Digimon Adventure:: Interview with Yuuko Sanpei and Chika Sakamoto — “I have to keep my emotions in check…” with Taichi’s role, and Agumon is fresh!

A translation of this MANTANWEB article from March 17, 2020, featuring an interview with voice actresses Yuuko Sanpei (Taichi) and Chika Sakamoto (Agumon) about their work in the Digimon Adventure: reboot.

Hailing from the popular Digimon Adventure series of animation and games, the new TV anime Digimon Adventure: will be broadcast on Fuji TV and other networks starting April 5, airing every Sunday at 9 AM. It is a reboot of the original TV anime Digimon Adventure, which aired from March 1999 to March 2000. Set in 2020, Taichi, a fifth-grader in elementary school, and the other “Chosen Children” are depicted going on an adventure in the infinite world that spans the network, the Digital World. For this new series, Taichi is played by Yuuko Sanpei-san, known for her roles as Renton Thurston in Eureka Seven and the titular role of Butt Detective, and Taichi’s Digimon partner, Agumon, is played once again by Chika Sakamoto-san. We struck up a conversation with Sanpei-san and Sakamoto-san, who had just finished recording the first episode, and heard about their feelings about looking out on a new “Digimon”.

Yuuko Sanpei is feeling pressure, too

–How did you feel after recording the first episode?

Sanpei: It was a huge sense of relief to even be able to get through it safely. I had so much pressure and anxiety from the thought of “what’s gonna happen when I play Taichi?” I had to get myself together and think to myself, I’ll just throw myself in there, and once I’ve heard Chika-san’s Agumon voice, things will work out! Once I’d heard the voices of my colleagues and had conversation with them, I finally got to feel that I’d gained some proper footing on the ground. So for now, I’ve managed to overcome that hurdle of the first episode.

Sakamoto: I was really nervous. I’ve been doing this for aaaaall this time, but never feels like that at all. For me, it always feels fresh, and I approach recording with the feeling that I’m taking another new step. So I’m nervous. There’s a new team behind this, and it results in new feelings behind it.

–What was it like for Sanpei-san to hear Agumon’s voice from Sakamoto-san?

Sanpei: The staff is full of people from the Digimon generation, and I’m one of them too. When I heard Agumon’s voice, it was like my childhood heart was coming out again, and it was hard to keep my emotions in check. I was so deeply touched that it completely transcended all of my feelings of excitement…But it was exactly because Chika-san was there that I was able to stand alongside her and take on the post-recording.

Sakamoto: Sanpei-san made him really masculine!

Sanpei: Thank you! I managed to receive that courage.

–Digimon is a series with a lot of history, having spanned for more than twenty years.

Sanpei: I’ve been watching it since I was a kid. There are all sorts of different series, and it’s been loved for a long time, and there are a ton of fans, too. As one of the various people who have played Taichi, I want to pick up the baton of everyone who’s worked on the series thus far, and convey the feelings of fun and goodness of Digimon in 2020.

We want the children to watch!

–How are you approaching playing Taichi and Agumon?

Sanpei: Taichi’s a kid, but he’s also an older brother, and, rather than following reason, he understands what’s actually important. He’s thrown off-guard by Digimon appearing, but he can easily switch over to understanding how important it is to help the people he wants to protect…I was already thinking this back when I was watching it, but now that I’m actually playing him, I really do feel he’s a flexible and talented character. Like a super person. From here on out, you’ll be able to see other sides of him as he interacts with his friends and the Digimon, and I’m looking forward to seeing all sorts of expressions from Taichi.

Sakamoto: I’m not quite as skillful as that (laughs). It’s a fresh feeling. But I really want to make evolution cool!

–Some characters haven’t appeared yet as of the first episode, but what kind of team would you like it to be?

Sakamoto: I want this to be a team with partners who are comfortable with relying on each other. I’m sure it’ll be! I look forward to having all the team members gathered together.

Sanpei: It’s interesting to see how the atmosphere at the recording site changes based on who’s there, so I’m looking forward to how things turn out.

–Are the voice actors and the staff members conscious of the idea of creating a new “Digimon” with this series?

Sanpei: I think challenging myself with the idea of making this like it’s something completely new is the only thing I can do. I can feel how much the staff loves Digimon, and there are some things that can’t change because it’s a Digimon series, there are also parts where they’re brushing it up to go along with the times. I want to be a part of making it together with them.

Sakamoto: We were talking about how “we want the children to watch Digimon!”, and I was also thinking, “yeah, absolutely!” These days there are fewer and fewer anime that children can watch, so I’d like the kids to be able to watch in their living room.

Sanpei: Digimon is a series that sits right next to reality, so there’s a charm in the mysteries surrounding the familiar aspects of the “digital” world. I’d be really happy if kids could feel that this kind of world could exist alongside them.

–What characters are you looking forward to seeing in an active role?

Sanpei: When I was a kid, Jou (Kido) didn’t come off as a particularly admirable character, but now that I’m an adult, he’s very healing (laughs). I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does.

Sakamoto: I wonder what Mimi (Tachikawa)-chan is up to? She might be some kind of charismatic Instagrammer.

Sanpei: Or maybe she’ll be a YouTuber. And I wonder what’ll happen with Yamato (Ishida)? I’m with the fans, I’m looking forward to seeing all of the characters. I have to hold back my excitement, but I’m happy to go on an adventure with all of the others, as Taichi.

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