Plot: Taichi and Zero’s battle against Neo and Arkadimon is reaching a peak. Thanks to the data Hideto and Omegamon gained from Arkadimon, Zero manages to dodge the Dot Matrix attack several times, draining Arkadimon of its energy and giving Zero an edge. However, Neo isn’t done yet. He uses the power of the Digimental to evolve Arkadimon into its Super Ultimate form, which can use an even more powerful version of the Dot Matrix called the God Matrix.
Zero valiantly sacrifices himself in an effort to save his friends, but just when all hope seems lost, Zero’s ability to overwrite his lost data causes him to reform into the amazing Alforce V-dramon!
Able to rewrite his destroyed data even faster and shield himself from impending attacks, Alforce V-dramon, with the help and support of Taichi, gains the upper-hand yet again.
Incredibly angered by yet another miracle Taichi and Zero pulled off, Neo yells in rage at these ‘bugs’ seeing them as nothing but accidents that he wants to wipe clear from the world – so people like Rei will never suffer from another horrific incident ever again.
Upon hearing Neo’s words, the group tries to convince him that this isn’t the way to stop terrible events like that from happening. Rei also admits that her devastation after the accident wasn’t because she lost the ability to walk – it was because Neo changed so much after it happened.
After Rei nearly sacrifices herself to get Neo to come to his senses, Arkadimon suddenly reverts back to Ultimate form. Neo’s will to fight seems to have waned, but the battle’s not over yet.
Arkadimon suddenly speaks and reveals that it’s actually Demon, having finally been able to retake the Digimon’s body after being absorbed by him. The combined version of Arkadimon and Demon proves to be too much for Zero, and Demon moves on to his true plan – opening a portal to the real world and causing mass chaos by infecting them with his Dark Virus. With them out of the way, both the real world and the Digital World will be his to command.
In a last-ditch effort to save both worlds, Taichi grabs the Digimental and uses it to turn Alforce V-Dramon into his Future form! Powered by the support of Taichi and his friends and fueled by the light of the future of both worlds, Zero strikes down Demon, destroying Arkadimon once and for all.
With Arkadimon defeated and Neo stood down, Taichi and Zero bid farewell to the Digital World and all of their friends so they can return to the real world.
Taichi meets up with Sigma, now without his mask, Mari, Hideto, Rei and even Neo as they enter another Digimon tournament…..only for Taichi to be turned away when Zero is, yet again, not recognized as an official Digimon, thus making him ineligible to enter.
Neo declares himself unfit to be a true Tamer unless he defeats Taichi, making them friendly rivals. When Neo wins the tournament, he, Taichi and the rest of the group link up for more Digimon battles as they head for the bright future Zero and Taichi set them on.
Breakdown: Going into the final volume, I was worried about a couple of things.
1) How they’d deal with redeeming Neo, and 2) How they’d manage to defeat Arkadimon.
In regards to the latter, it was a bit on the predictable side, particularly with Zero’s sudden evolution, but it was well-written and exciting. Plus, Alforce V-Dramon is too awesome. I’m so disappointed we only got him for a few chapters.
I won’t lie, I was tearing up when Zero seemingly sacrificed himself to save the others. I pretty much knew he wouldn’t be gone for good, but that scene really got me.
The reveal that Arkadimon was taken over by Demon was….not really as predictable, and it did save Demon from being merely a footnote villain, but I feel like there wasn’t enough written into Demon for his reveal to really be all that grand. He’s about as generic as his name.
His motivations are that he’s tired of Digimon being subservient to humans despite their massive powers. He plans on taking over the Digital World with his power and taking over the real world with his Dark Virus that will manipulate everyone’s emotions and cause chaos.
It’s a far cry from the plans Neo had of just flatout destroying both worlds and making a new one.
Speaking of Neo, we have to address the Elephantmon in the room – How is Neo going to be redeemed?
I’ve said a few times now that Neo’s pretty much gone beyond the point of redemption in my eyes. He’s been so malicious and horrible to pretty much everyone, including Rei and Hideto, that any redemption for him would feel cheap.
And I wasn’t wrong.
Neo’s redemption is in the ‘reveal’ that he’s been doing all of this to create a utopia, or Arcadia, so accidents like the one that robbed Rei of her ability to walk would never happen again.
He has said several times that he didn’t even so much care about that anymore. He just wanted power and to destroy both worlds. He’s even been a dick to Rei in the meantime to achieve this, and yet his motivation circles back around to his deep love of his sister and his guilt for her condition. How does that work?
Not only that, but they imply that Demon was manipulating him the whole time with the Dark Virus, amplifying his emotions and making him so ridiculously evil, which really feels like the bigger cop-out.
I feel it’s very appropriate to compare this plight with that of Ken from Adventure 02.
Ken was a tyrant. He wanted all of the Digital World under his control and every Digimon his slave. When the Chosen Children showed up, he didn’t care who he hurt, human or Digimon alike, or even if he’d end up killing Digimon or people. He just wanted power and control. Sometimes, he just wanted to see others suffer.
In a lot of ways, it was difficult to see redemption for Ken too. However, they did a pretty good job with it. He didn’t see Digimon as living, breathing creatures – he just saw them as data. He didn’t see the Digital World as a real world – he saw it as an escape – a computer program he could run off into and do whatever he pleased.
This falls apart when he starts putting the lives of other people in peril, however, especially in that episode where he pretty much made a game out of tormenting Daisuke over saving one of his friends or watching them all die.
However, you might say that’s due to madness because of his intense self-loathing over feelings of guilt with the death of his brother, Sam. It’s even possible that, given he believes the Digital World is just a game and nothing that happens there is real, that the lives of the others aren’t really in actual danger, but that’s extremely muddy territory.
Still, no matter what he believed, those actions are things he’d have to make up for, which he did. He paid for it in the loss of Wormmon, his partner, the realization that all of the pain and suffering he was causing in the Digital World was real and not a computer simulation, falling into such deep mental shock that he was essentially in a comatose state for several days, haunted by terrible memories of his past, and gets a massive tongue lashing by the reborn Digimon in Primary Village who had felt the sting of his whip firsthand. He even took it upon himself to start taking down the Dark Towers and making amends to the Digimon, no matter how harsh the scorn was from both them and the Chosen Children.
He also eventually joined the other Chosen Children to help save the Digital World time and again.
Even though it is later revealed that Ken also has something amplifying his dark feelings with the Dark Seed, that didn’t really matter. He still took responsibility for what he did and what he was. He accepted the mistakes he made and worked towards making up for them and being a better person. He also had to work on his relationships with all of the Chosen Children because, of course, practically none of them wanted to believe or trust him right out the gate.
Neo, however, doesn’t go through the same suffering. Despite doing as much damage if not worse in this manga, his redemption amounts to him just getting a dose of reality from Rei talking to him about never giving up and her nearly getting herself killed (or killing herself? It’s never really made clear) to talk sense into him. He just suddenly realizes that he was wrong and joins the good guys.
This is an actual page.
Neo doesn’t suffer at all. Sure, he beats himself up a little for Rei’s accident, but his drive is moreso trying to wipe the possibility of tragic accidents from the world. If he sees what happened as truly an accident, he’s not guilting himself too much.
He also doesn’t own up to all of the pain and suffering he caused, both for people and Digimon. He yells when he realizes he’s been stealing the futures of others for his own means, but it only lasts about three panels.
He never feels guilt for destroying Piemon, treating Greymon like garbage and deleting him, deleting him again as MetalGreymon after he suffered so much to come back from death just to be of use to Neo, nearly destroying Omegamon, any of the other Digimon he destroyed to feed Arkadimon, wanting Arkadimon to use a slower version of the Dot Matrix so Zero and Taichi will suffer more during Zero’s death, he never apologizes for hurting the other kids or saying the terrible things he’s said – he just frowns and saves Taichi from falling off a cliff.
Never is there a moment of actual suffering or repentance. He doesn’t even stick around in the Digital World to help rebuild the place or make amends to the Digimon. He leaves for the real world and calls it a day.
There is one moment where Taichi and the others meet up before he departs for the real world, and they explain that Neo was too ashamed of what he had done to face them so he left without them….which is about a thousand times worse. Ken not only went back and faced his mistakes, he actively went into the Digital World to fix things and make up for what he had done, as much as he was able to anyway.
Neo’s such a bitch he wouldn’t even look everyone in the eye? He just lolnoped out of there and never looked back?
He did all of those terrible things and never even apologized to anyone for it. Back in the real world, Neo is just another one of the group now, even back with the friends he betrayed. The only thing he says is that he can’t be a real Tamer unless he defeats Taichi…..which is basically looping back around to his beginning motivations, only seemingly not malicious this time.
Another way they balk out on Neo’s evilness is through the Digimental. It’s only meant to activate with someone’s pure heart, so they were shocked to find that Neo could use it. His “pure feelings” of wanting to make a utopia for Rei was what fueled it…..
Pile the influence of Demon on top of that, and I guess we’re just supposed to accept that Neo’s actually a good guy and not expect him to have consequences for his actions. Bull. Shit.
He was an asshole seemingly even before he came to the Digital World, hence why Rei started becoming miserable. Even before her accident, he was a jerk. Remember when he told Hideto to just delete Wargs and Melgs because they were seen as weak in his eyes?
He also knew from the beginning that the Digital World and Digimon were real, but he didn’t care. In addition, his drive during the first few volumes was to be the best Tamer, then it evolved into him wanting to destroy both the real and Digital Worlds. I’m not sure how much Demon’s influence counts here, but I can’t imagine it’s much.
The overall battle was really great, though. Taichi and Zero’s interactions were amazing, and I love that their faith in each other never wavered for a second. They are a team of legends.
The absolute ending was good. I was bracing myself for Zero to die due to the effects of the Ancient coding within him, but I guess Zero’s going to live a long life now. I was at least expecting him and Taichi to need to part ways after everything was said and done, but I forgot that they can communicate through his v-pet device.
I was a bit upset that Piemon or at least a Digi-Egg for him was never recovered. Poor Sigma.
It’s a tad annoying that Zero STILL isn’t recognized by official sources and thus Taichi can’t enter tournaments, but he has friends to battle with whenever he wants and all he really needs is Zero by his side.
Overall Manga Breakdown: As a whole, I really enjoyed this manga. I think it’s a great read for both Digimon fans and non-fans alike. The pacing is a bit fast, but nothing too break-neck. They do slow down every now and again when it matters.
I really enjoyed the relationship between Taichi and Zero. I’d definitely rank them pretty high on my list of favorite Tamer/Chosen Children/Digimon pairings. Taichi and Zero don’t change much over the course of the series, but that doesn’t really matter. Character growth isn’t always a necessity, and I don’t think it was needed too much here. They definitely teach each other to not be so hot-headed and when to take things seriously.
Taichi and Zero pull a lot of wins out of their asses just because friendship and determination and what have you. Even Neo calls out these ‘miracles.’ I feel like this was more of a problem in the first half of the series since the second half, while still having plenty of these moments, has many more moments where they’re down and out or on the ropes. In addition, they make it clear that it’s not just Taichi and Zero winning these fights – without everyone else helping out in their own ways, hardly any of Taichi and Zero’s battles would’ve been won.
Some of the battles were really intense and creative. I especially enjoyed Taichi and Zero vs. Sigma and Piemon and the battle with Hideto and Omegamon. Despite the emotional moment getting to me, I don’t think the final battle with Arkadimon topped either, so that was a bit disappointing in that regard.
I came to really like all of the side characters, barring maybe Mari. Sigma in particular had a great story, and he’s adorable in the real world.
I loved the bonus chapters that allowed them to crossover with the anime characters in nearly all seasons. That was a fun little addition. I didn’t much care for the poop chapter, though….
My main problem really does lie with Neo as our main villain. He just wasn’t handled well at all. He was made ridiculously over-evil then we’re pretty much made to just forget every horrible thing he did and forgive him when he never even says he’s sorry for what he did just because he felt bad that his sister was paralyzed (but might be cured some day?)
The influence of Demon being a factor is way too weak for me to consider it a significant issue, and the role of Rei almost seems like a hasty mid-way rewrite since most of his motivation at the start was proving he was better than Taichi. He never thought about Rei back then.
Demon also wasn’t a compelling villain, especially as a final baddie. He’s just an evil power-hungry dude. The fact that he returned was a decent twist, but his motivations and goals are way too weak (much weaker and less interesting than Neo’s, anyway.)
Recommended Audience: There’s much more blood in this series than you’d normally see in Digimon, particularly with the Digimon themselves as Digimon typically aren’t supposed to bleed. There’s even some stuff that might constitute as gore. There’s no real swearing, nudity or sex. It doesn’t really get any worse in the final volume, and considering I’ve kept it at 8+ for most of the run, I think it’s safe to leave it that way for the entire series.
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