Digimon Adventure LAST EVOLUTION Kizuna‘s theatrical screening had a corresponding informational pamphlet sold on-site, which contained informational and art assets and a large number of cast and staff interviews.
(Mayu Matsuoka | Natsuki Hanae and Chika Sakamoto | Other voice actor messages | Creator group talk | Scriptwriter Akatsuki Yamatoya | BGM composer Harumi Fuuki | Music artists Ayumi Miyazaki and AiM | Producer Yousuke Kinoshita)
This post is a translation of the included interview with the movie’s BGM composer, Harumi Fuuki.
Please note that the below content has major LAST EVOLUTION Kizuna spoilers.
Profile: Composer, arranger, pianist. From Osaka Prefecture. Was awarded the 36th Japan Academy Film Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Music for Chronicle of My Mother, the youngest winner of the award. Has also managed production for a wide range of music, including the long-running NHK television drama Segodon and the anime Forest of Piano.
–Please tell us how you felt when you heard about production for this movie.
Fuuki: Digimon Adventure is a series that I’d been constantly watching back then, and so when it was determined that I’d be responsible for the music and the relevant materials were delivered to me, I was shaking. To be really honest, I was just happy that “we get to see them again!” Back then when I was watching it, I couldn’t have even possibly dreamed that I would someday get to participate it in myself, and I’m truly grateful for the honor.
–Please tell us about any memories you have of the series from back then.
Fuuki: I’m someone who’s always lived in the world of music, so I bought the soundtracks and the lyric books, and I loved the theme songs and sang along to them. Back then, whenever there was a song I liked, I’d immediately go to the piano and start playing it. At the music room at school, nobody would come when I played music from old movies, but when I played Digimon music, suddenly people would gather around and I’d be like some kind of hero (laughs). And everyone would sing along, and it was a lot of fun.
–During your discussions with Director Taguchi, was there anything that left a particular impression on you?
Fuuki: During our preliminary meetings, he gave me in-depth details of what image he had, scene by scene. Director Taguchi would say to me, “I want to maintain the importance of the songs you’re rearranging. But I also want to make new songs. Those two things need to trade off and work together.” I consider this to be the root behind this movie itself. Also, Director Taguchi and all of the other staff members consider Digimon to be very important to them, and have deep respect for it. Because of that, I felt their passion towards creating something new. For me, who watched the series back when it aired, that attitude made me feel very happy, and I took everyone’s feelings into account as I worked all the way to the end.
–Was there anything you had to do to bring out the image for this movie?
Fuuki: I rewatched Digimon Adventure and all of its movies all over again, multiple times. It was like half work and half play (laughs). Rewatching it was like going back to my teenage years, and I felt that I wanted to make songs in a way that would have those who watched the series back then be able to empathize with it. Digimon’s soundtrack has a lot of classical-style songs, I wondered if maybe I should use synthesizers, or incorporate a more modern trendy rhythm style, and I ended up thinking about a lot of things as to how I could express the director’s intention to make a “new Digimon”.
–Was there any song that left a particularly deep impression on you over the course of working on it?
Fuuki: The new character, Menoa Bellucci, is a major presence in this movie, so I had a very huge task when it came to making her theme song. I had to make adjustments so that the atmosphere would align with all of the other songs, but I also had to write it in a way that portrayed what kind of woman she was, and the motifs behind her. Menoa is an intellectual and lively woman, but she has deep pain within her, and you can’t entirely say that she’s a bad person. When I was reading the script and the storyboard, I thought it wouldn’t be right to portray only one side of her, and I thought about it for a long time. So, through every single point of Menoa’s motif, I made sure that the melody would be memorable as I created her theme song. I thought about making a more fervent arrangement for the climax, but Director Taguchi and the sound director1 told me, “we’d like to wrap it up in a song with vocals.” So I asked for assistance from soprano vocalist Hiroko Kouda-san, and made it into a song with the gentle atmosphere of a mother singing a lullaby. When I saw it lined up with the footage, the scene made even me want to cry, and I felt, yeah, this was the right way to do it. Director Taguchi and the others gave me a lot of advice, and I had a lot of fun while working on it.
–You work in a large range of genres, such as movies, TV dramas, and animation, but are there any differences in what you have to focus on between them?
Fuuki: Hm, well, they feel completely different. For TV dramas, there are a lot of times when I don’t get to see all of the footage at once, so I have nothing to work with but the script and have to read through it thoroughly, and do a ton of research, and create the world in my imagination. Once I’m done, I deliver it to the person who picks out the songs and leave the rest to them, so it’s easier to do editing, and so I focus purely on finishing up as a single song. For live-action movies, my music can’t get in the way of the dialogue, so I focus more on making the music blend in with the atmosphere. I watch the completed footage and place in the music in a way that goes along with the character’s emotions, so it feels like a more delicate and creative procedure. Making music for animation is closer to live-action movies, so I get to work on it while looking at the storyboard and footage. I love anime and manga, so even with only the storyboards, the lines feel like they’re moving, and it’s very easy to make music with. But it’s different from live-action in that anime can go into depicting things very deeply, and so even the music needs to be able to expand the view of the world as much as possible, so I end up having to focus on that while making it. Live-action music involves a lot of taking things out, but in anime, you won’t make it too noisy as much as you’re creating a solid view of the world, and by giving it thickness, you bring it to life. Of course, it depends on the context, but I focus on those differences.
–Please tell us if there are any highlights you would like people to pay attention to while watching.
Fuuki: This goes for both the rearranges of the past songs and the new songs like Menoa’s theme, but as the movie progresses, the songs go through a change, so I hope you enjoy seeing how that goes. The are choral voices during the scene where Menoa falls into deep darkness, but I composed it to have a feel of modern music to it, creating a sense of dissonance. I tried to express that darkness with chorals that feel uncomfortable, unfamiliar to the ear, and difficult to understand, but within that is Menoa’s theme.
I did all sorts of hidden tricks like put her theme within the important points, so I’d be happy if you find them. Also, please be sure to leave a comment of “I found it!” when you do (laughs).
- Most likely referring to sound director Satoki Iida.