‘Legendary’ Digimon Debut in Adventure 2020’s Kaiju Grudge Match

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 44 of Digimon Adventure 2020, "Hikari and the Moving Forest," now streaming on Crunchyroll.

With Godzilla Vs. King Kong still tearing up the box office, kaiju brawls are back at the forefront of pop culture discussion again. But the MonsterVerse notwithstanding, Digimon Adventure 2020's latest Digimon slug-fest would probably still remind viewers of this genre of giant monster battles. Episode 44 continues the reboot series' current trend of singling out a member of the Chosen Ones for a particular mission. This time, it's Tai's little sister's turn, and in classic Toho tradition, the young girl forms a strange attachment to the ginormous "Legendary" Digimon (Petaldramon) the group stumbles across... or stumbles on top of, that should be.

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The DigiDestined are, by now, no strangers to abnormally large Digimon -- or even Digimon disguised as landmasses, such as ElDradimon. The very Digimon they've been using to traverse the Continent towards FAGA, Komondomon, is probably already the size of a small building, but to discover that the forest they camp in during "Hikari and the Moving Forest" is, in fact, an even bigger Digimon certainly calls into question just how much of the Digital World is actually slumbering, ancient beasts. While living among Petaldramon's flora, they find out the creature is under attack by what appears to be a crossbreed of spiders and soot sprites. Luckily, it also possesses a floral healing ability to patch itself up, but these assaults are merely the prelude to an epic showdown -- a historic rival, apparently, much like the MonsterVerse's Titan Alpha lore.

Petaldramon's "Legendary" status might not be an official classification; in fact, it may just be an alternate translation for Digimon Frontier's Ancient Digimon. It's also possibly a reference to the Ten Legendary Warriors -- fusion, Mega-level Digimon that represented various natural elements and were heroes of the Ancient Digital World. The Digimon Reference Book further reveals that Petaldramon (a hybrid Digimon itself) holds dominion over wood and shares the might of AncientTroimon, a Warrior clearly based on the Trojan Horse from ancient Greek mythology, which was also famously constructed from wood. AncientTroimon is the common ancestor all plant-based Digimon share, which explains why, in the latest episode of Adventure 2020, Palmon is particularly creeped out by Petaldramon's forest-killing aggressor: Entmon.

Entmon's name takes inspiration from J.R.R Tolkein's fantasy race of tree-herders, but it's far less docile. In fact, its inception has more to do with creating a "SkullGreymon-like Digimon of the forest" than its etymological forebear. Entmon is responsible for the plague of spidery mites sucking the nourishment from Petaldramon's living forest, and its entire -- and equally sizeable -- body is a festering heap of rot and mold. It doesn't take long for the two natural enemies, which clearly embody life and death, to physically clash. For Godzilla fans, it's a battle that might be reminiscent of the kaiju king's tussle with the hybrid plant monster, Biollante, except with a clearer hero/villain segregation. The DigiDestined do their best to aid Petaldramon but, in the end, Entmon's tusks skewer the Legendary Digimon, trapping them both.

Using her Heaven's Charm (also known as Saint Air), Angewomon blesses the waning Petaldramon, whose sleep-inducing moss spores seem to go into overdrive. Though it does die, its forest envelops both it and Entmon, turning them into a strange, grassy mound to become part of the living landscape. It's a predictable turn of events for a Digimon that is one big, Miyazaki-esque environmental metaphor, but still makes for a nice change of pace to a standard Digimon battle. With the preview for Episode 45 promising the introduction of MetalGarurumon (at last), fans can expect a return to business as usual next week.

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