About “The Call of Dagomon”

A translation of this post from Digimon Adventure 02 episode writer and Digimon Tamers lead writer Chiaki Konaka’s Digimon Tamers 2021 Blog, regarding the episode he wrote for Adventure 02, “The Call of Dagomon” (episode 13). (The text was originally posted on his Twitter in December 2017, and reformatted for this blog post and posted on March 31, 2021.)


Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
Anyway, I can finally talk about Digimon Adventure 02 episode 13, “The Call of Dagomon” (Director: Hiroyuki Kakudou; Animation director: Yukio Ebisawa; Art direction: Tetsuhiro Shimizu)…well, Kakudou-san’s1 already written about it on Twitter. It’s redundant, but I’ll make it quick.
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
When the original Adventure was being produced, sometime around when he was looking into what Digimon should appear in the series, a Digimon named Dagomon caught Kakudou-san’s eye, and when he asked Kenji Watanabe-san2 “is this supposed to be ‘that’?”, the answer was “yes, it is,” and so Kakudou-san automatically summoned me.
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
During the early days of my career, I wrote exclusively for horror live-action. Well, that’s basically still the case even now. As far as horror goes, I’ve also written a book, so I would like it if you read it (self-plug) The Etiquette of Fear -The Technology of Horror Movies– (Kawade Shobo Shinsha, Ltd.)
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
There was a strange occurrence where Lovecraft’s major novel The Shadow Over Innsmouth was adapted into a TBS TV show that was set in Japan, and I was the writer for it. Shinichi Wakasa-san was our makeup artist, and Tomoh Haraguchi-san3 even came to Midoriyama Studio to support us.
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
It’s only something I recently remembered, but the reason I was approached with “can you help us make Innsmouth?” was that Wakasa-san had showed me the designs Dick Smith (a pioneer of SFX makeup; Wakasa-san’s mentor) had made of Innsmouth (for a rejected movie proposal).
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
We can do it! We can make this work even in Japan! And with that, I took the chance (as I pleased). There were all sorts of connections leading up to this, yet again. It was broadcast in Gimia Break’s timeslot, titled The Shadow Around Insumasu4 (1992). Director: Jun Nasuda; Starring: Shirou Sano, Kimie Shingyouji, Michiko Kawai
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
Of course, Shirou Sano-san was also a hardcore enthusiast of fantasy literature, and we were able to pull it off because he so easily went “I’ll be in it!” The Necronomicon that you see Renji Ishibashi-san hold in the show is actually Sano-san’s own handmade book.
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
We didn’t communicate through computers at the time, so I don’t remember what the viewers’ reactions were in particular, but a long time later, I received praise from Ken Asamatsu-san and Masao Higashi-san5, so I thought, ah, thank goodness, people took it well. It was released on home video afterwards, although there’s no DVD.
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
Sano-san and I were saying, “let’s do Call of Cthulhu next,” but it never came to pass. In any case, that was the first Japanese work to ever revisit a Lovecraft work. It’s a bit of a dramatization and includes the perspective of a female character that wasn’t in the original, but the core of the story is still there and undistorted.
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
We didn’t communicate through computers at the time, so I don’t remember what the viewers’ reactions were in particular, but a long time later, I received praise from Ken Asamatsu-san and Masao Higashi-san5, so I thought, ah, thank goodness, people took it well. It was released on home video afterwards, although there’s no DVD.
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
So, I ended up adding elements of Lovecraft into anime and such, and my reasons for doing so weren’t just because I liked it but because there were also more substantial circumstances, but I’ll be writing a manuscript about that in Eureka6 for the New Year, so if you’re interested, please wait until the publication for that.
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
— So, anyway, Kakudou-san knew about those circumstances, and tried to get me to write for Dagomon’s appearance, but the timing didn’t work out and it ended up getting shifted to 02 (we’re finally back on topic…I’m sorry to have kept you waiting).
And so, I first met Producer Seki7 at the old Ooizumi Studio, which has since been rebuilt.

December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
In general, when directors ask me to participate as a one-off writer, they ask me to give it a bit of a different flavor from their usual, and so it wasn’t that I was going out of my way to ignore what the usual episodes were like. Rather, I was thinking about what kind of information I needed to present so that they could continue the story.
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
During these kinds of situations, there are times when the information I have to put out is not very well organized, and the episode ends up packed with a lot of information (like with Eureka8…). But 02 was really in its very early stages, and it was at the end of the first cour9, so I feel like I was able to write relatively freely.
December 25, 2017

Chiaki J. Konaka
@yamaki_nyx
So, to be honest about it, I don’t have any idea at all why everyone sees this episode as such a heresy. I wrote the characters’ feelings in accordance with the prior episodes (or at least, I intended to), and my personal impression is, I don’t think it’s that strange to have that kind of mysterious place in the Digital World…
December 25, 2017

What’s particularly interesting is that even overseas fans seemed to feel the same way as the Japanese viewers who watched it as it aired, and felt that this episode had a foreign sensation to it.

Had I been appointed to write for the original Adventure instead, the story would of course been completely different. The script for this episode was meant to follow the story up to the end of the original Adventure and the first 12 episodes of 02, and to present a single possibility for a direction that the story could potentially take in the future.

And you could say that my participation with only this single episode ended up becoming a sort of audition, when Producer Hiromi Seki used it to cast for the part of the lead writer for the third series.


Translator's notes
  1. “Kakudou-san” = Hiroyuki Kakudou, series director for Adventure and Adventure 02. []
  2. “Kenji Watanabe-san” = Kenji Watanabe, Digimon character designer and one of the founders of the Digimon franchise. While it was not included in the blog post, the original tweet thread also includes an addendum at from Konaka clarifying that Watanabe was actually the one responsible for creating Dagomon and for making the Tamers D-Reaper resemble Cthulhu, and that “They say like-minded people hang out together. []
  3. Tomoh Haraguchi = A Japanese SFX/makeup artist and film director. []
  4. In Lovecraft’s works, Innsmouth is a fictional town set in Massachusetts, so since the TBS show is set in Japan, the name of the town was slightly altered so that it could be a Japanese town named “Insumasu” (蔭州升). []
  5. “Ken Asamatsu-san and Masao Higashi-san”: An acclaimed occult novelist and a prominent literary critic respectively. [] []
  6. Eureka = A monthly magazine that focuses on literature and poetry. []
  7. “Producer Seki” = Hiromi Seki, producer of Adventure through Frontier. []
  8. Eureka” = Refers to Eureka Seven, which Konaka also served as an episode director for; not to be confused with the aforementioned magazine. []
  9. A “cour” is used in descriptions of Japanese TV shows and anime to refer to a 12-14 episode block (i.e. Adventure 02 is a 4-cour anime). []

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