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.
(Part 1: Reunion | Part 2: Determination | Part 3: Confession | Part 4: Loss | Part 5: Coexistence | Part 6: Future)
This post covers the interviews for the pamphlet for Part 3, Confession, featuring interviews with the following:
- Voice actors Mutsumi Tamura (Koushirou Izumi) and Takahiro Sakurai (Tentomon)
- Voice actors Junya Enoki (Takeru Takaishi) and Miwa Matsumoto (Patamon)
- Writers Yuuko Kakihara (lead writer and scriptwriter), Mitsutaka Hirota (scriptwriter), Takaaki Suzuki (setting researcher and scriptwriter), Yasuhiro Nakanishi (scriptwriter), and Yuniko Ayana (scriptwriter)
Mutsumi Tamura and Takahiro Sakurai
Koushirou and Tentomon were visible in an incredibly active role in Part 3. We’ve held a talk with Mutsumi Tamura-san, who plays Koushirou, and Takahiro Sakurai-san, who has been playing Tentomon since the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure), about the reunion between the grown children, and the relationship between the two of them.
From I’m Enterprise. Born on June 19, from Tokyo. Made her debut in 2007. Greatly active with a specialty in young boy roles, including Ranmaru Shikigami in Battle Spirits Burning Soul and Ride Mass in Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans.
From INTENTION. Born on June 13, from Aichi Prefecture. Performs in a broad range of roles, from young boys to adults, from the handsome to comedic, including Kazuya Miyuki in Ace of Diamond, Osomatsu Matsuno in Osomatsu-san, and Rohan Kishibe in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable.
Tentomon as the “mama”
–What was your first impression of the grown Koushirou in Digimon Adventure tri. (hereinafter, tri.)?
Sakurai: My impression of him didn’t change all that much. He’s as serious as he was in the original Adventure, and he’s still a bit stubborn, and he’s still carrying the role of being the brains of the group. Now he’s gotten more aware of fashion and become more of a modern-style kid, but I don’t think he’s changed at his core.
Tamura: Yeah. When I was reading the script, I got the feeling that his position as the brains of the group and his pliable attitude was the same as it was from back then, so I felt I should play him with the same image I had of him from the original Adventure.
Sakurai: But from the Digimon’s perspective, I feel like things might have changed from the time of Adventure. Whenever something happens, the Digimon can’t respond immediately by themselves, and when they see the kids’ reactions to such event, there’s a lot of times they realize “ah, this is a serious problem.”
Tamura: Yeah, you’re right. Agumon in particular.
Sakurai: I don’t know if I’d say this is a sign of the kids’ growth, but you can definitely feel the passage of time.
–What was your impression of Tentomon in tri.?
Tamura: My impression of Tentomon hasn’t particularly changed, but I felt like he was more of the “mama”1 than ever (laughs). He was preparing food and snacks for everyone, and becoming the caretaker of the other Digimon…
Sakurai: Somehow he ended taking the role of the “mama” (laughs). But I think that part about doting on everyone probably has to do with the fact he’s with Koushirou. Also, he was able to have a proper conversation with him. Other ones, like Agumon, weren’t able to understand difficult topics at all.
Tamura: Agumon was saying things like “is it tasty?”
Sakurai: In Part 3, the ones who were able to understand a bit about difficult issues and single out the problem were something like Tailmon, Gabumon, and Tentomon.
–Was there anything you were conscious of when playing Koushirou and Tentomon as they were having their reunion for the first time in six2 years?
Tamura: I focused on playing him like “someone who was meeting his best friend for the first time in a long while”. Even when you haven’t seen your best friend in a long while, you can still pick things up like it was only yesterday, so I played it with the image of that feeling of closeness.
Sakurai: Yeah. Even in the actual movie, it’s less like a touching reunion and more like “ah, they’re finally back.” You don’t really feel like it’s been all that long in terms of time, so you really feel the bonds between them.
The highlight is watching his Ultimate evolution sparkle in gold
–What aspects do you particularly like about Koushirou and Tentomon?
Sakurai: Koushirou’s a good kid. Maybe it’s because he was raised well, but he doesn’t do the wrong thing all that much. Sometimes he’s slow to take action, but while there are others who would normally charge in simply believing there’s a way, but he faces the problem itself, gathers information, and thinks about it in a logical manner, and I think that’s what makes Koushirou’s presence stand out. Very different from Jou, who lets loose now that he’s gotten a girlfriend (laughs).
Tamura: He’s the only one whose way of dealing with problems is to analyze it. But because Koushirou’s always in front of his computer, I don’t remember him getting in much conversation, even though Part 3 had him front and center. I feel like we didn’t even get to see that many scenes with him going to school much…(laughs).
Sakurai: To other people outside the Chosen Children, he probably comes off as the cool type with a straight face. Tentomon might also think he looks cool that way, too.
Tamura: But in this movie, he’s trying everything and losing sleep over multiple nights, and it was painful to see everything he tried come up in errors. Despite that, Tentomon continues to believe in him and stays by his side, even though it meant staying next to the computer all of the time.
Sakurai: Once he sees Koushirou at his wits’ end, Tentomon really does start acting like a mother to Koushirou (laughs).
Tamura: He does. He keeps looking after him. I really like how Tentomon quietly supports Koushirou like that. While all of the other Digimon are making a racket, he just carefully looks on and doesn’t intrude, and I think it was incredible how he was able to have so much impact while staying in the background. Also, Tentomon’s the only Digimon who speaks in Kansai dialect, so he has a different aura to him.
Sakurai: He comes off as very sociable.
Tamura: He still does keep a certain amount of distance from others, but you still feel close to him because he speaks in Kansai dialect.3 It’s a curious feeling.
Sakurai: But he still uses it even after evolving, so back in Adventure, whenever he’d evolve into Kabuterimon and start talking during a cool scene or a serious scene, it’d make you burst out laughing (laughs). But then he’d end it pretty quickly with a special attack, so for the most part, he wouldn’t actually have that many lines during those times. But for this movie, he had a lot of lines even after evolving, so I was thinking, how do I keep this incredibly intense scene from accidentally getting funny? (laughs)
–What struck you the most about HerakleKabuterimon’s Ultimate evolution?
Tamura: When I first saw the poster, I thought, wow, he’s really gold.
Sakurai: I was personally very deeply moved. I felt the same back in the original Adventure when he evolved into AtlaKabuterimon. Coming from Adventure, I personally think HerakleKabuterimon’s gold sparkling figure has become the biggest highlight.
Tamura: He’s really big. He makes Digimon like Garurumon look small in comparison. It’s really nice seeing Koushirou on the Part 3 poster, where he’s standing on HerakleKabuterimon’s shoulder.
Sakurai: It’s like, wow, he gets to ride on something so strong! But he won’t let go of the computer~. Koushirou-han can’t do anything without it, after all (laughs).
Tamura: It’s like, it’s not Koushirou if he doesn’t have his computer! (laughs)
–Was there anything you were particularly conscious of when you were playing HerakleKabuterimon?
Sakurai: A lot of it is less about technicalities and more about intuition. When you think about it in terms of scale, Kabuterimon is pretty big, so when he evolves even further, I try to make him come off as even stronger, but no matter what I do, he ends up sounding intimidating (laughs). But on the other hand, if I try to be all stylish about yelling “HerakleKabuterimon!”, that’s going to feel weird (laughs). You’re gonna think, “he looks like that, with this voice?!” So, fundamentally, when it comes to Kabuterimon and the higher forms, I try to change things up in ways that make sense only in my head…Maybe I should have made him come off as a bit more elegant-sounding?
Tamura: No, no, if you’d made him too stylish, I don’t think we could have continued with the post-recording without cracking up (laughs). It’d be like. “he looks like that, he’s so big, but…!”
Sakurai: Yeah. I think we’d all have been stopped in our tracks (laughs).
Koushirou’s standout line “It’s about what you will do”
–Were there any scenes in Part 3 that left a particular impression on you?
Tamura: The conversation between Koushirou and Tentomon, right before the reboot, left a huge impression on me. But it was fairly short, so I was hoping that maybe he should have taken a little more time with conveying his thoughts.
Sakurai: It really gets across what kind of emergency they’re in. In terms of performance, that was a pretty difficult scene to do. I felt it shouldn’t come off too human-like, so I focused instead on making it something that sounded very much like it would come from a Digimon.
Tamura: After that, when the reboot happened and everyone was feeling like they should just give up, Koushirou was looking for a way to go to the Digital World. There was a single instant where Tentomon was reflected on his computer screen, and I think Koushirou remembered what Tentomon said about how “Koushirou pushes forward for the sake of further possibilities and desperately tries to understand” and thought, “that’s right, I need to get back up again.” That scene really got me. And when he was looking for a way to get to the Digital World, Takeru said, “I…I couldn’t protect Patamon. I couldn’t do anything!”, and in response to that, Koushirou said, “It’s not about what you couldn’t do. It’s about what you will do.” That was a real standout line!
–In closing, please leave a message for the fans.
Sakurai: Back when they were going on their adventure in the Digital World during the original Adventure, they were full of dreams, and luck was always on their side, and I feel they were always spurred on by the tailwind of “it’ll always be okay! There’ll definitely be a happy ending!” But tri. is a bit different from that, and all of those good things that they had as children are changing and disappearing as they get older, and the story from there is about how they find signs of what they need to keep moving forward. There’s still a lot of mysteries and things to be concerned about going on in the story, but I’d be happy if you made your way to the theater and look forward to how things develop. Please enjoy it!
Tamura: I think many of the people who will be watching this at the theater have been watching since the time of the original Adventure, like I was. I think there are many parts where you can empathize with these kids who have experienced a lot, grown through thinking deeply, and are doing their best while smack in the middle of puberty, and so I hope you can feel all sorts of things while watching it. Please look forward to it, all the way to the end!
Junya Enoki and Miwa Matsumoto
Takeru and Patamon are tied by a tight bond, even after overcoming numerous trials. We asked Junya Enoki-san, who plays Takeru, and Miwa Matsumoto-san, who has been playing Patamon since the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure), to “confess” their love, tears, and feelings towards Takeru and Patamon, who were key players in Part 3 of Digimon Adventure tri. (hereinafter, tri.)
From Atomic Monkey. Born on October 19, from Tokyo. Has played roles such as Shion Kiba in Cardfight!! Vanguard G, Shu Kurenai in Beyblade Burst, AΩ Nova in Space Patrol Luluco, and Rui Maita in The Idolmaster SideM.
Born on December 15, from Fukuoka Prefecture. Greatly active in a large range of roles, spanning young girls to young boys, including Shippo in Kero Kero Chime, Ninjippi in Crayon Kingdom of Dreams, and Chiharu Mihara in Cardcaptor Sakura. She is reprising her role for tri.
Takeru and Patamon, who “haven’t changed”
–How do you feel about having completed the post-recording for Parts 1 through 3?
Enoki: Matsumoto-san was finally able to join us for Part 3.
Matsumoto: Yeah. I live in Fukuoka, so I had a hard time lining up my schedule with everyone else’s, so up until Part 2 I had to record all by myself. I was very lonely (laughs). But Part 3 features Takeru and Patamon front and center, so we worked things out for this one.
Enoki: I’ve seen the original Adventure, so I understood what Patamon meant to Takeru and knew what his voice should sound like, but having his voice actually respond to my lines in real-time left a completely different level of impression and emotion on me, so I think Part 3 was when we were really able to properly record dialogue that bounced off of each other. Part 3 was a lot easier for us to do as a result.
Matsumoto: I’m so sorry for not being able to record with you during Parts 1 and 2 (laughs).
Enoki: It’s fine, it’s fine! I’m just glad I was able to have such a friendly chat with you when we finally got to meet for Part 3. I was feeling a ton of pressure about participating in something as famous as the Digimon Adventure series, but all of the Digimon voice actors accepted us warmly, so the atmosphere made it easier for us to pull it off. Parts 2 and 3 were also easy to do as a result.
Matsumoto: I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there with you that whole time…We met for the first time at last year’s Digimon Adventure Fes, and I was able to go “Takeru!” at you, but since then I couldn’t actually act my role alongside you, I’m so sorry (laughs).
–What was your first impression of Takeru, now that he’s grown?
Matsumoto: He’s a lot more elusive than he’s ever been (laughs).
Enoki: He’s a really wordly person now, he doesn’t come off as being a kid (laughs). Even back in 02, he was a bit different from the other kids his age in elementary school, and responded to things with a bit more maturity, so I guess now he’s got the image of coming off as a bit tryhard4. Maybe it’s an effect of his complicated family background, but I was thinking a lot about how he seems to have gotten so good at navigating society.
Matsumoto: But he’s still one of the youngest in the group, so his core hasn’t really changed since grade school.
Enoki: He’s been toying with his brother since he was little (laughs).
Matsumoto: Also, he’s gotten good at dealing with girls! He starts flirting with Meiko-chan, and gets Hikari all jealous.
Enoki: He’s worldly, and he’s quick-thinking, and he’s nice to girls…He’s amazing. I feel like he’d do well no matter what field he ends up pursuing.
Matsumoto: Everyone was going, “he’s gotten so in-your-face!” (laughs)
Enoki: He won’t even consciously use boku5 anymore (laughs).
Matsumoto: Ah~, you said it! But older girls are a bit out of his range, don’t you think? He started going into that territory a bit (laughs)
Enoki: You mean like when he got involved with Meiko.
Matsumoto: Do you think he might have enjoyed seeing Meiko-chan go “kyah!“, maybe?
Enoki: I don’t think it’s that, I think Takeru calling Meiko “cute” is just his way of courtesy. Like…something like saying “good morning” to someone, there probably isn’t any deeper meaning to it.
Matsumoto: It may not have any deeper meaning, but people aren’t going to see it that way (laughs).
Enoki: I mean, he’s just greeting her…(laughs)
Matsumoto: I see, I’ll keep that in mind.
Enoki: I take time to study Takeru further every time we do a recording. But for some reason, he’s gotten really rude to Mimi-san (laughs).
Matsumoto: Yeah, yeah, he’s like that with Mimi. Also, he treats Sora-san a bit too much like she’s his older sister, and gets nosy in his brother and the others’ business.
Enoki: He’s scary. But Takeru really does love his brother in the end. Like when he was teasing his brother in Part 3, or in Part 2, when he was telling Hikari the name of Yamato’s school festival-exclusive band, “WORLD ON THE KNIFE”, with a huge smile on his face…During the recording test for that Part 2 scene, Hosoya-san (Yamato’s voice actor: Yoshimasa Hosoya-san) was like, “he’s mocking him, isn’t he?” (laughs). That said, maybe it’s because Hosoya-san was playing Takeru’s older brother, but I’ve ended up unconsciously relying on him. Even back during DigiFes, there were so many of our senior voice actors there, and we were talking about how we should approach them, but I think part of me ended up quietly watching Hosoya-san and following what he did.
–What do you think about Patamon not having changed since the original Adventure?
Matsumoto: I mean, his design6 hasn’t changed…right?
Enoki: They mean inside, the inside (laughs).
Matsumoto: Uh, well, the way tri. draws him makes him all jelly and dough-like, so he looks really tasty (laughs).
Enoki: His butt is cute.
Matsumoto: It’s not just Patamon, everyone’s come back looking really tasty (laughs). Like, if you grill them, they’d be really tasty…!
Enoki: That’s awful (laughs)!
Matsumoto: Everyone else said it was awful, but I kept thinking, “we could get some really good meat out of them!”
Enoki: In terms of personality, he hasn’t changed at all. He’s the same cute Patamon he’s always been.
Matsumoto: Nope, he hasn’t changed at all. But he might have become more spoiled than ever. He goes “right, Takeru?”, and acts like Takeru’s the one at fault for spoiling him (laughs).
Enoki: And Takeru just goes along with it, like “yeah…”
Matsumoto: While I was playing him, I was thinking, “whoa, this guy actually went along with it.”
–Were there any scenes in Part 3 that left a particular impression on you?
Enoki: The one where Patamon was about to go fight alongside the other Digimon, and Takeru tried to stop him. That kind of behavior is unusual for Takeru, or, rather, when a Digimon partner goes in to fight, usually a Chosen Child would want to fight, too. But here, he’s the only one who won’t let Patamon go, and the degree of how much he loves Patamon really comes to the surface. Takeru has a good head on his shoulders, so I feel that he’d usually be the type to let him go, but given the circumstances he’s gotten in, the fact that he was like “I don’t want you to go” was pretty intense.
Matsumoto: It’s not so much scenes that left an “impression” on me as much as there were a lot of scenes that were really painful to record. I really didn’t want to make it too heavy, but whenever I tried to make the lines lighter, I would keep getting back “please raise the IQ a bit” from the staff, so it went in the opposite direction (laughs). And then when we got to a certain scene…up until now, there haven’t been many times when I was recording a scene and started crying, but this time it was so painful…even now, I think I might cry (laughs).
Enoki: Ah, you’re crying!
Matsumoto: When I first saw Part 2’s PV, all I had to see were the words “goodbye, Takeru”, and that alone was the end for me. I was bawling and crying while drying the laundry at home. I was thinking, why “goodbye”…? At the time I hadn’t gotten to see the script that I’d normally get prior to post-recording, so I was imagining all sorts of things and wondering if he’d gotten another death flag on him. And then when I actually got to read the script, there were so many painful lines that I really did end up crying a lot.
Enoki: There were a lot of really painful developments in this one. When we were at the post-recording, Mutsumi Tamura-san, who plays Koushirou, was sitting next to me, and told me, “I’m absolutely going to end up crying today, so I’m trying to think of something funny right now.” (laughs) But during the recording test, after we’d done the scene where Takeru and Patamon cry and returned to our seats, I remember hearing her voice from the side, going “nope, I can’t do this.”
–Other than the characters you’d played, are there any characters that you particularly like?
Matsumoto: After seeing Part 3, I thought, I really want to take Tentomon home with me. He’d make things for any guests I’d have, and treat them…he’s a surprisingly capable “bug” (laughs). Back during the original Adventure, Koushirou-kun’s actress7 and the others would call him “the bug” (with love), so now whenever I see him I keep thinking, “ah, it’s ‘the bug’.” And now that we’re here at tri., any doubts about his love for Koushirou have vanished, and Tentomon is really cute. I want one~!
Enoki: As for me…hmm. I like Patamon and Leomon, but among the Chosen Children, I really like Hikari-chan.
Enoki: Yes. Maybe it’s because I’m playing Takeru, but I really like how close they are. You really feel like they’re in the midst of their youth!8
Matsumoto: During that scene where they went to Ichijouji-kun’s place, and Hikari was looking at him from behind and not saying anything, I was thinking, “ah, I wish she’d just be honest about her feelings.”
Enoki: We still don’t understand what they really think about each other at all.
Matsumoto: That gap between them is really frustrating to watch.
Enoki: The gap in their relationship…when I was younger, it used to really fascinate my little heart (laughs). Personally, I really like her refreshing personality.
–Please leave a message for the fans.
Enoki: Part 3 has even more serious developments than Parts 1 and 2. It’s painful to watch it, and I think you’ll end up crying, but then things happen at the end that’ll make you really want to see Part 4 as soon as possible. So I hope you go and see Part 3, cry all you like, think about what’ll happen in Part 4 with excitement, and look forward to everything that happens from here on out.
Matsumoto: The story developments for this one are interesting, of course, but Part 3 also depicts the relationship between partners. For instance, the way Mimi and Sora spend time with their partners before the reboot are completely different in their own ways. The things that they leave behind for their loved ones, and the things they don’t quite understand but get left behind anyway…Their relationships are depicted in a sad way, but I really do like it. But I think Part 3 will make you cry while thinking that something good is really gonna happen in Part 4. Please look forward to watching it.
Yuuko Kakihara × Mitsutaka Hirota × Takaaki Suzuki × Yasuhiro Nakanishi + Yuniko Ayana
Staff Group Talk: The “evolving” Digimon and the “growing” children
We had a long chat with the staff in charge of Digimon Adventure tri.‘s script, and talked about the appeal of its story, things from behind the scenes, and how things went at the production site.
–How did you come to be involved with the production of Digimon Adventure tri.?
Kakihara: All of us on the scriptwriting team have a different story on how we came to be involved. I was called on9 by the animation producer, Sakurai-san10…What about you, Suzuki-san?
Suzuki: I was called on by Director Motonaga to do setting research and work on the script.11 But I didn’t actually get to be properly involved until sometime after production on tri. had already started.
Hirota: I was left on the side of the road, lost and thinking “I’m out of work…”, and then Kakihara-san came over to me and said “have you been eating lately?”, and when I responded “I haven’t been eating at all,” she said, “all right, then, I’ll find a way so you can eat.”12
Kakihara: And you’re going off and telling a joke again (laughs). I have absolutely no memory of saying anything like that (laughs).
Nakanishi: I was brought on to participate on Part 413. After they’d finished with the script for Part 3, I went up to Kakihara-san and said “I like Digimon,” and she invited me and said “then why don’t you come on?”
Kakihara: Nakanishi-kun is from the generation that was watching the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure) as it aired, and he’s from tri.‘s exact target audience, so we decided to have him on the production team. Scriptwriter Yuniko Ayana-san has had that role since Part 114, and we got a lot of opinions from her, but we were also talking about how we’d like to have both a female representative and a male representative so we could cover full ground.
Suzuki: I heard Director Motonaga constantly asking people from that generation things like “who’s everyone’s favorite characters right now?” and “what’s popular right now?”
Kakihara: Yeah. So that’s why we brought Nakanishi-kun on board…
Nakanishi: I really felt that I wanted to see everything that was going on with these movies made for my beloved Digimon series. That was around summer of last year (2015). I got a little peek into what was going on during Part 3’s production, and they were working on the climax of the first half, and everyone was working so earnestly on it…
Kakihara: Which is not what it’s like at all right now (laughs).
Suzuki: Usually it’s all peace and harmony, and there’s a lot of chit-chat.
Hirota: Our preliminary meetings had us in chit-chat for about an hour (laughs).
Suzuki: Well, we were brainstorming in a certain sense, too. We’re having chit-chat, but we talk about this and that, but little by little, we manage to get some concrete material out of it.
–Did you talk about anything after finishing and watching Part 3?
Suzuki: We all had our private showings at different times.
Kakihara: We did. Since we all saw it separately, we haven’t had an opportunity to get together and talk about it yet.
Hirota: I had my private showing right after the director’s, but right after mine finished, I went up to Director Motonaga and was like “that was incredible, really incredible.” I was told beforehand “you’re gonna cry three times,” but it ended up being around seven (laughs).
Kakihara: Hirota-san wasn’t able to go to the private showings for Parts 1 and 2.
Hirota: Right. Part 3 was the first time I got to go to a private showing, so for Parts 1 and 2, I got to have direct access to seeing the fans’ reactions. I was sitting behind people who were watching and exchanging opinions, and got to hear quite a few things (laughs).
Suzuki: It makes you want to suddenly burst out, like, “Well, actually…” (laughs)
Kakihara: Part 1 screened while we were in the middle of production for Part 3, and we heard all sorts of different opinions, so we were well attuned to what they were saying. There were a lot of times we had to talk about whether we should keep doing what we were doing, and what changes we should make, and reconsider things.
Hirota: Like, “this is what the fans want,” or “we have to be careful about this.”
Hirota: Also, when we were working on the story for Part 3, we got to see the storyboard and in particular the actual “art” for the Jou and Mimi scene in Part 2, and I remember that we decided to make use of that tension in Part 3.
Kakihara: While we were working on Part 3, we were having conversations about Part 4, too, like “let’s change this part, too.” We had to work on the story for Part 4 at the same time, midway through Part 3’s production…There’d be times when we’d come up with a good idea for Part 3, and then we’d have to get it into Part 4, too.
Suzuki: On the other hand, we’d sometimes have to get things from later parts and put them back in the earlier parts. We had to match up with Director Motonaga’s footage plan, so it involved a lot of trial and error.
Kakihara: By the time the storyboard had been done, the image it needed to portray would have changed yet again.
Hirota: Part 3 in particular has a lot of story developments, and the meaning of Taichi and the others being in high school was that it would be harder for them to face the same issues again. We had to push forward while thinking about what it meant for them to not be grade schoolers, but in “high school”.
Suzuki: Right, right. We had conversations like, what was it like for us back in high school?
–Were there any difficulties in depicting them as high school kids in 2005?
Suzuki: At first, we had conversations like “high school kids back then were like this.”
Kakihara: Yeah. We had to be very honest about our own experiences.
Hirota: I was a high school kid during the Showa era15, so it felt like there really was a difference between how things were back then and now.
Kakihara: And there still was a bit of a difference between the high school Nakanishi-kun went through and the high school of “now”…Their means of communication were completely different, so getting a grasp of that sense was difficult. We ended up having to rely on Suzuki-san’s setting research.
Suzuki: I’m the one who wrote most of Koushirou’s long lines (laughs). Also, I had to look into things like the locations they were set in, and, for instance, things like the Self-Defense Forces, and what things were like in that era, and write those into the script.
Kakihara: Things could change so much in only one year…Suzuki-san worked really hard for us.
Suzuki: The story is set in 2005, so I looked into things like what kind of time period that was, and what happened during then. I managed to get footage of a special episode of a certain television program that was set in Odaiba. On top of that, the TV show was set just before 2005, so it did a lot to help me figure out what Odaiba was like back then. I also learned that Ooedo Onsen Monogatari first opened in 2005, so we even managed to get it tied into a real-life collaboration.16
Kakihara: We made the best use out of all of the materials he’d gotten for us, and so we got to make the Digimon go here and there in Odaiba more often, back and forth like it was a game of whack-a-mole…We had a lot of interesting ideas come up, too…
Suzuki: But we didn’t have enough time, so we had to throw them out.
Kakihara: We also looked into what the state of the Internet was at the time, and large screens existed by that point, so it was easy to have the Digimon come out of them, and we got to do all sorts of things…It’s nostalgic to remember (laughs).
Hirota: But things were getting too long, so there were a lot of ideas we had to cut.
–Were there any disputes over how to portray the kids as “high school students”?
Kakihara: There was a dispute between having them be “realistic high school students” versus “the kind of high school students we would like them to be”. We had a lot of conversations about how to depict them. We’d already been doing a lot of trial and error during Parts 1 and 2, but by the time of Part 3 our doubts had mostly cleared up, so those conversations faded away. From there, we thought about what we should do with the characters, and how to portray the story in accordance with the themes.
Hirota: For Parts 1 and 2, we were very concerned about how not to destroy the atmosphere of Digimon Adventure, including its characters. But if we kept staying in fear of that, we wouldn’t even be able to proceed one step towards the theme we needed for the story…
Suzuki: Of course, each character’s inner core still has to change. The ending of 02 has Taichi and the others appearing as adults, so we had proper conversations about what they would decide on during high school, and what they would experience, and how they would eventually get to that point. Based on the idea that, through discovering their “future course” through high school, they should be able to easily see and understand their dreams for the future, we started from there and thought about each character.
Kakihara: While we were talking about it, Jou-senpai went through a pretty big change.
Suzuki: Yeah. He knows he has to do his best, but Jou still hadn’t firmly decided on what he himself should do. But in Part 2, he decides “I’ll do it this way from now on” and solidifies what he wants, so it was a pretty big change.
Kakihara: On the other hand, for Yamato in Part 3, Director Motonaga came to the conclusion that “Yamato doesn’t need to change”. Of course, he still has things to worry about, and he still grows, but compared to the way the others changed, “Yamato can be as Yamato always was” (laughs). Director Motonaga was always coming and brushing up what we were doing with the characters.
Suzuki: We talked a lot with Director Motonaga about whether the relationship between Taichi and Yamato should change. Also, since Koushirou was the one who was always by Taichi’s side, we had Koushirou be the one to give advice whenever something happened.
Nakanishi: When you think about it now, Koushirou likes Taichi a little too much (laughs).
Suzuki: He does (laughs). During the original Adventure, Taichi was the one pulling everyone along, but now that same Taichi has stopped in his tracks, and now everyone else around him feels that they have to do something…In the end, the story really gets a move on whenever Taichi does something.
Hirota: And while Taichi’s stalled like this, there’s Yamato, who doesn’t hold back, and in Part 2, there’s Jou and Mimi…and as for Sora, who’s watching all of this happen, Part 4 will show her having her own worries. Everyone was always saying that Part 3’s combination of Takeru and Koushirou was going to be difficult. Especially Takeru, since he’d always been the cheerful one who’d brought up everyone’s mood, so now that we’d given him something to worry about, everyone started getting worried, like, “so now what…?”
Suzuki: Right. Takeru was difficult to work with.
Hirota: We all talked about it, and we finally managed to proceed by having him converse with Meiko.
–How did you come up with the characters of Meiko and Meicoomon?
Kakihara: At first, we based Meiko on one of our female staff members (laughs). We had this image of her that she’d get all flustered and be like “awawawawa”, and anytime she’d see something she liked she’d go “waaaaah!”…
Nakanishi: Once you start to see more of what Meiko’s really like, she starts resembling that basis less and less…(laughs)
Suzuki: But at the beginning, she really did come to our meetings in a very Meiko-ish manner (laughs).
Kakihara: We wanted people to be able to accept Meiko and Meicoomon as one of their friends in tri., so we had to tread with caution. For instance, her dialect, like, should we have her go “~dagan“17? (laughs)
Suzuki: We did research into dialects, too~.
Kakihara: We did research, but we were wondering, should we actually have them use it? Ultimately, we had them speak in the Chugoku regional dialect as a tribute to Takeru and Yamato18 (laughs).
Hirota: But we did decide from the beginning that Meiko wouldn’t just be a character who got flustered at everything, but would actually have a strong core within her. But we obviously couldn’t just bring those aspects out of her right from the start, we’d run through all of her character development too quickly, so we had her show just a little bit of her will in her relationship with Mimi in Part 2. We also had her show off another side of herself when conversing with Takeru in Part 3.
Kakihara: Also, we didn’t want there to be any overlap between herself and any of the other existing members, so I think I was talking with the director about whether we should give her black hair, or give her glasses, and other things like that.
Hirota: We also talked about how we wanted people to accept Meicoomon, too.
Kakihara: Yeah. Meicoomon is the featured Digimon for this series, so we had a lot of discussion about what kind of character she’d be.
Hirota: She didn’t get to talk all that much in Part 1.
Kakihara: Having her talk too much wouldn’t work with the story in the later parts. She’s supposed to be childish and cute, so we didn’t have her talk very much, but we also paid close attention to the balance between her and the other Digimon.
Suzuki: We also had difficulty with their names~.
Kakihara: We all had to decide on their names together~. Meiko’s original placeholder name was “A-ko”19.
Suzuki: And then we thought, why don’t we just throw some kanji20 onto her name, then? (laughs)
Nakanishi: It’s a good thing you settled on calling her Meiko (laughs).
–Part 3 had Meiko unable to go to the Digital World.
Kakihara: We were writing the end of Part 3 at the same time we were writing Part 4…Since we were working from the beginning of Part 4, we were having a dispute over whether she should go with Taichi and the others, or whether her feelings would get the better of her and convince her that she shouldn’t go with them. I feel like we were constantly going back and forth and changing it again and again.
Nakanishi: Again and again and again and yet again…(laughs).
Kakihara: It was like, wait, did Meiko go with them after all? Did she not go with them? (laughs)
Hirota: We also talked about whether we should have Part 3 end with them actually going to the Digital World, or whether it should end with them simply gaining the resolve to go.
Suzuki: The structure and allotted length changed midway through production, so we decided to have them actually go to the Digital World. We really did want to end Part 3 as a story of having hope and moving forward, so we decided to include the scene where they went to the Digital World.
Kakihara: There was a version where we had Meiko go with them. If we separated them, it’d pose a lot of problems for the story…But having them separate made things a little more interesting, so the story settled into the form you see now.
–In closing, please tell the fans what they should look out for from here on out, and leave a message for them.
Kakihara: We’d like to depict all six parts with their own different colors and themes and settings and situations. We’re making each one to have their own new and different feelings, so I hope you can look forward to Part 4 in a different way.
Nakanishi: So far we’ve had a pretty mature story with high school students, and it’s become rather gloomy, but from here on out they’ll be in the good old nostalgic Digital World, so I hope you can enjoy it with new feelings.
Kakihara: We’ve brought a lot of things into the core of Part 4, thanks to Nakanishi-kun and Ayana-san. They’re straight from the generation of Adventure fans, after all.
Hirota: Part 4 is the one that’s truly made by fans.
Kakihara: Also, there’s going to be some difficult parts from here on out, but we’re going to shuffle things up and feature some combinations of kids and Digimon that haven’t been seen before, and we’re challenging ourselves by depicting what happens when those unusual combinations get lost together.
Suzuki: I think it’s interesting to see the kinds of combos you wouldn’t see much in Adventure and such, and what they do together.
Kakihara: During the meetings, we were talking about what kind of conversation Koushirou and Yamato would have when they’re by themselves, and we came to the thought that they’d probably talk about nothing but Taichi. And then Ayana-san went “ah, I see!” and got all excited (laughs).
Hirota: Thanks to the reboot, the new incarnations of the Digimon and their partners have to build their relationships over from scratch, and I think the way you can see those relationships in a different form will be a huge highlight. Meiko will also be another character going through some dramatic changes.
Suzuki: Part 4 and after make up a story where the Digimon, who haven’t been changing all that much through Parts 1 through 3, finally begin to start showing some growth.
Hirota: That’s a good way of putting it. Taichi and the others might be the ones who are actually “evolving”.
Although she couldn’t join the group talk, we’ve also included an interview with Yuniko Ayana-san, another member of the scriptwriting team!
–Now that production of Parts 1 through 3 have finished, please tell us your impressions and what your favorite scenes are.
I was prepared for it to be difficult, but it really was harder than I’d ever imagined it’d be (laughs). There were a lot of restraints on production…but as a Digimon fan myself, I had to keep a hard watch on them. As for scenes I liked, there was that scene where Taichi and Agumon were talking in front of the sunset, and the evolution into Omegamon and the resulting fight, and in Part 2 there was everything surrounding Jou, and the scene where Mimi and Lilimon go “not done yet!” and Lilimon evolves to Ultimate. The scene in Part 3 where Takeru found out about Patamon’s infection, and the scene when the two of them parted…were also very memorable to me.
–Were there any particular disputes when it came to portraying them as “high school students”?
We had one about how close everyone would be to each other. Like, whether they should be super-close friends with each other. Back during the TV series, they certainly got along very well, but when I rewatched it, I realized they weren’t exactly friends…they’re more like “teammates”. I realized, “friends” and “teammates” are two different things.21
–Did the staff base the kids’ troubles and actions as high school students on their own personal experience?
What Jou goes through at cram school is something that I went through in high school. When I was studying for university exams at cram school, we had to sit in the order determined by our scores…It was pretty difficult to deal with. We thought it would be a fitting aspect of Jou’s story, so we included that in there.
–Considering where things have progressed so far, please tell us what people should look out for.
Personally, I think people should look out for the “names”. Ever since I originally watched the TV series, the way the Digimon and their partners would call out each other’s names would always leave a huge impression on me. During the Part 1 screening and some of the events, the voice actors for the Digimon would say “we’d yell out our partners’ names whenever we had the opportunity to slip them in!”, and when I heard that, it confirmed to me that this really was an important point. So I think that’s something you should pay attention to in Part 4…Besides that, Taichi and the others are finally going on an adventure in the Digital World, for the first time in such a long while! Look forward to seeing what places they’ll visit, and what Digimon they’ll meet…!
–Please leave a message for the Digimon fans.
How did you like Part 3? Taichi and the others were able to reunite with their Digimon, but it was a bit different from what a reunion would normally be…so in any case, I would be very happy if you looked forward to Part 4.
Kakihara-san, Hirota-san, Suzuki-san, Nakanishi-san, Ayana-san, thank you very much!
- Tamura refers to Tentomon as an okan, using Tentomon’s Kansai dialect to clip the word for “mother”, “okaa-san“. [↩]
- Perceptive fans who have seen Adventure 02 are probably thinking that their separation can’t have been any longer than three years at most (Adventure 02 takes place in 2002, Adventure tri. in 2005), but the text of this interview does indeed say 6年振り (roku nen buri), “the first time in six years”. [↩]
- Due to the influence of popular comedy routines and entertainment from Osaka, Kansai dialect is often associated with cheerful, fun-loving personalities when used in fiction. [↩]
- Enoki refers to Takeru as chuuni (written in the text as 中２), short for chuunibyou (中二病), lit. “middle school second-year syndrome”. The word has a variety of flexible meanings, but in this particular context it refers to the manifestation of one being obsessed with “maturity” while ultimately being incredibly childish and immature as a result. [↩]
- Takeru’s first-person pronoun in Adventure and Adventure 02 was the masculine-polite boku, in accordance with his polite personality. (This was also crucial to foreshadowing the Adventure 02 epilogue’s reveal that the “narrator” was actually Takeru the whole time, since said “narrator” starts using Takeru’s boku in episodes 49 and 50.) Adventure tri., on the other hand, has him regularly use the masculine-assertive ore instead; since he “slips” into boku on certain rare occasions, most notably when doting on Yamato, it’s implied that the ore usage is a deliberate attempt on Takeru’s part to look aggressive and domineering. [↩]
- The original text refers to Patamon not having changed in terms of “sugata” (姿), which can mean both “appearance” and “position”. [↩]
- Referring to Umi Tenjin, who played Koushirou in the original Adventure and Adventure 02. [↩]
- Talking about people’s “youth” in this sense (using the word seishun, 青春) is often used as a euphemism to talk about “young love” romantic attraction, so Enoki is very much implying that he sees something going on between the two. [↩]
- On top of being the lead writer, Kakihara was credited as a scriptwriter for all parts except Part 5 (which had its script credited solely to Mitsutaka Hirota), and was the sole scriptwriter for Part 6. [↩]
- Likely referring to animation producer Takashi Sakurai. [↩]
- Suzuki was credited as scriptwriter for Parts 1-3. [↩]
- Hirota was credited as a scriptwriter for Parts 1-3, and was the sole scriptwriter for Part 5. [↩]
- Despite being in this interview for the Part 3 pamphlet, going by this interview and the official credits listing, Nakanishi was not actually involved with Parts 1-3, and Part 4 ended up being the only movie in the series he ended up directly working on the script for. [↩]
- Ayana was officially credited as scriptwriter for Parts 1, 2, and 4. [↩]
- Showa era = Referring to the time period between 1926 and 1989. [↩]
- Ooedo Onsen Monogatari = the hot springs center that the kids go to in Part 2. Part 2 had a marketing tie-in with the real-life location, complete with collaboration merchandise. [↩]
- Meicoomon has a “verbal tic” of putting “~dagan” at the end of her sentences, a product of her stilted Tottori dialect (it’s a corruption of “~da ga“, which is the Tottori dialect version of the emphatic ~da yo). This is to the extent she even screams it while going on her rampage. [↩]
- The Chugoku region consists of both Tottori, where Meiko hails from, and Shimane, where Takeru and Yamato’s grandmother Kinu was revealed to live in during Our War Game!. Takeru points out the proximity in Part 2. [↩]
- “-ko“, usually written “子”, is a common suffix for girls’ names, so Meiko’s placeholder name was effectively “Girl A” (A子). [↩]
- Meiko’s name is written with the kanji (Chinese characters) for “sprout” (芽) and “heart” (心). This is a fairly unusual/uncommon way to write the name “Meiko”, implying in context that the kanji were assigned to her name by working off the pronunciation of “A-ko”, rather than the other way around. [↩]
- Ayana makes a distinction between the words “tomodachi” (友達) and “nakama” (仲間), the former having more of a “close companion” and “social friend” connotation, while the latter is more about being “a fellow member of a group”. In essence, Ayana is implying that they would acknowledge each other as fellow Chosen Children and bond over fighting together as a team, but wouldn’t necessarily be close friends. [↩]