Look out for one more batch review after this, and then we can get back to a weekly reviewing schedule
The episode seemingly opens with the Avengers fighting each other…only to reveal that it was a video game the kids are playing. Hikaru is the undefeated champion, which frustrates the highly competitive Jessica, who claims that Hikaru is “too perfect”.A sudden blackout causes Hikaru to freak out and break a glass door due to his worry for Akira. His overprotective side comes to light as he constantly checks Akira’s temperature and asks questions about his health, which angers Akira.
Hikaru and Thor have another conversation about the difficulties of brotherhood. This prompts Thor to reminisce about his past. He explains that Loki was orphaned in battle, adopted by Odin, and raised as Thor’s brother. When Thor was chosen to inherit the throne over the more (magically) powerful Loki, Loki turned to villainy. Thor is determined to stop Loki himself, seeing it as an older brother’s duty. Hikaru and Thor promise to help each other be the best older brothers that they can.
A new DISK is detected, and Loki chastises his associates for their previous failure. He decides to handle the next DISK in person. The DISK is found behind a stuck door that only Thor’s lightning can open, but Thor is called away by Loki’s challenge to an individual battle. His plan is to have Tim steal the DISK while the Avengers are stuck behind the door. However, Hikaru realizes this and manages to stop Thor from rushing off, sending Cap, Hulk and Wasp to confront Loki instead.
Shocked that Loki’s plan has failed, Tim sends out the whip-user Whiplash, who is handily dispatched by Thor’s lightning and captured by the heroes, as is the DISK. Loki and Tim escape, with Loki expressing disbelief that a mere human could cause Thor to change so much.
In a gaming rematch with Hikaru, Jessica attempts to fight dirty by pretending that Akira is in danger. Hikaru’s protective instincts aren’t completely gone, as he rushes to the “rescue”…and somehow still manages to emerge victorious.
This episode was exactly what the show needed after the letdown of the past two. It was Hikaru’s first true centric episode, and continued on the theme of brotherhood and the struggles of the older brother which had been established in earlier episodes. It also reaffirmed why Hikaru is my favorite character. He really feels like the most human and well-rounded, unable to be reduced to a single trope or trait, especially now that he is actively moving away from being seen only as a protective older brother. Jessica describing him as a perfect princelike character was pretty hilarious as well.
Another thing I loved about this episode was the inclusion of Loki’s backstory. It was simplified a lot from the comics/Cinematic Universe, but we still got to see a bit of his childhood alongside Thor, and newcomers to the Marvel fandom will probably understand his motivations a lot better now. The flashback was mostly done in a black and white “chalk drawing” style, which worked surprisingly well, though I was disappointed we didn’t get to see an animated Asgard.
The message of this episode was also great, and pretty unique for what has mostly been a fairly standard kids’ show. Hikaru and Thor both realized that, while being an older brother is an important part of who they are, sometimes the strong emotions they feel towards their younger brothers can lead to impulsive, even dangerous behavior. Their resolution to remind one another of this and support one another emotionally further cemented their status as the strongest and healthiest partnership in this show.
The only weak point of this story was the inclusion of Whiplash, who showed up for about two minutes, had some squicky innuendo-filled dialogue, and was dispatched just as easily. With Loki taking the spotlight for the first time in a while, the inclusion of a secondary villain seemed pretty unnecessary.
Despite this, the surprisingly deep and touching story of this episode and the added character development for Hikaru, Thor, and Loki earns this one near full marks!
The next DISK shows up at, of all places, Jessica’s house in France. Jessica readily agrees to let the others stay at her house during the search, but aggressively insists that “this doesn’t make them friends”.
The D-System claims that the DISK has shown up, but the group cannot find it. Jessica remembers an old legend about her house – that underneath it lies an “endless path full of darkness” which leads to treasure. As they search, they encounter bizarre traps, such as trick panels or suits of armor which attack them. Akira rescues Jessica from one of the traps, which prompts her to throw a tantrum, insist she doesn’t need any help, and go off on her own.
The remaining four are about to reach the DISK when Tim appears, having dug a hole straight to its location. He sends out a bizarre looking Dr. Octopus as this episode’s challenger. He quickly traps Iron Man and the kids in his robotic arms…luckily, Wasp talks some sense into the reluctant Jessica. Jessica explains that she didn’t want to be friends with the others because she was afraid they’d see her as pathetic and boring. Wasp reassures her that friends share both good and bad things with one another, and that if she can accept the negative and embarrassing parts of her friends, they will accept hers as well.
Of course, Jessica and Wasp show up to the fight at the last minute, and Wasp’s superior speed easily takes out Dr. Octopus’s arms. The kids D-Secure Octopus, but Tim, predictably, escapes. Jessica promises not to abandon them again, “because they are useless boys who need her help”.
Ugh, this episode was just a big pile o’ cliches. There was the treasure hunt in the mysterious underground (which was also the reason I didn’t get many caps this episode, as the lighting was pretty poor). There was Jessica’s previously unseen tsundere behavior, complete with lines like “you stupid boys” and “how dare you call yourself my friend”. Her leaving the group, getting a motivational speech from her partner, and coming back just in time was a near clone of the scene with Ed a few episodes earlier.
This was Jessica’s first focal episode, which might explain why her personality seemed so different. However, she had never shown any signs of being cold and/or tsundere before this – I thought she was pretty well established as the sweet but determined/competitive character. Her introductory moment was trying to make friends with Chris and Ed, which made this episode really seem jarring.
At least her reasoning for not wanting to be friends with the group was actually surprisingly relatable – she was afraid that if she got too close, they would begin to see her as boring and pathetic. I can definitely relate to that, and it redeemed her somewhat as a character to me. (However, her return to “you idiot boys who need my protection” at the end was quite annoying).
The best part of this episode was definitely Wasp. I really like this series’ portrayal of Wasp – she’s level headed and intelligent, and just as good of a leader / motivational speech-giver as Cap. I like that Disk Wars is acknowledging that part of her personality and portraying her as a bit more than the “token female” – after all, in the comics Wasp once led the Avengers, and was just as effective in the job as Cap himself.
Still, a rather lackluster episode overall (especially following the triumph of episode 14), so out of 5: