Denemon appearing did lighten things up, and I was amused by the two instances they referenced Hyper Mario without having to deal with rights and copyright issues. Denemon being hunted down by Leviathan through various “accidents” sound horrifying. That must have tested his positive and loud demeanor. I’m unsure from his explanation if his avatar is actually him or a digital clone. That’s an existential question, though his immunity to age and disease makes him go even more yippee-ya-yay than he already is! Gatchmon and Dokamon rejecting their Buddies is sad but Musimon and Hackmon’s changed attitudes were amusing. I almost kind of hoped Rei and/or Hackmon would acknowledge it by the end. I was interested in the speculation of why the Appli Drivers were chosen by Minerva, maybe with questions that tested how strong their emotions were for doing good. I also enjoyed the joke the Appli Drivers didn’t know what a phone booth was. I don’t know how how accurate their ignorance of phone booths is, but it seemed like an amusing callback and contrast to Adventure with how much the times have changed.
I was bemused when Knight as Cloud expressed confusion for why Leviathan spared Yuujin, before he does another evil laugh. Does being Cloud make him add an evil laugh to the end of each sentence, no matter if he’s happy or sad or frustrated? Now I’m picturing him as Cloud struggling with a computer going BSOD, crying, “Damn these computers! How dare these incompetent IT managers insult Leviathan with substandard software! HEHEHEHEHEHE!” That would be very amusing if true.
I did like how the others related to each other as they struggled and encouraged one another up the mountain, how Rei was basically the tough but encouraging parent, how Astra cheered Haru and Eri up (Eri showing barely any annoyance in Astra anymore and actually going along with his catchphrase), Eri smiling encouragingly as she gave Haru a hand up, and how Haru notes each positive element of his friends, as well as his insistence to not give up when the phone booth gets slid off by an avalanche. It showed how much they grew and their bonds strengthened, and that was the answer to get their Appli Drive Duo, being emotionally strengthened and being able to act on their own without relying on their Buddies too much.
I was surprised none of them thought the struggle and ice monster were a test by Minerva. Though I could see why they might think Leviathan is responsible, since they were just told the AI tried to murder Denemon every step of his life and so might be watching his defeated enemies to make sure they didn’t get back up. I did enjoy the designs of the new Buddy Appmon chips and what they said for Inserting their energy, each of which signaled something about their. Yes, even Haru. I think the “boku” might show even if he’s more confident, he’s still modest. The reunions with the Buddy Appmon ranged from sweet, with Astra and Musimon high-fiving each other and Gatchmon affectionately pinching Haru’s cheek, to amusing, with a insulted Eri ignoring a bemused Dokamon and Rei and Hackmon just turning away from each other. Of course, Cloud/Knight had to ruin the moment by dramatically projecting himself into the sky and reminding them their prince – I mean, teammate – is still being held hostage before leaving with another of his meme laughs. What a teenager!
Next episode seems to be about some of those offed enemy Appmon being resurrected as ghosts(?) while the Appli Drivers go through a haunted house that involves horrors like zombie duplicates of the “No!” guy? Interesting…