The summer after my Dad passed was honestly a big ole haze for me. I couldn’t tell you which way was up at that point. I was still not myself to say the least. However, there was one thing I knew was coming that I kept track of… Digimon Season 2!
The teaser commercials got me pretty hyped about it. Not even my friends could understand the weight I carried or the emotional connection I had to the show itself. I put everything aside when the show debuted it’s 2nd season. So let’s do a deep dive into it. Onward to the Digital World!
All was not right in the Digital World from the start of the season. The first episode opened with Gatomon running from some angry Digimon. It ended with her being battle worn and missing her tail ring. Setting up something that wouldn’t come into play until WAY later in the season.
At first I thought, we’d pick up with Tai and the others but no we were treated to grown up versions of TK and Kari as well as Tai. We got an introduction to 3 new kids as well, Davis, Yolei, and Cody. They would tag along with Tai, Kari, and TK when they got a distress call from Agumon.
Agumon couldn’t Digivolve and I knew something was up but I didn’t expect Davis to take over right away and get his partner all within 10 mins. Veemon joined the team when Davis lifted the Digi-Egg of Courage. From that moment on I felt really let down. Like someone took what was personal to me and brushed it aside, when Tai was just moved over for Davis to all of a sudden be the leader I really didn’t know how to process that.
Let’s talk about the changes the show took that caught me off guard. First, I was expecting some new Digivolutions but not in this way. Definitely not in a way that brushed aside the original cast the way it did. Second, was the new Digivices now called D-3’s which allowed anyone with a D-3 Digivice to open a portal to and from the real world to the Digital world. TK and Kari got upgrades while Davis, Yolei, and Cody got brand new D-3’s.
There was also the D-Terminal, which held the ability to hold multiple Digi-Eggs. This was the the new form of Digivolving for the first 21 episodes. Each Digi-Egg has a Crest symbol from the 1st season that represented a character trait. The new kids all got to have 2 Digi-Egg’s while Tk and Kari only got 1 to match their Crest from the 1st season. Again, I felt short changed! Honestly, there should have been 3 more kids to match the 8 but, I digress.
Davis’s Digimon Veemon could use the Digi-Egg of Courage and Friendship. Yolei’s Digimon Hawkmon could use Sincerity and Love. Finally, Cody’s Digimon Armadillomon could use Knowledge and Reliability. The 1st arc of this season dragged hard for me, I wasn’t connecting with it at all. The first arc of the season lasted 21 episodes and it all revolved around the Digimon Emperor Ken who was being a total dick thinking he was playing a video game and that Digimon aren’t real. He created Black Rings to enslave the Digimon and along with the Control Spires he used to, well, control the Digimon.
It was fine for the 1st few episodes because it caught us up on what the original cast was doing but never more then to introduce a new Digi-Egg or a lesson for the new kids to learn. By the time Ken was revealed to the team and then created his own Digimon Chimeramon, I really didn’t care. Veemon used the Digi-Egg of Miracles to Armor Digivolve into Magnamon to defeat Ken’s creation but not before Ken’s own Digimon, Wormmon, sacrificed himself to save Ken from being evil. It was only through the loss of Wormmon that Ken realized the Digimon weren’t just a game. They were real.
Then it finally clicked with me. This was the episode that turned me around on Digimon season 2 and really how I viewed my life going forward. Sure, I learned to overcome grief but now at 17 years old I couldn’t process it to the point where I could function normally. The episode “Genesis of Evil” saw Ken loose his brother Sam when they were younger and how much he thought he had to be him to make everyone happy to make everyone forget what they lost. Ken tried to become his brother Sam so much that he took Sam’s Digivice and went to the Digital World to escape the real world.
Ken dipped his Digivice (the same model as the original one) into the Dark Ocean and it became a Dark D-3 Digivice. From that moment on Ken tried to be someone he wasn’t. He lost his kindness and his way. He thought by controlling everyone around him that he wouldn’t have to worry about being Sam because he was now better than Sam.
I was Ken. I tried so hard to be my dad, that I lost who I was. I tried to be into everything he was into and it didn’t work. I failed each time. Each failure became harder to learn, harder to let go of what I lost and harder to accept what I have. No one could reach me, not my mom, my brother, my friends, or a counselor. After I finished that episode I cried the same way I cried at my dads funeral. I got up and walked away and sat on our front porch and thought about everything I was feeling, going through and I made the decision to live for me. Not anyone else but me.
I wasn’t being me and I had to learn, like Ken, that you can’t control everything and the grief will always be there but the memories are what matter after death. How to deal with loss and love and how you can overcome yourself. Sure, I had days when the smallest thing made me remember him but I learned to smile at those moments more than being sad and remembering he isn’t here.
Ken found Wormmon now reborn and ready to do good and I found me. I started to go out with friends and meet new people. I accepted Davis, Cody and Yolei as new additions to the family and was able to enjoy the rest of the season.
With Ken on the team the kids could reach a level similar to Ultimate Digivolution, DNA Digivolution. 2 Champion level Digimon would join together to form a stronger Digimon:
Veemon and Wormmon = Paildramon
Armadillomon and Angemon = Shakkoumon
Aquilamon and Gatomon = Silphymon.
They went on to destroy the Control Spires left by Ken that were now being used by 2 new villains, Mummymon and Arukenimon. They used Control Spires to create a Mega level Digmon BlackWarGreymon the virus version of WarGreymon from season 1. He was all kinds of teenage angst but learned that not having a heart didn’t mean he couldn’t be a good guy. BlackWarGreymon’s arch ended with sealing the gate between the Digital and Real worlds but not before having a too short, in my opinion, fight with WarGreymon.
Seeing my all time favorite Digimon return for a brief moment in the episode was all the feelings I needed to see. It wasn’t until Paildramon’s Mega form Imperialdramon showed up to end the fight, that I realized I liked more than one mega Digimon showing up for the good guys, heck last season had 2 but boy in season 3 (which I’ll get to) upped the game a lot in that regard.
The season ended on a sad note actually, well at least to me it did. Oikawa was the master mind behind the whole season using Ken to get to the Digital World but making the barriers weak. He created the 2 villain Digimon from his own DNA and contructed the Dark Rings and Control Spires. All so he could go the Digital World he saw in the sky during the events of Season 1. Lost and struck with grief from losing his friend who was Cody’s dad actually, Oikawa turned to any means necessary to obtain that goal which lead him to accept Myostismon’s offer to let him stay in his body and he’ll take him to the Digital World. Sadly that was a lie.
Myotismon used Oikawa to create a better body for himself still the same Mega level as VenomMyotismon but now MaloMyotismon. The Digidestined fought him in a weird dream dimension where all the Digivolutions of all the partner Digimon (Season 2 kids at least) joined to take him down. Blasting him so hard he ended up in the actual Digital World all along…ruh oh!
The kids of course beat him but not without the help of all the Digidestined from around the world, (some we met during the World Tour arch) ending Myotismon for good. Oikawa would finally step into the Digital World but sadly he was too late. He passed away before seeing the one thing he wanted since he was a child. Using the power of the other dimension he transformed himself into a barrier to protect the Digital World. Telling the kids he will always be there to protect them.
Did I also lose my damn mind when i watched the finale? How could I not?!? Oikawa’s story was so sad and yet so reflective of my own. While my dad couldn’t finish watching Season 1 with me, I knew by the end of season 2 he was there, he was looking out for me, he’d want me to move on with life. That was the same thing Oikawa wanted for the Digidestined. He made choices in life that cost him everything but he could see be there for the kids. My dad also made choices that cost him but to this day 22 years later, I know he’s still watching out for me.
You see, he put me on a path to be a better person and he put good people in my life and has shown me how to deal with whatever may come. I’ve spent more than half my life without him here but I’ve spent my whole life doing what he’s taught me. Digimon Season 2 gave me the closure I needed and the ability to look past what had happened and move forward. I hold the first 2 seasons of Digimon very close to me personally and nothing will EVER change that opinion.