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 4, Loss, featuring interviews with the following:
- Voice actresses Suzuko Mimori (Sora Takenouchi) and Atori Shigematsu (Piyomon)
- Voice actors Daisuke Namikawa (Daigo Nishijima) and Yuuko Kaida (Maki Himekawa)
- Music composer Gou Sakabe
- Color designer Sachiko Urushido
- Scriptwriters Yasuhiro Nakanishi and Yuniko Ayana
Suzuko Mimori and Atori Shigematsu
We’ve held a talk with Suzuko Mimori-san, who plays Sora, and Atori Shigematsu-san, who has been playing Piyomon since the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure), about their love for Sora and Piyomon, who were key players in Part 4 of Digimon Adventure tri. (hereinafter, tri.).
From HiBiKi. Born on June 28, from Tokyo. Has been involved in a wide variety of activities, including as a voice actress, live actress, and singer. Her main roles include Hiyoko Saionji in Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School – Despair Arc, Nanami Momozono in Kamisama Kiss, and Umi Sonoda in Love Live!.
From Voice Production Arc-en-ciel. Born on June 28, from Tokyo. A narrator and voice actress. Greatly active in a wide range of work, including commercial advertisements and narration. Her main works include voicing Piyomon in Digimon Adventure and serving as the narrator for With Mom ~ A Television Show for Moms and Kids and Enthusiasm Generation: Rankings by Adults.
I want to dote on Sora right now
–Now that the post-recording for Parts 1 through 4 have finished, what do you think?
Shigematsu: It had been such a long time since I’d done post-recording at all1, so it was really nostalgic to see everyone again, and I was very happy. We used to only keep in contact through New Year’s cards, but now we’re talking to each other over social media…you really feel the changing of the times (laughs).
Mimori: There’s always a really harmonious atmosphere at the recording site. I’ll never forget how our first time there had me surrounded by so many of my voice acting seniors, which made me incredibly nervous. And then Atori-san said “I’m sitting next to Sora~” and came and sat down next to me, and I was touched. It was like, “ah, it really is Piyomon!”, and that moment was really relieving. And it turned out we coincidentally happened to have the same birthday, too.
Shigematsu: We do! I was thinking, is it fate? (laughs) Back during Adventure, Sora’s original voice actress, Yuuko Mizutani-san, was a much more experienced senior than me, and I was so nervous that I couldn’t sit next to her, so for tri. I decided, I am absolutely going to sit next to Sora this time!
Mimori: And so you did. I was really happy.
Shigematsu: All of the partner pairs’ voice actors get along really well. Yukiko Morishita-san (Meicoomon) and Miho Arakawa-chan (Meiko) get along very well, and during DigiFes 2016 they even had their clothes have matching colors, and they apparently even go for karaoke together when they have free time, and I was really jealous! Kinoko Yamada-san (Palmon) also gave matching stuff to Hitomi Yoshida-chan (Mimi Tachikawa), too.
Mimori: Atori-san also gave me some stuff to match her with, so we wore them to DigiFes together!
–What was it like playing the older Sora, and to pick up the role of Piyomon again for the first time in such a long while?
Shigematsu: Fifteen years ago, my main priority was just to put everything I had into it, so I didn’t put any particular preparation into the role beyond the feeling of her being “easily attached”. But for tri., Sora’s role was reassigned to Mimorin2, and I wanted to play Piyomon in a fresh and new way, but then I got caught up in thinking, “ah, wait, what was Piyomon like again?” At the beginning, people were saying she wasn’t quite like the other ones (laughs). But then when I saw the art, Piyomon really was cute, and when we got to her first line in Part 1, the “let’s go” just came out naturally. So I realized, ah, the most important thing is to make sure I get the feelings in the actual scene across.
Mimori: After seeing Sora in tri. for the first time, I went back and looked over the Sora of Adventure again. Sora already had a very mature aura to her back when she was a kid, so I felt a lot of pressure in regards to how to express her as a high school student. But I think I ultimately did end up getting pulled along by seeing the pictures of Sora and the resulting atmosphere. It wasn’t just me, I was able to be Sora because Piyomon was with me. Like, whenever she came up and went “Sora~!”, I’d get a sense of security, like, “ah, I’m Sora!” Like some kind of self-suggestion (laughs).
Shigematsu: Back when she was a kid, Sora would often push herself and end up running in circles. But now Sora’s in high school, and her role’s been reassigned to Mimorin, and I think she was able to give Sora a good kind of energy. She plays her very naturally, so I think she suits Sora perfectly.
Mimori: I’m happy to hear that!
Shigematsu: Part 4 gave Sora lines that left a huge impression on me. There was that line she said to Piyomon, “why don’t you understand?!”, which is the line that Sora once used when fighting with her mother, and which Piyomon later said to Sora.3 When I heard that line in Mimorin’s voice, I really felt in my heart that “they had Sora say that again!” When I was reading the script, I was crying, like…why? Why did they have to bring this line back? On top of that, when Part 3 screened, Ayana-san, one of the scriptwriters, told me, “Sora and Piyomon are going to say a lot of things in the next movie,” so I was really excited.
Mimori: Also, Digimon franchise character designer Kenji Watanabe-san was grinning at me while going “have you not read the script for Part 4 yet? I’ll keep my mouth shut, then.” I feel like everyone was bullying me (laughs). And then, of all things…
Shigematsu: Piyomon had a rebellious phase!!
–Did you discuss how you would play them after the reboot?
Mimori: We didn’t have any particular discussion about it, but Atori-san kept apologizing to me (laughs).
Shigematsu: Yeah, I kept barraging her with apologies, like, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” (laughs). It was the first time I’d actually had to put this much preparation into how I was going to play my role. I went into the test recording full of worries and did my best, but the sound director, Ebina-san4, told me, “Shigematsu-san, you need to be more clear about your hatred for Sora.” My mind was just full of “Huh? Whyyyyy!?” I ended up having to do the post-recording by dragging myself along…
Mimori: But the final product did really have Piyomon come off as properly cold. So it was easy to play Sora getting increasingly bewildered and depressed. Even within myself, I was so deeply troubled, wondering why Piyomon was being like this, so Atori-san’s performance really helped me.
Shigematsu: Because fundamentally, she’s supposed to be the type that’s “easily attached”…The latter half had a scene where she lets her guard down around Sora for a bit, so I just completely let myself go back to my usual for that. But then they told me, “Shigematsu-san, you’re going back too much, we’re supposed to be building the relationship.” I was like, “Huh? Really!?” again (laughs).
Mimori: She was like a tsundere5 (laughs).
Shigematsu: I love Sora so much, I remember having to go out of my way not to talk with Mimorin as kindly during the post-recording. But not being able to go “Sora, I love you~” caused me a ton of stress. I wasn’t even originally supposed to go “Sora~” all that much during Part 1, either…
Mimori: So you ended up having to ad-lib those.
Shigematsu: Right, they weren’t originally in the script. But I really wanted to do it, so I ad-libbed all of the “Sora~ Sora~” in there. And then the staff understood how I felt about that, so they had me say it a lot in Part 2 (laughs). The Digimon really do want to say their partners’ names a lot, after all. Part 3 had that scene with only the two of them together, and I was really happy about that, and then Part 4 came and I was like, let’s do it!…or so I thought, but then it was like, why do I have to endure this?! (laughs) Piyomon’s eyes were so cold, and her words were so cold, too. And she said to Sora, “why don’t you find someone else?”…I had to endure a lot with this movie, it was like, “is this actually Piyomon?!”
Mimori: It was really sad…It was like all of the days they’d spent together with such a close relationship had suddenly crumbled, and when you realize that everything you’d taken for granted was gone, you realize how important that was to you. It’s the same for any relationship you have with a friend, and for human relationships in general. For instance, when Meiko-chan tells Sora, “Digimon partners are special to us. No matter what happens. You’re the one who told me that, Sora-san!”, Meiko-chan is the one to cheer Sora up because she’s the one Sora would normally be encouraging.
Shigematsu: That one made me cry. That line by itself made me cry.
Mimori: But for me, it felt like a huge relief. Normally, Sora has the role of being everyone’s “mom”, but here you realize yet again that “Sora really isn’t a perfect human being, is she”, so it was a comfort to see.
–Through recording for Parts 1 through 4, were there any scenes that left a particular impression on you?
Shigematsu: As far as Part 4 goes, naturally, the evolution scene with Hououmon is a highlight. I’d actually already played her in the game6, but I don’t get to say her special attack name “Starlight Explosion” all that much, so I didn’t want to just say it carelessly, and put a lot of feeling into it. And she managed to oneshot him, too! And, of course, there’s the final scene. Sora got thrown in danger, and Piyomon was yelling “Sora~!” a lot.
Mimori: Yeah. Sora-chan was really brave…!
Shigematsu: Before that, there was also the scene where Piyomon was getting closer with Meiko-chan, but despite all that Sora was honestly trying to save Piyomon. So when Piyomon was doing nothing but going “Sora, Sora!” with all of her heart, I put a ton of feelings into it, so I hope that got across. Also, there was the scene showing off the bond between Taichi and Agumon, and Yamato and Gabumon, that was really good! You really get to see some male bonding there.
Mimori: Part 3 had that scene where Piyomon told Sora “please take care of yourself more,” which left a huge impression on me. And then, in Part 4, Taichi said to her, “maybe that’s the good part about you, though,” which makes her think, “don’t say something that Piyomon would.” I’m sure that, by hearing other people say what people had already told her in the past, Sora started to really realize what her weak points where and what she needed to fix about herself. She’s starting to see herself for who she is as a human being, but she doesn’t know what to actually do about that, which leads to conflict within herself. It makes you think, Sora’s really going through puberty right now, isn’t she? It really took me back to those bittersweet and frustrating days of high school. And on top of that, her worries regarding her relationship with Piyomon were inlaid into every aspect of Part 4, and I felt that she was going through the growing pains she would need to grow further as a person.
Shigematsu: Growing pains! Yeah, you’re right! She was able to get through her worries regarding her relationship with her mother in grade school thanks to her partner. And now that she’s in high school, she’s worried about her relationship to Taichi and the others. It really is growing pains.
Mimori: Middle school and high school are especially times when you end up in a constant cycle of ups and downs. I remembered those times, and thought that Digimon really is a realistic story.
Shigematsu: Yeah, it really is realistic. It does a proper job depicting deep things, like disputes with parents and friends. The scene in Part 2 where Mimi gets in a fight with her friends is also very real.
Mimori: Beyond that, the final scene in Part 4 really did leave an impression on me after all. No matter how cold Piyomon’s gotten, in the end, Sora’s heart never wavered and she continued to protect Piyomon, and you could feel the strength of Sora’s will. I thought she was really cool, so it’s a scene that I really want people to see.
Shigematsu: I want to dote on Sora right now~
Mimori: Really! I want to dote on Piyomon right now, too~
–Please leave a message for the fans.
Shigematsu: Mimorin put everything she had into her performance as Sora, and it was wonderful. She was very brave, and grew in a way fitting for this movie’s heroine. Piyomon’s evolution is cool, too! But to be honest, what I’m most worried about is how everyone’s going to see Piyomon! She’s connected to Sora through a proper bond, so please watch over them!
Mimori: Up until now, Digimon fans have gotten to spend time with the cheerful and cute Piyomon, so for this movie, I bet everyone will be seeing her in the same way that Sora does. Also, when you see them fighting against their inner walls and all sorts of other things, that might be a bit of a hint for you. Even if you’re an adult watching this, there are things embedded within that’ll get you nostalgic and remind you of your youth, so look forward to them!
Daisuke Namikawa and Yuuko Kaida
We’ve held a talk with Daisuke Namikawa-san, who plays Daigo Nishijima, and Yuuko Kaida-san, who plays Maki Himekawa, who were revealed in Part 4 to have been “Chosen Children” before even Taichi and the others, and asked them about the appeal of their characters and scenes that left an impression on them.
Representative director of Stay Luck. Born on April 2, from Tokyo. Has been greatly active in voice acting since he was a child. His roles include Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings, Narsus in The Heroic Legend of Arslan, and Ishikawa Goemon in Lupin III.
From Ken Production. Born on January 14, from Kanagawa Prefecture. Greatly active as both a voice actress and a live actress. Her roles include Shimei Ryomou in Ikki Tousen and Marida Cruz in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, and she is also active in dubbing for overseas TV shows and Western movies.
Pay attention to their romance scene
–How did you feel when it was determined that you would be in this series?
Namikawa: I actually auditioned for a different Digimon TV series once, but didn’t make it.7 I was pretty frustrated about that, so I was very happy to receive the offer for this one. I wasn’t informed about anything with my role except that it would be an important one, so this movie was a continual series of surprises for me.
Kaida: I also wasn’t given any particular details until I received the script. But I could already tell from her facial expression that “she’s hiding something”, so I was very interested in what would happen from here on out. Including what was going on with Nishijima and Himekawa’s relationship.
Namikawa: Part 4 finally revealed some things about our past.
Kaida: Yep, it was revealed that Nishijima and Himekawa were Chosen Children a long time ago! I had been watching Himekawa’s words and actions up until now and thinking “could she possibly be…?”, but I feel like the reveal about their past was what actually connected the dots. But when I received the script, and Himekawa finally gets to see Bakumon again, I was worried about how I should connect to her explosion of emotions when she yelled “remember me!”, and what feelings she should have.
–What do you think about your roles as Nishijima and Himekawa, who are the “adult” characters in this story?
Namikawa: Nishijima is the friendly type, and as far as Taichi and the others are concerned, he’s an adult and a teacher, but I played him to come off more like a friend or an older brother. But since Himekawa-san is being played by Kaida-chan, I felt he should naturally start talking like more of a mature person when speaking with her. Nishijima’s a very soft character, so it’s easy to play him, but I imagine it must be hard to play Himekawa-san, right?
Kaida: It is. She’s the cool-headed type, but she also has a large range of emotions, so I have to keep adjusting what feelings I play her with, and I had to consult with Director Motonaga over it every time. Also, before I received the script for Part 4, I heard that “her child self is going to appear in it,” and I was really worried about how I’d play that (laughs). But eventually, Director Motonaga produced it in a way that there weren’t any voices during that scene, and yet it still became a very impressive scene with a lot of impact.
–Were there any scenes in Part 4 that left a particular impression on you?
Namikawa: It’s really gotta be that romance scene. It was a huge shock, like, “so he really did have a thing for Himekawa-san after all!?” (laughs)
Kaida: You mean the scene when he was reminiscing about their university days, when he went like “Can’t it be me? Your new partner.” You were really enthusiastic about recording that scene, weren’t you, Namikawa-san?
Namikawa: Yeah, during the test recording. But then I got a bit carried away and gave it some adult-like sensuality, and they told me “um, that’s a bit too much…” and stopped me (laughs).
Kaida: You were totally in serious mode with that tone of voice, I was really worried, like, “oh no, what am I gonna do…am I supposed to match that!?”
Namikawa: When I read the script and got to the scene with them in university, they suddenly started flirting with each other, and the impact was really strong…
Kaida: So your acting was very fitting (laughs). It’s a shame you couldn’t actually go through with it.
Namikawa: For that scene, apparently Director Motonaga and the scriptwriter, Kakihara-san, had a certain popular TV show8 in mind. Once I’d heard that, I understood why he’d embraced her from behind. So that’s why I wanted to play it like the way the TV show did it…but then I ended up throwing my surroundings into chaos.
Kaida: You very much did (laughs).
Namikawa: Other than that, definitely the battle scene. It was really exciting at the very end of the end, when the kids saw their Digimon charging in to save them. This kind of thing happens a lot, but for guys like us, even for a full-grown man, that kind of thing gets you real fired up. “There it is! She evolved into Hououmon!!” Incidentally, the name “Hououmon” is really hard to pronounce. Speaking as a voice actor, that scene left a huge impression on me as a result. And then, at the very last scene, when the mysterious man played by Hirata Hiroaki-san takes Meiko and…Also, Meiko’s glasses got broken again! And, uh…well, Hime-chan…please tell us what scenes left an impression on you! (laughs)
Kaida: Understood (laughs). Naturally, the scene where Himekawa and Bakumon met was very devastating for me. Even though they’d finally met again, they couldn’t remember her…
Namikawa: How lonely she must feel…
Kaida: She must be very lonely indeed. But there’s still two parts left, so I’m interested in seeing how this all concludes. I’d like everyone to be happy.
Namikawa: Compared to all of the parts that came before, Part 4 really hits you hard and deeply. There’s still a lot of foreshadowing embedded everywhere, so I’m really interested in seeing what happens to Nishijima and Himekawa from here on out.
Kaida: I would very much like it if the current Chosen Children did not grow up in the same way Nishijima and Himekawa did.
Namikawa: That’s such a cool way of putting it! But now more about their past has been revealed, we understand that they were once in the position that Taichi and the others are in now, and they just might actually be the core of the story itself.
Kaida: Yeah. They’ve finally gone from being mere bystanders to actually being deeply relevant to this plot.
–Who are your favorite Digimon?
Kaida: Mine is Gomamon!
Namikawa: There it is! Everyone really loves Gomamon.
Kaida: I mean, he’s cute! He makes ramen for Jou, and his personality is really too good. What about you, Namikawa-san?
Namikawa: Can I start by saying something really irrelevant? So like, all the Digimon are supposed to look cute, but then you look at Tentomon’s appearance, and…No, I get it, his Kansai dialect is cute, and he’s actually a really nice guy. But his appearance…And when he evolves, he gets really cool, but he’s kind of terrifying, isn’t he? (laughs) I mean, nobody ever says this, but we’re all thinking it!
Namikawa: Incidentally, my favorite is Tailmon. Now that appearance is more of my type! (laughs)
–Tailmon becomes Angewomon for her Perfect form, too.
Namikawa: Ah! She does! Let me correct myself, then. My favorite is Tailmon…or rather, Angewomon.
Kaida: Then what about Palmon? She becomes Rosemon, who’s also very sexy.
Namikawa: (looking at the illustration) No, Rosemon’s kinda…she’s got that whole whip and thorns thing going on there. If I went home and Rosemon were there, that’d be pretty bad. Well, it’d be hard to clean up all of the feathers Angewomon would shed, too (laughs).
Kaida: Right, right. So, who’s your favorite in the end?
Namikawa: Tento…I mean, Angewomon!
–Now that the post-recording for Parts 1 through 4 has finished, how do you feel?
Namikawa: The Digimon team really did feel like a team, from the very beginning. The Chosen Children were really nervous at first, but opened up as we did more and more recordings, so it led to a very good atmosphere. We’re talking about Digimon Adventure here, a series with a ton of history, so, naturally, I was nervous at first, too. How about you, Kaida-chan? Were you fine?
Kaida: Deep inside, I was really nervous, too. But our Digimon senior voice actors were very warm in bringing us in, so I had fun with it. We got along well with the others, and we even went out to eat together.
Namikawa: There were a lot of people in the room, so it was hustling and bustling. But there were surprisingly few scenes where we were all interacting with each other, so it was actually pretty lonely…I’m jealous of everyone who has a Digimon partner. It’s nice to have someone you can trust and fight alongside. And they’re strong too, Digimon are really strong.
Kaida: They’re very strong. And they evolve, further and further.
Namikawa: Evolution, super-evolution, Ultimate evolution. I heard that Director Motonaga was particularly fixated on making sure they evolved one scene at a time.
Kaida: Really…? How nice…Hey, don’t you want to try evolving?
Namikawa: Huh? You mean Himekawa-san!?
Kaida: No, not her, of course! (laughs)
Namikawa: So how about if we have Himekawa-san become Nishijima’s Digimon partner? She’d gradually become more of a fast-acting character (laughs)
Kaida: That’s not what I mean (laughs). I mean, why don’t we try yelling “evolve~!” to the sound of the Digivice?
Namikawa: Oh, that’s what you mean (laughs). The evolution scenes are really cool. Also, I was really struck by how the Digimon team was yelling special attacks for the first time in a long while, and they were kind of embarrassed about it, but also really happy to do it. It must be nice to get to say the same lines after fifteen years. So, fifteen years from now, we definitely need to be there for Nishijima and Himekawa’s story, and…
Kaida: Fifteen years from now!? (laughs)
Namikawa: Hey, producers, if you’re gonna do it, please do it a little sooner than fifteen years from now (laughs).
–Please leave a message for the fans.
Namikawa: There are some really chaotic developments in store after this, so please go into Part 5 with a good memory of what’s happened up until now. There’s a lot of foreshadowing in Part 4 in particular! Nishijima and Himekawa are going to be more integral to the core of the story from here on out, so we’re going to do our best to make sure that they’ll be characters that remain in your memory. Personally, I get all excited when I see the Digimon fighting with a whole barrage of attacks, so I hope you look forward to those parts, too.
Kaida: The story is getting darker and darker in atmosphere, so there may be some more painful parts coming, but I think they’ll be able to take them on, one by one. As yet another member of the audience, I’m looking forward to every part. What conclusion will they come to, and what future will they decide to take…? They’re going to have to deal with pain, but I hope they’ll come to the same answer that the audience does. Please look forward to what happens next in the story.
Music composer Gou Sakabe
I focused on giving tri. “maturity”
Composer. Main works include Kamen Rider Ghost, the anime series Date A Live, and the musical The Prince of Tennis 3rd Season ~ Seigaku vs. Hyoutei.
–What involvement do you have with the music for Digimon Adventure tri. (hereinafter, tri.)?
I do production for all the music besides the vocal songs (theme songs and insert songs), or, in other words, I’m in charge of the BGM. First, the sound director, (Yasunori) Ebina-san, gives me a list of “we want you to make this kind of song for this scene.” We then have some discussions about it, and solidify what kind of image they need for the song. Even including all of the songs that still need to be made, Part 1 had the largest number of songs I composed for it. It was around something like 40 songs. As more movies are finished, the number of new songs I need to make normally goes down, but for Part 4 I only made three new songs, and I think they’ll be needing more for Parts 5 and 6.
Actually, whenever I do composition, there are times when they give me footage to work with and times they don’t, and for Part 1, it was still incomplete at the time, but, comparatively speaking, I at least was able to compose while watching it. I was watching the footage and needed something to go along with the computer, so I played the electric piano while watching, going like “maybe it should feel like this?” Once it felt right, I’d transfer it to software on the computer and then trim down the length of the song. Naturally, it’s much easier to evoke the right image when I actually have footage to work with. For songs that I made while reading the script, I’d try applying it to the footage only to find that the melody would be too strong for the character or the scene, and it’d have a tendency to end up being too prominent. But if I actually had footage to work with, I’d be able to constantly check and re-check, “I can’t let this get in the way of this scene or this line,” and it’d be easier to fine-tune the song.
Beyond that, I also focued on expressing each character and each Digimon’s individuality through the music. For instance, in Part 1, during the scene under the bridge when Koushirou is explaining the situation, the song that plays there is called “Koushirou’s Elucidation”9, and I wanted to show off Koushirou’s intelligence, so I put some digital musical phrases in there. During the scene where Kuwagamon attacks, since it’s a “Digital Monster”, I wanted the digital aspect of the song to be front and center. On the other hand, for scenes that show off more of the human aspects, I had a lot more acoustic instruments involved in the song.
–You also rearranged some songs from the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure), so what image did you have in mind for those?
For an example, there’s the song “Chosen Children”10, which was a rearrange of the song “Friends ~ Theme of Conflict”, from the original Adventure. Ebina-san gave me a proposal saying “we want this, with strings”. There were also songs like “Despair” and “Attack! And…”, and I ended up rearranging quite a lot of songs from the original Adventure. Ebina-san was the one who dictated the fundamental direction for it, and I’d arrange the melody to match that.
This is my first time participating on a Digimon anime, but I knew that it was a very popular series, and the staff members had some very prominent people on it, so when I first heard about being on this project I decided to do my best with it. Director Motonaga gave me a request to “make sure it doesn’t sound too childish”. The children had grown and were in the spring of their youth, and very serious things were happening in the story. When I was rearranging the songs, I got the assignment of “making it more mature than the original”, so I focused on that. But it’s hard to explain what “mature music” is supposed to mean…Should I use strings, or should I make it traditional Japanese-style, or make the tempo a little more obscure? Would that make it more mature…? Hmm, I don’t really understand it myself (laughs).
The ones I really put a lot of spirit into were the orchestral arrangements of “Butter-Fly” and “brave heart”. They’re both used in some very good scenes, so I couldn’t afford to slip up. Since they were orchestral arrangements, I felt that their atmosphere didn’t overlap too much with the original. After all, “Butter-Fly” is a very important song to Digimon Adventure. I did a lot of other different rearrangements of “Butter-Fly”, too.
–From a musical standpoint, are there any particular highlights in Part 4?
At the beginning, there’s a piece of BGM that plays for about four minutes, when disaster befalls the previous Chosen Children. The title of the song is “Calamity”11, but I made this part to be like a silent movie, or, in other words, with the image of a musician playing it live in an old movie theater. The characters don’t have any dialogue. I didn’t include a rhythm section, and instead used a trio of piano, violin, and accordion to create the climax alongside the footage. On top of that, based on Ebina-san’s idea, I had it give off the atmosphere of film playing at an old movie theater, so I had scratch noise play through all of it. It’s a noise that hisses and hisses at you. That way, I intentionally degraded the sound quality a bit in order to make it come off more like an old movie. This song also has the theme of the song change rapidly, in a matter of only seconds. The themes transition from “disaster” to “mind taken over, emotionless” to “a revelation from God” to “the tragedy of the Chosen Children” to “dispute, conflict, to an ending of blank shock”. I would like it if you listened while paying close attention to that.
Also, for the scene where Nishijima and Himekawa were in university, I was given the request to make the corresponding song “romantic, nostalgic”…I think it ended up becoming rather bittersweet (laughs).
–Please leave a message for the fans!
I think the scope of the world will start to get even grander from Part 4. Of course, there’s also a very serious atmosphere going on, and I think your heart will be pounding in anticipation of how the story will unfold from here. I’m going to do everything I can for Parts 5 and 6, too, so please look forward to it!
Color designer Sachiko Urushido
Expressing each character’s individuality through colors
Color designer. Main works include Humanity Has Declined, Astro Fighter Sunred, and Jewelpet Happiness.
–As the “color designer” for Digimon Adventure tri. (hereinafter, tri.), what role do you have?
I’m the one who decides on the coloring for the characters and the Digimon so that they work with the setting. I work on the colors for everything, from hair to skin to clothes. I also work on any accessories they keep on their person, like mobile phones and hats. Smaller items in the room were more flexible and were coordinated with the person in charge of background art, but there were times I might propose colors for anything that had a particularly deep relationship with the character. For example, there was the calligraphy set in Nishijima-sensei’s room, Koushirou’s computer and chair, and Taichi’s clock, the one that woke him up at the beginning of Part 1.
–How did you strike a balance with colors in relation to the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure)?
We decided to start by using the colors from the character designer, Atsuya Uki-san, as a basis. For the Chosen Children, I discussed them with Director Motonaga and added hues to Uki-san’s designs, and finally fine-tuned the colors to express each character’s individuality. For instance, Taichi’s a soccer boy, so his skin tone is a bit more tan. His hair has also gotten a bit discolored by the sun, so we brightened the color a bit. Sora gave off the impression of being a lively sports girl in both Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02 (hereinafter, 02), so we gave her a bit of a tan in the same way that we did for Taichi. On the other hand, Yamato’s constantly working with his band, and seems to be home a lot of the time, so we made him a lot more pale, and Mimi would have glowing skin of the kind that would make any girl jealous…In both the original Adventure and in Uki-san’s colored drafts, the two of them had very similar colors, but now that they’re getting older, we figured that there’d be more of a gap between the two brothers, so I personally fixated on making sure Takeru’s hair color was a bit less saturated than Yamato’s. Yamato’s hair color stayed the same. After all, Yamato’s not the type who would budge in any situation (laughs).
The color of the blazer jackets also started from Uki-san’s coloring as a base. The blue blazers were very cute! We considered what materials the blazers would actually be made of, and brought down the tone a few hues to make it come off as a bit more matte, and made some adjustments so that they wouldn’t blend right into the background whenever they were put up against the blue sky. Incidentally, the producers were the ones who asked to have Meiko wear black tights and shoes (laughs). Actually, the summer uniforms and the winter uniforms have a very slight difference in the color of the tights. Since it’s summer, the density of the cloth fibers is different. They’re thicker in winter, so the colors are deeper. Can you see it? (laughs)
As for the casual clothes, once the clothing designer finished with them, we wanted to bring out even more of each character’s individuality, so I made some adjustments. For instance, Taichi’s shirt was originally beige, and it was a kind of cute design that you’d see a boy wear, but Director Motonaga gave us the instruction “give it even more fashionable colors”. After we’d changed it, Taichi jumped out a lot more at the eye, like, “bam!”, so I think it was for the better. After finalizing what clothes they’d be wearing, I looked over the colors of their shoes and made some small adjustments. Everyone was wearing some very cute Western-style clothes, so it was a lot of fun to do.
–Was there anything that left a particular impression on you when you were deciding on the colors for the Digimon?
The Digimon normally had very vivid colors, and for tri. we toned those down a bit so that the colors could be more mature, but it otherwise went fairly smoothly. The one that took the most time was Vikemon. He’s got so many parts to him. Like, for instance, his red loincloth! Even just that red color alone took a lot of time to fine-tune. We wanted to show off how heavy his hammer was, but Vikemon’s hands are black, and using heavy colors for both would make it feel off…I remember having to decide on it with Director Motonaga and the animation character designer. Also, for Imperialdramon, we gave him entirely different colors from the ones he had in 02, so that was very fun to do. I focused on making him feel darker than ever, and the director accepted it without much trouble.
For Part 1, Agumon and Gabumon left quite the impression on me, and they took a lot of time to work on. We had to find a good middle ground on how different we wanted their shades of yellow to be, so it took quite a bit of time. In the end, we had Gabumon’s yellow be more subdued. I also particularly remember that when we were deciding on Meicoomon’s colors, Director Motonaga told me “make her like my cat” and gave me a picture (laughs). His cat was orange, so I tried to give her those kinds of hues, but…she started getting too similar to Patamon, so I had a hard time. Incidentally, at first, she was more of a reddish-brown. Right around Meicrackmon’s level. But that made her not match up well with the other Child-level Digimon (laughs). So we brightened her colors so that she’d fit better with them.
Hououmon, who makes her first appearance in Part 4, has a divine aura to her. She has four yellow wings, but we had there be a subtle difference in hue between the upper and lower ones. Since HerakleKabuterimon is also yellow, we had to do some delicate fine-tuning between them. Her leg also has a golden Holy Ring on it. That made the coloring straightforward, since it’s the same as the kind on Tailmon’s tail. But with Tailmon, the ring is small, so it has some fancy-looking colors on it, so at first I was pretty worried. “Is it okay to color it this way when it’s this big!?” But when we actually did it, it didn’t turn out that bad, so I was relieved (laughs).
–Please tell us your thoughts about the completed product, and leave a message for the fans!
My first thought is really just “it’s done!” (laughs) As a human who decided on the colors, naturally, when I look back on it, I do have some regrets, but I hope my feelings of “we did good, it came out really well” will increase from here on out. Part 3 sticks out a lot to me in particular. The running time is longer than the other parts, so I had to really go out of my way for that one. Especially in terms of showing off the characters’ emotions after the reboot. Even just getting the colors on there was difficult, so I was present with the photography director12 and editor13 to fine-tune the colors for the whole screen. The backdrop ended up coming off as very beautiful and yet also very desolate, so we managed to get the emotions across very well. Likewise, Part 4 has a lot of scenes set in the beautiful Digital World, and we really wanted the screen to get the characters’ emotions across, especially Sora’s. We all did everything we could to deliver everything we’d worked hard on to the audience, so I’d be happy if you could enjoy it while watching, even if only a little.
Yasuhiro Nakanishi and Yuniko Ayana
Staff Talk: Fans from the Digimon Adventure generation, creating tri.
Story writer. From Scenario Factory Moonlight. Main works include BanG Dream!, Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, and the video game Tokyo 7th Sisters.
Story writer. Main works include Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV, Flip Flappers, and her original manga That’ll Become Normal to the World.
–Please tell us how you felt when you heard you were going to be involved with the production for Digimon Adventure tri. (hereinafter, tri.).
Nakanishi: I first heard about it on the Internet, and I was really happy, like, “are they actually doing this!?” At the time I had no idea I was going to be personally involved with it, so I just thought, I’m really looking forward to this!, simply as a member of the audience. I really could not have even imagined that I’d end up getting involved14, so I thought I could just go ahead and speak out about my opinions on it (laughs).
Ayana: I first heard about the tri. project from the animation producer, Sakurai-san15, and went and volunteered myself to him, saying, please, have me participate on this! Digimon Adventure is actually getting another sequel…I was mainly just really happy, as a fan. It was an honor to be able to participate on this project from the start16, so I was very grateful.
–So you told them that you were already huge fans of the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure).
Nakanishi: I’d played all the games back then, from the original “Digital Monster” toy to the PlayStation games. As far as the anime goes, I also loved BlackWarGreymon from Digimon Adventure 02. I really loved all of the enemy Digimon as a whole, so I was particularly happy to see the Dark Masters show up in Part 4.
Ayana: You liked the villains?
Nakanishi: Yeah. After all of that work and effort the Chosen Children had gone through, there were four even more incredible Digimon lying in wait…it was an incredible shock. Also, when SkullGreymon first made his appearance, it was traumatic for me, but I also really liked him.
Ayana: I really liked Patamon and Tentomon. Among all of the Chosen Children, my favorite was Koushirou. I watched the original Adventure on TV every week, and “Sunday mornings” meant Digimon to me. The opening theme “Butter-Fly” that would kick it off is engraved into my soul, so when they used a rearrangement of that song for tri., I was really happy.
–Were there any scenes from Parts 1 through 3 that particularly interested you?
Ayana: Interesting scenes…There’s a lot of them.
Nakanishi: Yeah, there’s a lot (laughs).
Ayana: I like the scene in Part 1 where Taichi and Agumon have a conversation in front of the sunset. Agumon will always be by Taichi’s side when he’s having troubles, but he’s the same as ever…and the fact that they’re a bit out of sync is heartrending but also precious. The mature atmosphere makes it like a representation of tri. itself.
Nakanishi: Taichi’s grown a lot…That really came across. Also, the moment when Taichi and Agumon had their reunion. I like how it really gives you the feeling of “the story beginning”.
Ayana: What happened in Part 3 with Takeru was really unfair…I’d always felt a little sad about the way Takeru started interacting with girls in 02 and tri. (laughs), but when I saw his conversation with Patamon in Part 3, I thought, “ah, Takeru really is Takeru after all.”
Nakanishi: He’s still got pure-hearted aspects left in him. Also, Koushirou was really cool in Part 3. Koushirou still wants to know everything he wants to know, and that part of him hasn’t changed at all as he’s grown, and I really liked the relationship between him and Tentomon, who’s still supporting him.
Ayana: They don’t get in fights or anything like that, they’re too rational for that.
Nakanishi: Tentomon’s like a really nice mama. Beyond that, the “reboot” was a huge shock.
Ayana: Yeah, that one is, well…The “reboot” is one of the main lynchpins for tri.
Nakanishi: It’s the turning point.
Ayana: I saw it written in the plot that they were going to reset the memories of everything that’d happened so far, and I was like, “are you serious?!” (laughs). It was really shocking, like, “should we really be doing this!?”
Nakanishi: That’s exactly what I was thinking, too. “Are you serious!?” It’s a terrifying surprise for all of us.
Ayana: To just completely erase all of the history and memories that had been accumulating up to this point…I feel like tri. is truly taking on quite the “challenge” here.
–Did you have any difficulties in writing for Part 4, now that the reboot has happened?
Nakanishi: When I first started writing, I was told “they still talk like children”. I love the original Adventure, so no matter what I do, I keep falling back on it. Some time had passed since 02, and they needed to be dealing with more mature issues…So at first, I wasn’t able to write the Chosen Children in a way that portrayed them on their way to adulthood by facing those troubles. When I submitted my first draft to the director, he told me, “this might have been acceptable for the original Adventure, but this won’t work for tri.” (laughs).
Nakanishi: So I had to try again and see if I could make them come off as older. I feel like the biggest thing I was fussing over was the part about making Taichi and the others come off as being on their way to adulthood.
Ayana: I’d been ramming myself against that wall even before this, too. Part 2 had that part where they went to the hot springs center, and I wasn’t very sure about how to portray their relationship or how close they’d be to each other. When I’d first watched the original Adventure back then, in the position of a fan, my impression was that the Chosen Children would naturally work together without even thinking about it, but that once they were in high school, they wouldn’t be all that close with each other…When I rewatched the original Adventure, I realized that they weren’t quite “friends” as much as they were “teammates”.17 When they were trying to return to their own world, or when they were defeating something, they’d share the same goal and fight together, so they’d be teammates. Or, to put it the other way around, if they had an objective, they’d work together, but beyond that, they wouldn’t really stick together all that much. So I finally understood that. We never got any clear or concrete instructions on things like “they should be having this kind of conversation,” so we had to keep consulting with the director and the lead writer, Kakihara-san and all of the other members of the script reading team, and it felt like we were constantly adjusting it while we were writing.
Nakanishi: Yeah. I don’t remember them ever telling me “this is it!”
Ayana: More like, “this won’t work, make it more mature”…
Nakanishi: I was thinking, “Hmm, more mature…” Writing it felt like I was always caught up in trying to portray how tri.‘s characters would grow, and I had a hard time.
–Part 4 featured Sora as the main character. Did you have any difficulties with it?
Nakanishi: I had a difficult time with the phrasing of the lines, during the scene when Taichi and Yamato were trying to comfort Sora. I felt like the relationship between the three of them must have gotten a bit complicated after the events of 02, now that they’ve gotten more mature. So it was like, Taichi and Yamato are both trying to comfort her together, but they don’t understand what she’s saying.
Ayana: Yamato even goes “should we ask Takeru?” (laughs)
Nakanishi: Since he’s turned into that kind of character (laughs). Back during the original Adventure, Taichi was the kind of person who did things without hesitation, but he’s got a lot of things to be worrying about in tri., so my impression was that he wouldn’t be able to say things in such a simple manner.
Ayana: As for Sora, we had a difficult time because we were running the risk of accidentally getting the audience to hate her. Sora’s a kind person who’s always worrying about those around her, but now she’s pushed into a corner and she doesn’t even have control over herself anymore…But she’s also like “leave me alone!”. She doesn’t want to bother others, but she also feels that “nobody’s going to understand anyway”.
Nakanishi: Taichi and Yamato blurted out “what a pain”, and all. But I think it shows off more of Sora’s human side.
–Part 4 also featured some unusual combinations of characters.
Ayana: The shuffling of partners was done because we thought it’d be interesting to show off new kinds of relationships, and so that we could introduce some of them through the mouths of their friends. You can hear their real feelings on someone through lines like “this person is like this,” so you get a picture of the multiple layers of their relationships. The script for that part was written by Nakanishi-san. Because I don’t think I could have brought myself to ask Yamato “what do you think about Taichi?” in such a straightforward manner (laughs), so I’m glad he was the one to write it.
Nakanishi: Ayana-san has a strong fixation on the nature of their relationships, so she wrote some really detailed notes about the combinations and what they would do together, so it really helped. This movie has Patamon evolve into Seraphimon, so we were thinking that we needed to properly demonstrate how Takeru felt about him, and it was easy to think about since there was an instruction to have him “be by himself”.
Ayana: We definitely thought he would have some time to confront things…And at the “Village of Beginnings”, too. Also, I’m the one who wrote the part about Gabumon wondering if he should add the “-kun” to Yamato’s name.18 Even without his memories, Gabumon still sees Yamato as very cool.
Nakanishi: Out of all of the scenes during that shuffle, I personally like the one where Agumon chases after the train. His voice is really cute there, too!
Ayana: We wanted to have Yamato and the others walk on the train track. They were walking on the track, thinking, maybe it’s connected to that lake…They’re still fixated on the past. The situation is about that fixation.
–How did you feel about the movie being set in the Digital World?
Ayana: It was really exciting…!
Nakanishi: It really was (laughs). When we started writing the story, and I saw “The Digital World” written in the column, I was like, “wait a second! I gotta calm down first!” (laughs) And then we continued writing, and the moment I saw “Taichi” written in there, I was like, “wait a second!”
Nakanishi: That moment, I was feeling like I’d managed to fulfill one of my dreams as a writer…
Ayana: And there were all of those locations we remember, like “TonosamaGeckomon’s Castle”.”
Nakanishi: It was really fun to write.
Ayana: For us and for Taichi and the others, it’s a long-awaited return to the Digital World, but for Meiko, it’s her first time there. We were thinking about whether this would throw her off, but Director Motonaga told us, “her childhood home was in the mountains, so she’s used to going on adventures, so she’d be fine,” so we made her tough (laughs). It resulted in a contrast between her and Sora.
–Please leave a message for the Digimon fans.
Ayana: Part 4 has a lot of moments where those who have seen the original Adventure or its movies will go “I think I know this!” I’ll really be happy if you enjoy those. Also, if there’s anyone out there who hasn’t seen the previous movies, be sure to check them out via the Blu-ray and DVD or via digital distribution!
Nakanishi: Himekawa and Nishijima’s actions are tied to Parts 5 and 6, and there’s a whole other story going on with them, so please pay close attention to that. This goes for the whole story, too, but things are really going to unfold like a bang from here on out.
Ayana: They’re going to take back the bonds that seem to have been erased by the reboot, and fight alongside their Digimon partners again…A lot of dramatic and tense things are going to happen in succession.
Nakanishi: And we’ve carefully measured out Part 4 to have a lot of playful aspects to it, so I hope you enjoy this movie, too!
- Shigematsu generally does more work in narration than she does voice acting, and her role as Piyomon in Adventure tri. was her first known voice acting role in years.
- “Mimorin” = The nickname Mimori is often called by fans and acquaintances.
- Shigematsu is referring to episode 26 of Adventure, when Sora protested against her mother holding her back from playing soccer with “why can’t you understand?” (“doushite wakatte kurenai no yo?”), a line that Piyomon later repeated in the same episode when Sora was restraining her from fighting Vamdemon, leading Sora to realize the similarity between herself and her mother. In Part 4, Sora uses a similar line (“doushite wakatte kurenai no?”) to Piyomon in an attempt to get her to stop spurning her.
- Referring to sound director Yasunori Ebina.
- I expect most people reading this will already know this term, but tsundere = a character archetype where a character will try to cover up their softer feelings (deredere) by acting cold (tsuntsun).
- Shigematsu voiced Hououmon in the 2013 PSP game adaptation of Digimon Adventure, predating Part 4 by four years.
- In an interesting twist of fate, after his work on Adventure tri., Namikawa would eventually be cast as Yamato in the 2020 Digimon Adventure: reboot.
- “A certain popular TV show” = Most likely referring to Asunaro Whitepaper, a TV show based on a manga of the same name that aired in 1993. The series involves a love triangle between characters Narumi, Kakei, and Toride, with Narumi having feelings for Kakei while Toride has his own for Narumi. In a famous scene in the show’s second episode, after Narumi starts crying from having seen Kakei kiss another woman, Toride embraces her from behind and asks “am I not good enough for you?” (“ore ja dame ka?“). In his confession to Himekawa during the flashback in Part 4, Nishijima invokes this scene when embracing Himekawa from behind and asking roughly the same phrase (“ore ja dame?“). This scene has become famous enough to be a classic romantic confession scene that’s been parodied many times over in Japanese media, and is also presumably why Himekawa calls Nishijima out for “watching too much TV”.
- “Koushirou’s Elucidation” = 光子郎の発明 (Koushirou no Hatsumei), for those of you keeping track in the absence of an official soundtrack release.
- “Chosen Children” = 選ばれし子どもたち (Erabareshi Kodomo-tachi), naturally.
- “Calamity” = 災い (Wazawai).
- Most likely referring to photography director Fumi Nanba.
- Most likely referring to Takashi Sakurai, who also worked as animation producer.
- Nakanishi was not involved on the project until Part 4 (which also ended up being the only movie he ended up directly working on, according to the credits).
- Again, referring to animation producer Takashi Sakurai.
- As per the credits, Ayana was directly involved on Parts 1, 2, and 4.
- 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.
- In Part 4, Gabumon, having lost his memories thanks to the reboot, wonders if he should add a “-kun” to Yamato’s name out of politeness; most Digimon don’t use honorifics with their partners, and dropping honorifics is a sign of being very close, so in effect the idea is that Gabumon still doesn’t feel close enough to Yamato to be able to drop it.