Plot: Taichi and Zero are well on their way to collecting all of the tags. They enter a strange castle of nightmares protected by the Perfect Digimon, Vamdemon, who tries to turn Zero against Taichi. Taichi shows off his ability to uplink data collected from previous battles to have a competition with a local Starmon. And Taichi meets an incredibly powerful new foe; a human tamer with two digivices named Neo Saiba, the reigning Digimon champion who is now siding with Demon.
Breakdown: Let’s get the connections to the anime out of the way; Patamon appears, but is really a Bakemon in disguise.
Myotismon is one of the tag protectors.
Starmon appears, obsessed with being famous.
Devimon, Ogremon, Greymon and MetalGreymon are all Neo’s Digimon, with Greymon/MetalGreymon seemingly being his intended partner.
Fusion is introduced here, called Jogress Evolution.
With that out of the way, let’s go on to the story. We’re getting a bit further out of the whole ‘Taichi meets a guardian, battles him and pulls a win out of his ass over and over’ trope that was growing old in volume one. While Taichi and Zero do defeat Vamdemon fairly easily because, pretty much, the power of friendship, they struggle with him much more than the other two guardians.
Zero and Taichi’s bond really does get a lot of highlight in this volume as it saves their asses on more than one occasion, especially in the very end in their battle against Neo Saiba, but it does seem kinda tropey sometimes like Zero going over his maximum analyzed power level because he wants to protect Taichi.
Neo as a character is hard to compare to any character from the anime. I guess you might say he’s an amalgamation of early-series Ruki and Ken, with a touch of Vegeta and Kaiba from DBZ and YGO respectively.
Neo Saiba is the reigning Digimon champ with a 100% win rate like Taichi. He was the winner of the competition that Taichi couldn’t enter in the start of volume one, though Taichi still challenged him because he had a 100% win rate. The match ended up in a tie with both being announced the winner, something supposedly impossible due to how the game works. Despite claiming it’s a mere program error, Neo wants to take his revenge against Taichi and prove himself as the strongest tamer.
Neo has not shown any inkling of deserving sympathy here so far. His desire to beat Taichi is petty, he’s a complete asshole to his Digimon, and he doesn’t care if either the Digital World or the real world get destroyed because of Demon. He just wants to tame the strongest Digimon and be the best tamer in the world. Taichi is a very stark contrast to him on almost every level.
Demon summoned him to the Digital World after Taichi was summoned by Holy Angemon. He is the one who will hatch and tame the Super Ultimate Digimon from the Digiegg Demon has. For the time being, though, he tames an Orgemon and a Devimon.
His intended partner Digimon is a Greymon that he deleted because his win rate wasn’t high enough for his expectations. His leftover data decided to become more powerful in order to make Neo happy, so he became MetalGreymon and paired with Neo yet again. Yup, he just decided he wanted more power and was granted it by nothing.
MetalGreymon’s story is very tragic and it’s one of the hinge points in the series so far. As a comparison, if you thought Ken was a jerk for the way he treated Wormmon, you’ll be seeing red when you see how Neo treats MetalGreymon. And, like Wormmon, he stays loyal to his partner through and through no matter how badly he’s treated.
Taichi gets the tag of spirit (Illusions according to this translation) and iron (metal empire in this volume) and only needs one more tag to gain entry into Demon’s castle, where Neo will be waiting as well.
Overall, this volume was a step up from volume one, but I’m still waiting for Taichi to actually lose for once. I know one of his catchphrases is saying he’s a 100% tamer, which would be lost if he did lose, but seeing him always come out on top will make this series pretty boring after a while. I will say that the final battle between Skull Satamon and Zero was the most intense so far, and one that actually had tension given how beat up Zero actually gets.
Recommended Audience: Zero nearly dies and we learn that Digimon actually bleed here with blood flowing from Zero’s nose as he’s basically being crushed. Other than that, though, nothing too bad. 7+
Next volume, the debut of Rei.