WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 43 of Digimon Adventure 2020, "Clash, the King of Digimon," now streaming on Crunchyroll.
From Pegasusmon to BlitzGreymon, the Digmon reboot series has been exciting viewers with its evolutionary surprises throughout its run. This hasn't stopped during the show's current spate of character-building episodes, wherein the Chosen Ones' traveling time has been taken up with various side quests, many of which split the party into temporary subgroups to allow for individualized growth. Mimi and Palmon are the latest to get this spotlight in Episode 43, which not only brings back a franchise favorite in Etemon (sans Elvis Presley voice, unfortunately), but also reintroduces Palmon's Armor Evolution, Ponchomon.
In Digimon lore, Armor Evolutions were once used in place of the regular Digivolutions we know now. They required special items known as Digi-Eggs to achieve; however, as was the case with Patamon's transformation into Pegasusmon, the current Digimon Adventure series has dispensed with this prerequisite. Instead, Armor Evolutions have become closer to simple side evolutions, brought about by certain conditions. The condition that enables Palmon to become Ponchomon in "Clash, the King of Digimon" is an audio-charged grudge match between Etemon and his rival, the cyborg volcano, Volcamon.
Feeling the pressure of the Digital World's Darwinian system of survival, both Etemon and Volcamon trained hard to become stronger. Now, they're after a title to immortalize their achievements: King of Digimon. The sonic disruptions each of their displays cause plays havoc with the gang's Digimon when they arrive on the scene -- from Agumon being unable to hold his fire breath back, to, most disturbingly, Gabumon disappearing entirely with only his pelt left behind. Eventually, Palmon feels compelled to throw her hat in the ring, unlocking her own musical form for the first time in the reboot.
Though there's no discernable Digi-Egg to speak of, Patamon, the other ingredient in the evolution, does appear to still be involved in it -- glowing in time with Palmon's transformation. According to the Digimon Reference Book, Ponchomon's cheery (and likely culturally insensitive) demeanor takes the ghostly quality of Togemon to another level: "It is rumored that when Togemon dies... it will become Ponchomon." Digimon that can't match its complex Latin rhythm, meanwhile, will find themselves on its bad side, as Etemon and Volcamon do in the latest episode. A few rounds of Ponchomon's intoxicating Tequila Knuckle are enough to knock out the pair of would-be kings, as well as perhaps raise questions in more fearful parents about the age-appropriateness of the anime. Not as much as those horrifying rows of teeth should, though...
With still a third of its season left to go, there's a good chance we'll see even more old and new forms making their debut in Digimon Adventure 2020.