Digimon Adventure 15th Anniversary Blu-ray Box — Special Talk and Comment 2015

A translation of the voice cast interviews from the booklet included with the Digimon Adventure 15th Anniversary Blu-ray Box (released March 3, 2015), which featured the following:

  • A group interview with voice actors Mayumi Yamaguchi (Gabumon), Junko Takeuchi (Gomamon), Atori Shigematsu (Piyomon), and Kinoko Yamada (Palmon)
  • Short individual comments from voice actors Chika Sakamoto (Agumon) and Takahiro Sakurai (Tentomon)

Special Talk 2015: Mayumi Yamaguchi (voice of Gabumon), Junko Takeuchi (voice of Gomamon), Atori Shigematsu (voice of Piyomon), and Kinoko Yamada (Palmon)

In commemoration of this Digimon Adventure Blu-ray Box, we’ve held a group talk at the recording center Studio TAVAC. The four participants were Mayumi Yamaguchi (Gabumon), Junko Takeuchi (Gomamon), Atori Shigematsu (Piyomon), and Kinoko Yamada (Palmon; formerly known as Shihomi Mizowaki). As the series’s BGM played, we asked about any memories they had from the time of broadcasting.

Mayumi Yamaguchi
Major works include Digimon Tamers (Jianliang Lee), the Galaxy Angel series (Forte Stollen), and many others. She is well-known for her older sister-type roles and young boy roles.

Junko Takeuchi
Major works include Digimon Frontier (Takuya Kanbara/Agnimon), Naruto (Naruto Uzumaki), and many others. Plays a wide range of roles, from women to young boys to animals.

Atori Shigematsu
Made her debut in Calabash Brothers (as Third Brother and Sixth Brother), and is active in a great number of works such as Enthusiasm Generation: Rankings by Adults. Primarily active in commercial advertisement and narration work.

Kinoko Yamada
Major works include the Magical DoReMi series (Kaori Shimakura), the Twin Princess of Wonder Planet series (Tio), and many others. Formerly known by the name Shihomi Mizowaki.

–Please tell us your impressions about your reunion with the character that you played.
Takeuchi: It’s been 15 years since the broadcast of Digimon Adventure, but it hasn’t actually been 15 years since I’ve played Gomamon.(Note 1)
Yamaguchi: Right, we played our roles in the game (*The 2013 PSP game Digimon Adventure).
Shigematsu: We were in the game, but we as the actors didn’t get to meet up for that.1 Picking up the role again for the PSP game was my reunion with it after something like 13 years. Prior to the recording, I dug up the VHS tapes I’d recorded the anime on and started slowly rewatching it.
Yamaguchi: When I was playing Gabumon for the game, I kept having to reconfirm “is this okay, am I doing the character right? Does it fit him?” (laughs)
Takeuchi: Me too, when I was recording for Gomamon, I kept saying the same thing. Like, “did that fit him?” (laughs).
Shigematsu: Whenever I was told “it doesn’t fit”, it’d end up being a huge shock (laughs).
Takeuchi: After that game, this drama CD (*The limited-edition item included with the first print of the Blu-ray Box) involved me completely unsure what to do to prepare for the role in a way I’d never felt before, to the point it shocked me. But I got to meet up with everyone else, and we chat with each other after what really was the first time in a long while, and it felt like, in the end, everyone was feeling around for how to approach the recording and how to play their roles.
Shigematsu: We could tell we were feeling around for it from the neighboring microphone (laughs).

(Note 1) The recording for the Blu-ray Box’s first-press limited bonus special drama CD was the first time in a long while that the four actors had played their respective roles.

–Did anything leave a particular impression on you as you recorded at the studio?
Yamaguchi: I certainly had all sorts of difficulties back then (laughs). After all, we were basically beginners at the time.
Takeuchi: There were a lot of actors, and there were a lot of difficulties in guaranteeing that everyone would be able to get in front of the microphone at the recording booth.
Yamada: At the time, I had no idea about anything like recording rules or microphone work.
Shigematsu: When I was on standby, I had to keep going back to the chair, and I kept running into times when I’d be watching my senior voice actors’ performances on the back of the screen and end up sitting in a different chair. I didn’t normally get to have this kind of experience, so I was able to get a closer look at the facial expressions of Toshiko (Fujita)-san and my other senior voice actors during their performance, and at the time, I was basically admiring them like I was yet another audience member.
Yamada: For me I was feeling emotions like, these are the voices of the characters I was watching on TV when I was little!…How strange~, why am I here right now? (laughs).
Shigematsu: But when it was first determined that I’d be playing Piyomon, all of the other voice actors matched well with their characters, but I felt out of place, like I was the only outlier.
Takeuchi: I think all of us were thinking that (laughs). Even I was thinking, why’d they pick me to be Gomamon?, I really didn’t understand.

–According to a prior interview with Producer Hiromi Seki and Director Hiroyuki Kakudou, there was apparently a total of around 200 people brought into the audition.
All: That many!
Takeuchi: Well, there certainly were a lot of voice actors taking on the audition back then.
Yamaguchi: During the studio audition, and in front of the booth at Studio TAVAC and the lobby and elsewhere, I remember there being a huge number of voice actors.
Shigematsu: At the time, I was working at the same agency as Kinoko-san, but there really was a huge number of people participating in the audition. I ended up changing agencies right after that, so I was contacted by my manager, asking, “are you going to take on the audition or not?”, and I just blurted out “of course I’m taking it, what do you think?!” in response (laughs).

–Please tell us your impressions when you met for the first time during recording.
Takeuchi: Mainly, before anything else, there really was a ton of actors there (laughs). No matter where, at the studio or at the booth, I never knew where I should be waiting on standby.
Shigematsu: And so everyone ended up inching towards the edges of the studio (laughs).
Takeuchi: We say this, but our seniors, who had it together, were also there at the recording site, and they would always be calling out to those who seemed confused. Even after the microphone work, we kept having to do retakes from episode 1, there was never any “trick behind all things” or anything like that, so we were always worried. But slowly, the grasp of how to do things started flowing through the atmosphere, and I think the recordings started to go faster, and we had our seniors helping things along by directing us. So we’d have Toshiko-san and Chika (Sakamoto)-san going “(pointing at the mic) Hurry, it’s your turn!”, and they’d guide us like that. I remember things like that happening.
Yamaguchi: There were so many times they were pushing us forward in front of the mic (laughs).
Yamada: I remember that we had several microphones prepared for us at the studio, and I’d make notes in my script lines as to when I was supposed to come in, but when my turn came and I was reading off the lines, I’d forget to actually act it out…That happened a lot.
Shigematsu: Yeah, yeah. I’d never done a recording with that many people before, so I even had to study all sorts of things like microphone positioning, or how to finish my line and return to my spot without making a sound.

–Are there any other interesting incidents or impressionable memories from the post-recording site?
Yamada: At the time, it was almost my first time standing in front of the microphone, so I also had my first experience recording “background chatter” (*Multiple extra lines recorded in the background). At the time, the other actors had to line up with the footage, and there was an odd feeling in how the lines had to be fit perfectly into the scene.
Yamaguchi: I was listening to our seniors’ performances, and thought, these people are superheroes! (laughs)
Shigematsu: I had a lot of times where I’d say my line, but would get a late start and the cuts would switch on me during that moment. So I was really worried, thinking, how is everyone else so good at fitting the lines in? The episodes we had to record kept increasing all the way into the second half, so I had to think about it a lot while recording.

–In terms of the series itself, are there any episodes or scenes that left a particular impression on you?
Yamaguchi: For all of the characters, like for instance whenever a Digimon evolved, there would be certain specific so-called “focus episodes”. Those kinds of episodes would get my tension up and my heart pounding.
Shigematsu: The focus episodes would be named in the episode’s subtitle and the title call, right? I’d shout out the title call or the special attacks, and the resulting transformation would be like a dream. When Digimon “evolve”, you can even physically feel their transformation. Digimon Adventure is a series that fulfills those dreams of growth.

–What was it like acting out those evolutions?
Yamaguchi: Since the visual appearance of the character got more masculine as he evolved, I really ended up thinking “what am I going to do?”
Shigematsu: But Yamaguchi-chan had Gabumon start off as masculine-sounding from the beginning, so it worked out, right? For Piyomon, at first, I thought she was a girl. And then I thought, she got a lot manlier and more handsome as Birdramon…and then, of course, when she became the Perfect-level Garudamon, she “super-evolved” into something muscular and macho, and I was like, huh!? Is this a guy…? (laughs). Digimon don’t have gender, according to their lore, but it was still something shocking for me.
Yamaguchi: It’s certainly interesting to see how they look when they evolve. Especially Palmon (laughs). Togemon looks like a cactus, and it makes you break out into laughter.
Yamada: I mean, don’t you get the impression Palmon would become some kind of wrestler?
Shigematsu: And then she super-evolves…and now she’s a flower fairy!?
Yamada: It completely threw me off, like, what just happened!? (laughs) But actually, I really like Gomamon’s super-evolved Perfect form, Zudomon, you know?
Takeuchi: At the time, my older brother kept making fun of me. Like, “you’re Zudomon, aren’t you?” (laughs). Even though when I saw his appearance, I was desperately complaining, “I didn’t decide on this!”
Shigematsu: The tiny cute little Gomamon gets bigger and bigger, and finally he ends up with a shell and a hammer.
Takeuchi: It’s like, Gomamon, where are you going with that? (laughs) There’s all sorts of possibilities for evolution like that, but the fact you couldn’t be so sure about it was what conversely made it so fun.
Shigematsu: You wonder what they’re going to look like next when they evolve.
Takeuchi: “He’s been so cute up until now, but I have no idea what’ll happen next!?”, or “as long as it’s memorable to everyone, it’s fine” (laughs).
Shigematsu: Evolution routes are a mysterious thing.
Takeuchi: Beyond just the evolutions, it was also fun to watch the enemy Digimon. Etemon, who appeared starting from episode 15, was really fun, and he was really noisy, and you felt like he was going “let’s get all excited!” (laughs).
Shigematsu: It wasn’t just Etemon, that episode also had the Pagumon singing, didn’t it? I personally remember thinking that song was really fun. At the time, I hadn’t gotten a lot of opportunities to take on secondary roles, so I was happy (laughs).
Takeuchi: Speaking of secondary roles, I feel like (Takahiro) Sakurai-san had a ton of them, didn’t he?
Shigematsu: Normally, he played Tentomon, and it was fun seeing him speak in Kansai dialect, but beyond just the Digimon, he also played a lot of roles like Mimi’s dad.
Takeuchi: Also, there was the narrator, (Hiroaki) Hirata-san. I really liked it Hirata-san’s face whenever he messed up the narration.
Yamaguchi: He was spouting out a “pfffft!” (laughs).
Shigematsu: Now that I think back on it, those exposition scenes really didn’t give him a lot of time to introduce those Digimon. But I really loved his passionate narration.

–Please tell us if there are any other episodes that you have particular memories of.
Yamaguchi: The one I remember well is episode 30. It’s the episode where the children and their Digimon partners return to the human world, and go to places like Odaiba and Shinjuku.
Shigematsu: They went to a fast food shop in front of the Shinjuku station. And they also rode the train, and the Digimon had to pretend to be stuffed animals…
Yamaguchi: They went on the Toei Ōedo Line (*named within the story as the Toei no. 12 line)!2
Shigematsu: I remember that Piyomon had reverted to Pyocomon, and that she was doing her best to pretend to be a stuffed animal. And then there was a father with a child, and asks where he can buy a stuffed animal like that. And finally, Sora just blurts out without thinking “The Nerima Daikon Department Store!” (laughs) At the time, even those besides Jou were thinking “what’s the Nerima Daikon Department Store!?” This series has a lot of these kinds of “playful” things scattered all around it.
Yamaguchi: In terms of playful things, episode 35 had (Producer Hiroyuki) Sakurada-san3 as one of the members of the Fuji TV crew. The character looked exactly like the young Sakurada-san at the time (laughs).
Shigematsu: Speaking of which, they put all sorts of clothes on Palmon, too. Like her princess dress in episode 25.
Yamada: Also, episode 27 had her in that weird costume when she was infiltrating Vamdemon’s castle, ReggaePalmon and PunkAgumon (laughs). It was really fun seeing them play around like “yay, yaaaaay!”
Shigematsu: And this is about secondary roles, but (Masami) Kikuchi-san4 was amazing, too. He voiced Jou’s brother, and by the end of the series he had voiced his entire family5, and he was really too amazing. I feel like he could play any type of role.
Yamada: Kikuchi-san told me this while recording for the drama CD, but back when he appeared in a certain soccer anime6, at some point he ended up playing all eleven members of a single team (laughs).
Shigematsu: The fact he has so much range is really admirable. Whenever I do an evolution, I don’t try to change my own voice, but I try to go along with the feeling and build up the actual character, but I do wonder what it actually sounds like when you listen to it.
Takeuchi: But I think that does end up in a proper transformation. Anime doesn’t involve just the voices, but also the art attached to it and the music that goes along with it, and it’s a multifaceted art. So having that stance on it now is fine, right?
Shigematsu: The beauty of the art, and the music. Yeah, whenever there’s an evolution, the music still gets you really fired up, even now.
Yamada: Hearing (Ayumi) Miyazaki-san’s7 song makes you want to yell “evolve!”
Shigematsu: No it doesn’t! I think that’s just you.
Yamada: Huh? (laughs)

–Please tell us if there is anything from Digimon Adventure you want people to particularly enjoy.
Takeuchi: I’ve gotten to be in some of the other series, too8, but of all of the Digimon anime series as a whole, Adventure and 02 really are the most popular, aren’t they?
Shigematsu: Actually, at the time of brodcast, I didn’t watch any of the series after Adventure in real-time. Recently, since they’ve been rebroadcasting them, I’ve been going through all of the series through things like the DVDs. And as I was going through them, Kikuchi-san was in all of them, of course (laughs). I watched through all of them, and I saw that Digimon has all sorts of different universes and stories, and so even through that short time of experiencing it, I got to really feel the magnificence of a series that’s spanned 15 years.
Takeuchi: Kikuchi-san was in Adventure all the way up until Xros Wars, and in playing it all the way up to the end, you really feel that he’s some kind of “Digimon Master”9 (laughs). It’s fun to look back again on Kikuchi-san’s Digimon life, and so I hope you go back and watch him from his very first step through Adventure.
Yamaguchi: So the people who were watching it as kids at the time have money to spend now…
Takeuchi: Choose your words carefully, choose your words carefully! (laughs)
Yamaguchi: …money that they can earn?
Takeuchi: You mean, people can go out and get something whenever they want, right?
Yamaguchi: Yeah, that (laughs).
Shigematsu: If the franchise keeps continuing like this, the generation that watched Adventure might be able to enjoy it with their kids or grandchildren, right?
Takeuchi: I personally associate Adventure deeply with Two Years’ Vacation10. I have the mental image of it as a children’s literature book that a lot of kids read, but in actuality there are a lot of people who haven’t read it yet. So if you have the opportunity to read it, and watch Adventure alongside the book, your mental image of it will expand, and I think you will have a lot of fun with it. The opening at the beginning is cooler than anything else, and even though it’s been a whole 15 years since broadcast, the colors don’t come off that way at all, and it’s incredible. And I would like it to not only bring back old memories, but to also be something that children who are coming to watch the series now for the first time to enjoy. Regardless, if you end up watching it right before summer vacation, I think you’ll end up very excited.
Yamaguchi: Right? You can spend your summer reading essay writing a love letter to Adventure instead and turn that in. I think that’s a good way to start recommending it to others. It’s fine, your teacher should accept it! (laughs)
Yamada: I’ve always thought this, but I think it would be even more fun if I could erase all of my memory of the series and watch it with a completely clean slate of feelings. I want to watch Adventure with that kind of sentiment. I’m really jealous of those who can see it softly and watch the series for the first time, and get a fresh and new feeling out of it.

–In closing, please leave a message for the fans.
Yamaguchi: All of you have grown into adults, right? It’s been 15 years, but we haven’t changed all that much, to the point it even surprises us (laughs). Looking back on the excitement from 15 years ago, from episode 1 to the final episode, it really was like the blink of an eye. And now, at this moment, we’re in a room next to the recording studio that we used back then, having this group talk. At the time, when I took on the audition, the idea that I’d end up in this kind of world 15 years later is something that I wouldn’t even have been able to dream of, but it’s thanks to all of the fans who have always been supporting us that I’m able to continue doing this kind of work. Truly, thank you very much.
Takeuchi: When I rewatched the Chosen Children’s “Adventure”, even a single episode would lift my spirits. And to those who are watching this series for the first time because they feel they might like it, I’m sure you’ll end up completely absorbed in it, so please be sure to get proper sleep and rest as you enjoy it.
Shigematsu: Digimon Adventure is a story about children and Digimon going on an adventure and growing together, but I think this is something that’ll surprisingly resound in your heart even after you become an adult. For instance, when you’re a kid, you see the Digimon evolutions, and you’ll think they’re cool and be excited about them, but when you get a little older, you’ll understand things like the human relationships betewen the characters, or the burdens of the past they have to shoulder, and I think you’ll be able to see it in yet another different way. The “Chosen Children”, who have had to shoulder all sorts of burdens, and their Digimon partners’ grown forms, should reach you in a deeper part of your heart than ever before. I myself felt that when I was rewatching the series, so I hope you enjoy rewatching as many times as you can.
Yamada: 15 years is such a long time, it’s like going through high school five times11 (laughs). I’m truly grateful that people have given it such favor for such a long time. And to those who are just becoming new fans of the Digimon series, and to those who have supported us up until now, please enjoy the rest.

Interview date: December 2014
Location: TAVAC Preview Room

Special Comment 2015

Chika Sakamoto (voice of Agumon)

Major works include Let’s Go! Anpanman (Tendonman), Cyborg Kuro-chan (Kuro), and many others. Is particularly skilled with animal and young children roles.

–About your impressions about your reunion with your character for the drama CD that was sold with this Box (*Drama CD is a first-edition limited-print special bonus)
It really was the same old gluttonous Agumon after all ♡

–About your memories when you first performed your role for the TV series
There were so many fresh and new beginners, and the studio was full of the aura of pounding hearts. I think there were also times where it was important for that heart-pounding feeling to be there. At the time, we were putting so much of everything we had into it…It was wonderful.
Everyone was so nervous at times, I felt like whenever I pat them on the shoulder, pushed them forward, and told them it was OK, they’d breathe out a sigh of relief.

–Something in Digimon Adventure that you would say “please look out for this!” to
The way the Chosen Children grow alongside their Digimon partners as they shoulder their individual weaknesses and worries.

–A message for the fans who have continued to support the adventure of the “Chosen Children” and their Digimon partners, and to those who are coming to learn about their adventure in the Digital World for the first time through this Box
Everyone, including us in the cast, has all gotten older, and everyone’s become adults, and everyone’s ways of life might have changed, but I’m happy that you can listen to our voices and go “yeah!!” I’m sure that those who are encountering this series for the first time will also be able to feel the excitement of everyone’s growth and adventure, too.

Takahiro Sakurai (voice of Tentomon)

Major works include Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier (009/Joe Shimamura), Zatch Bell! (Kiyomaro Takamine), and Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (Atsumu Matsuyuki [Yukiatsu]).

–About your impressions about your reunion with your character for the drama CD that was sold with this Box
I truly, truly could not have imagined that I’d be able to come into contact with the character again.
Even though the children have grown a little, the Digimon haven’t changed at all.
Looking back on those times, I’m happy that I could take on this role again even now, 15 years later.

–About your memories when you first performed your role for the TV series
It was my first voice acting job as a regular main cast member. Naturally, I was surrounded by my senior voice actors, but I ended up very nervous, and the lines weren’t coming out the way they needed to.
During the audition, the staff members were told, “It seems like Sakurai-san can do Kansai dialect. Please let him try,” but I’m actually from Aichi12, so it wasn’t natural for me. But if I’d said “I can’t do it,” that would have been the end for me, so I had to figure something out and took it as a challenge. And then they actually did decide on me…so I’m glad I decided to push for it instead of giving up.

–Something in Digimon Adventure that you would say “please look out for this!” to
The children and their Digimon trying their hardest. They think about it on their own, they decide on things on their own, and they take steps forward on their own. It’s an abstract thing, but I think you’ll understand once you see it.

–A message for the fans who have continued to support the adventure of the “Chosen Children” and their Digimon partners, and to those who are coming to learn about their adventure in the Digital World for the first time through this Box
Within this story of children going through another world is a story of personal growth, straightforward to the point that it’s a bit on the clichéd side. Please accompany Taichi and Agumon and their friends as their will grows stronger and they journey on their adventure.

  1. Japanese animation, such as Digimon Adventure, usually involves all of the actors in the relevant scene recording with each other, whereas games involve said actors recording their lines separately. []
  2. At the time of Digimon Adventure‘s broadcast in 1999, the Toei Ōedo Line (the “Toei” part of the name not to be confused with the animation studio) was still incomplete, and was known as the “Toei no. 12” line. Shortly after the line’s completion in 2000, it was renamed the “Toei Ōedo Line”, which, as of this writing, it is still known as. []
  3. Hiroyuki Sakurada = An assistant producer for Digimon Adventure and Adventure 02, whose likeness was used for the character “Sakurada”, one of the Fuji TV staff members working under Yamato’s father. The real-life person would eventually go on to become the lead producer for Xros Wars, the 2020 Adventure: reboot, and Ghost Game. []
  4. Masami Kikuchi = The original voice actor for Jou Kido in the original Adventure and Adventure 02. []
  5. The Adventure 02 drama CD “Armor Evolution to the Unknown” (translation here) has a scene that’s famous among staff and the fanbase for involving a scene with Jou, his two brothers, his father, and his mother, all five of whom are voiced by Masami Kikuchi. []
  6. “A certain soccer anime” = Probably referring to Captain Tsubasa. []
  7. Ayumi Miyazaki = The vocalist for Digimon Adventure‘s evolution insert song “brave heart”. []
  8. At the time of this interview’s publishing, Takeuchi had starred as Digimon Frontier‘s main protagonist Takuya Kanbara, and had reprised her roles as Gomamon and Takuya in Xros Wars. []
  9. At the time of this interview’s publishing, Masami Kikuchi was well-known for having been in every Digimon series in a major role up until Xros Wars, including Jou Kido in Adventure and Adventure 02, Rob “Dolphin” McCoy in Tamers, Neemon in Frontier, Akihiro Kurata in Savers, and Damemon in Xros Wars. Unfortunately, after the publishing of this interview, his streak would eventually be broken when he was not cast in the Adventure tri. OVA series nor the Appmon TV series. []
  10. Two Years’ Vacation = A French novel (Deux ans de vacances) by Jules Verne, a “survival story” about a group of young boys stranded on a deserted island. The novel has quite a bit of cultural clout in Japan, and has been cited multiple times by Adventure staff as being a major basis for its “stranded in another world” premise. []
  11. Japanese high school terms go for three years. []
  12. Tentomon speaks in a fictional version of Kansai dialect within Digimon Adventure, but Sakurai hails from Okazaki in Aichi, the same prefecture Nagoya is in. []

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