WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 56 of Digimon Adventure 2020, "The Gold Wolf of the Crescent Moon," now streaming on Crunchyroll.
Since BlitzGreymon's unexpected arrival in Digimon Adventure 2020, diehard Digimon devotees knew that the form's counterpart, CresGarurumon, could only be around the corner. While it took a considerable number of episodes to get there, "The Gold Wolf of the Crescent Moon" finally delivers on this unofficial promise -- and with dramatic flair.
Introduced in the Digimon video games, BlitzGreymon and CresGarurumon are alternate Mega evolutions in Agumon and Gabumon's respective lines, though the technical definition provided is "subspecies." Unlike Slide forms, which just add some extra firepower to a Digimon's arsenal, subspecies are entirely new evolutions, and therefore require the same amount of exertion on the part of both Digimon and human companion to bring about as any other full evolution. In Episode 56, CresGarurumon's anime debut is brought about when Gabumon and Yamato encounter a ghostly samurai Digimon in a forest, Zanbamon.
Like the Headless Horseman and nucklavee legends, Zanbamon -- an unholy fusion of horse and rider -- is characterized as being mystical in nature, only coming out at night to attack innocent travelers. It's the perfect opponent for Gabumon, whose fox-wolf form also takes inspiration from the lycanthropy myth as he evolves. But it's an even more perfect opponent to draw out CresGarurmon specifically, a bipedal beast with expert blade skills. In fact, Adventure 2020 ties this golden Garurumon form directly with Zanbamon's backstory, as Yamato and Gabumon learn that the villagers the demon rider has been plaguing have passed down a story through the generations of a golden hero wielding a Yellow Crescent Blade coming to their aid. Gabumon realizes he might be that very same warrior when he starts having dreams of battles he can't quite remember being at, featuring CresGarurumon's silhouette.
After both WereGarurumon and (recent arrival) MetalGreymon are unable to defeat Zanbamon, Yamato and the former seek the legendary Blade out, and, like pulling Excalibur from its stone, the weapon becomes a key part of the puzzle in unlocking Gabumon's hidden potential. The final push comes when the Blade is split in two during their final, desperate fight against the demonic samurai. Holding one half each, both Yamato and WereGarurumon stave off Zanbamon's attacks, and the heightened strength of their bond enables CresGarurumon to appear in the light of the eerie, red crescent moon.
The twilight setting, bamboo forest and decisive slice of CresGarurumon's Yellow Crescent Blade -- causing Zanbamon's head to slip off its body -- are, of course, a fittingly atmospheric tribute to the classic tropes of samurai cinema. While BlitzGreymon's arrival in Adventure 2020 was appropriate for the enemy the gang was fighting at the time, CresGarurumon's gothic ode to a key facet of Japanese history-turned-pop culture feels more thought-out and memorable. The series also now has the two components it needs for Omegamon Alter-S, meaning it's now firmly a case of when and not if an Omnimon upgrade happens.