? Usually they do all this with core or recurring cast members, not minor characters in a (seemingly) filler episode.

So what’s it about?

Here’s the official preview courtesy of Toei Animation:

You can also catch up with our coverage of the series thus far here.

One hell of a premise

As per usual, this week’s episode begins with monster attacks to provide the audience a taste of the danger to come. In this case, there’s a mysterious figure running around wrapping people in vines and force-feeding them poison which causes more vines to sprout in place of their limbs. It’s utterly bizarre, and introduces a type of Digimon attack that can have catastrophic effects on the victims’ bodies. The frames of the poison feeding are especially disturbing in their emphasis on strangled limbs and wide open mouths.

'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 24 review: Twisted Love

This is actually one of the episode’s less terrifying frames. (Toei Animation)

The terror immediately gets dialed back a bit though as the focus shifts to our usual cast and a young boy named Yuto. Yuto was always on the peripheral of the other monster attacks, watching on in horror as friends and acquaintances got attacked. Fortunately he’s seen Ruli’s posts online about supernatural phenomena, which lead to him getting in touch with Hiro and then the whole team about what to do next.

Ruli’s social media presence has been a plot point since her first appearance, but it’s great to see it contribute more directly to the plot than usual. Some of Ghost Game’s most especially fun episodes have had a sense of Hiro and co. being ghost hunters, and that setup helps smooth over all the expository dialogue that would otherwise be necessary for explaining Digimon to normal people.

So about all the trauma…

Ultimately Hiro and co. decide to act as Yuto’s bodyguards. While at Yuto’s house, we’re introduced to his family’s longtime robot helper/friend: GW-1. It seems like a very basic machine in terms of both physical and mental ability (at least by sci-fi standards), but the family loves it and it loves them.

'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 24 review: Twisted Love

The boy who was loved by a robot. (Toei Animation)

Good lord, does it love them. Plot-wise, this is where things get a bit hazy. It turns out that GW-1 is (or has been possessed by?) an Ajatarmon, the plant type Digimon that has been attacking people who spend much time talking to Yuto. His attacks are experiments in his growing endeavors to turn others into fellow Ajatarmon, with the intention of using the formula on Yuto once it’s been perfected. The whole thing gets explained a bit too quickly to give GW-1 proper closure and explanation, but the debacle is in some strange way rooted in love for Yuto.

Good God, it is heartbreaking. Though the execution of the expository elements here is a bit poor, the pathos shines through. Upon being told that what he’s doing isn’t the right way to express love, Ajatarmon/GW-1 decides that he should instead be the one who changes himself to become more human. He then starts ripping off chunks of his body while telling Yuto how he’s become just like him. Unfortunately, the wounded and pitiful sight (no longer recognizable as his former self or much of anything else) dies painfully in the attempt. The shots of his watery eyes (leaking tears of some green vegetative sludge) before he disintegrates into bits of data is easily one of most striking moments of the series thus far.

The wrap-up and looking forward

This episode is one of those cases of a high point being so good that it almost makes up for all the issues surrounding it. Yes, the pacing and delivery of expository information is a bit jumbled, and the whole prospect of a Digimon performing horrific experiments on humans could have been played up a bit more. But holy hell if that final scene doesn’t make any weaknesses worth overlooking just to get to it.

Digimon Ghost Game special preview featuring Naoto Takenaka

Toei Animation

Next week’s preview meanwhile promises something truly unexpected: a live action performance?! It appears that actor Naoto Takenaka will be narrating on a spooky library-esque set in what might not be an actual standard episode? Regardless of how the special turns out, the preview definitely has my attention.

'Digimon Ghost Game' episode 24 review: Twisted Love
‘Digimon Ghost Game’ episode 24 review: Twisted Love
Episode 24: Twisted Love
Despite some issues, this episode is one of the series' main standouts thus far.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
The opening and other scenes of Ajatarmon's attacks are terrifying
The use of Ruli's social media presence in setting up the plot is great
That ending...good lord
The actual explanation of how GW-1 ended up in his current state is somewhere between confusing and nonexistant
The horror of the human experiments feels a bit too glossed over in terms of the characters' reactions
8.5
Great

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