Back in time for Episode 19. Etemon is ridiculous. I love him.
Taichi is acting like a complete jerk and being selfish and reckless, which results in Sora being kidnapped by Nanomon. Good job!
However, this Episode is pretty interesting because now we’re getting some serious character development after a pretty useless arc.
We actually see Taichi in tears. And it’s pretty baffling because you realise that he’s the sort of person who acts without thinking about any consequences and then is paralysed by fear and indecision when things go wrong. In other words, hardly a great leader.
So far, Taichi was a pretty one-dimensional character, a typical anime protagonist who is bold and confident and endlessly optimistic. It’s just much more interesting to make him an actual elementary school kid who has weaknesses and makes mistakes.
I do think when people try to make this whole arc about Taichi’s feelings for Sora, they’re missing the main point.
Until now, Taichi was hanging on just fine because he didn’t really believe pain or death was a possibility. But then his actions endanger Sora — the person in the group he cares the most about, because she has been his best friend for ages and is his second in command. In other words, Sora being taken by the enemy is pretty much the worse case scenario for Taichi. He’s is kind of self-centered, so if it had been anyone else he might not have taken it so bad. But Sora being in danger destroys him, because it hits so close to home.
As we learn later, Taichi is deeply traumatised because his irresponsibility almost killed his little sister once. To Taichi, Sora’s kidnapping is history repeating himself. It’s Hikari in the hospital all over again.
As a result, he’s drowning in fear and guilt and bad memories, and to make things worse, he’s already screwed up earlier with the SkullGreymon fiasco. So at this point Taichi’s morale and self-esteem are probably at an all time low. The other kids blame him, though they’re too nice to say it openly. Things aren’t looking great for the Chosen Children.
The point is that Taichi is afraid — really, really afraid. And still, he’s worthy of the Crest of Courage.
I think the overall message here is that Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to stand up to fear — and do the right thing despite of fear. That’s why in episode 20, when Taichi says he’s left “something very precious” in the Pyramid, he’s referring to his Courage, as well as Sora. He’s learnt his lesson.
These two episodes set up the story perfectly so that when Taichi is reunited with Hikari the viewers understand that he is actually kind, generous, and cares deeply about his friends — and that’s the basis for his Courage. And, little by little, he becomes the leader everyone needs.
And of course today’s stream ends in a cliffhanger. (Personally, I would have aired episode 20 to end this arc and start tomorrow’s program with Episode 21, where Taichi goes back to the Real World, but this works too.)
Oh, and I think the number of people watching this stream by the end is pretty impressive, if you consider that this is a rerun and that it’s Japan-only. I wonder how many views the announcement for tri. will get?