Spoiler warning: This article discusses plot specifics from Digimon Ghost Game episode 25 as well as the preview for next week.
I’m back! I opted not to review last week’s special because, frankly, I draw the line at validating a clip show recap with any sort of coverage. This week however we’re back to standard episodes, so let’s dive right in.
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.
An abundance of baddies
The strongest aspect of this week’s episode is undoubtedly its villains. Chief among them is Vamdemon, who is operating in the human world in disguise as a luxury brand CEO named Aviel. Disguises in Digimon have a mixed history ranging from the excellent (Tentomon in a hoodie and hat but otherwise uncovered) to the bland, and Vamdemon’s works. His human self still has his trademark hair, giving him a seductive appearance in keeping with the general vampire lore. While we as the viewer immediately recognize who he is and that his to-be-victims are in danger, he passes well enough for human that the other characters don’t come across as idiots for not suspecting.
His minions are also delightful. Dracumon returns from episode three, and I continue to love the series’ willingness to let potential one-off baddies return time and time again. Matadremon is also great to see because of his awesome design, but the best flunky is undoubtedly Sangloupmon. A wolf-type Digimon, his disguised form is a normal (albeit intimidating) dog. His transformation sequence when he shifts back to his real self is also well-done, and the shots of him running across the surfaces of buildings are very cool.
With all that said, some aspects of these villains’ involvement still feel half-baked. Matadrmon lacks a distinct personality, and Dracumon gets dispatched too quickly given his potential as an ongoing foe for Ruli specifically. The animation of Vamdemon’s bat swarm attacks also frequently look awkward. It’s a joy to see the classic designs from Digimon Adventure again, but the execution lacks the campy charm that series had. On the bright side Sangloupmon and Matadrmon make it out of the episode alive, so here’s hoping they get to make return appearances later on.
Character development and evolution
Though Vamdemon’s return in a new Digimon series is always notable, this episode’s main contribution is the arrival of Gammamon’s Ultimate form: Canoweissmon. The first appearance of a protagonist’s Ultimate level in a Digimon series has always been accompanied by major character development or a pivotal shift in the plot. So what transpires between Hiro and Gammamon to trigger this new stage of evolution?
Absolutely nothing. Neither character reaches any sort of epiphany, nor is the growth tied to Gammamon’s maturity arc over the course of the series. It’s literally just a matter of the heroes going “Okay, it’s time to get stronger.” At one point Vamdemon infects Gammamon with a virus that makes Hiro feel pain whenever Gammamon gets hit, immediately calling to mind what the protagonists often went through in Digimon Tamers. While this plot device was used effectively in Tamers to mirror the characters’ growing bonds with one another, here it just feels rushed and shallow.
The disappointing execution of the evolution also extends to the actual evolution sequence. At this point, Ghost Game is firmly in flop territory on that front. The Champion evolutions were all just uninspired takes on the old standard of one form spinning in circles until it’s replaced with the new form. This extends to the Ultimate evolution, which has nothing of note to differentiate it from the Champion sequences. There is no unique imagery, dragon-esque or otherwise, in the presentation to make the rendering truly feel special and catered to Canoweissmon specifically. The lack of care put in here compounds the already disappointing timing of the evolution to result in an ascension to Ultimate that’s just unremarkable on all fronts.
The wrap-up and looking forward
Overall this episode has a lot going for it aesthetically but still fumbles the ball in the end. Cool as the villains are the resolution to the fight is lackluster, especially where the new evolution is concerned. Next week’s preview features the return of Digitamamon who definitely has horror potential, so here’s hoping that’s executed better than this week’s premise was.
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