Each Digimon Adventure tri. movie’s theatrical screening had a corresponding informational pamphlet sold on-site, which contained informational and art assets and a handful of cast and staff interviews.
This post covers the interviews for the pamphlet for Part 2, Determination, featuring interviews with the following:
- Voice actors Junya Ikeda (Jou Kido) and Junko Takeuchi (Gomamon)
- Voice actors Hitomi Yoshida (Mimi Tachikawa) and Kinoko Yamada (Palmon)
- Lead writer Yuuko Kakihara
- Character designer Atsuya Uki
- Animation character designer Masanori Shino
- Animation director and Digimon animation designer Kouji Itou
Junya Ikeda and Junko Takeuchi
Jou and Gomamon stood as key players in Part 2. We’ve held a talk with Junya Ikeda-san, who plays Jou in Digimon Adventure tri. (hereinafter, tri.), and Junko Takeuchi-san, who has been playing Gomamon since the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure), about things like their feelings towards their roles.
Junya Ikeda (voice of Jou Kido)
From BāRU. Born on October 27, from Osaka Prefecture. Made his debut as the youngest winner on record during the 19th Junon Superboy Contest. Has made appearances in a large number of works in television dramas, movies, and stage plays. In 2013, he started activities as a voice actor.
Junko Takeuchi (voice of Gomamon)
From OgiPro THE NEXT. Born on April 5, from Saitama Prefecture. Has been greatly active in a wide range of roles from young boy roles such as Naruto Uzumaki in Naruto and Sabo (young) in One Piece to young girl roles such as Rin Natsuki in Yes! PreCure 5.
Jou’s decision, which you can empathize with
–What were your impressions of the post-recording site?
Ikeda: During the recording for Part 1, as soon as we’d finished greeting each other for our first meeting, we went straight to the recording test. I was full of anxiety during the recording as a result. I watched and loved the original Adventure as it aired, back when I was in grade school, and now I was even going to be acting alongside the original voice actors for the Digimon partners, so I was still full of anxiety even by the time we’d gotten to Part 2 (laughs). The Chosen Children had become high school students, and they and their Digimon were getting caught up in things, and new stories were unfolding, so my heart was deeply touched and pounding through every day I was playing the role.
Takeuchi: Really? During tri.‘s DigiFes, Ikeda-kun was doing a backflip, and I was really impressed. Like, “Jou’s doing a backflip!” I was surprised!
Ikeda: Ahaha. I actually auditioned for a different role at first. But after I’d auditioned, I looked at the director and all of the others and noticed they were frowning (laughs). So I thought, “ah, I blew it,” and was about to thank them and go home, but then they said to me, “please try playing another role for us,” and that was Jou. So I tried out for Jou, and I looked at the director and all of the others, and they were smiling really wide, and I thought, maybe, just maybe…! Several days later, I got a phone call and was told that they’d decided to cast me as Jou, and I was really happy!
–Was there anything you were particularly conscious of while playing Jou and Gomamon?
Takeuchi: When I heard that they wanted me to play Gomamon for tri., I was wondering to myself, what kind of Gomamon voice was I using back then again? A lot of people comment that Gomamon is “cute”, but I was worrying a little, like, was I intentionally playing Gomamon to be cute? But when I looked at all of the other Digimon, I thought, “ah, this character was like this, weren’t they?”, and remembered what all of the surrounding characters were like, and that revived my own image of Gomamon.
Ikeda: Gomamon’s first line in Part 1, “I’m here!”, was super cute! Even back at the recording site, people were talking about how cute it was. Personally, when I was playing Jou, I wanted to make sure not to leave behind my image of Jou from the original Adventure. For instance, when a manga gets adapted into an anime, there are times when the image I had in my head was kind of different, and it feels a bit like a letdown. On that same token, since these characters are pre-existing ones, and those who have seen Adventure already have their own image of Jou, so I really wanted to have that pinned down properly. I can’t just be a mere imitation, but I want to do a proper job making sure that something within high schooler Jou is connected to his grade school self, so I thought about what it would be like if that grade schooler version of Jou became a high school student, and consciously played him in the hopes that this would get across to those who were watching.
Takeuchi: In Part 2, when Jou gains his determination to fight, I thought it hit very close to home. Like how it wasn’t about just saving the world anymore, or why he still has to be the one to fight, and what he should be fighting for, and how he’s lost in thought about it, and him gaining his determination and taking that first step was something you could really empathize with.
Ikeda: Yeah. Jou gains his determination to fight not because he’s some kind of hero, but because of his genuine feelings towards his important partner. If Jou hadn’t come running, Gomamon might have ended up being killed.
Takeuchi: He was really driven into a corner, wasn’t he? Because Jou’s reasons for worrying hit close to home, that determination felt convincing, and it really did feel like Jou’s “Honesty”. I really liked how human-like Jou’s way of worrying was (laughs). So seeing Jou gain his determination to take that first step and keep going forward made me very happy.
Jou: He takes that step forward because of his true feelings of wanting to help his partner, but you can feel his love for his partner through that, and I think it felt really satisfying. There’s certainly a sense of coolness that comes from fighting because you’re some kind of hero, but, I thought, there’s also a sense of coolness that comes from being genuine about simply wanting to fight for the sake of your partner. Part 2 is where you can really see his bond with Gomamon as his partner. I’m really glad to see that part of Jou as a character expressed well.
A fight of mutual pain between boys
–Were there any scenes or characters that left a particular impression on you?
Ikeda: Part 2 has that scene where Jou and Gomamon got into a fight, and I was actually burning with emotions during the recording for it (laughs).
Takeuchi: During all of Part 1 and the first half of Part 2, Jou wasn’t listening to anything Gomamon had to say at all. The banter between them during their fight was really fun.
Ikeda: I was just following Takeuchi-san’s lead.
Takeuchi: I think the fight between them is the biggest highlight of Part 2, even moreso than Gomamon’s evolution and battle scenes. I feel that within that fight with Jou is what’s most important. I didn’t want to make it just some kind of ordinary fight between boys, and played it wondering if we could show how both of them were being mutually hurt by it. I think it turned out for the best.
Ikeda: That scene right after they fight, where Gomamon is left by himself and mutters “leave me alone…”, had him be so inevitably cute. It makes you think, Jou, you need to get back there as soon as you can and give him a hug.
Takeuchi: The other scene that left a huge impression on me was when Gomamon said he’d made ramen and brought it to Jou. I was thinking, how on earth did he even make that?
Ikeda: According the producers, he really put a lot of work into learning how to do that.
Takeuchi: Really? (laughs) The fact Gomamon’s even able to make food for Jou makes him kind of like his girl or something.
Ikeda: Like his girlfriend (laughs).
Takeuchi: So I’m glad there was that scene and them getting in a fight. Beyond that, in terms of the character, the scene where he evolved into his new form, Vikemon, left a huge impression on me, but in terms of performance, it was really difficult. I have an image of Gomamon being the mischievous type, and Ikkakumon as more of a levelheaded man, and Zudomon as being more of a vulgar young fellow (laughs). So I was really worried about how I should be playing Vikemon.
Ikeda: When we were recording, we just did it the way the evolution process naturally flowed, but it came out wonderfully! I was thinking, wow, Vikemon comes off as really cool.
Takeuchi: Thank you very much (laughs). It was hard, but I played him while having a lot of fun with it.
–Other than your own, are there any characters you particularly like?
Ikeda: The truth is, back when I was watching Adventure, Gomamon was actually my favorite. Whenever he evolved to Ikkakumon or Zudomon, I kept yelling “how cool!”
Takeuchi: Really? (laughs) I personally think Agumon and Gabumon get really cool when they evolve, and Palmon gets really pretty, and so I end up admiring all of the other Digimon. My number one favorite is Tailmon. The way her eyes are so wide is cute. But when I heard she’s not actually a cat, but a mouse, it was a huge shock for me.1
Ikeda: When I was in elementary school, getting a card with Tailmon’s evolved form, Angewomon, would get you teased, like, “that’s too sexy,” and so I never got to have one. But I’m an adult now, so I have one!
Takeuchi: Even at the recording site, there was the topic of “isn’t this a bit too sexy?” Also, at the recording site, Patamon was the cutest and most popular. And not only that, he becomes humanoid when he evolves, so I was jealous.
–In closing, please leave a message for the fans.
Takeuchi: Please, everyone, come to the theater and pray for Jou’s success in his exams (laughs).
Ikeda: When I first received the script for Part 2, I thought it was genuinely interesting. I think those who have been watching the Digimon series, and those who come to see tri., will get to have a lot of fun with it. The troubles that the Chosen Children go through have a sense of reality to it, and there are a lot of parts that show off the true-to-life nature of their feelings, so please do come to see it, twice, three times, four times, five times, six times, however many times.
Takeuchi: The incredible impressiveness of tri. really comes across on the theater’s big screen and you can really enjoy it, and I’d really like you to enjoy it at home with the Blu-ray or the DVD, too!
Hitomi Yoshida and Kinoko Yamada
We’ve held a special talk with Hitomi Yoshida-san, who plays the bright and innocent repatriate student Mimi Tachikawa, and Kinoko Yamada-san, who has been playing Palmon since the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure). Mimi worries about the conflict over what it means to “become an adult”, and Palmon sticks by her side like a sister. What are their feelings packed in Part 2’s title of “Determination“…?
From amuleto. Born on July 13, from Chiba Prefecture. Has been greatly active in multiple fields, including voice acting for roles such as Muco in Lovely Movie: Lovely Muuuuuuuco! and Haru Miura in Reborn!, while also performing as a singer and a stage actress.
From RME. Born on July 31, from Nara Prefecture. Active in a wide range of roles, including Kaori Shimakura in Magical DoReMi, Naomi in Zatch Bell!, a Fairy in Humanity Has Declined, and Jinko Komori in Playful Kiss.
Everyone’s looking in the same direction together
–Now that post-recording for Parts 1 and 2 have concluded, how did you feel about it?
Yoshida: There was a really peaceful atmosphere at the post-recording site.
Yamada: That said, during the recording for Part 1, we were all incredibly nervous in our own ways. I was talking with (Tailmon’s actress) Yuka-chan about how we were both worried thinking “it’s been sixteen years! What are we gonna do if they tell us our voices are different?” (laughs)
Yoshida: It’s certainly not that common to get the opportunity to pick up a sixteen-year-old role. But we were also incredibly nervous…It was our first time, and we didn’t know what the atmosphere at the recording site was going to be like, or whether we’d be accepted by our Digimon voice actor seniors…
Yamada: As if we’d refuse to accept you guys! (laughs)
Yoshida: I’m grateful! But I’m still inexperienced in a lot of ways, and I was worried about how well I could portray my character through the limited running time of a movie, and I think all of us were bearing that anxiety.
Yamada: It’s amazing that you were even thinking that far ahead! When I first arrived at the recording site, I was throwing a panic at my manager, like, “what am I gonna do!?”, but I think everyone was ultimately magnificent and incredible.
Yoshida: You’re flattering us!…But, really, thank you. I had a better grasp of things by the time we got to Part 2, so I wonder if I was able to calm down a bit. I think everyone, including all of the performers and the staff members, was all heading very firmly in the same direction together…I especially felt this more distinctly than ever before once we’d gotten to Part 2.
Yamada: (Agumon’s voice actress) Chika-san was pulling everyone along.
Yoshida: She really was! It was very reassuring. Whenever she says “it’ll be fine!”, you really do think that it’s going to be fine.
Yamada: She’s Agumon’s actress, after all. We all depend on her so much, I really worry about what’d happen if she weren’t there. Although, back during Adventure, she came and touched my butt (laughs).
Yoshida: Your butt? (laughs)
Yamada: It was something like the second time we’d met, and then she quietly came over and touched my butt. Like she wanted to let me know that I could come and play with her. I was like, “she’s toying with me~! Well, whatever!” (laughs)
Yoshida: I think everyone really likes you, Kinoko-san. Like, there was that time when Palmon was supposed to make a mistake with the saying “let the sitting Mimi lie”2, but then, Kinoko-san…
Yamada: Ack! That was a mistake!
Yoshida: At the recording test, she spit out a perfect “let the sleeping Mimi lie!” And everyone just burst out laughing, like, “ah, she said it too correctly!”, and Kinoko-san was the only one who didn’t notice…
Yamada: Honestly, I was trapped in my own world! Like when you’re lost in your thoughts while walking on a road and accidentally wander into a farm (laughs).
Yoshida: That kind of thing was what made it into a really peaceful atmosphere (laughs).
–What was it like playing Palmon evolving into Togemon and then Lilimon, and then further into Rosemon, and being alongside Mimi?
Yamada: Ah…Lilimon…She’s really kind of hard to do. She’s so cute, and that doesn’t match me at all (laughs). Even back during the TV broadcast, whenever I was walking through town and I saw Lilimon’s scene playing during the PV, I’d hear the “kyah!” in it and start running away from it (laughs).
Yoshida: Really…? I think your voice is fine, Kinoko-san. And then she even evolves into Rosemon…
Yamada: Oh, goodness, hearing that I was going to have to voice that sort of sexy character, at first I was like, “no, no, I can’t! When I first saw Rosemon on the poster art, I went into a panic, like, “what am I gonna do!?”, and I was basically sitting there protesting (laughs).
Yoshida: She really did look cool on the poster. I felt like my own heart was being squeezed, like, “I can’t fall behind in comparison!” (laughs). Actually, prior to Part 2, I had the chance to meet Mimi’s original voice actress, Ai Maeda-san, and I really think that was for the best. When I told her about how nervous I was feeling, she told me, “Please don’t actively try to imitate me and feel free to do it as you like,” and it really put me at ease. So I focused more of my efforts on tackling how a more mature Mimi would sound, and prioritized making her sound human.
A relationship of being like sisters
–Were there any scenes or characters that left a particular impression on you?
Yoshida: Leomon was really cool~!
Yamada: He was super cool, wasn’t he~! Really sexy and cool (laughs). As far as impressive scenes go, my favorite was the one with Mimi carrying Palmon in her arms.
Yoshida: Compared to all of the other partner relationships, Mimi and Palmon are the most like sisters. They go shopping together and all. Mimi’s super clingy with Palmon, and Palmon’s always worrying about Mimi. I got that feeling of “ah, they really are partners” more than ever.
Yamada: The second half had that “not done yet!” that they said in unison, and I was really happy because you could feel their bond really well.
Yoshida: I felt that, like, “ah, they’re partners!” Also, there was that scene where Palmon guides Mimi along.
Yamada: Did she…guide her along? (laughs).
Yoshida: She was guiding her~. It was that scene where Palmon said to her, “you feel the same, right?”, and I felt that Palmon was reminding Mimi in a nutshell about what she’d forgotten and trying to convey that to her. I think that summed up their relationship very neatly, so I was happy to see that. In this movie, Mimi’s selfishness caused some accidents, but Mimi in herself has not changed since the time of Adventure, and I think that’s what’s so good about her. Whenever she thinks something is the right thing to do, she can say outright that “this is right”, and go ahead and act on that.
Yamada: That hasn’t changed at all.
Yoshida: I like how her relationship with Jou-senpai hasn’t changed at all, either. Whenever Mimi’s in pain, she can approach Jou-senpai, of all people…she’d be able to tell Jou-senpai things she wouldn’t be able to tell anyone else, and I’m sure it’s the same for him, too.
Determination towards things that “haven’t changed”
–What do you think of the movie’s title, “Determination“?
Yoshida: I think Mimi’s “determination” is that she “hasn’t changed”. The only thing that’s really changed about her is that she’s gotten more mature. She hasn’t changed, and she’s still pure-hearted, but she’s gotten more mature. In some ways it does seem like a betrayal of her “Purity”, but I think Mimi was able to gain the determination to “not change” while becoming an adult in a very Mimi-like way. So even if she ends up fighting with others, or going through hard feelings, she does what she must to share what she thinks is the right thing to do with everyone. I hope I was able to do a proper job of expressing that as Mimi’s determination.
Yamada: Likewise, Palmon hasn’t changed at all since the day she met Mimi.
Yoshida: She’s always by her side, just like she always was. I think that’s most important.
Yamada: All of the team members have grown, and changed ever so little, and they’re going through their own worries. But we’re the ones not worrying about those kinds of things, and charging forward anyway (laughs). But we’re not just charging forward for our own sakes, but from an honest and pure heart, for everyone else’s sake.
Yoshida: Back then, Mimi would put in her best effort mainly for her own sake, so thinking this way might be how she’s gotten to be more mature (laughs).
–Please tell everyone what they should look out for during Part 2, and leave a message for them.
Yoshida: There’s a lot of fun scenes in this one, like the hot springs center and the school festival, so please enjoy the daily lives of the Chosen Children.
Yamada: We’re like the specialists in that “daily life” part, so shouldn’t we just leave all of the fighting parts to everyone else? (laughs)
Yoshida: But Palmon’s evolution scene was really cool!
Yamada: My heart was pounding! I’m fine when it’s Palmon, but once she evolves…my heart pounds! (laughs)
Yoshida: Her special attack “Prickle-Prickle Bang Bang” is fun, too.
Yamada: Thank you (laughs). Well, we’re the ones who had fun with the voices, but the staff members behind it were the ones who lost sleep putting that together.
Yoshida: Yeah. The art still isn’t finished by the time we get to post-recording, but everyone put their love into drawing those rough drafts for the Digimon. It was something they had to put together really quickly, but they were really cute! The staff members all really love Digimon, and made it with their life force put into it. Well, it’s an honor for us to be involved with this series, too. We’ve devoted everything we have to this, so I think everyone watching will be able to have fun with it. There’s a ton of foreshadowing kept in this series, like a toy box, and they’re all over the place, so please look out for them while you watch.
Yamada: Everyone worked their hardest and tried their best, so I hope you can go in without thinking about anything and watch it while bursting out laughing! Enjoy all of the fun, as much as you can, during the daily life scenes, and take a breather. And also…the name of Rosemon’s special attack was really hard3, but I did my best, so please listen to it (laughs).
Lead writer Yuuko Kakihara
The meaning of “growing” into adults
Writer. From Scenario Factory Moonlight. Main works include the game THE iDOLM@STER and the anime Heaven’s Lost Property, Persona 4: The Animation, Chihayafuru 2, and Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle.
–As the “lead writer”4 of Digimon Adventure tri. (hereinafter, tri.), what role do you have?
Making this series span six parts is going to take a long period of time, so there needs to be a person to look over the entire thing and make it into a single story. My job is to keep a bird’s eye view on the cohesiveness of the story, the surrounding worldbuilding, the characters, and the flow of the dialogue, and check on things to make sure that none of it falls out of order.
Of course, the director and the producers also have plans for how they want the story to go, so we have discussions about how to split it into six parts, and how to flesh things out, and proceed from there.
–What was the concept for Part 2?
Part 1 was where the story began, so we had to establish it with the feeling of “this is the kind of story this will be”, so we had to be explicit about explaining its worldview. Once we’d done that, and depicted things in a way appropriate for a first part, we’d only ended up being able to put in half of what we needed to. And on top of that, all of the “things we wanted to do” and the “things we needed to do” for the latter parts kept increasing. So because of that, Part 2 had a lot of portions dedicated to having the characters move around freely. Because of that, we thought about “what might have felt lacking during Part 1”. From there, we thought, “we want to have more scenes of the characters doing fun things,” so they went to the hot springs center. The idea of having them go to the pool also came up, and then there was a huge uproar over which one would be better, that or the hot springs (laughs).
–What points within tri. were you particularly focused on?
When the Chosen Children were in grade school and went on their adventure, I think they ended up growing beyond the level of others their age. The theme for this series is how they’d manage to “grow” through their battles now that they’ve become adults. Their adventure from when they were children was one where they came to match up with their Crests, which were associated with positive words, and were able to push forward and continue growing. But now that they’re getting more mature, and having troubles through puberty, and all the variations on their painful experiences start to increase, and so we thought that their way of growing would also change. For this series, we want to have the human side that accompanies “ultimate evolution” carry the meaning of “confronting their negative aspects” through their troubles and painful experiences. So we put each and every character in a position where they would be going through negative things, and held discussions and thought about how they would overcome them. So you could look forward to seeing how they overcome them (laughs).
And Jou ends up facing a problem he’d already overcome in the past. But the way you overcome a problem as a child and the way you overcome a problem as an adult changes, so I think that’s the interesting part about depicting puberty.
–What scenes in Part 2 were made to leave a particular impression?
There’s the scene were Jou and Mimi were having their conversation at the waterside. The director brought over the storyboard for that one and told me, “I’m stuck on Jou’s scene!” When I took a look at it, I was surprised. “It’s gotten to be such a painful scene!” Thanks to the director’s storyboard for that scene, it became a much more heartwrenching scene than I’d expected.
Other than that, once I’d written the main storyline and it’d been converted to storyboard, there were a lot of parts that ended up surprising me. Especially in terms of how cute the Digimon were. I realized, when the Digimon move around so cutely, and smile, it’s healing just to have them there. When I was writing the main storyline, I was working from the viewpoint of Taichi and the other humans, so I unconsciously got pulled into the emotions of the humans, but once it got converted into pictures, the Digimon were the ones who really had “power”. No matter how serious things get for the humans, the Digimon would just pop in and do something, and that alone would change the entire outlook of the scene. Digimon have that sort of existence where you end up having to notice them.
–Were there any parts that were difficult to depict in Part 2?
We had quite a difficult time with the scene at the hot springs center. We were splitting up the work of writing the main scenario, and then once we’d finished writing everything we had to make adjustments to things like the progression of emotions within the scene. Once we ended up having to change the location from the pool to the hot springs center, we had to figure out how to maintain the logical progression of events, and we were fumbling around trying to figure out how to do it while we were writing.
On the other hand, we were able to get in a lot of playfulness during Meicoomon’s scene, so it was fun. The director was saying, let’s do a thorough job depicting all of the cuteness that we couldn’t in Part 1! (laughs)
–Please leave a message for all of the Digimon fans!
We made this to be a deep story where those who love Digimon can enjoy seeing them again. Part 2 is full of fun parts, so please have fun while you watch. Although, in practice, it’s only really between the school festival and the hot springs center (laughs).
We’re preparing a bit of a shocking turn in the plot in Part 3…But since the Chosen Children are older and more mature now, they should probably be able to handle it! On top of that, there are going to be a lot of very large Digimon appearing, ones that the director was going “heh heh” while putting in (laughs), be sure to go see it at the theater. Look forward to it!
Character designer Atsuya Uki
To not stray too far from their image from grade school
Illustrator, animator, and manga artist. Won the Four Seasons Grand Prize at the Afternoon Four Seasons Awards for Amon Game in 2005. He gained attention for singlehandedly creating, directing, and producing the anime Cencoroll, which screened in 2009.
–What were your thoughts when you were first asked to do the character designs for Digimon Adventure tri. (hereinafter, tri.)?
I’d never done work for Toei Animation before, so I was surprised when they contacted me.
But even before then, I’d seen the Digimon anime before, and especially its movies from back then, so I genuinely enjoyed getting to be a part of this.
–What was the first illustration you drew for tri.?
I drew the Chosen Children. Actually, after I’d gotten the initial email, we ended up exchanging emails back and forth after that, but when I finally got to meet the producers in person, I prepared a draft with only the Chosen Children’s upper bodies. When the producers saw that, they told me to keep going in that direction, so I never ended up deviating far from the image of that original draft.
After that was the main illustration with the Chosen Children in front of the blue sky. It was the first major illustration produced for tri. There was also an older rough draft for it, but I was the one who decided to brush it up a bit.
At first I was planning to put some Digital World-like objects there with them and the blue sky…but then in the end, somewhere during the design stage, they got taken out (laughs). Also, I tried to exaggerate the size of Taichi’s shoes as a tribute to the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure), but it threw off the tone of the entire piece, so I had to fix it (laughs).
–What did you keep in mind while you were designing the older Chosen Children?
The Chosen Children had grown quite a bit since the time of Adventure, so I wanted to show that “growth” to those who were watching it at the theater. As a result, there wasn’t really anything in particular that I kept in mind while I was designing. But I did pay attention to making sure they didn’t stray too far from their image in grade school. My art style normally involves very tall body proportions, so you can see how that ended up taking a while…
But Taichi was difficult to draw. It was the kind of thing I’d never drawn before, and I had no experience with it. On the flip side, it was easy to build on Koushirou’s image.
I remember having a lot of variations on Mimi’s hairstyle. I didn’t feel that the other characters would have as many major changes from grade school, but for Mimi it felt like any kind of change would make sense, so I even tried out things like having it cropped short.
After that, there was the issue of their silhouettes. Whenever I draw illustrations, I try to make it so that you can tell who it is even from just the silhouette…but that said, when you put Koushirou and Takeru together, their silhouettes don’t look all that different (laughs).
–What was the process of drawing the poster art for Part 2 like?
I always read a summary of the story before I start drawing, so I built upon that image.
The first step was to lay out where Mimi, Jou, Rosemon, and Vikemon would be. It was already difficult to draw four characters in there, but then I got a request from the producers, and I suddenly had to get Imperialdramon in there, too. I was fussing all the way up to the end about how to pull off the composition of them holding Imperialdramon down, since, in my mind, Imperialdramon should be the stronger one…But in the end I was able to follow the same concept as Part 1’s poster, so I feel I’m satisfied with the result.
Part 1’s poster had Omegamon and Alphamon in it, so I drew them with the image of depicting their body parts and their size like those of robots. I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to draw illustrations like those, so I had a fun drawing it. I’m saying this as the one who drew it, but there’s a lot of meaning in things like the facial expressions and the positioning of the characters.
–Please leave a message for the Digimon fans!
After designing the characters, when I got to actually go see Part 1, it hit me really deeply, like “they’re actually moving!” (laughs). There’s another step of redesigning them for animation purposes, and that’s completely different from what I have to draw, so I got to see a different take on them and think “ah, so this is how it came out,” and that’s fun, too. In some ways I’m looking forward to it more as an audience member than I am as part of the staff (laughs).
There’s six parts planned for this, and I expect it’s going to take a long period of time, so I’d be grateful if you could stick with it until the end.
Animation character designer Masanori Shino
I want to express their emotions even through just their eyes
Animation director. Main works include Hajime no Ippo, Black Lagoon, the movie Hunter × Hunter: The Last Mission, and Terra Formars.
–What role do you have as the animation character designer for Digimon Adventure tri. (hereinafter, tri.)?
Uki-san’s designs have a huge sense of originality that no one else can replicate, so my job is to draw them in such a way that they can be adapted to animation and create designs that can be used as a guideline to not have them come off as out of place.
When I was discussing it with Director Motonaga, at first, I felt that Uki-san’s designs would be better left as-is, so I thought about turning down the offer.
But I’d never worked with illustrations with this kind of simplicity before, so I had an interest in the project, and decided to do the designs in the end.
–Is there anything you pay particular attention to when adapting the characters for animation?
The eyes. I wanted to express their emotions even through just their eyes, so I paid particularly close attention to them.
Also, Uki-san’s art doesn’t tend to have a lot of shadows in it, so I added quite a few shadows here and there. When you add shadows to a character, they come off as more three-dimensional. Then, once you’ve done that, they work better against the background.
–Were there any particular characters that were difficult to adapt from Uki-san’s style to animation?
All of them, at first (laughs).
As I said earlier, this was my first time working with illustrations with this kind of simplicity, so I had a hard time getting used to it. But some characters like Sora and Hikari did go fairly smoothly.
–Were there any major changes you made after seeing Part 1?
There weren’t any particularly huge changes.
But I didn’t get to have much involvement in the movie’s production itself beyond being the animation character designer, so when I got to actually see it moving in animation, I was watching it going “whoa…”
Usually I’m the animation director for works with characters I’ve designed, but for this one I only did the designs, so my heart was pounding all the way up until I got to see it for myself.
–Please leave a message for the Digimon fans!
The story’s going to keep accelerating more and more through Parts 3 and 4, so please look forward to it. We’ll do our best to make sure it lives up to your expectations!
Animation director and Digimon animation designer Kouji Itou
I would like you to see them as “tri. versions”
–What role do you have as the Digimon animation designer for Digimon Adventure tri. (hereinafter, tri.)?
Normally I look over the production for all of the animation, but I’m also responsible for the rough drafts for the Digimon character sheets and their 3D parts, and for overlooking the production for the all-important battle scenes.
I’m also responsible for drawing all of the evolution sequences, but I can’t do it all by myself, so the chief animation director5 assigns roles for parts I need to leave to others. Basically I take any odd job they need me to do (laughs).
–The evolution sequences were quite impressive. Did you have a solid image that you had in mind for them?
I did. I thought about how to bring out each character’s individual image, and I emphasized depicting how I wanted each of them to move.
My son is from the Digimon generation, so we watched it together back when it was airing, and ever since then I’d thought that I wanted Ikkakumon to make a pose, so for this series I made him do it. Lilimon had petals falling all around, but it looked like you were being attacked with them, so I had her come out of the rose first and then had the petals scatter.
We had them do the kind of poses that had never been in the series before, and they seem to have been controversial as a result, but I would like you to see them as “tri. versions”.
–Was there anything you paid particular attention to in terms of working on a sequel?
Agumon and the other Digimon haven’t changed all that much since the time of the original Adventure, but maintaining the balance between them and the Chosen Children meant that the kids would have to bend over, and their shoulder widths had changed. We wanted to depict the post-evolution Digimon, like Greymon, and their own individual characteristics in a realistic way. I think you can see a lot of variety in it as a result. For Part 2, I feel that Vikemon’s main centerpoint is his physical strength, so we had his power come out in the composition. Rosemon goes without saying, but for pretty much all of the Digimon, we were aiming to have the lines look like they were roughly hanging on there. Working on even those little details was difficult.
–Are there any particular interesting scenes that you would like people to pay attention to?
Hmm. Well, I’d be happy if you looked at all of it overall. At first, I was talking with the director about how we wanted it to have the energy of an 80s anime. So we put in things like extreme buildup and speed, so I think it has the feel of something meant to be within the time of only a single roll of film. So it’s a relief whenever someone says “it was fun!”.
For the Digimon fans, we did a lot of trial and error with things like Lilimon’s evolution scene, or making use of gimmicks like Rosemon’s whip turning into a sword, so please do watch it and enjoy.
Also, I like Leomon a lot, so Leomon’s scenes. The first half was done by the chief animation director, but I was in charge of the battle scenes in the second half, so I think it’s interesting to see the difference between the first and second halves. I’m going into spoilers here, but I thought that happened a little too quickly…
–Please leave a message for all of the Digimon fans.
The story is firmly on its way, and we’re preparing proper answers two what we’ve foreshadowed, so I hope you enjoy the animation that goes along with the story. Everyone on the production end is trying their best, too, so please look forward to it!
- Whether Tailmon is supposed to be a cat or a mouse has been ambiguously treated even by the official franchise itself. Early-franchise documents describe her as originally having the background of being a “mouse pretending to be a cat” named “Hatsukanezumon” (hatsukanezumi = common mouse). The “mouse pretending to be a cat” sentiment was echoed in the Adventure novels (translation by onkei here), and Adventure 02‘s drama CD “Spring 2003” (translation by onkei here) riffs on the ambiguity, but in 2017, Digimon character designer Kenji Watanabe himself stated on Twitter that, original background aside, the species was eventually designed to be a cat (albeit technically neither, since it’s a fictional monster). A 2019 conversation between Adventure director Hiroyuki Kakudou and Kenji Watanabe clarified that Director Kakudou had been under the impression that the “mouse pretending to be a cat” background had applied, while Watanabe doubled down on the final design being that of a cat.
- During Part 2, when Mimi and Meiko discuss designing outfits, Palmon tries to quip a riff on the Japanese saying “spirits you do not touch will not curse you” (触らぬ神に祟りなし, “sawanaru kami ni tatari nashi”) — effectively an equivalent of “let sleeping dogs lie” (don’t provoke something if you don’t want to get hurt) — by replacing “kami” (“spirits”) with “Mimi” and thus saying “don’t provoke Mimi if you don’t want to get cursed”. However, she makes a mistake and says “tatami” instead of “tatari“, thus leading Mimi to conjure an image of herself sitting on a tatami (traditional Japanese straw floor).
- Saying “Forbidden Temptation” within Japanese phonetic restraints is pretty tricky to do, considering that it uses two nonstandard syllables (fo and du), and is a mouthful in general.
- The role Kakihara has is, in the text, series kousei (シリーズ構成, lit. “series composition”).
- Most likely referring to chief animation director Kouji Watanabe (name written 渡辺浩二, not to be confused with the Cyber Sleuth and Hacker’s Memory writer Kouji Watanabe, name written 渡辺浩弐).