Digimon Adventure director Hiroyuki Kakudou’s initial comments on the Digimon Adventure: reboot

A translation of various blog posts from original Digimon Adventure series director Hiroyuki Kakudou, discussing the lead-up to the Digimon Adventure: reboot and its relationship to the original Digimon Adventure series from 1999.


New Digimon Adventure TV anime series

(Originally posted January 22, 2020)

So it was officially announced yesterday.
I’m more or less1 also working for the same company, Toei Animation, so I heard rumors about it going on, and the director, Mitsuka-kun (the series director), personally came to greet me about it, but I told him that since it’s a reboot (*1) he shouldn’t worry too much about it and they should feel free to do as they like. Beyond that, I had no involvement, so I am completely unaware of any of its contents. Back when the original series was airing, the Internet was not yet widespread, only a very small subset of people had anything besides dial-up, there were no smartphones, and things like tablets were like some kind of fantasy dream, and conversely there are a lot of things from back then that are completely inapplicable now.
There are a lot of people who probably wouldn’t get it now, but those who grew up reading and listening to the great prophecies of Nostradamus felt that the end of the world would happen in the summer of 19992, so I feel like that’s the main reason that, even though the show itself aired starting in spring, the story is set in the summer. (*2) So that’s a scenario that’s very specific to that specific time. In any case, I wonder if the new series will start off with the atmosphere of the current era, and what else might happen about that, so I’m looking forward to seeing it in the position of an audience member.

This photo is of the limited-time Digimon pop-up shop at Shibuya Parco that just opened at the end of last year.
It’s not going on anymore, but it seems like they have plans to do it again.

*1: I don’t really understand the difference between a reboot and a remake, I think it’s that a one-off story is a remake and a series is a reboot? So if this project does well and gets a continuation, do you still call it a reboot?

*2: I mentioned this in some interviews in the past, but we initially set the summer camp that started it all around the last Sunday of July, right after summer vacation started. July 1999 is also the month given in Nostradamus’s great prophecy. But then we got into the situation where we had to increase the number of episodes in the middle by one, so it ended up delayed to August 1, and now Nostradamus has largely been forgotten, but it also ended up turning into the date inscribed in Taichi Yagami’s name3, so I think it worked out for the best.


New series Digimon Adventure: to be aired starting April 5, 2020

(Originally posted April 4, 2020)

Thanks to the coronavirus, even for the shows I’m actually involved in, the initial screening previews have now been restricted to the series director, producer, and primary regular staff who are directly involved in the series, and even the new series previews that any Toei Animation in-house staff member would be allowed to watch are now being restricted to only the main staff, and even that’s being handled on a strict basis where everyone has to be divided into groups of ten, so a person who is not involved with the project at all is normally not allowed in there, but for this one and this one only, I was treated by the people in charge of the project to the courtesy of getting to see it.

http://blog.cnobi.jp/v1/blog/user/17a759870643723fa250cf692ffa7924/1585935475

How would you reshape a 21-year-old show that came from a completely different Internet environment?
How would the relationship between Digimon and humans be depicted?
There are so many things to think about, like how to show off the stories, or the gadgets, and how the action scenes will turn out.
Although you feel like you should know these characters already, they’re in a completely new setting, and are moving around energetically and in all sorts of places.
I’m sure it’ll be something that both people who loved the original series and children who are new to it can enjoy.
The OP and ED both seemed to have that kind of impression, it was quite surprising. The rest, you’ll have to see for yourself.
I’m looking forward to what comes next.
The advertisement flyers also sparkle depending on what direction the light comes from. I like this, too.


Digimon Parade @ Shibuya

(Originally posted April 5, 2020)

The new Digimon Adventure: was fun.

I was wondering how they were supposed to transfer from Odaiba to the Yamanote Line (the circular loop line shown in the episode), but I realized that my preconception that this took place in Odaiba was wrong to begin with.
If you take a look out of Shibuya, where they transferred, you can see this huge staircase at the Shibuya Stream.

http://blog.cnobi.jp/v1/blog/user/17a759870643723fa250cf692ffa7924/1586025691

You can participate in the Digimon Parade on the Internet, and the LED lights make up a screen going down the stairs, and they move from left to right as you might expect.
On the surrounding walls are Taichi, Agumon, and friends.
They definitely put a lot of care into laying this out, it makes you not want to take your eyes off of it.

The long wall reaches from underground alongside the escalator, with everyone on it.

You can also see them on the pillars underground at the Hikarie gate.

There are only seven pillars, so Takeru and Patamon have become “secret bonus characters” in a sense.
Today is the last day these exhibits will be on.
This is not a time when I can recommend that people go out, but if you do happen to be passing by, you should take a look.

 

The following is for anyone who’s seen the episode.

There’s Producer Sakurada4 who was directly involved with the original series, and the series director Mitsuka-kun5 and OP and ED director Shishido-kun who were involved with Xros Wars and Appmon, and many others who are deeply familiar with the original series. I think these are people who are capable of deciding what to change and what to keep in a well thought-out manner.
The OP pays good tribute to the original’s, but although I was thinking, “hmm, isn’t there quite a bit of focus on Taichi here?” it turned out the ED had a lot of Yamato instead. Ah, I see.
The story seems to be taking its time introducing its characters one by one.
Taichi and Koushirou have new voice actors, but they match the characters perfectly, and the way they first meet leaves a good impression.
I want Koushirou’s tablet. There aren’t a lot of frames where it’s visible, but you can see a pineapple mark on the back.
The “Taichi~” that Agumon says at the beginning is really amazing.
You can see Agumon’s evolution plainly and clearly, and you can see flames from his mouth even before and after it, and the action progression where he uses projectiles, then finishes it off with his claws and tail is super cool.
The music playing there is by Toshihiko Sahashi, and it reminded me of the Ultra series, and Sentai, and Rider6, and it brought me back to all of those times I snuck transforming hero and monster homages into the original series.
I was allowed to see the first episode as a preview, but starting from the next episode I will be watching it on TV like any other average watcher. I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen.
Overall, I think the production values and animation are at a much higher level than that of the series from 21 years ago.
As the world becomes more and more stressful lately, I hope this can be a story that can excite people and make them look forward to the future.


Translator's notes
  1. Director Kakudou saying he “more or less” works for Toei Animation refers to the fact he’s not a formal employee of the company and technically works as a freelance director, but nevertheless is a regular on their projects. As of this writing he is currently active with Toei’s production Healin’ Good PreCure. []
  2. The prophecies of Nostradamus refer to a series of prophecies made by 16th-century French writer Nostradamus, which many claim have successfully predicted events in modern history. One vaguely-quoted prophecy refers to something potentially happening “seven months into 1999”, hence the discussion of Adventure originally being intended to be set in July 1999. []
  3. The name “Taichi Yagami” is written 八神太一, containing both the kanji for “eight” (八) and “one” (一) in it. []
  4. “Producer Sakurada” refers to producer Hiroyuki Sakurada, who is suspected to be the namesake of Hiroaki Ishida’s co-worker “Sakurada” in the original Digimon Adventure and Adventure 02. He was also the lead producer for Xros Wars. []
  5. “Mitsuka-kun” = Masato Mitsuka, an episode director for Xros Wars and Appmon. []
  6. “Sentai and Rider” = The Super Sentai and Kamen Rider tokusatsu series. []

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