The Digimon fan event organizer DIGIMADO held an event named “Hypnos Meeting 2019” on March 17, 2019 at the Shinjuku Loft/Plus One, which included Digimon Tamers lead writer Chiaki Konaka and Digimon Xros Wars manga artist and writer Yuuki Nakashima. Questions were taken through the website, and posted there afterwards. The below is a translation of Nakashima’s portion of the Q&A.
The official DigiFes 2019 event (held at the Maihama Amphitheater on July 28, 2019) had a “20th Anniversary Memorial Pamphlet” sold on-site. The first section, “Animation Play Back!!”, contained comments from staff for all of the Digimon animated series released to date:
Digimon Adventure: Hiromi Seki (producer) and Hiroyuki Kakudou (series director)
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 in the future.
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 in fact 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.
The Korean Digimon fansite DiGiFES (now defunct; not to be confused with the official yearly Japanese DigiFes events) had a section titled “THE INTERVIEW” that contained interviews with staff involved in Digimon production. The first interview, held with Ayumi Miyazaki, was posted on June 26 and July 4, 2015.