Gosh, what a gorgeous episode of a reboot animated television series seemingly made for children but clearly tugging at the heart-strings of everyone who grew up with digital monsters and their human best friends. The 4th episode of the 2020 Digimon Adventure reboot impressed with some of its sparkling and vibrant background work, but Digimon Adventure Episode 5 is turning it up to eleven. The setting for large swaths of the episode is this abandoned Digimon temple that was once home to, as the show puts it, ‘protectors of the good in the Digital World’. Surrounded by lush nature, crystal clear waters, and the open skies, the colors and styles used to give these relics and their surroundings life make nearly every shot of the episode unexpected eye-candy.
Of course, the mythological imagery doesn’t just make for some pretty scenery. Digimon Adventure Episode 5 delves into some backstory that didn’t exist in the original version of Digimon. One interesting point about the franchise; it always flirted with the ideas of gods or other higher beings in the world of Digimon, and presented them as fact in Adventure and a few other iterations of the show. Looks like this time we’re not only leading off with mythical Digimon, but a previous Digital war where good won out but at a great price. Of course in these flashbacks, we do see silhouettes of a bunch of Mega Level Digimon that ‘coincidentally’ correspond with Agumon, Piyomon, and the others we know will soon be making appearances.
Impressively even when enemy Digimon are launching an attack on Taichi and Sora at what you could call the Digimon Citadel, Digimon Adventure Episode 5 is keeping it up with the art quality. There’s something a little funny and definitely cool about seeing these lush, almost iridescent paintings being used to mount attacks by gigantic spider creatures. Yes after all the background exposition with a lowercase Digimon god, we get sweeping handfuls of monsters fighting and running away from one another. Y’know, the stuff classic kid cartoons are made of. Returning Digimon aficionados will be happy to see one beloved bug-themed Digimon reaching his totally killer championship form for the first time, in this show that is.
Sometimes though trying, and maybe failing, to eloquently express how good the backgrounds look or getting excited about one of your favorite Digimon making an appearance isn’t exactly hinting at the whole of what makes Digimon so good. Sometimes it’s the surprisingly real moments the show has, like in Digimon Adventure Episode 5 where Agumon and Piyomon start innately and instinctually bawling after seeing a look into their Digimon history. Other times, its the simple joy of watching a boy and his bug try to outrun a bunch of evil giant sharks. I’m not going to say this episode’s going to win any awards for its writing or animation direction alone, but it’s got everything you could ever want out of an adventure cartoon.
You can watch Digimon Adventure Episode 5, and the rest of the series, on Crunchyroll.