On Digimon, gender, pronouns, and translating

Translation by PositronCannon

This quote (or dubbed versions of it thereof) gets passed around a lot in Digimon circles as proof that “Digimon are genderless”. Unfortunately, as much as it’d be nice to just leave it at that, in actuality Digimon as a franchise isn’t so simple about the topic as a translator would like it to be. Since this obviously impacts how a translator like myself should approach Digimon, Digimon gender, and gendered pronouns from here on out, I thought I should devote a post to this in case I have to refer back to it in the future as a rationale for why I make certain decisions.

For the record, before I continue: this is a post purely dedicated to the likely authorial intent of Digimon and how I plan to go about translating that. It does not apply to fans’ headcanons, and does not even apply to my own headcanons (in fact, there are many aspects of the below stuff that even I’m not exactly a huge fan of myself). If you decide to read this and go “well screw that, I’m going to ignore this and do things my own way,” honestly, I outright endorse it. It is purely an explanation and analysis of what is presented within the series itself as-is, and what you, the reader, decide to do with it is entirely up to you.

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Hiroyuki Kakudou’s “This Week’s Digimon Tamers”

Hiroyuki Kakudou, director of Digimon Adventure and Adventure 02, has a little part on his website where he commented on the individual Digimon Tamers episodes he directed (and one he didn’t).

(This Week’s Digimon | This Week’s Digimon 02 | This Week’s Digimon Tamers | This Week’s Digimon Frontier)

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