This is the end of the line. If I didn’t have fond memories of Puppetmon as an interesting villain, I would have dropped the series halfway through this arc. Somehow, the creators learned nothing from Etemon’s story. It’s as if these last two episodes were accidentally good. There is barely any hint of that in this arc.
It doesn’t start so bad. Moving the story to the real world helps to remind that these are, first of all, ordinary kids. They had a full life outside of saving the Digi-World, and this could be used to generate some strong drama. You get some development for the kids’ families. Each one has a distinct family and the ‘missing parent’ cliche is avoided. There’s even a small arc that gives Izzy some heart.
There are never whole episodes of this, though. The dialogue is still stuck in exposition, telling us what already happened or who is who even though we know. None of the comments the characters make help us understand who they are. It’s all interchangeable. The occasional character moment doesn’t redeem this. It just emphasizes how much wasted potential there is here.
It does gain a little dramatic tension when they return to Earth, but by then it’s too late. The first half of that arc consists of dull villain of the week episode. Maybe they would have been bearable if the story wasn’t so episodic. It all builds up to a great battle with a big enemy, but why Miyotismon hides in the shadows so much?
He’s powerful. We know that because we’re being told so and DemiDevimon is afraid of him. His behavior is the complete opposite. He has none of the charisma of Etemon or the late Dark Masters. He’s a typical villain representing darkness, this time taking the form of a vampire. They couldn’t even make him seem dangerous, though.
He sends DemiDevimon to wreck havoc on the kids, but every time he fails he just threatens him. That’s it. For about 10 episodes, or even more. Miyotismon does nothing to make us fear him aside from look dangerous. It takes barely 10 minutes before the Dark Masters reveal themselves to be quite violent, but it’s not until the real world that Miyotismon does something.
It all ends with a big battle that’s as meaningless as this arc is long. Miyotismon is given a last minute ressurection, like Etemon. Only Etemon was fun, and him getting one lost shot kind of fit with his megalomaniac and out of touch personality. Miyotismon comes back in a pathetic attempt to make an epic fight. Big building and big monsters don’t increase the tension though. When they mean nothing, the meaninglessness is all the more apparent.
Maybe if they trimmed it a little, it would’ve been servicable. There’s a decent episode in a resturaunt that builds Matt’s and Joe’s character a little. Instead of connecting it to the larger story though, it ends with everyone being happy and liking each other.
These kids have spent 30 episodes in a strange world that’s pretty violent. They faced Digimon who are awful. If we can’t believe Devimon was that bad, we can at least believe Etemon was a menace. Yet, nothing changed. They still act as a single protagonist. Mimi is still the butt of the jokes. All that’s changed is that the villain is worse this time. At least Devimon converted Digimon by force. He was acting through other Digimon, but it was him. Miyotismon has a bunch of weak saps doing his work for him. How dangerous can he be?