Digimon Adventure S02E20

15 min read

Transcendent Evolution! Gold Magmamon (JP)
The Darkness Before Dawn (EN)

Original Writer: Reiko Yoshida
Dub Writers: Jeff Nimoy & Bob Buchholz

Original Airdates:
August 20, 2000 (JP)
November 18, 2000 (EN)

While trying to infiltrate the base, Cody spots an oil pipeline, sending this information to Izzy, who hatches a plan. Agumon, Gabumon, and Tentomon head to the pipeline and open a valve, causing the oil to shoot upwards toward the floating base. They use their attacks to set it on fire, causing the whole base to catch flame. Somehow, this grants the team access to the base. Once inside, they face a horde of Bakemon, and eventually Kimeramon.

The mutant Digimon’s attacks are so powerful, that even when missing, the blowback was powerful enough to send the Armor Digimon flying, eventually reverting them to their In-Training forms (aside from Patamon and Gatomon). Ken sees this, and his conscience catches up to him briefly, causing him to order Kimeramon to stop his attack. Not wanting to call it quits yet, Davis uses the opening to reach the engine room, and with Wormmon’s help, he locates the base’s power source. When Davis approaches it, the power source starts to shine, revealing itself to be a Digi-Egg (the evolutionary kind, not the omelet kind). With it, Veemon Armor Digivolves to Magnamon.

Side Note

In the Japanese version, the episode opens in complete silence, just the image of a small town burning. Then it cuts to Chimairamon with a loud screech, and the dramatic music starts. In the dub, they open with the dramatic music they usually use and everything plays out like normal.

In the original, Chimairamon is silent. Kimeramon in the dub, however, shouts “Heat Viper!” when he attacks.

A thirteen-second cut of Chimairamon vaporizing a group of Digimon, then flying over a purple cloud of destruction.

Then about four seconds of the ship creating control spires was cut. Honestly not sure if this was done for time, or if this was a post-9/11 cut, or what.

Then they cut about a couple of seconds of Ken watching the destruction from his monitor room.

Rather than allowing Ken’s monitor to play the scene we’ve already watched of Kimeramon attacking the village, it’s replaced with him watching an image of his own ship, zoomed in so the flames and Control Spires are harder to see.

If you look closely at the dub version, you can see some distortion at the tips of his hairdo. The dub froze his entire head in place and let his body move, whereas in the original, his head moved as he spoke. It just looks odd.

This scene is cut from the dub, causing the show to go straight to commercial break after Wormmon’s internal monologue. It’s not much more than a second long.

In the original, the kids talk about how heartless the Emperor is, attacking with no provocation. In the dub, Kari makes a point to say that those poor Digimon don’t “have a home anymore,” implying he’s just destroying buildings.

Reminds me of when Power Rangers called an area the “abandoned warehouse district” to make it seem like no one had died during a monster attack. XD

It’s also worth noting that in the original, the Digimon partners are more shaken by what Ken is doing, with Lighdramon calling him “terrifying” and the others commenting on the brutality. In the dub, they act a bit more aggressive, wanting to get their hands on him, etc.


Iori: He wont’ stop until he has destroyed everything, will he?
Miyako: No…
Cody: It’s like he wants to burn every square inch of the Digital World!
Yolei: Bite your tongue!
Tentomon: That can’t taste very good!

Damn I hate these bad jokes, but damn I love Jeff Nimoy’s Tentomon.


In general, a lot of the dialogue is kinda toned down from what it was in the original. Despair is toned down to mild aggravation, anger is toned down to determination… just overall the mood from the music to the dialogue is more muted in the dub.


In the original (man I start a lot of paragraphs with that phrase), Iori has a moment of brilliance (and absurdly good eyesight) that starts with quiet contemplation and is pretty impressive. In the dub, Tentomon makes a bad joke, Cody says that Tentomon’s joke gave him an idea, and Tentomon makes another bad joke as an apology.

Side Note

I love how both versions point out that Chimairamon/Kimeramon has MetalGreymon’s hair, like that’s some important detail, key to the Emperor’s design for maximum destructive power.

I mean it might be, but that hasn’t been addressed so far, and it just seems like a really random detail to be fixated on.


Both versions say that Hikari sent back photos of Chimairamon for the older kids to look at. I wanna know how she got him to pose in front of a green screen.

Yamato: That Digimon Kaiser… is he trying to play god?!
Matt: And the Digimon Emperor built this?! Couldn’t he have stayed with model airplanes like the rest of us?

Compared to Koushiro, Izzy has terrible eyesight, apparently.

Koushiro: Pipeline… oil… that’s it!
Taichi: You thought of something?
Koushiro: If it works, we might be able to stop the moving fortress.
Izzy: An oil pipeline… pipeline… I’ve got it!
Tai: You’ve figured out how to stop him?
Izzy: Actually no, but I needed an eight-letter word for my crossword puzzle!

The smartest DigiDestined in the world, everyone!

Side Note

The dub is so in-your-face about trying to make Kimeramon scary (the music, making him roar, the other characters’ reactions) that it actually has the opposite effect. The original used little to no music, low sound effects, and other efforts to make the situation more nerve-wracking and succeeds. Unless that’s the dub’s intent – using over the top methods to reduce how frightening the situation is.


Ken: These flames…! Hurry up and put them out!
Ken: Where did these flames come from?! Hurry up and get the fire extinguisher!

…good luck with that, Wormmon.

silence
Agumon: Very efficient, Gabumon!
Gabumon: Thanks, Agumon! You were pretty hot yourself!
Tentomon: What am I, invisible? So sue me, I don’t have dragon’s breath. Let’s see you guys try flying!

Side Note

The fire seems to go out quickly on its own. I guess Izzy’s plan was to distract Ken long enough for the team to get access to the base, though with the flames out already, I’m not sure how that worked. Seems like it’d just put him on higher alert going forward.


Also, real considerate of Ken to have such a handy, unguarded, doorless opening into his base in a world full of creatures that can fly.

Daisuke: I’m the first!
Takeru: He’s perfect for leading the charge, huh?
Miyako: He’s so silly.
Davis: Am I great or what?!
TK: If he keeps telling himself that, he might start to believe it!
Yolei: At least someone will.

It’s not just Davis himself who makes his character so bad compared to his original counterpart. The way everyone else treats him plays into it as well. At least in the original, Daisuke and Takeru have a sort of… mutual respect that seemed to start during the MetalGreymon incident.


Agumon, Gabumon, and Tentomon reluctantly leave the rest in the hands of the Zero-Two kids in the original version. In the dub, they hit the sushi bar.


Taichi: It’s going to be a sleepless night. For us, for Daisuke and the rest, and for the Digimon Kaiser…
Tai: We better get ready for a long night. I don’t think any of us are going to sleep. I bet the Digimon Emperor won’t. I bet Davis and the others won’t sleep either.
Davis: *yawn* I’m exhausted, let’s stop and sleep!

It isn’t just the bad joke they added here. Tai’s line is clunky, broken up weirdly, and doesn’t sound natural at all.

Though I also think it’s odd that in both versions, Taichi refers to them as “Daisuke/Davis and the others.” I’d expect most big brothers to say their sibling’s name over the kid they sometimes play soccer with.


silence as the group stares in awe at what’s in front of them
TK: ItLooksLikeSomethingOutOfAScienceFictionMovie!
Davis: Yeah, and I’m the hotshot pilot who rescues Princess Kari from the bad space guys!
Kari: He said “science fiction,” not “complete fantasy.”
Yolei: Boy, I bet he gets great reception with that TV antenna! And he must get all the underground stations with that one!

Side Note

Break Up! starts to play when the Bakemon appear, and the group begins the battle against them. The song abruptly ends to herald the appearance of Chimairamon. In the dub, nothing special happens in either case.


And in a surprising turn of events, the dub got every attack name right, including Mane Wind for Pegasusmon and Queen Paw for Nefertimon. The former I think has never been named in the dub before, and the latter is always called Rosetta Stone erroneously.

Iori: This looks like a hangar.
Daisuke: It’s as big as a soccer field.
Davis: Wow, this place is huge! I bet you Ken plays soccer in here!
Kari: With who? He doesn’t have any friends!

Side Note

Such strange choices. When the Digimon set off to fight the new swarm of Bakemon and Kimeramon, the dub starts playing Going Digital. The original chose to play Break Up! during the previous fight because it was a smaller battle leading up to the big one. Playing Going Digital during the fight with Kimeramon is just a weird choice because it lightens the mood way too much. At least they drop the song when Kimeramon attacks.


In the original (and subsequently the dub), the animations from fighting Bakemon earlier are reused. Cheap.

Amusingly, in the dub only, Digmon has a nasal voice when his face drill is gone.


(Wormmon tells Ken that Kimeramon’s attacks will destroy their base)
Ken: I know!
Ken: I don’t care!


The dub Digimon are a bit more… sarcastic when they revert to their younger forms.


When Ken first sees the In-Training Digimon, he suddenly remembers having seen them in the human world at the soccer game where he first met the DigiDestined. In the original, he seems shocked to realize that they have bodies, and are therefore are somehow alive. In the dub, Wormmon likens them to human babies, something he says he’s never thought of before.

Side Note

When Daisuke flashes back to Chimairamon’s earlier rampage on the village, a soft version of Target (the 02 theme song) plays in the background.

The same images from before of the Digimon being vaporized were censored and cut from Davis’ flashback with a flash impact screen.

Davis’ speech is very similar to Daisuke’s, but it almost seems to fall flat a bit. This is just my opinion, but all of Davis’ previous characterization (an idiot, cowardly, self-absorbed, etc.) clashes hard with this very selfless speech he’s giving. It’s distinctly odd to hear because it is a complete 180 in terms of the character, like we’re listening to a script from a completely different TV show stitched into this one. The dub gives zero build-up to this moment so it really feels like it comes from out of nowhere. Even the rest of the kids’ reaction to his speech implies this, with Kari saying he’d “take credit for inventing the wheel,” if given the opportunity.

This is at the core for my criticism of this dub, and why I’ve consistently believed it to be the worst Digimon dub we’ve gotten to date. Sure, bad jokes were common in Frontier’s and Fusion’s dubs, but never have I seen recharacterization to this degree in an anime dub. (Bear in mind I have not seen every anime sub and dub in existence, so my experience may be limited, but I certainly have not seen this level of butchering in Digimon elsewhere.)

Side Note

Devimon’s laugh is creepier (and more digitized) in the original, but more manic in the dub. So it balances out.

Takeru recognizes Devimon’s laughter in the original, but fails to in the dub.

The scene of Ken’s face overlaid with a shifting waving pattern was reused in the dub after the commercial break, presumably to help make up for the numerous cuts in the beginning of the episode.

Daisuke: That’s the power room.
Davis: Next time, you climb, and I’ll sit on your head!


Here’s a weird one. In the original, Wormmon tells Daisuke he wants to help “destroy Chaimairamon” so Ken doesn’t reach a place of no return. In the dub, he says he wants to help “destroy this place” to bring Ken back. And somehow, the dub dialogue makes more sense. Daisuke is obviously attempting to destroy the base, so why does Wormmon think that will destroy Chimairamon?

Side Note

The original uses a new, dramatic song when the power source begins to glow. The dub uses the orchestral Digimon Are the Champions song, usually reserved for first-time evolutions in the original series.

Daisuke: Is this my Digimental?
Davis: Oh man, it looks like a golden Digi-Egg!

Pictured: Nothing even remotely resembling an egg of any kind.

Daisuke continues to say “Digimental Up!” but Davis shouts “Golden Armor Energize!”

Magnamon is retained. Armor Digimon have, so far, always had a tagline they say when they evolve. Magnamon’s is “Radiance of Miracles” in the original, but the dub omits this entirely.

Side Note

The original continues the special music they’ve been playing through V-Mon’s evolution. The dub uses the normal Digivolution music which is so jarring. I mean, at least they did something, but wouldn’t it have made more sense to use the orchestral version instead? I just… I don’t get the choices here.

Final Result

Not going to say I’m surprised – the more critical and deep the original, the worse the dub feels by comparison. Primary issues were inconsistent characterization (brought on by the dub changing characters so drastically that the footage would naturally be at odds), constant cuts and censors, and misuse of music.

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