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 5, Coexistence, featuring interviews with the following:
- Voice actresses M・A・O (Hikari Yagami) and Yuka Tokumitsu (Tailmon)
- Voice actresses Miho Arakawa (Meiko Mochizuki) and Yukiko Morishita (Meicoomon)
- Musicians Ayumi Miyazaki (vocalist), AiM (vocalist), Hiroshi Yamada (lyricist), and Michihiko Ohta (composer)
M・A・O and Yuka Tokumitsu
We’ve held a talk with M・A・O-san, who plays Hikari, a unique presence even among the Chosen Children, and Yuka Tokumitsu-san, who has been playing Tailmon since the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure), about Digimon Adventure tri. (hereinafter, tri.) and the original Adventure.
From Yellow Cab Next. Born on February 1, from Osaka Prefecture. Her primary roles include Meguru Amatsuki/Angel Rose in Twin Angel Break, Saraka Tsukai in Kado: The Right Answer, Raptor 283/Aquila Pink in Space Sentai Kyuranger, and Navirou in Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On.
From aksent. Born on October 2, from Hokkaido. Major roles include Princess Silver in Crayon Kingdom of Dreams and Rina Takashimizu in Pretty Cure. She is also known for her large span of activities ranging from anime, drama CDs, and dubbing of overseas works.
–Now that post-recording for Part 5 has finished, please tell us your thoughts.
M・A・O: We’d finally arrived at Part 5, and there were things happening upon things happening, and I took on the post-recording with a good feeling of tension. All sorts of things have been happening since Part 1, so it would have been hard to surprise me with anything by this point, but now that something’s happened to provoke Hikari-chan’s more innocent aspects, so I’m really interested in what’s going to happen next in Part 6.
Tokumitsu: It was a shock, to the extent where you wonder how on earth they’ll be saved. Up until now, whenever we finished post-recording, we’d all start cleaning up and switch gears fairly quickly, but for Part 5, none of us could say anything, and we all just sat there in complete silence.
M・A・O: Yeah. The ending was such a shock that once we’d all finished recording, nobody could say anything for a while.
–Please tell us what scenes from Part 5 left a particular impression on you.
Tokumitsu: The ghost story scene where the Digimon’s expressions got all funny and cute left an impression on me. After that, the scene with Taichi and Meiko-chan, and then with Agumon, had me crying in pieces. I feel like those two scenes were basically Part 5’s only real points of relief.
M・A・O: Personally, I thought the scene where Hikari-chan, after being taken over by Homeostasis, starts fighting back was amazing.
Tokumitsu: You mean the scene where Hikari tells Homeostasis to “get out”.
M・A・O: Yes. I think she was able to assert herself and say “get out” because of how much her feelings of solidarity with her friends had risen.
–Were there any scenes that left a particular impression on you through all of tri.?
M・A・O: The scene during Part 3, where Tailmon, who usually wouldn’t let herself be spoiled, knows about everything that’s going to happen and has Hikari spoil her, was cute but also painful. Hikari-chan had no idea what was going on, so I played her as I usually would, but when I got to see the finished product, the impression left on me was that “it seems lovely, but it’s actually heartrending.”
Tokumitsu: Same for me. I think tri. shows off a side of the normally composed and sweet Tailmon that you wouldn’t be able to see otherwise. I felt something really pulling at my heart towards Hikari, so it’s always been a scene that’s remained in my heart.
M・A・O: Also, normally you see a lot of stories with the boys accidentally going into the girls’ side of the hot springs center, but in Part 2 it was the reverse, so that felt new and fun (laughs).
Tokumitsu: I burst into laughter when I saw how neatly Gabumon’s pelt had been folded over and over.
M・A・O: Also, when they went out for okonomiyaki1, Tailmon pretending to be a cat was cute.
Tokumitsu: Although it looked like she was going, “I don’t wanna do anything…” (laughs)
–How did you feel when you heard that they were bringing back the Digimon Adventure series, and what were your impressions of each other?
Tokumitsu: I was very honestly happy when I heard that tri. was starting. I was nervous about whether I could play Tailmon again, but when we actually started recording again it all came back to me naturally. My first impression of M・A・O-chan was “wow, she’s such a sweet person.” But she had such a dignified posture during the post-recording, and had such a mature, calm voice, and I realized that she wasn’t just sweet, she had a lot of charming aspects to her.
M・A・O: I was very happy to be picked for the role, but I was also nervous about whether I was the right one for it. I really loved the original Adventure, so I had the original Adventure‘s Hikari in mind, but I also wanted to have my own individuality come out of it.
When I first met Tokumitsu-san, she told me, “let’s do our best as partners,” and that left a huge impression on me. I was filled with a lot of emotion when she called me by Hikari’s name during Part 1.
–How did you feel about actually getting to feel the fans’ passion at DigiFes?
Tokumitsu: Everyone’s feelings really came across, I ended up unconsciously jumping up and down.
M・A・O: They greeted us warmly, and I was very happy. I felt like they were pushing me on from behind, all the way through Part 2 and beyond.
–How did you feel about things like the way Hikari and Takeru played off each other, or Tailmon’s role as the exasperated bystander?2
Tokumitsu: When they were in the middle of a serious conversation and Agumon kept talking about food, she of course snapped and got exasperated. But I don’t think it necessarily had to be Tailmon, though (laughs). She had that line of “just sleep!” in Part 5, during that scene when they were in front of the bonfire, but I think what she actually meant by that was “we should sleep and let them have a proper conversation.” And when I was worrying about how I should deliver that line, (Chika) Sakamoto-san told me, “so here, you go, ‘just sleeeep!'”, and so she helped me have a lot of fun playing it.
M・A・O: Compared to the other Digimon, Tailmon feels more like an older sister.
Tokumitsu: I don’t particularly try to make her come off as an older sister, but I do try to give her lines a feeling of detachment, so that may make her come off as an older sister. Whenever it comes to Hikari, her emotions come out more, but I normally focus on having her be less of the emotional type and more cool-headed, strong, and collected.
M・A・O: Hikari-chan and Takeru-kun are the only other ones there to be each other’s age, and since they’d always been going on adventures together, I think they’d be able to say things to each other without restraint. Hikari-chan is always paying mind to everything around her and comes off as mature, so I played her thinking that it’d be good to show off the side of her that’s more appropriate for her age.
–Did Tokumitsu-san focus on anything in particular when playing an evolving Digimon?
Tokumitsu: Back then, playing Tailmon was already a challenge for me, and I always felt that it was a difficult role. Up until now, I hadn’t had a lot of lines as Plotmon or Nyaromon, so for this series, I tried to play her with a fresh new feeling. For the evolution sequences, I focused on giving it the kind of power to match the music playing with it.
–Please leave a message for the fans.
M・A・O: There’s only one part left, and things have taken a startling turn, so I’m very interested in how things will turn out. This is a very painful time right now, but I’ll be happy if you could cheer us on until the end. I personally like happy endings, so I hope it ends with a lot of smiles. Please look forward to it!
Tokumitsu: The things that are happening are so painful that it makes you want to turn your eyes away, but I believe that it’ll definitely have a happy ending, so I hope you watch it all the way to the end. Please look forward to it.
Miho Arakawa and Yukiko Morishita
We’ve held a talk with Yukiko Morishita-san, who plays Meicoomon, burdened with a painful fate, and Miho Arakawa-san, who plays her partner, Meiko, about their feelings on being cast as new characters, and Part 5, which featured a shocking turn of events.
Unaffiliated. Born on December 4, from Miyagi Prefecture. Greatly active in a wide variety of genres, with roles including Naruko Aoba in Magical Girl Wars, Himari Takakura in Penguindrum, and Sonia Nevermind in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair.
From Aoni Production. Born on June 15, from Tokyo. Plays a wide variety of roles from young boys to high school girls, including young Tesoro in One Piece Film: Gold, Maltese Tiger in the smartphone game Kemono Friends, and Love Tochiotome in the anime PriPara.
–Please tell us how you felt when you were given your roles.
Arakawa: It’s a series I watched as a kid, so it was a huge honor. On top of that, I’d auditioned for an existing character, so when I heard I was going to be a new character, and yet a Chosen Child, I was shocked. I was interested in the reason why there’d be another Chosen Child.
Morishita: I’d also auditioned for one of the existing Chosen Child, so when I was told I’d be Meicoomon, I was surprised. “I don’t know this Digimon!” I was wondering if it was a Digimon from the games, but when I looked into it, nothing came up, and I was thinking, I bet this Digimon must look like a potato.
Arakawa: Oh, like May Queen3 potatoes (laughs).
Morishita: Yeah, that! So I thought she was going to be a potato, and then I saw Meicoomon’s art, and was surprised to see that she was a cat.
Arakawa: Well, she’s colored like a potato.
Morishita: But I also watched the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure), so I was very happy. At first, I didn’t really understand what exactly they meant by “a Digimon named Meicoomon”, but when I learned she had a partner, I was very happy.
–Now that post-recording for Part 5 has ended, please tell us your thoughts.
Arakawa: The tension has constantly been escalating, so I was on guard since even before the recording.
Morishita: Part 5 was particularly painful for Meiko.
Arakawa: I was having a really hard time with how I should express Meiko’s emotions during the part that leads up to her releasing that one devastating line. So, prior to the recording, I was able to ask the director for a rough outline of what was going to happen in Part 6, so I was able to prepare my feelings, and I’m really grateful for that. But she’s really shaken up and unstable, after all. When I thought about Meiko’s feelings, it wasn’t the kind of line I could just say all that easily, so I still felt like I had a haze over me even when the recording finished.
Morishita: From Meicoomon’s perspective, Part 4 was very lonely for her. She felt lonely when Meiko wasn’t there, and the story has her fall into darkness…The truth is, my lines as Raguelmon have pretty much entirely been a lot of yelling, so I asked the director how much of her consciousness was still there. When I did, he told me, “please think of Raguelmon as being like a certain giant monster4.”
Arakawa: Mei-chan’s a giant monster…(laughs). But there was that scene where she saved Meiko, so we really don’t know how much awareness she has.
Morishita: Yeah. I feel like that point about how much awareness she has, or if she doesn’t even have any at all, took everything I had out of me.
Arakawa: It really must have been hard to do nothing but yelling.
Morishita: I don’t think I normally ever have to yell this much! (laughs)
When I asked the director, prior to the recording, why she has to keep screaming like this, he told me that it’s a reflection of how it’s painful for her, too. Ever since I’d heard that, I focused on making it more painful-sounding than anything else.
–Now that you’ve recorded multiple times, were there any changes in the atmosphere at the recording site?
Arakawa: Prior to Part 1, we had a preliminary meeting where the Chosen Children and Meicoomon were there, and then afterwards we met our (Digimon role) seniors at the studio.
Morishita: There were also people we were meeting for the first time, so I’m glad we were able to talk before we started recording. As we recorded for more movies, we had a lot more opportunities to chat.
–How did you play Meiko and Meicoomon’s relationship with each other, and their attitude towards the other Chosen Children?
Arakawa: Meiko speaks in dialect when she’s with her family or Meicoomon, so they feel very close to each other, but when she talks with the other Chosen Children, she’s reserved since she’s a transfer student.
Morishita: It was really cute when she carried Meicoomon in her arms and took a photo with the others at Ooedo Onsen5. You can really see how she’s managed to make friends with some fellow girls.
Arakawa: She ends up feeling down rather quickly, but I think it’s thanks to the encouragement of Taichi-san, Yamato-san, Sora-san, and the others that she manages to get back on her feet. When they say clearly in words that she’s their friend, to her, it’s a sign of their kindness.
Morishita: I got the impression that Takeru-kun was particularly worried about Meiko.
Arakawa: Takeru-kun’s very clever, after all. But Yamato-san yelling “dummy!!” and physically intervening is his own way of kindness, too (laughs).
–Was there a line or scene in Part 5 that left a particular impression on you?
Morishita: Taichi’s line, “Who…are we really fighting against?!”
Arakawa: I really empathized with that one, I think the viewers will feel the same way. Also, Taichi’s line “I won’t…run from our friend’s pain!” was really good.
Morishita: Taichi keeps saying really good things. He’s like a treasure trove of zingers.
Arakawa: Since he’d had his conversation with her on the school campus, that led to him understanding her feelings during that climactic scene, and so his like “I’m gonna end it! With our own hands!” really gets me.
–Now that you’ve recorded up to Part 5, are you used to using Tottori dialect?
Morishita: No, I’m still not used to it yet (laughs).
Arakawa: They still have to give me dialect coaching, so even if the lines themselves seem similar, the nuances are different, and it makes me think that this is some really deep stuff.
Morishita: The ending inflections are hard.
Arakawa: When my feelings get caught up in it, I end up using the wrong accent, so it ends up becoming too much like my own personal assertion.
Morishita: And saying things that you can’t say in Tottori dialect.
Arakawa: I still have a lot more studying to do.
–What was it like doing the conversation scene with Taichi, which was a key point in Part 5?
Morishita: There were parts of the script where, even when they were written in standard Japanese, Miho-chan would ask, “shouldn’t this part be in Tottori dialect?” and have it fixed. Even during the normal conversations with Meicoomon, she wouldn’t consult them and ask, “shouldn’t this part be in Tottori dialect?”
Arakawa: Yeah. I thought the relationship between Meiko and Meicoomon should involve them speaking in dialect to each other, so I would ask them to convert it to dialect for me and then get permission to fix it in the script.
Morishita: The scene where Meiko was sitting on the bench and talking to herself was written in the script as being in standard Japanese, but since she was talking to herself, it eventually became her speaking in Tottori dialect.
Arakawa: What you would normally say as “painful” in standard Japanese, kurushii, is erai in Tottori dialect, which sounds like standard Japanese for “amazing”, so I was a little nervous about whether people would be able to get the right nuance out of it, since the surrounding part didn’t have her speaking in standard Japanese.
Morishita: I had that problem in Part 46, where Meicoomon has the line “ain’t need Mei no more?”, and it’s supposed to mean “do you not need Meicoomon anymore?” But it could potentially be mistaken for “I don’t need Meiko anymore,” so I was worried people would hear it that way.
Arakawa: I’m sure the audience took it the right way, but it really does feel like you’re running around after it. That said, Meiko’s line “you’re a real nose-poker”7 naturally had her directly clarify it as “you’re very kind”8 (laughs).
Morishita: Yeah, I don’t think people would get “you’re a real nose-poker”! (laughs)
–There were also some calming scenes at the school, like the ghost story scene.
Morishita: That scene had Meiko scaring everyone, but she wasn’t even originally the one who wanted to participate. All she did was tell a story that actually happened to her (laughs).
Arakawa: I thought it would actually be scarier if I didn’t actively try to make it scary, so I played it as usual, but when I watched the completed footage, that scene scared even me.
Morishita: When Takeru was like, “I’m gonna scare you!”, it was cute to see Yamato get flustered, contrary to what you’d normally expect.
Arakawa: The Digimon’s faces when they were screaming “gyaaah!” were cute, too.
Morishita: I don’t remember Meicoomon ever getting to be cute or noisy with the other Digimon, so I’m jealous…(awkwardly laughs)
Arakawa: So she peaked at Ooedo Onsen? (laughs)
Morishita: She might have peaked there (laughs). But I got along really well with my sheen-iors9 during the recording! When I went like “dagan“10, Chika Sakamoto-san (who plays Agumon) said from behind me, “that dagan is strong! Sooooo strong!”
–Now that we’re at Part 5, have your impressions of each other changed?
Morishita: The director told me to think of Meicoomon as being like a baby when playing her. Part 4 had that scene where their feelings were put up against each other…
Arakawa: Yeah, that scene. Meiko has a vague awareness that Meicoomon’s doing bad things, but she loves her, so she can’t say that. But she does put up her true feelings that she didn’t necessarily love her because she behaved, and so the fact the events of Part 5 ended up overtaking them was far too painful.
Morishita: Yeah. They’d gotten over that one hurdle, and then Part 5 happened and made her say that, so I’m sorry about that.
–Please leave a message for the fans.
Arakawa: Even though I’m the one playing Meiko, I’m in so much suspense about what happens in the story from here. But I’m sure that everyone who’s been watching over us up to this point will come and see it for themselves. Please look forward to it, all the way to the end.
Morishita: I’m personally super interested in what’s gonna happen next! I’m really looking forward to Part 6 with anticipation, just like everyone else. But for now, I hope you enjoy Part 5!
Ayumi Miyazaki / AiM / Hiroshi Yamada / Michihiko Ohta
From Hyogo Prefecture, represented by Aoni Production. Voice actress and singer. Goes by the name “Ai Maeda” when working as a voice actress. Has sung a great number of ending theme songs for the Digimon series, such as “I wish” and “Tomorrow My Wind Will Blow”.
From Nagano Prefecture. Musician, composer, and arranger. Has made music ranging from Digimon theme songs and insert songs to work for AKB48 and other artists, and also does self-produced work.
From Tokyo. Singer-songwriter. Has performed a great number of Digimon insert songs, such as “brave heart” and “Beat Hit!” Also works in composition for other singers.
From Kanagawa Prefecture. Lyricist. Has been involved in activities ranging from Digimon theme songs and insert songs to work for artists such as Daichi Miura, Superfly, Leo Ieiri, Sakurako Ohara, and many others, including under pseudonyms.
–Miyazaki-san and AiM-san, please tell us about what your impressions were when you heard about singing the ending theme, “Secret Word of Love”.
Miyazaki: I was honestly very happy when I first heard about it. We’d sung together at events and such before, but we’d never had a duet together that would be on the proper record, like a CD, so it was very thrilling and I was looking forward to it.
AiM: I’d sung (Kouji) Wada-san’s songs with him at events before, but we’d never gotten to sing our own song together, so I was very happy thinking “we’re finally going to be singing our own song!” And on top of that, I heard Ohta-san and Yamada-san were going to be working on it, and I thought, “they’ve really done it!”
Yamada: So basically “oh, it’s them again” (laughs).
AiM: Actually, I haven’t had a lot of songs that Yamada-san or Ohta-san have written lyrics for or composed. But they’d made songs for Miyazaki-san and Wada-san, so I was really jealous.
Ohta: You’re flattering us.
AiM: Ohta-san has written for me before, but the only time I’d worked with Yamada-san was the song I sang with Wada-san, “an Endless tale” (Digimon Frontier‘s second ending song). So I was very much looking forward to the song you two would be making together.
Ohta: The truth is, I’d planned to make “Believer” from Digimon Savers, which was sung by IKUO-kun, into my last song produced for anime.
Ohta: Yeah. There were a lot of proposals for songs after that, but I always declined. But this time, it was about Digimon, and it was going to be a duet with Miyazaki-kun and AiM-chan, something you normally can’t even dream of, so I accepted the job.
Yamada: I was simply just happy that I could write another new song for Digimon. There was a time when I was making so many of them that it stressed me out, but then once I stopped it got really lonely (laughs).
You could call it “Digimon spirit”, but there’s something very Digimon-like left in me, and so in order to remember that again, I went back and listened to all the songs from back then again. Then I started thinking up the lyrics while watching tri. footage, and had fun re-invoking the feeling from back then.
–Were there any difficulties in creating the music for this?
Yamada: tri.‘s audience is made up of adults who were watching the original series as kids, right? So those people need to be able to feel that “this is Digimon!” when they hear this song.
The songs we made at the time were like a long pass from ourselves to the kids, so I wrote the lyrics hoping that, once they listen to it again after ten or more years, they’d understand the meanings hidden in them.
Ohta: They weren’t really difficulties, but when we were trying to figure out what kind of song we wanted to make people remember, the only one that came up was “Manly Flying Spit” (Hirokazu and Kenta’s character song from Digimon Tamers).
–Please tell us about any interesting incidents that left an impression on you during recording.
Miyazaki: This was my first time doing a duet with AiM-san, so, prior to the recording, I was worried about all sorts of things, like what kind of vocal tone, or emotions, or singing style to use.
Yamada: Yeah, he was kind of feeling around for it a bit at first, and I was thinking, that’s not what you’d normally expect from Miyazaki-kun.
Miyazaki: They told me that I could put all my passion into it and do as I liked, and I got to sing it freely in the way I usually would, so I had a lot of fun with it. But I think AiM-san was the one having a harder time after that (laughs).
AiM: Yes (awkwardly laughs). I wanted to do it my own way while thinking about things, but after we’d finished one take of recording, Yamada-san told me, “I wrote the lyrics for ‘Secret Word of Love’ based on the relationship between Meiko and Meicoomon.”
Yamada: The timing was awful, I’m so sorry (laughs).
AiM: So I thought, “ah, I see,” and then later, when we were about to record the final chorus, I suddenly started sobbing out of nowhere and I couldn’t cry through all of my tears.
Yamada: That was when I thought, “I messed up, I shouldn’t have told her that” (laughs).
AiM: The truth is, before we started singing, I was really tussling over whether I should ask about the theme or not. But if I tried to cram too much of it in, it wouldn’t be understandable, so I decided to just try singing it naturally for the first time and adjust it afterwards.
Miyazaki: And right then, when AiM-san started crying, I had just gone to the bathroom, and when I came back I was greeted with that scene. When I asked what was going on, they told me that AiM-san was so emotionally compromised she couldn’t sing. It was like, “huh? What happened?” (awkwardly laughs)
Yamada: You had absolutely no idea what was going on.
Miyazaki: Yeah, all I did was go to the bathroom, and in that moment, something happened to make her cry, and then she couldn’t sing anymore.
AiM: I was singing while reflecting on the lyrics, and all of the scenes between Meiko and Meicoomon were playing in my head. And then the guitar right before the final chorus was too good…
Ohta: Yeah, there’s a very sneaky little guitar part there.
AiM: Once we got there, it was like a series of flashbacks with all of their scenes playing in my head, and I couldn’t even see what was in front of me, and my voice wasn’t coming out anymore, and everything hurt all the way down to the bottom of my stomach.
Yamada: I had no idea it would get that bad…I’m so sorry (laughs).
Miyazaki: In the end AiM-san was clutching her knees while sitting on the chair.
AiM: They told me it was like there was a spotlight on me (laughs).
Miyazaki: We were outside the booth, so we could see some very sad-looking people on the monitor (laughs).
Yamada: Once we had an opportunity for a break, Miyazaki-kun and I went into the booth to calm her down, but somehow we ended up as three people clutching our knees (laughs).
AiM: I was stuck in a whirlpool of feelings. I’ve had times like this where I’d gotten so caught up in things that I ended up forgetting my lines, but this was my first time experiencing this while singing. “Secret Word of Love” is a song that really gets you hard, to that deep of a level.
Yamada: When I heard that it was going to be a duet, I wanted there to be a reason for two people to be singing. So when I was thinking about who within the story would be singing a duet, Meiko and Meicoomon naturally came to mind. Well, Miyazaki-kun doesn’t exactly seem much like Meicoomon, though (laughs).
Miyazaki: I don’t think so, no (laughs).
Yamada: I should try putting the ears on you or something (laughs). But, in all seriousness, although Miyazaki-kun and AiM-chan are singing a duet with male and female vocals, I wanted their feelings to go back and forth. It comes off initially as being more like a rap, but I wrote it hoping that people would notice. But I forgot to tell the most important participants, the vocalists, that it was about Meiko and Meicoomon, and so when the day finally came, disaster struck (laughs).
AiM: I’m really, truly sorry. I was told that when I was singing “an Endless tale” with Wada-san, I cried there, too, but I don’t remember it at all.
Ohta: You did, you were crying.
AiM: I might have cried because, at the time, I was really just happy to be singing an ending song again and to be doing a duet with Wada-san. I don’t remember it at all, though. But this time, it wasn’t happiness as much as I was feeling how painful it was, and so I was crying in a bit of a different sort of way.
Yamada: So in other words, if I write a duet, you’ll cry (laughs).
–So the lyrics run parallel to the story.
Yamada: They do. The story’s not finished yet, but I read the script, looked for the theme of the movie, and wrote it according to that. When I was writing all of the theme songs for the older series, I told myself, this is for kids, so I can’t cut corners. I think that’s why there are so many songs that people love even now.
AiM: Do the two of you have any preliminary meetings beforehand?
Ohta: No, Yama-chan finishes his part completely, and I don’t say anything when he hands the song over to me.
Yamada: It’s like an automated process (laughs). For this one, we did the composition first, and when I was writing the lyrics, the song gave me so much energy, like, “all right, I’m gonna have to match this with something good!” (pointing at Ohta) I mean, it had to come from this dude, but he’s made something good!
Ohta: The heck is that? (laughs)
–Is there a certain part that you have a particular attachment to?
Ohta: I mean, it’s got to be when the two of them sing “secret word of love” together.
Yamada: For me, it’s the tears-inducing guitar.
Miyazaki: You mean the guitar that made AiM-san cry. That guitar is the best.
AiM: I wanted to be there when they were recording that guitar part, but unfortunately, when they got there, they seemed to have already finished.
–Please tell us how you came to participate on the original Adventure, and what your feelings were at the time.
Ohta: My first song was “brave heart”. I hadn’t worked on an action anime yet, so I didn’t know if it would be okay for me to be working on a children’s show, or whether they’d be okay with hard rock, so in the end it became a pop-rock kind of song. But at the time, that wasn’t really the kind of song you’d associate with anime.
Yamada: No, not at all.
Ohta: I was shocked when I finally saw what kind of anime it turned out to be. Yama-chan, you started from the second series, didn’t you?
Yamada: I did, I started with Digimon Adventure 02‘s evolution song, “Break up!”. They told me that it was going to play during the evolution sequences, and when I asked, “so it’s a song that plays within the story?”, they had to remind me, “it’s an evolution song!”
Miyazaki: Right, it doesn’t “play within the story”, it’s an “evolution song”.
Ohta: Fundamentally speaking, back then, anime might have BGM, but they wouldn’t have insert songs.
AiM: I remember that even at the recording site, since the songs were going to have lyrics, so we had to consult with the staff on what to do about making sure our lines wouldn’t get in the way.
Ohta: When you actually watch the anime, there’d sometimes be times when you think it’s going to start, but then it stops right before the vocals kick in (laughs).
Yamada: For the singer and the lyricist, it’s disappointing. But when you’re watching, the evolution sequences really do get you excited. We had to change the intro a bit one by one for each character, so we got really fixated on working on it.
We were putting serious work into making songs for an anime, so our sense of unity was incredible.
Ohta: Older anime had a lot of that kind of thing back then.
Yamada: But weren’t they usually people who specialized in those kinds of background songs? There weren’t many people like us who wrote more of your usual kind of music. Because of that, we were able to put new ideas into it, and by going beyond those boundaries and breaking through them, the singers and the musicians all got along. That’s why I was really happy to be able to work with you guys again.
–How have your feelings about Digimon Adventure changed in the last eighteen years?
Miyazaki: My stance of putting everything I have into it hasn’t changed. But now that, over these last eighteen years, I’ve gotten to sing at concerts and events, I feel like I’ve managed to gain some leeway. I’m the one who’s been singing “brave heart” more than anyone else has these past eighteen years, so before I started singing “brave heart ~tri. Version~”, I felt that I had to overtake myself. I realized that was my own self-satisfaction, and that moment made me feel happy, like I had come together with and understood everyone who had been singing with me over the years. For this song, “Secret Word of Love”, I thought less about singing it with skill and more about AiM and myself putting forth the atmosphere in this song that you can be enchanted by, now that you’re at an older age. Maybe it’ll be like the feel that Ohta-san and Yamada-san made it with.
Ohta: Yeah. We made it with the idea of getting closer to the audience.
AiM: I also played Mimi in the original Adventure, but it was a little sad for me when they changed the series and I didn’t get to be Mimi anymore. But I still managed to have a relationship with it through the songs, and although it had a different feeling from actually playing a role in it and a lot of things changed, the feelings I had at the beginning returned when I started singing. In the end, I don’t think my feelings have changed in the last eighteen years.
Ohta: Back then, my impression of Digimon was that it really was an unconventional series, and my thoughts on this have been the same all the way up until now, so I don’t feel that they’ve changed. It’s an odd feeling to see everyone grow up so well, but as far as my own thoughts are concerned, that’s not really a change.
Yamada: Whenever I work with artists in their twenties or thirties, so many of them say “I watched Digimon!” that I realize, did that many people actually watch it? There are also those who say they like every series, and whenever I personally hear that I think, “wow, time really has passed,” and then that I’m glad that I worked so hard on it. There was the song “To the Children Who Inherit Courage”11 that the Digimon series vocalists sang together, and I loaded it with the feelings of “don’t forget about the time when you were children,” but it’s actually the same for this song, “Secret Word of Love”. The message that Digimon is sending to you is the same as our own Secret Words of Love. We gave it that title with the feelings of wanting you all to never forget that. So that’s why they’re both “words of love”, and “secret words”.12
–Please leave a message for the fans.
Miyazaki: To all of you who have loved Digimon up until now…well, it’s weird for me to say it this way, but…let’s all keep loving it together.
AiM: It’s funny seeing you say that while holding a stuffed doll13 (laughs).
Miyazaki: I’m just saying this as yet another audience member, but let’s keep enjoying our way to the finale together!
AiM: Thank you to those who bought and are reading this pamphlet. Just like everyone else, I don’t know what’s going to happen in the finale, so I want to enjoy watching it in the theater with everyone else. And now that you’ve read this group talk with us, if you go back and rewatch it, I think “Secret Word of Love” will feel different. And I’d be very happy if you bought and listened to the CD! Let’s all look forward to Part 6!
Ohta: Personally, I consider “Secret Word of Love” to be the sequel to “an Endless tale”, so I’d like you to listen to it and compare the older and newer Digimon songs.
Yamada: Don’t we need a sequel to “Manly Flying Spit”?
Ohta: Should we make one? (laughs)
Yamada: I’m really happy to be able to make another song for Digimon. A long time ago, I wrote the line “and the Butter-Fly flies even now”14, but I want the kids who were watching Digimon back then to never forget that they’re “Chosen Children”, even now. Let’s all reconfirm with each other how important of a series this is to us, and continue to push on and live on towards where we each need to go. And I’m also glad to have had the opportunity to listen to my old songs over again. I’m sure there are a lot of things I was only able to realize because I was listening to them now…um, that came out sounding funny, didn’t it.
Miyazaki: It did, yes (laughs).
- Okonomiyaki = savory pancakes with firmer batter than monjayaki. Actually, Part 1 explicitly had them go to a monjayaki place, but many places specialize in both, so…?
- The interviewer refers to Tailmon as a tsukkomi, referring to an archetype in manzai comedy duos where the tsukkomi is the exasperated and overly stiff foil to the silly and playful boke; the word is often further extended to this kind of character archetype in general.
- May Queen = one of the more popular potato varieties in Japan.
- “Giant monster” = kaijuu, a word often applied to tokusatsu giant monsters like King Kong or Godzilla.
- Ooedo Onsen = 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.
- The pamphlet actually writes about Meicoomon’s line in Tottori dialect being in Part “5”, but the relevant scene is in Part 4. I’m assuming for the time being that this is a typo.
- “You’re a real nose-poker” = This refers to Meiko’s line in Tottori dialect to Taichi in Part 5, “sewayaite goshinaru na” (it’s the line translated as “ya sure are a top bloke” in the official English subtitles). Meiko’s intent is to comment on Taichi trying to be helpful, but “sewayaku” runs the risk of having a negative connotation of someone poking their nose into others’ business and being suffocating. ~goshinaru is an honorific ending, but this isn’t used in standard Japanese, which would opt for ~kudasaru instead.
- For record’s sake, the actual line in question from Part 5 is “you’re a good person” (Taichi-san wa ii hito desu ne), but here Arakawa misquotes Meiko’s line as “you’re very kind” (優しいですね, yasashii desu ne).
- “Sheen-iors” = Meicoomon has a tendency to “lisp” her “senpai” into “chenpai“, which Morishita invokes here.
- Meicoomon has a “dagan” tic as part of her stilted Tottori dialect, which makes her use dagan instead of the standard end emphatic particle da yo.
- “To the Children Who Inherit Courage” = The title song for the album We Love DiGiMONMUSiC SPECiAL: To the Children Who Inherit Courage -Odaiba Memorial 8/1 Plan-, released in 2003. The song itself is notable as the franchise’s first “memorial song”, as it featured a number of singers who had historically participated in the Digimon franchise, and the lyrics contain pointed references to Adventure through Frontier, the four series that had been released up to that point (the title itself is a reference to the title of Adventure 02‘s first episode, “The One Who Inherits Courage”).
- The title of the song is “Aikotoba“, which is written in katakana as アイコトバ. Normally, the word “aikotoba“, written 合言葉, refers to a code word used to gain entry or admission to something, and can be reasonably interpreted as referring to the “dandan” that becomes relevant to Meiko and Meicoomon’s storyline in Part 6. However, an alternate parse of aikotoba is 愛言葉, which would be “words of love”. Hence, Yamada saying that both the meanings of “words of love” and “secret word” are present.
- The original pamphlet (which sadly I could not provide good scans of due to the limitations of my scanner) had photos of the four musicians holding stuffed Digimon toys; Miyazaki was pictured holding a large stuffed Tailmon.
- “And the Butter-Fly flies even now” = A line from “To the Children Who Inherit Courage”.