Digimon Adventure S02E23

10 min read

When a Digivice is Tainted by Darkness (JP)
Genesis of Evil (EN)

Original Writer: Genki Yoshimura
Dub Writers: Jeff Nimoy & Bob Buchholz

Original Airdates:
September 10, 2000 (JP)
December 2, 2000 (EN)

Now back in the real world, Ken has fallen into what can only be described as a coma, given his parents’ wish for him to finally wake up. Why he isn’t in a hospital is anyone’s guess, though. Inside Ken’s mind, however, he knows he’s asleep, but refuses to wake until he finds his heart.

He begins to dream about the past, when his older brother Sam, who he idolized, was revealed to be a supergenius, not unlike Ken has been. But when they were young, Sam got all the attention from his parents because having a genius child made them stars among their peers. Ken’s feelings began to change, his love of his brother warping into jealousy and a wish he weren’t around.

One night, a Digivice appeared from the computer, the same model as used by Tai’s team of DigiDestined. Sam quickly put it in a drawer and ordered Ken not to touch it, but given that he was about three, he of course didn’t listen. Grabbing the device later, Ken is sucked into the computer where he meets Wormmon and Ryo Akiyama. Wormmon tells him the Digivice is Ken’s, not Sam’s or anyone else’s, and that he needs to be both kind and strong or others will take advantage of his kindness and turn him toward darkness. He is returned unharmed, but Sam walked in as it happened, slapping the Digivice from his hand and ordering him to get out. Hurt and angry, Ken wished that Sam would disappear.

Sam was killed by a car shortly after, and Ken immediately began blaming himself for wishing his brother was gone. Years later, he received a mysterious e-mail, absolving him of the guilt over his brother’s fate, and telling him to open the drawer and take the Digivice. He does, and is pulled into the computer once more, appearing in the Dark Ocean dimension. He lowers the Digivice into the water and it warps, transforming into the black D-3.

In the present, Ken’s parents begin to lament how they raised their children. They start to suspect that Ken took an interest in his studies and tried to be a genius so he could be loved as much as they loved Sam. They take it a step further and wonder if they messed up in raising Sam as well. Meanwhile, Ken remembers that Sam believed that there was one thing he could always do better: blow bubbles. Ken was better because he was gentle – Sam’s aggressive method popped the bubbles before they could fly away.

Ken wakes up, feeling no better. He recognizes but cannot place his parents because his heart is still missing. His search for his heart takes him to the Digital World and to Primary Village. He meets, and is berated by, several Fresh-level Digimon who in their previous lives were victims of the cruel Digimon Emperor. He promises to be stronger, and to accept both the good and bad in his life. His Crest of Kindness activates, leading him to Leafmon, Wormmon’s Fresh-level form. Reunited, he returns home to crying parents.

Side Note

Surprisingly, the kanji on and in the building remains intact in the dub.

silence
Mrs. Ichijouji: Ken, honey? It’s mom. I just want you to know that Dad and I are right outside your room. We’re not going anywhere, so when you wake up, we’ll be here.

This is, at least, a less egregious version of the dub’s need to add more dialogue in silent parts of the show. There aren’t any bad jokes, and the concern his parents have for Ken’s wellbeing isn’t played down for laughs or to spare the audience.


silence
Mr. Ichijouji: Don’t worry, he’s strong – just like his mother.

In case I didn’t mention it already, Ken’s brother Osamu is Sam in the dub.

Creepy neighbor lady: Osamu-chan is such a smart boy!
CNL2: I’m so envious of you!
CNL3: He’s nothing like our son!
CNL4: I wish my son became more like Osamu-chan!
CNL5: What did you do to make him such a smart boy?
CNL6: He’s got so many good traits from both of you!
CNL7: He’s such a genius!
Creepy neighbor lady: My cousin has a friend that knows someone that says your little Sam is the smartest boy in school!
CNL2: Can I get my picture taken with him?
CNL3: I have three daughters I’d like him to meet!
CNL4: Has he decided to be a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon?
CNL4: Where can I get his autobiography?!
CNL5: You and your husband are geniuses to have had him!
CNL6: Can I get a lock of his hair? I’d like to have him cloned!
CNL7: Will he sing at my wedding?

I’d have that look on my face too if I’d heard all that in either language. Sheesh.
Side Note

At this point, I’m used to grown men and women voicing these pre-teen and teenaged characters in Digimon. But having Derek Stephen Prince voice Ken when he was like 3 years old is just silly.

In the original, Ken narrates the events as they happen. In the dub, Sam gets lines, telling “Kenny-boy” not to touch the Digivice because it might be dangerous.


In Ken’s narration in Japanese, he says that he assumed the Digivice belonged to Osamu because he was the genius who had everything. He also mentions that when Sam picked it up and nothing happened, that he got a sad look on his face. The dub omits this.


When Osamu/Sam catches Ken with the Digivice, their reactions differ. In the original, he gets mad, and you can tell that anger stems from jealousy that the Digivice worked for Ken, but not Osamu. He orders Ken to get out of his room. In the dub, Sam says Ken broke his trust, and that if Ken had gotten hurt, Sam would have been blamed. Sam comes off as more reasonable, while Osamu is angry and very Digimon Emperor-like in his responses, further solidifying where that persona came from.


In the Japanese, the younger Ken narrates, echoing Osamu’s statement that he’s a bad person, and taking his mean comments to heart. In the dub, the present-day Ken narrates, saying he just wanted to play with the toy and that Sam took things too far. But he couldn’t go to his parents, because per them, Sam could do no wrong.

Side Note

The e-mail on screen and in the scene overlay stays in Japanese in the dub. Guess the digital painter was on vacation that week.

Your brother passing away was an unfortunate accident. It must have been very tragic for you, but don’t worry. Dying, your brother has gone to a better place. You don’t have to feel guilty at all. Your brother is physically gone, but released in the true sense because he gained eternal freedom of the mind. But you’ll have to keep living that boring, everyday life. In other words, it means the end of your freedom of mind. Poor you… I pity you. The final conclusion is that your current world isn’t for you. I’d like to say there’s a world that suits you better. A world that will completely free your mind. Open the drawer. Use that Digivice.
I am sorry for the loss of your brother. It must have been hard to take. But don’t worry, your brother is in a better place than this world – he’s finally at rest. But when his soul became free, yours became trapped. You bear the burden of both his destiny and your own. Now that your parents have lost their hopes for their “perfect child,” you will be expected to carry out the dreams that Sam can no longer fulfill. This world will become unbearable to you – the pressure to succeed will be too great. But let me tell you about another world that is much more appropriate. A world where your soul can finally be free – where you answer to no one but yourself. Open the drawer. Use Sam’s Digivice!


Dub Ken is under the impression that he was in the Digital World when he crossed through Sam’s computer. Nothing is said in the original to this effect, but the Digivice actually brought him to the same Dark Ocean dimension that Kari visited previously.

Side Note

Ken: Why is she crying? I don’t understand. When I get sad, I just go numb.

Ow. Just put me in the show next time.

Ken starts to have flashbacks to Wormmon. In the original, you see him speaking, but he isn’t voiced. In the dub, they add in his awful voice and it really hurts the scene.


Ken: Just like I don’t know who I am… how would I know which one is Wormmon’s DigiEgg?
Ken: I can’t remember! What did his egg look like?

Wait, when would you have seen his DigiEgg in the first place?


Punimon: What you did is something unforgivable. What is done cannot be undone.
Punimon: It’s too late for you now! You can’t turn back time. What’s done is done! You made your bed, now go lie in it! I’d go on, but I can’t think of any more clich├ęs!

I was wondering when the bad jokes would start creeping back in.


Though angry, the Fresh-level Digimon in the original teach Ken that he has to live with both the good and bad parts of who he is – the kind-hearted boy who wanted to be loved, and the sadistic emperor with (digital) blood on his hands. In the dub, he begs their forgiveness, but the Digimon don’t want to hear it.

Side Note

The kid Ken is travelling with is Ryo Akiyama, one of the four principal characters in the next series, Digimon Tamers. His backstory is… complicated. Essentially, he lived in the world of Digimon Adventure when he was recruited by Agumon to help save Matt and Tai, who were captured. Through a complicated series of events, he partnered with Monodramon, fought Millenniummon, and was offered the option to return to his home world, or live in a completely different one. For reasons that were never clarified, he opted for the latter, and he came to live in the world of Digimon Tamers. Most of this information was from a set of video games on the Wonderswan console in Japan only, meaning why he exists in both Zero-Two and Tamers is left unknown for international audiences.

Leafmon refers to himself as “the Baby form of Wormmon.” Baby 1 and Baby 2 are the Japanese terms for what was called in English the Fresh and In-Training forms. The media has, since this point, been very inconsistent with these terms, sometimes using Fresh, sometimes Baby, and sometimes In-Training for the first level of a Digimon.

Final Result

The most faithful episode yet.

There weren’t any cuts or censors from the episode, and while they avoid saying “die” all but one time (that one time being a Poyomon assuring Ken that Digimon don’t die), all the sentiment is there, and Sam and Wormmon’s deaths hang over Ken heavily in the episode. If more of the episodes had been like this one, Zero-Two would have been a fantastic series in English.

Maybe the reason it’s good is that Davis isn’t in it.

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