Digimon Adventure LAST EVOLUTION Kizuna movie pamphlet interviews — Scriptwriter Akatsuki Yamatoya

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 scriptwriter, Akatsuki Yamatoya.

Profile: Writer and race horse owner. Also participated in the animation for this movie. Greatly active in a wide range of genres, from anime to tokusatsu1 to lyrics for character songs. Major works include Zatch Bell!, Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger, and Magical DoReMi.

–Please tell us how you felt when you heard about production for this movie.
Yamatoya: The supervisor, Hiromi Seki-san2, sent me an email saying “we’re working on a Digimon movie, do you want to write for it?” I only worked on three episodes for Digimon Adventure, and for 02 I only did the drama CD “Yamato Ishida: Letter”, so at first I thought, “why me?”3 But then I heard about the circumstances behind it, and I was honestly happy to be picked for this, and since I was getting a lot of positive energy about it, I took the job. There was a huge sense of responsibility that came from it, so I rewatched the series all over again, got a proper understanding of it, and took on the challenge.

–Please tell us what your role was as the scriptwriter.
Yamatoya: I tried to match up with Director Taguchi and the producer’s ideas, and work on the story from there. This is a movie meant to commemorate the 20th anniversary, and, on top of that, there were a lot of important questions like how we were supposed to go from tri. to this, and there were all sorts of twists and turns all the way up to the finishing point. But Director Taguchi had the one main goal of “we want to depict the moment the children become adults”, and so in order to actually make that happen, I worked with him to bring it all together.

–Please tell us about your thoughts about making Digimon with the original series’s producer, Hiromi Seki-san, twenty years ago, and with Director Taguchi, who’s from the Digimon generation, for this movie.
Yamatoya: Needless to say, I think the talents of the incredibly competent Producer Seki-san and the young and lively Director Taguchi have fused together quite well. Director Taguchi is thorough about his work, and his “love for Digimon” really comes across. He’s very sociable, and he’s constantly uplifting other people, and whenever he wants to do something, he doesn’t give up on it. He’s young, but he already has a firm grasp of everything a director needs to have. On top of that, he makes some wonderful and lovely storyboards. Being good at drawing and being good at storyboarding are two very different skillsets. It really draws you in when you look at it, and the storyboard shows off exactly what kind of developments are happening in the story. I’m very much looking forward to where he’ll be in ten years.

–Was there anything you were particularly conscious of when writing the script for a theatrical movie?
Yamatoya: There’s much more running time than there is for a TV episode, so I can cram more of the things that I want and need to have in there. There’s a huge number of characters from Digimon Adventure and 02 that are in this one, so all of them have to have a highlight scene, and it was difficult finding a way to make them all shine. Also, I constantly had the older movies in mind when making this. Director Taguchi told me, “let’s be sure to focus on surpassing Hosoda-san4,” and he kept requesting this of me every time we met (laughs).

–There are a lot of impressive lines in the movie, but were there any you put particularly special feelings into?
Yamatoya: All of the lines have a reason behind why that line is there. There’s no line that’s in there for no reason, so I would say that I put particular thought into all of them? Seki-san did a lot of things to set up the characters’ emotions and actions, so I intended to portray those. If I absolutely had to pick one with “thoughts” behind it, I would say probably the new characters for this movie. In particular, Imura was written to be modeled after an actual person, Kyoutarou Kimura, who was a producer for the original Digimon Adventure, representing Yomiko Advertising. He’s passed away since then, but he was someone with a sincere passion towards anime, and very affectionate towards us. During meetings, he was always a cool person, so I focused on making Imura particularly cool.
Also, it was a huge help to have the 02 group there. The whole story felt like it was getting emotionally heavy, so they brought some more fun conversations into it, and I had a lot of fun writing them.

–Was there anything you particularly focused on in depicting Menoa?
Yamatoya: Director Taguchi requested that, since she’s a foreigner, she should have English words in her speech. I just put them in “because the director asked me to”, but when the words were said in Matsuoka-san’s voice, it brought a lot out of her character. Also, in terms of her personality, we were thinking from the very beginning that “we don’t want her to come off as purely a bad person”. She’s someone who’s been hurt and become warped, and although her methods are wrong, she thinks that she’s trying to save everyone, and goes along with it through her own belief in what’s right. Taichi and the others understand that and go against Menoa, hoping to save her. I remember the director telling me, “I dislike the trope of someone losing their composure midway through and devolving into madness.” So until the very end, we portrayed her as proper, and focused on giving her the persistent image of a genius.

–We heard that Yamatoya-san is the one who named Eosmon.
Yamatoya: When we were thinking about the name of the enemy Digimon, I came upon the name “Eos” (the goddess of the dawn) on the Internet. It had already been planned earlier that the story would involve an aurora, and Aurora’s other name is “Eos”. It comes up in the story, too, but the same myth was reinterpreted in a different place, and the name changed. The fact it has the same name as my own really was a miraculous coincidence.5

–Are there any particular points where you’d like people to pay attention to when rewatching?
Yamatoya: The truth is, I’ve thought about what I think would happen in the story after this, and put in a lot of hints about it. As we’ve promised, this is a story that connects to the epilogue of 02, but even though we won’t be depicting what happens after the movie for the time being, Taichi and the others are going to be striving towards that ending. They’re definitely not going to give up, and I believe they will definitely find a way to get their partners back. So I hope you will see it in that way. Also, for a movie of this scale, word of mouth is everything. If you saw this movie and thought it was good, please tell your friends about your thoughts and be sure to spread the word.

Translator's notes
  1. Tokusatsu: Refers to live-action productions that make use of a combination of practical and special effects. Notable works in the genre include hero shows such as Super Sentai (adapted in the West as Power Rangers) and giant monster shows such as Godzilla. []
  2. Hiromi Seki = The original producer for Digimon Adventure through Frontier, the planner for Xros Wars, and supervisor for this movie. []
  3. Yamatoya is well-known for his work as a scriptwriter for Digimon TV anime series (and Toei kids’ shows in general), but the majority of his Digimon work is from Frontier and Savers. []
  4. “Hosoda-san” = Renowned animation director Mamoru Hosoda, who directed the original Digimon Adventure movie, episode 21 of Adventure, and Our War Game!. []
  5. Yamatoya’s given name, “Akatsuki”, is the Japanese word for “dawn”; he also famously owns a race horse who happens to be named “Eosmon”, prompting quite a bit of Internet discussion over whether Eosmon was actually named after his horse. []

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