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Recap / Digimon Adventure 02 E 23 When A Digivice Is Tainted By Darkness

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Note: This is an episode that needs to be watched to be fully appreciated, mainly due to the vocal talents of Romi Park (Japanese version) and her portrayaing both the multifaceted aspects of Ken and his brother Osamu/Sam.

Ken’s mother exits Ken’s room, with Ken not having recovered from his condition. Ken’s mother, while worried, believes that Ken will wake up someday...

Ken, while sleeping in his bed, mentally declares that he’s going to keep sleeping until he finds his heart. He wonders what happened to it, and recalls memories from childhood of blowing soap bubbles, and of his past...


We learn that when Ken was a young child, the one regarded as a genius was his older brother Osamu, who was always praised by the neighbors and by his family, while Ken was shafted aside. Ken, wondering if he would receive more attention if Osamu weren’t around, would entertain childish thoughts of wanting his brother to “disappear”.

One day, a Digivice had come out of the Osamu’s computer, which Ken believed belonged to Osamu. Osamu had stored the Digivice away in his drawer, but Ken, feeling drawn to the Digivice, took it out of the drawer out of curiosity on a day that Osamu was out and found himself entering Osamu’s computer. Osamu had arrived back to his room in time to see Ken emerging from his computer with the Digivice and, with an appearance that looks uncannily like Ken’s Kaiser persona, smacked the Digivice out of Ken’s hand, claimed the Digivice, and yelled at Ken for going through his drawer without his permission. A depressed young Ken reflected that his brother had everything when he didn’t and that he wished for his brother to disappear...


...only for Osamu to get hit and killed by a car shortly after.

Ken, blaming himself for Osamu’s death, broke apart. As if responding to his emotions, he soon after received a mysterious email on Osamu’s computer addressed specifically for Ken saying that his brother is in a better place, but that Ken will be doomed to live a boring everyday life in the real world unless he does something about it. Telling Ken that he needed to find a world that would suit him better, the email commanded him to use the Digivice in the drawer. Ken obliged and found himself at a mysterious dark ocean. There, he bathed his Digivice in the waters of the ocean, turning it into a D-3, and declared that the Digivice was his own.

As Ken’s mother notices that Ken is stirring in his sleep, she discusses with her husband about how Ken suddenly did unusually well in school after Osamu’s death, and that they’d been so caught up being happy thinking that Osamu had returned to them in a way that they hadn’t thought about Ken’s personal happiness. Acknowledging their selfishness for having gotten proud of having a genius for a son rather than having taken notice of the good things unique to Ken, they realize that Osamu had been treated similarly, having been encouraged to focus on his studies instead of enjoying life like a normal kid. They urge the sleeping Ken to wake up, wanting to apologize to him.


Still sleeping, Ken once again recalls soap bubbles, and remembers that Osamu had been the one to cut straws to blow the bubbles with and make soapy water. When Ken had told Osamu to take a turn, Osamu said that every time he did it, they would always burst, and that Ken was able to blow bubbles well because he blew gently and with kindness. Ken sees his brother disappear from the dream and remembers that his brother is dead and won’t come back...

Ken wakes up dazed and extremely detached from his memories, unable to tell what meaning his parents have to himnote . As his parents apologize for having pushed him to be more like Osamu without realizing it, he tries to figure out what these people are to him and who he is himself.

After some time has passed, he sits down at his computer and sees the Crest of Kindness and his Digivice, causing him to remember Wormmon. His mother enters the room only to find Ken gone, having returned to the Digital World to search for his heart.

Ken ends up at the Village of Beginningsnote  and learns that Digimon who die are reborn there. Initially excited, he looks for Wormmon’s egg, only to be unable to tell which egg it is among the vast multitude of eggs. He’s reprimanded by some Babynote  Digimon, who remind him that he was the Digimon Kaiser and that he’s done horrible things to the Digital World and to Wormmon. The Baby Digimon tell him that he’s selfish for thinking that Wormmon will come back for someone like him, and Ken reflects on how Wormmon is gone, just like Osamu. Blaming himself for having killed both Osamu and Wormmon, Ken has a breakdown.

Ken recalls a vague memory having traveled the Digital World with Wormmon once before, after he’d used Osamu’s Digivice to enter the computer. Wormmon had told him that his true nature is to be kind, and that he had to become stronger before he became overwhelmed by his own kindness - and that the Digivice belonged to Ken, and only Ken, just like his own heart.

Ken realizes that he had never been alone and that he had been deluding himself in thinking that way, and resolves to live accepting the good and bad parts of himself. With that, his Crest of Kindness begins to glow, as does a nearby egg - and the voice inside it urges Ken to find him quickly. As Ken touches the egg, it hatches to reveal none other than the Baby form of Wormmon, who is happy that Ken has been able to find him.

After sharing his reunion with Wormmon, Ken returns home, where his parents are happy to see him again. Seeing that his mother had been crying because he had disappeared, Ken realizes that his parents do truly love him after all, and once again recognizes them as his parents as Wormmon looks on.

Ken: Osamu, I can finally say this for the first time. Thank you for everything.


  • All There in the Manual: You’ll never know the full details of what exactly Ken and Wormmon were doing, or who that kid was with them was, unless you play a video game.
    • Continuity Snarl: The events depicted in the anime don’t exactly match up with what went on in the game.
  • Always Someone Better / The Ace: Effectively what Osamu was to Ken. When Osamu tells Ken that he’s not good at blowing bubbles, Ken expresses surprise that “there’s something [Osamu] can’t do”.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Young Ken, jealous of his brother's skills and popularity, wished he would disappear. "And then one day, he did."
  • Irony: According to the Digimon Animation Chronicle memorial book, Osamu had taken the Digivice from Ken partially out of jealousy. Considering that everything else about Ken had involved himself being jealous of Osamu...
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: A non-comedic version: the conversation between Osamu and his mother has this feeling in regards to Ken.
    Ken’s mother: Osamu, people praised me again saying you’re such a good boy!...Ken, you’re a good boy, too.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: This is the episode where we finally get to see what sweet kid Ken was that Wormmon was talking about. (Well, unless you've played a certain video game...)

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