A list of “my brain naturally filled that in but the series technically never actually said that” things from Adventure and 02
Adventure and 02 are rather strange series that have what I can only describe as “a casual disregard for common storytelling tropes and expectations”, which means that sometimes they really tend to be hellbent on portraying things that make sense within the narrative but do not care about how the audience is going to react to when it doesn’t play to common storytelling expectations. That’s a double-edged sword in many ways; on one hand, it not really caring about clear-cut storytelling makes it have an extra touch of realism in portraying how life isn’t clear-cut and doesn’t fit into boxes, but on the other hand, media tropes and plot beat expectations exist for good reason, and this somewhat casual disregard leads to a lot of key points coming off a bit too subtly, or throwing off its audience by coming off differently than was likely intended.
My experience as a 02 lover often involves me realizing that I could have completely sworn the series implied a certain thing, and that other people even got that impression in a sort of Mandela effect-esque phenomenon, but when we all sit down and inspect what the series actually said...nope, they never actually said that! I think, in the end, it’s a byproduct of the above writing style, and all of us who are accustomed to story point A leading to point B from most other media are inclined to see it that way. And, of course, some of these interpretations aren’t necessarily incorrect, but nevertheless, the series never actually said that and said interpretations will only be, at best, a headcanon...but on the other hand, some of these interpretations are actually very (very) subtly discouraged by surrounding context, which caused some unfortunate problems in multiple (not only the English ones!) international dubs when the translators presumably made the understandable assumptions and made them a bit too explicit, leading to contradictions.
In any case, here’s a list of things that you may be surprised were never actually stated or implied! (And yes, I will completely admit to being one of the people who got thrown off by some of the below. Trust me, this happened to a lot of us.)
Note: I refer to a lot of the below as having been exacerbated by dubbing changes in various languages, primarily the American English dub, but note that I’m not saying that the interpretation is inherently invalid if you consider one of said dubs to be the “main” version you’re working with. However, this blog works specifically from the Japanese version, and there is a generally known phenomenon where dub-related stuff often overtakes or dominates even Japanese version discussion because of the prevalence of the “the dub didn’t change anything much” rhetoric, which makes the Mandela effect-esque phenomenon where people will swear by things that weren’t actually there even more prevalent -- so I do think there is some kind of necessity to clarify how the issue has gotten confused to at least get us all on the same page.
Soccer isn’t brought up all that much
This is supposedly such a huge part of Taichi and Daisuke’s characters (and their relationship to each other, and to characters like Sora and Koushirou) that you might be surprised to realize in retrospect that soccer is brought up very few times in Adventure or 02, and 02 episode 8 is the only time they show a match outside flashbacks in the entirety of both series. Moreover, in contrast to Taichi, Daisuke’s not actually that good at soccer -- he’s not bad at it either given that he helped Odaiba hold up against the prior year’s champions before Ken turned the tide, but he’s still not a regular by the time of 02 in comparison to Taichi, Sora, and Ken having been regulars in their respective fifth years. (The fact that Ken is the one to regularly keep up with hobby soccer all the way to Kizuna whereas such a thing is nowhere to be mentioned in any of Daisuke’s profiles or relevant Kizuna content implies that, in the end, Daisuke’s relationship with soccer was only ever going to be as deep as an elementary school kid having it as a club hobby.)
Taichi invokes his soccer position and skills when fighting Yukidarumon in Adventure episode 9, and Daisuke and Ken’s coordination in 02 episode 29 is obvious intentional contrast to their hostile relationship in 02 episode 8, and it’s brought up in relation to Sora’s backstory (and briefly seen in Adventure episode 35...but it really does seem like a backdrop element that informs some backstories and existing relationships more than it ever comes up within the story itself.
Sora’s mom harping on her wasn’t necessarily to do with her gender
The flashback in Adventure episode 26 has Toshiko harp on Sora for playing soccer on the grounds that she can’t “sit gracefully on her heels”, which has led a lot of people to surmise that Sora was being accused of not being graceful enough in a “feminine” way. Actually, the seating position in question (seiza) is standard enough to have its own Wikipedia page -- the issue is that Sora’s the heir to her mother’s school of a traditional Japanese art, so since Sora is expected to inherit the position, she’s expected to be able to sit in seiza. In fact, the position of “traditional Japanese school head” was traditionally an exclusively male position, so Toshiko being able to hold the position as a woman is very new to the modern era.
It shows up repeatedly in 02 with the Hida family, and also in Appmon with Astra (who, like Sora, is expected to be the heir to a traditional Japanese school). Of course, Adventure’s events ultimately clarify that Sora’s ability to sit in seiza wasn’t really the issue as to why Toshiko had problems with Sora playing in the match (and if you want to bring extra material into it, Toshiko never actually had a problem with her playing soccer in general but just that specific match), so in the end the issue with seiza was really just an excuse, and Toshiko was more worried about Sora’s injured leg.
Taichi and Sora’s relationship wasn’t that deep
We know that Taichi and Sora knew each other prior to the series, and that the two of them were “soccer partners” in a sense (they were both the heads of their specific soccer formation). According to Adventure episode 29, they were also in the same pre-elementary school even before Odaiba Elementary.
...That is also where the apparent “depth” of their relationship stops. They knew each other and were more comfortable talking with each other than the other relative complete strangers in the group, and their prior relationship meant that they were more likely to have an “extra elevated level of concern” with each other, but the fact Sora can even accuse him of not truly knowing her that well (in Adventure episode 26) makes it fairly obvious that “being comfortable” with each other didn’t necessarily mean they made it to emotional confidant level, especially since Taichi himself demonstrates that he might be a bit too on the insensitive level with handling her problems. Adventure and 02 consistently draw distinctions between “being comfortable around each other” versus actually being able to sit down and emotionally confide in each other, and Taichi and Sora were never really portrayed as being at the latter level within the course of Adventure or 02. On top of that, Adventure episode 26 establishes that Sora hadn’t even been on the same soccer team as Taichi until very recently, since she’d previously been on the girls’ team before the incident with her mother had sent her into (self-?)exile from it. (Arguably, even the reboot has more to work with than the original Adventure in terms of having some deep soccer relationship between the two.)
Of course, that doesn’t mean they didn’t have any relationship of note at all, nor that there wasn’t any chance for them to get closer in the future, but the way the fanbase talks about them sometimes, their “special best childhood friend” status is too often played up like it was some kind of series mainstay.
Honestly, you’d arguably make a better case for Taichi and Koushirou having a much closer relationship over the course of Adventure, considering how much Koushirou constantly goes up to Taichi and talks to him and how much their relationship develops over the Dark Masters arc, but the fact that Koushirou was just as much of a member of the soccer club as Sora was is often omitted in discussions (to be fair, probably because this part about Koushirou’s backstory isn’t well-known, having only been lightly alluded to in Adventure episode 16 and further explained in the novels).
Koushirou had a social life even prior to Adventure
...it just happened to be on the Internet, not with school classmates. But even before Our War Game! showed him in contact with people all over the world, Koushirou alludes to the idea of getting in contact with acquaintances on the Internet for something he needs. At the time of Adventure, Koushirou had issues with face-to-face social contact with others in real life (and his parents), and difficulty emotionally opening up to others, but he’d already had the foundations for gathering and organizing people that would eventually be fleshed out more in 02.
In fact, the “computer enthusiast” part of Koushirou’s character is often exaggerated to be too much about the computers and tech angle. While it’s true that Koushirou likes computers, it’s always as a means to an end -- this being 1999 when the Internet wasn’t as accessible as it is now, Koushirou was certainly a bit ahead of his time, but what he really was using them for was constantly for the purpose of “gathering information and analysis”. Having an electronic peripheral, analysis software, and Internet access naturally happened to be easiest ways to do so, but it’s not computers in itself that he loves as much as the information he gathers, which is why he’s perfectly willing to physically get up and hike up a mountain to find Gennai in Adventure episode 24 if he considers that to be his best source of information. That’s also why, in Our War Game! and 02, he’s consistently depicted as deferring to others’ bigger expertise for things like the D-3 (02 episode 7) -- the Internet will connect him to experts and research information, but the ultimate goal is the information and the learning experience, not the tech in itself.
Inspect 02′s nuances closely and you’ll notice Miyako may well be much better at tech modding and even hacking than Koushirou, but Koushirou, as computer club captain, is better at coordinating people and getting a working system of people together. This is why he ends up becoming a leader in a somewhat different sense from Taichi by the time of 02, and is also presumably why the epilogue prioritizes his role as researcher without much mention of computer programming (a skill that is presumably useful, but not the main point -- again, means to an end). Even his interim career in Kizuna as a “CEO” reflects this, because it’s more about his ability to coordinate and create projects for further research purposes than it is about the tech stuff.
“The one who wishes for stability” (Homeostasis) did not hijack Hikari’s body without warning, and also is a fairly nice person
"The one who wishes for stability” (not named directly in Adventure itself beyond this epithet, but named Homeostasis in the novels) spent multiple episodes attempting to communicate with Hikari (Adventure episodes 43-45, to be exact) before finally making contact and striking up a conversation with her. There is no reason to believe that they couldn’t have just hijacked her body at any moment if they really wanted to (especially since they say in Adventure episode 45 that they’d been wanting to talk to the kids since File Island), but it seems like they had the decency to, you know, ask Hikari before temporarily borrowing her body (even despite the very heated situation they were in, with Taichi and Yamato at each other’s throats). “Homeostasis is actually a jerk for possessing Hikari” has been a fanbase take I’ve seen for decades now, but there’s no precedent for this in the relevant episode at all.
The following scenes have Homeostasis speak in a very polite and deferential manner -- we’re talking “uses an infamously deferential form of Japanese” level -- holding the kids in high esteem, not showing any grudge for Taichi’s earlier SkullGreymon incident, and even calling their Crest traits “wonderful”. Considering that the episode also has them explicitly tell Sora that they are not any kind of god or deity, just an entity much like the Digimon who simply doesn’t have a body (the novels clarify that they’re a “security system” with a very limited set of abilities on their own, and Adventure episode 45 says that the only thing they’re truly capable of doing is making repair systems), the real “plot revelation” of this episode isn’t supposed to be that Homeostasis is some kind of callous jerk or something, but rather simply that for as much as the kids had recently been questioning what they should do next, the one who chose them in the first place doesn’t know either. That doesn’t mean they intended to abandon them in the cold like that -- they still chose the kids because they felt they were the best people to be trusted with it -- but there’s no right or wrong answer to this nor any deity who already has it all figured out, which is fairly in line with Adventure’s themes in general.
Hikari’s actions in Adventure episode 49 were her own, not external intervention
This one’s a bit influenced by the American English dub (it might be for other dubs too) via having Hikari suddenly switch vocal tones as if she were possessed by Homeostasis again during the events of Adventure episode 49. (Homeostasis-possessed Hikari didn’t change vocal tones in the original Japanese version anyway.) Thing is, in Japanese it’s pretty clear it’s just Hikari -- she doesn’t use the very deferential speech pattern Homeostasis uses, and the way she talks and acts is easily recognizable as Hikari.
It’s probably not a good idea to take away one of Hikari’s most prominent moments and assign it to someone else (especially since she doesn’t get a lot in Adventure compared to 02), because the point is that, yeah, Hikari really did get very pissed on the Numemon’s behalf and started the liberation movement on her own will. (This also tracks with her later portrayals in 02; notice she’s always the first one to get really upset and angry on victims’ behalf and to take action regarding them, even as early as 02 episode 1.) Her “powers” reacting were basically in response to her own feelings of wanting to stand up for them -- this is in line with the Crest of Light’s meaning as “the power of life” and Hikari’s ability to value it -- so it’s really just an extended version of how a Crest works, but in the end it’s all her.
As long as they’re from 1995 and after, having Chosen Children between 1995 and 1999 is not that weird
The revelation that there were Chosen Children before Taichi’s group (from Adventure episode 53) has been a constant source of speculation and wonder for the fanbase because of how quickly they just dump this fact on you and act like it didn’t just happen, even though you’d think that’d be a really big deal. This has led to all sorts of speculation about their whereabouts, but on top of Oikawa’s story in 02 making it clear that contact with the Digital World was barely even possible much more than a decade prior, Homeostasis makes it clear in Adventure episode 45 that the concept of a “Chosen Child” (a human who can make a Digimon partner spontaneously evolve) couldn’t even exist until the Hikarigaoka incident in 1995, because that’s when it was discovered that contact with humans helps Digimon evolve.
(Note that the Japanese side of the fanbase is very big on this piece of lore, to the point that it’s considered the major point of dispute as to Hurricane Touchdown’s canonicity -- the official explanation is, of course, that Hurricane Touchdown is one of the handful of Adventure-related elements without Kakudou’s involvement, naturally leading to a lack of lore compliance. Personally, my way of working around this is a loophole exploit -- Wallace only said he got Gumimon and Chocomon's egg on or prior to 1995 and nothing about when his Digivice appeared, and he never evolved either partner until after Chocomon disappeared in 1995, so it’s theoretically possible to have Wallace be like an Oikawa case where he “encountered” his future partner early through accidental Digital World contact but didn’t formally become their “partners as a Chosen Child” until later.)
In the end, despite the fact that, logically speaking, the idea of prior Chosen Children should be a big deal in the eyes of the audience, it’s more like the fact that Taichi and the others are not that unique in the grand scheme of things. The reason why any prior Chosen Children weren’t called on to help Taichi and co., and why Gennai only seemed to know of Hikari as a potential ally and nobody else, is actually pretty easy to figure out by the surrounding circumstances -- the Digital World was going through time dilations to the extent that even only a few weeks could be over a century in the Digital World, so imagine what a whole year would be like there! So even a year’s difference in the real world could easily become “lost history” in the Digital World, especially with the knowledge loss that occurred when Gennai emerged as the only survivor of the Agents and was forcibly turned old (and we don’t know when he was “born”, so all of this may well have happened before his time), while Homeostasis was left unable to communicate with anyone in their state without a body.
If you want to bring in material from outside the anime to support this: the Adventure novels drive it in even further that Taichi and his group were only the latest in “countless times” the Digital World had been saved earlier -- and the group mentioned in Adventure episode 53 had partners who evolved into the Holy Beasts, who (as per 02 episode 27) were sealed up at the time of Adventure, so even if they could get a hold of their human partners, they wouldn’t be likely to be able to help much at the time of Adventure without unsealing their partners first. There’s also a certain piece of hidden Adventure lore in that the number of Chosen Children doubled (at least roughly) every year between 1995 and the epilogue in 2028 -- meaning by the time of 1999, there were already eight other Chosen Children besides Taichi’s group. The one time this concept had major contact with official canon in-universe was Two-and-a-Half Year Break, but this has repeatedly, again and again, been reiterated as a formula behind the number of Chosen Children at a given time. So that’s how it’s not a contradiction that you can’t have Chosen Children before 1995 but still have the group mentioned in Adventure episode 53 -- even if they were from 1998, they’d fit within the narrative. And with these kinds of “chosen hero” narratives, it’s perhaps tempting to think about it as somehow deteriorating the “specialness” of the Adventure group, but if you really think about it, Adventure making it clear that the group’s achievements are from their own will and choices instead of some kind of Chosen Child special snowflake status arguably makes it more meaningful that way.
This is presumably why Kizuna, despite ostensibly having deviances from existing Adventure lore, doesn’t bat an eye at the idea of Menoa Bellucci being a Chosen Child from 1997 -- just because there aren’t many Chosen Children with the pre-1999 distinction doesn’t mean it’s as much of a big deal as it could be, especially since Menoa being in her position requires her to be one of the first Chosen Children anyway -- and even still complies with the expected number by said doubling formula.
Hikari’s “powers” aren’t that spectacular
Hikari definitely has some degree of extra mysterious ability that goes beyond the average human being, but if you look at the list of feats said apparent powers entail, they’re not actually as arcane as the fanbase likes to make it sound half the time:
The ability to “hear” Homeostasis and communicate with them, and allow them to use her body to speak through her (Adventure episode 45)
The ability to channel her feelings into pseudo-healing powers (Adventure episode 49)
The ability to be communicated with by otherworldly creatures trying to get in contact with her (02 episode 13)
The ability to “hear” Digimon-related things that others don’t (Hurricane Touchdown)
Extra sensitivity to the powers of darkness (02 episodes 31, 48, etc.)
Extra “intuition” that allows her to identify things with more certainty or that something bad has happened with better specifics than the average person would have (Adventure episode 21, 02 episode 9, Hurricane Touchdown)
Notice that this power set all seems to fall under the umbrella of “extra sensitivity” to things -- her empathy for others and appreciation for life seems to have tied into the Digital World abilities to manifest emotions, and her Crest is defined as being tied to the power of life itself. So in other words, she seems to have improved “compatibility” with Digital World entities and Digimon to the extent she can hear or communicate with them better, or have better intuition about the true form of things, and that’s really about most of it. This is also reflected in the way her friends react to such incidents -- they do know that something’s up, given that Koushirou actively speculates about it in 02 episode 14, but ultimately they do treat it as if Hikari just happens to have an extra knack for getting to the bottom of things, and it’s not like she starts going glassy-eyed and chanting off cryptic prophecies or something.
Miyako and Iori weren’t all that emotionally close, either
Miyako and Iori definitely had a high level of comfort prior to the events of 02, to the point Iori is one of the few characters Miyako won’t use honorifics on, and they were clearly already familiar to the point Iori was comfortable asking requests of her for his family. But, again, one must draw a distinction between being comfortable around each other versus being emotionally close, and there’s very good reason the two don’t end up as Jogress partners -- in the end, Miyako treats Iori too much like an equal to be able to emotionally provoke him into considering new territory, and Iori still treats her too much like a respected elder to properly rein in her off-the-wall antics, whereas Hikari definitely has that assertiveness Miyako needs, and Takeru properly recognizes Iori’s limitations and is more equipped to properly guide him around them.
Mind you, the two are very considerate of each other and would be likely to hear each other out if they did have to spill their worst emotions out to each other, and it’s possible and perhaps even likely that it might have happened post-series -- but this doesn’t happen in the course of 02 itself.
...nor were Takeru and Hikari
In this case, we do have a relevant episode (02 episode 13), and we definitely have the series making an explicit point that they hang out to levels more than is usual, but the series actually kind of did go out of its way to establish that the one time they really tried to emotionally communicate over the course of the series, it didn’t go as well as it really could have, and almost all of their interactions otherwise are not all that emotionally deep. The fact they have a communication barrier they have to get over first is also part of the picture -- that is to say, that’s the point -- and like with Miyako and Iori, there’s very good reason their respective Jogress partners aren’t each other.
Again, it’s another portrayal of how a relationship between people can be “comfortable” and “getting along well” but not necessarily emotionally intimate (I’ve covered the “paradox” in relation to these two specifically in a separate meta). In this case, the fact that they do have an interest in understanding each other better is a known plot point and brought to the forefront in 02 episodes 13 and 31, so there’s definitely much you can unpack with what the series does give you, especially if you want to extrapolate into what might happen after the series -- but in terms of strictly speaking about what’s in the canon text of 02 over the course of in-universe time the series spanned, there’s a huge gap between them that the fanbase often ignores in favor of portraying them as much closer than they actually were.
Daisuke’s never said outright that he likes Hikari
Of course, seeing that Daisuke has a very obvious crush on Hikari is basic common sense, given that it’s not like there are a lot of other ways to explain why Daisuke suddenly gets flustered or loses a ton of brain cells when she asks him to do something, or why he always goes out of his way to please or impress her, but not during the entire 50-episode runtime does he ever definitively say -- especially not to her face -- that he likes her or wants to ask her out. (The closest he gets is the “it’s the power of love!” statement he makes in Hurricane Touchdown, which is not only vague, but also not to her face.) 02 episode 5 even has him internally fantasize about the idea of getting to spend the day with her alone, but as far as verbally expressing it, he stops just short of saying anything definitive and tries to steer Hikari away from catching on. So in other words, he’s acting like someone who thinks he’s totally doing a great job hiding it, and isn’t at all...so this is why Hikari has never said anything definitive in response to any of it, because she doesn’t have anything to respond to in the first place, and it takes very little for her to just dodge out of the way and pretend it’s not happening to prevent things from getting awkward.
This is another American English dub exacerbated one -- in that dub, Davis would make passes at Kari or make some undeniably possessive remarks that she was very clearly shutting down, but as far as the original Japanese version goes, it’s extremely apparent that Daisuke’s doing this to himself. It’s also presumably a big reason the Kizuna drama CD makes the point that the moment Hikari does seem to acknowledge or compliment him, he completely shuts down, because he never expected that to actually happen.
As a side note, while it’s not as common of a perception, Daisuke’s antics in Armor Evolution to the Unknown have also turned into a “never live it down” moment where some people will consider Daisuke like some kind of pickup artist. But Daisuke -- someone known for being a bit too overly honest about what he wants -- says very openly that he was mostly interested in 1) chocolate and 2) being popular/getting attention, so it’s not like he’s some kind of flirt (I mean, he’s eleven), and you might also notice that his entire bar for these kinds of things constantly boils down to “try to impress others by doing something really cool”. Given that he actually snaps irritably at Wallace for flirting with Miyako and considers it more evidence that he’s shady, Daisuke doesn’t seem to have a lot of tolerance for the concept of flirting in general, which tracks with his penchant for disliking less-than-straightforward behavior.
For the record, it’s also very apparent that Hikari’s caught on -- not only is it painfully obvious to everyone in the vicinity, Hikari’s actions of effectively exploiting his crush on her in 02 episode 6 to get him to call a lunch break are so well-timed that it’s hard to believe she wasn’t doing that deliberately -- but, well, after all, she technically has nothing concrete she has to respond to, positively or negatively.
Chikara wasn’t stated to have been a police officer
Iori’s fixation with “being like his father” and the fact his grandfather Chikara helps out at the police station training its officers in kendo (as part of physical training regimen) might make one think that Iori’s from a line of police officers, but Chikara’s profiles and known info don’t say anything of the sort, and it seems that the continued involvement with the police dojo is mainly as a way to continue supporting the Hida family after Hiroki’s death.
Hikari isn’t that clingy with her brother
Maybe it’s because this episode was at the center of so many shipping wars, but considering that 02 episode 13 is one of the most heavily altered 02 episodes in the American English dub, it’s kind of interesting how Taichi’s prevalence in the original Japanese version of the episode has been historically well-known to even those who only watched said dub...but it’s a bit of a shame that this has gotten so well-known that it practically dominates discussion of Hikari’s character despite the fact that this is the only line Hikari ever gives about her relationship to her brother in the entirety of 02. And it is unfortunately true that even staff members (including Hikari’s own voice actress Araki Kae) have made jokes about Hikari’s apparent brother complex, and Adventure episode 21 probably left a hell of a first impression on people, but it really does seem that people keep disregarding the fact that jokes are, well, jokes, and otherwise have been aching to shove Hikari into the typical “little sister with borderline romantic-level attachment to her older brother” anime trope box without taking into account a concept of context.
Mainly, because doing so requires completely disregarding the fact that it was already stated very clearly what Hikari’s deal was all the way back in Adventure, and later reiterated in 02 episode 31 (I even wrote a full meta on this already). Back in Adventure episode 48, Taichi said, in explicit words, that Hikari had a problem with refusing to impose on others and therefore never vocalizing whenever she needed help. Taichi started getting in the habit of interceding on Hikari’s behalf because he knew that Hikari herself could not be trusted to express herself during such times, so he started going overboard because that was the only thing that could be done. Which means that yes, perhaps it is true that Hikari got “dependent” on him in the sense that Taichi would intercede on her behalf without her even asking. But that doesn’t change the fact that all of this was happening because Hikari didn’t want to impose on her brother by having him go out of his way to help her (remember, this is the same girl who refused to ruin his fun of wanting to play soccer with her even though she was sick), which adds another layer to that “dependence” -- he certainly had been intervening on her behalf for the sake of her own well-being, and that had been the way she’d avoided some really awful things potentially happening to her in the past, but she was also instinctively rejecting that help because she considered herself to be burdening him if she said anything about it. She says herself in 02 episode 31 that she knows her inability to vocalize her issues is a problem, yet still represses it anyway, so this emotional conflict within her where she knows she shouldn’t be doing this and is doing it anyway is fully in line here.
By the way, this is still supported in 02 episode 13 itself!
Hikari’s tormented vision is of herself apologizing to her brother. Why would she be apologetic? Hikari considers herself to have been causing trouble to her brother, and that’s why she doesn’t want him involved in her personal problems. Consider: if it were truly about her “clinginess” and her actively wanting him around, there’s no reason Taichi wouldn’t intercede on her behalf if asked, even if he’s in middle school now -- he did just that back in 02 episode 7! -- and so the person preventing Taichi from getting involved in any of this is, in fact, Hikari herself, because she’s so accustomed to not telling Taichi that she has a problem (just like in the flashback in Adventure episode 48).
As much as Taichi somewhat enabled the apparent dependency Hikari had fostered, he’s not really the source of this problem -- which is why the conflict in this episode starts to be resolved when Hikari is willing to ask for help at all, and why Taichi is not even mentioned once when serious headway on Hikari’s issues is made in 02 episode 31. Taichi having to go out of his way to protect her was a result of Hikari’s problem of being so closed in and refusing to communicate, but ultimately, addressing the root of Hikari’s communication problems didn’t necessarily need to involve him in the first place, so it’s honestly fairly reductive to take Hikari’s character arc that was really more about herself and her own unique issues and constantly act like all of them were relevant to the supposed brother complex, especially if it’s just to make her fill some kind of “little sister” archetype.
If you think Hikari seemed to particularly focus on her brother back in Adventure, all of that is explainable by simple context -- in Adventure episode 21, Hikari made it clear that she knew Taichi would be “leaving” for a dangerous world and definitely not at summer camp, so it’s natural she’d be reluctant to have him go, and in the rest of the series, Taichi was ultimately the kid she knew best in a group of relative strangers, so of course she’d refer back to him first when trying to reach out to someone she knew and was worried about the safety of. It’s only natural that Hikari really doesn’t bring Taichi up much at all over the course of 02, because she’s gotten to know the other Adventure kids much better, and of course has the rest of the 02 group as her close friends. So in other words, everything between her and Taichi is...fairly reasonable for someone in her position, isn’t it?
Moreover, often omitted in discussions regarding Hikari’s actions in Adventure episode 21 and 02 episode 13 is that those are two of the episodes most prominently helmed by guest staff (note that Konaka stated that the outline for the episode was still mostly decided by the rest of the core staff, but at the same time, he was also so busy that he wasn’t able to be there for most of the series production before and after, production which presumably included discussions of Hikari’s character). That’s not to say that this episode or Adventure episode 21 aren’t valid parts of Hikari’s characterization just because they’re by guest staff members, who were also still presumably given ample notes about each character; after all, it’s normal to have some leeway in regards to characterizations due to each character constantly changing writers. But it’s honestly frustrating to see that Hosoda and Konaka’s status as “famous auteurs” means that people will so easily reduce Hikari’s characterization to what those moments seem like on face value alone instead of trying to consistently make them work alongside the characterization built up by the rest of the staff responsible for working on her character throughout, oh, I don’t know, the rest of the series. Hikari can appear in almost every episode of 02 and show a wide variety of personality traits that Taichi very obviously has no bearing in, including other episodes that feature her as a major character doing some pretty big things, but as far as the fanbase is concerned, apparently those two episodes are the only ones that matter?!
There’s no evidence the Dark Ocean creatures were ever going to turn antagonistic in the future
This one’s a bit American English dub exacerbated because of the heavy changes made to the relevant dialogue, but even then it’s understandable that the not-entirely-resolved note 02 episode 13 left off on might make one at least a bit curious as to what might happen after it. Thing is, though, while they don’t necessarily resolve everything fully...they also don’t necessarily imply that there was supposed to be something after that either.
The Dark Ocean creatures state that they were originally supposed to be in service to a “god” (presumably Dagomon), but then “a new god” (presumably the Kaiser, or possibly even Vamdemon if said sea creatures were a bit more discerning) put Evil Spirals on them and forced them into his service. Once Hikari and Angewomon freed them, they stated that they wanted to fight against “the new god” (again, presumably still the Kaiser or Vamdemon) and make Hikari into their bride to produce offspring for an army (ew). And then Hikari and Angewomon responded to them with an obvious “no”, and so the mysterious sea creatures said:
Chosen one...we believed you would be glad to be our bride...Very well. We shall return to the depths, to our former god...And...wait for the time.
So, uh, funny thing: “wait for the time” could mean many different things, but while it’s theoretically possible to assume they want to come back for Hikari later, they never actually say this and there’s not necessarily reason to think so (this is where the English dub exacerbated the problem a bit, because they definitely did have them say this). We have no idea if Dagomon wants anything to do with Hikari or even knows she exists. Moreover, their goal in the end is still “to fight against the new god” (again, presumably the Kaiser or Vamdemon), which means everyone ended this episode on the note of having a common enemy (a situation that seems to have been defused through the events of 02 itself). As much as the concept might pique the curiosity, technically speaking, this episode never promised anything the series didn’t follow up on.
So why is this episode so “out of place”? Well, it turns out, this episode was originally planned to be for Adventure, and only postponed because Konaka was too busy. In Adventure’s context, an episode like this makes more sense, where there were a lot more things that you were expected to accept as just an oddity of the universe and not worry too much about (phone boxes, refrigerators, cacti, dark cave...) -- the list of “curiosities” from Adventure that likewise never go explained is a pretty huge one -- and director Kakudou had liked the idea of teasing at the idea of other worlds besides the Digital World or the real world (such as Wizarmon’s hometown of Witchelny). It might seem comparatively out-of-place in the more plot-focused 02 where almost everything ended up having a follow-up of some kind, but Yoshimura bringing the Dark Ocean back for 02 episode 23 was the byproduct of quick thinking and not the original plan, while Konaka himself had written in the episode’s plot as “something the staff might find useful later, if they want to use it” (which was exactly what happened) and professed himself that he’s not sure why the fanbase fixates on this episode so much. So, in other words, this episode doesn’t promise anything in particular because it never intended to in the first place, and while the mysterious sea creatures seem to have a somewhat skewed view of morality and consent, technically speaking, they did back off, acknowledge Hikari’s protest in the end, and go “okay, your loss” before leaving.
Any idea of hostility between Daisuke and Takeru over Hikari is seriously overblown (in any direction)
Given that the thing about Daisuke being jealous of Takeru for his relationship with Hikari tends to show up in a lot of his media profiles, and given that the concept of a “love rivalry” is common in shows like this, one who watches 02 now may be surprised to see how much of a relative non-issue it is in terms of the actual series. (This one’s definitely partially due to the influence of the American English dub, which not only severely dialed up the hostility between all parties but also dragged it out much longer than the Japanese version ever had it last, but the fact it’s so prominently advertised means that even Japanese material like V-Tamer has overplayed this part of Daisuke a bit too much.) Daisuke is about as “hostile” to Takeru as a clingy and angry puppy would get, and that’s only in the very beginning of 02.
Daisuke never showed hostility towards Takeru whenever Hikari wasn’t an issue in play and was capable of holding perfectly normal conversations with him, and 02 episode 7 -- one of his peak episodes of being shallow about it -- involved him letting up on his initial accusations of Takeru once he realized he’d stepped over the line. On top of that, 02 episode 11 features him actively agonizing over the fact that he hadn’t understood Takeru’s feelings properly, and the earlier points in the episode where the two get in vicious fights are about the issue of whether it’s okay to kill one of their partners, which is kind of...a very serious issue!! Afterwards, 02 episode 17 is the last episode Daisuke ever makes a direct accusation of Takeru for supposedly being romantically involved with Hikari (notably, it’s the same episode where Daisuke gets proper context for the two’s shared past in Adventure), and Daisuke’s future moping about the issue not only has him let up on Takeru himself entirely, but also have more of an angle that he’s more worried about being third wheeled (most prominent in 02 episode 30). The last time Daisuke ever touches on the issue regarding the two of them is a very brief and almost completely unnoticeable moment from 02 episode 31, and it’s never brought up again after that.
Takeru, on his part, basically had an “okay, you have fun with that” attitude from day one (exemplified best in 02 episode 7, where that’s basically his attitude for nearly the entire episode). By the time of the Kizuna drama CD, Daisuke pretty openly gushes about the idea of getting to hang out with Hikari-chan multiple times in front of him -- and Takeru has absolutely nothing to say to that.
Takeru’s “dark side” in 02 episode 19 has precedent from Adventure and in other parts of 02
Every so often, you hear talk about how Takeru’s turn in 02 where he suddenly gained some kind of “dark side” is a disturbing swerve from the “innocent crybaby” he was back in Adventure, but saying something like that is basically describing a version of Takeru that never existed in the first place -- Takeru was not an “innocent crybaby” in Adventure, and a lot of the seeds for his darker turns of behavior in 02 were planted in Adventure to begin with. Takeru was someone who actively refused to come off that way and tried to keep himself together -- he was deliberately written this way to subvert stereotypes about his character archetype -- and there were already many signs he was suppressing all of his less pleasant feelings in order to maintain a facade of handling it fine. A lot of that “dishonesty” was there from the beginning, and even his tendency to lose control of his emotions and snap when something hits him a bit too personally could be seen even in Adventure episodes like 22 and 33.
Takeru’s problems with emotional repression remained largely unresolved by the end of Adventure (mainly because 02 was already greenlighted by the time Adventure ended), so for all intents and purposes, Takeru’s outbursts and dishonest tendencies are really just the natural byproduct of his existing penchant for that in Adventure remaining unaddressed for three years.
It’s also reductive to claim that Takeru’s outburst in 02 episode 19 is exclusively restricted to some kind of “dark/evil mode” like simply flipping a switch, instead of a byproduct of his continuously poor emotional control -- after all, Iori agonizes about his difficulty understanding Takeru’s occasional duality in 02 episode 34. 02 episode 19 happens to be the most extreme manifestation of this, but you can also see him suddenly having nasty outbursts in 02 episodes 11, 13, 34, and the like -- and you can even see traces of Takeru having more “unpleasant” thoughts under his all-smiles exterior at times, such as when he quietly makes a scathing accusation of Ken under his breath during 02 episode 27 (saying that Ken might be doing all of these good things just for self-satisfaction). Takeru having sudden emotional outbursts is basically a byproduct of his poor coping methods and tendency to suppress his feelings -- like how we find out in 02 episode 49 that Takeru had been pushing down way more negativity about his broken family than he’d ever been willing to admit.
There’s no evidence Osamu sacrificed his life for Ken’s
Whenever you have some kind of plotline like Osamu and Ken’s in which someone feels guilt over the death of a sibling and tries to take their place, it often comes with a part of the story where the reason the death happened in the first place was some kind of sacrifice. So it’s probably natural to think that the car accident that killed Osamu involved Osamu pushing Ken out of the way or something, which would fit perfectly within the narrative of Ken feeling guilty for “causing” Osamu’s death, but...there’s no evidence of this in 02 itself.
In real life, it’s actually pretty difficult to dramatically push someone out of the way of a car in a way that leaves the would-be victim unharmed but kills the other (at least, speaking from a sheer physics perspective), so perhaps they didn’t have this happen just because it might be a bit too detached from reality relative to the level 02 wanted to maintain. Whatever the reason is, the flashback from 02 episode 21 only shows Ken standing to the side at the exact same time his mother also starts screaming, so it’s also possible Ken wasn’t even near the site of the accident and only rushed to it with his mother after the fact.
Personally, I think it’s actually rather unlikely Osamu sacrificed himself for Ken in such a way, because if such a thing had happened, you’d think Ken would bring it up while he was in the mood to blame himself for Osamu’s death -- but the only part he mentions is the significantly bigger logical leap of his thoughtless wish for Osamu to disappear resulting in the monkey’s paw result of his death. If Osamu did, somehow, manage to sacrifice himself for Ken in this manner, it would have had to happen in a way Ken wasn’t aware of it. It also significantly enhances the drama in a different way if Ken doesn’t know what Osamu was thinking or how he felt about him when he died, because it means Osamu’s true feelings on the situation remain ambiguous, and Ken is forced to figure out how to move on without ever truly knowing if Osamu had a grudge against or “forgave” him.
We don’t have a lot of evidence about what exact relationship was going on between Taichi, Yamato, and Sora
Spicy love triangle plotlines were certainly all the rage back in 2000, but when you look at the actual conversation that went on between Taichi and Sora in 02 episode 38, you might be surprised at how much we do not learn during the relevant exchange. This one’s definitely got some American English dub influence due to that version explicitly having Tai ask Sora out and her expliclity reject him in favor of Matt, but the original Japanese version has a ton of room for leeway -- it’s just Taichi maturely encouraging Sora to go ahead and deliver her presumably-homemade whatever to Yamato. No more, no less! In fact, the only reason we know this scene ultimately resulted in Sora confessing to Yamato at all is because of the hesitant air and mystique around it, combined with subsequent episodes implying that some kind of relationship started there, and even then Seki herself had to confirm in a later magazine article that this was the exact point their relationship started because of how vague this was.
So what was Taichi’s stake in this situation? The common understanding is that Taichi had feelings for Sora, but maturely figured out during this moment that Sora was more interested in Yamato and let her go. And, given the very long pause before Taichi sends her off, and Agumon commenting that Taichi handled this “maturely”, plus a later scene in 02 episode 48 that subtly implies Koushirou had potential concerns about leaving Taichi alone with Sora, it’s probable that this was the intent to subtly convey...but at the same time, we also don’t have solid evidence of anything beyond “Taichi seems to have an unusual emotional stake in this issue”. Was Taichi simply concerned about being third wheeled? Did he and Sora have a relationship in the past and break up because it didn’t work out? If Taichi did have a thing for Sora, does he even know it consciously or are they even fully solidified feelings, or are they simply vague and not worth acting on anyway? Are we even sure Sora’s the one Taichi was pining after? All of the above are reasonable interpretations, and even Kizuna having Taichi give a “wow, thanks for rubbing your relationship in my face” sort of reaction to the two of them doesn’t verify or deny any of them.
Sure, Our War Game! had a sort of "tsundere spat" plotline that's often associated with romantic stuff (and to be blunt about it, it's very in line with the kind of stock romantic plots common to Hosoda work), but nevertheless just because it seems to vaguely hit those plot beats doesn't necessarily mean that was somehow confirmation that there was anything romantic going on between the two -- and the idea that Taichi ever Freudian-slipped the word “love” into his document is also dub-induced; in the original Japanese version, his elbow just happened to knock against the key, which isn’t exactly compelling evidence of how much Taichi was allegedly holding a torch for Sora or something.
The Digimon were not a secret to the world by the time of 02
This one’s another one I already wrote a full meta about, but the events of Adventure weren’t just swept under the rug -- as per Gennai in 02 episode 39, it’s not like people just forgot the whole giant monster incident from 1999! Gennai and the other Agents were quietly wiping out organized research info on the Digimon to hamper potential misuse, but given that Natsuko (02 episode 38) and Haruhiko (02 episode 33) and presumably many others were doing independent research, and the international Chosen Children met over the course of the story had perfect clarity remembering the initial encounter incidents they saw, it was only a matter of time before everyone came to understand what was going on.
As much as it’s common for “secret life masquerade” hero stories to try to sweep things under the rug as much as possible, by the time of 02, the concept of that masquerade had already been crumbling fast.
Chikara didn’t forbid Hiroki and Yukio from being friends
For a long time, I thought it might have been just me who filled in the detail that Chikara apparently forbade Hiroki and Yukio from meeting, but recently I learned that others vouch for having accidentally thought that. It’s not in the Japanese version nor in the American English dub, so it seems to have been pure Mandela effect, likely because going as far as that kind of extreme often would show up in this kind of fiction. But no, there’s no evidence that Chikara blamed Yukio for being a bad influence on his son or anything; he was simply concerned about the boys’ grip on reality in talking about the Digital World and forbade them from talking about it (in his presence, at least). The visuals also imply he may have stopped them from playing video games together or using Hiroki’s game console, but definitely not their friendship entirely.
In fact, the rest of the dialogue makes it clear Chikara was fully aware he wasn’t able to completely cut off the two having dreams about the Digital World, and that the two were still close friends all the way into adulthood, so there’s no reason to believe Chikara had any issue with Oikawa or blamed him for anything.
Oikawa wasn’t necessarily a “Chosen Child” prior to the events of 02
As per the aforementioned Adventure episode 45, Homeostasis got the idea that humans could help Digimon evolve from the Hikarigaoka incident in 1995, and they and the Agents made the Digivices in response -- meaning you can’t have Chosen Children before 1995. (This is reinforced in the Adventure novels in explicit words.) But Yukio and Hiroki definitely met the Digimon before 1995 -- so what happened here?
Well, the interesting thing is, while Pipimon self-identifies as “Yukio’s partner” during 02′s finale, Oikawa never says that he evolved Pipimon or necessarily had a partner relationship with Pipimon back when they first met -- just that they met back then. It’s possible that they did have some kind of partner relationship, but it wouldn’t have been at a time or method that Homeostasis would have recognized; thus, since the Digivices weren’t invented yet, nor was this system figured out, Yukio can’t really be said to have been a “Chosen Child” at the time in the absence of anyone like Homeostasis or the Holy Beasts to have chosen him.
Some stuff the epilogue did not actually say
I had another full meta about this, but in short: a timeskip epilogue like this might, by normal storytelling logic, be supposed to be emblematic of the happily-ever-after and the end of their lives, but the epilogue leaves a surprising amount of leeway for certain things beyond the level you’d normally expect. This is especially because the epilogue hits this year specifically because it’s the exact year the global population will have Digimon partners. That means:
They don’t give the numerical year in said epilogue, only “25 years later”, and it’s allegedly supposed to be 2028, not 2027.
There’s no evidence that the epilogue shown is the end-all of their lives, simply just a single day in their lives 25 years later. That also means that nothing excludes the idea of changes in the respective family/children situation (i.e. more kids are possible in the future), nor even career changes (Mimi, whose existing career is already about open-mindedness to trying new things, may well decide she’s interested in something else in a few years).
Other than Yamato/Sora (which got more explicit verbal confirmation by Seki due to how subtle it is) and Ken/Miyako, no other ships are confirmed or deconfirmed, other than Takeru and Hikari explicitly being confirmed as not being married in the aforementioned interview. The idea of anyone else in this group having dated each other at some point is also never denied.
It is completely possible that there were simply others who couldn’t make it to the meeting that day, like spouses, other kids, or even any other friends they’d made over the years.
Yamato is said to be the first astronaut “with a Digimon partner”, meaning that the protocol change to allow Gabumon is considered more important than any other accomplishments of what specific planet he’s visiting. (Well, considering they broke the laws of spatial physics all the way back in 02 itself...)
It is not said that Sora inherited her mother’s position, and it’s also not said that she didn’t inherit her mother’s position (and speaking purely from a pragmatic perspective, even if she wanted to, unless Toshiko is in seriously poor health by this point, she likely wouldn’t be able to). We do get “flower branches” in her shot that imply she hasn’t detached herself from the family business entirely, but the career depicted is definitively distinct from the one her family expected her to take.
There’s no indication Takeru’s novels have ever actually sold well or been bestsellers (of course, we’d hope they sell as well as Digimon Adventure and 02 did in real life, but there’s no indication of it) -- the point driven home is that Takeru’s writing these at all.
Koushirou’s title is “researcher”, and computer programming is never mentioned -- note that he also asks his daughter to pick up samples, presumably biological ones (or at least as close as you can get to biological in the Digital World).
A bit of a reverse one: it’s often said that Ken’s profession had a “dub change” in that they called him a police officer in Japanese but a detective in English, but this isn’t actually the case -- it has to do with the classification of public detectives in Japan, who are legally under the umbrella of the police department. The fact he’s in plainclothes is a giveaway already, but the Character Complete File confirms that his job is currently in investigating murders and stuff.
That said, Ken is not said to be the first member of the special ops department, just a member of it. The “first (whatever)” titles are noticeably absent with the 02 group and specifically more pertinent to their seniors, which is in line with the fact that the 02 group has somewhat less “far-reaching” goals than their seniors and are satisfied with that comparatively lower amount of ambition.
The word “housewife” is never used in relation to Miyako, and although she’s visually depicted at home, it’s ambiguous whether she’s actually staying at home mainly because of maternity leave from the obviously newborn baby, or whether she genuinely is stay-at-home. According to the Character Complete File, she’s not on the payroll for anything at the moment but plans to return to work once the baby is a little older, so it’s not that she doesn’t plan to work, it’s just that she has her family as her first priority.
No concrete statements are made about anyone’s living situations and whether anyone lives with their partners or takes them to work, and moreover, the oblique wording “a partner exists for everyone in the world” is used, allowing for cases of someone still not having met their partner yet or having some other circumstances instead of necessitating that everyone’s carrying a partner everywhere (or, retroactively, Kizuna’s premise).
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