Digimon Adventure tri. staff interviews from Animedia September 2016

A collection of the following interviews with Digimon Adventure tri. staff, from the September 2016 issue of Animedia:

  • Director Keitarou Motonaga
  • Lead writer Yuuko Kakihara and producer Shuuhei Arai
  • Voice actor Natsuki Hanae (voice of Taichi Yagami)
  • Character designer Atsuya Uki

Director Keitarou Motonaga

The story picks up once again with Part 3!

–After meeting their Digimon partners in the Digital World, the “Chosen Children” have managed to overcome all sorts of difficulties, but compared to the prior Digimon Adventure series up to this point, Taichi has been conspicuously dealing with a lot of personal worries in Parts 1 and 2 of tri.
Taichi’s field of vision has expanded greatly now that he’s grown, and now he’s started to become uncertain about fighting in the same reckless way he used to. And now that their leader has stopped in his tracks, the other children are starting to have doubts, leading to their circumstances in Part 2. But they also know that if they leave things alone, even worse things will happen, so they understand that “this is something only we can do.” In any case, Yamato in particular feels that very strongly, so he’s the one to be most irritated with Taichi. Right now, Taichi might be acting less like a leader and more like a damsel who needs to be protected (laughs). One of tri.‘s themes is depicting what happens for Taichi to take up the role of a leader again.

–Every character has their own prominently unique personality.
Meiko and Meicoomon are the characters who hold the key to the story. As they get involved with the other kids, bad things start happening against their will. In particular, Meicoomon is carrying a very heay burden, so please pay particular attention to what happens with her. Nishijima and Himekawa are also watching over the kids, but they also seem to have their own plans that they’re acting on. They’re the characters who embody the kinds of things that happen when you become an adult, and they also carry a secret that might surprise long-time fans.

–It seems like even bigger things are going to happen in Part 3.
We’re right at the turning point of the story. We’re going to have battles of the kind that’s never been in the series ever before. We’ve been foreshadowing things since Part 1, so perceptive viewers might have already picked up on them. The main key word is the “whistle”. Also, we’re having Kouji Wada’s song “Butter-Fly” play at the story’s turning point instead of at the opening, so please pay attention to when that’ll be. The voice actors for the Digimon are veterans, so you can really feel “ah, the Digimon really are here” when they talk, and the cast members for the kids are getting more and more immersed in the story, so their performances are getting more well-adjusted to the story developments even in fine detail. When you compare the Digimon, who are like children, and the kids, who are starting to see things the way adults do, I hope you can really feel the difference. The viewing area for a movie is much wider than that of a TV series, and there’s a large amount of space, and we’ve put focus into the little details like finely adjusting each sound to be unique when something breaks. Please be sure to check it out on the Blu-rays and DVDs, and come see it at the theater.

Lead writer Yuuki Kakihara and producer Shuuhei Arai

Now that the story is progressing, new mysteries have come forth, and we’re interested in what’ll happen next in tri. With Part 3 coming out soon, we hit lead writer Yuuko Kakihara and producer Shuuhei Arai with a Q&A. Will everything about Part 3 and after become clear!?

Q: Were Daisuke Motomiya and the other kids from 02 the ones who were defeated at the beginning of Part 1?
Correct. It wasn’t a dream or imaginary world; Daisuke and the others were defeated for a certain reason. (Kakihara)

Q: How long have Meiko and Meicoomon been partners?
Meiko has the same type of Digivice as Taichi and his friends, and Taichi and Meiko are the same age, so on that line of thought…I think you can use that gist of it to make a hypothesis. When something strange happened to Meicoomon, something also appeared on Meiko’s Digivice. It has a trait that visually resembles something on Meicoomon, so that might be a hint as to what that means. (Arai)

Q: Is Gennai aware of what’s been happening with the infected Digimon?
A: In the past, Gennai’s job was to guide the children through the Digital World. But if he were able to actively work in the open the way he did in 02, he would prevent people around the world from taking notice of the Digimon. In tri., average people1 are starting to notice them, which means that he’s unable to prevent that, and that something may have happened to him. (Arai)

Q: What were the black cubes that went into the DigiEgg at the beginning of Part 1?
A: It’s something that’s connected to the prior series. It’s already changed the DigiEgg into a certain kind of Digimon. That Digimon has a deep relationship to tri.‘s story. You might also notice that the DigiEgg has something about it that resembles Tailmon’s. (Arai)

Q: What’s the white Digimon that appears every so often?
A: It’s a Digimon that’s observing Meicoomon on someone’s orders. To be more specific, Gennai’s supposed to be the one checking on how things are going with the infected Digimon and Meicoomon, but…it’s worth considering why Gennai isn’t showing himself. (Kakihara)

Q: How likely is it that the kids will drift away from their partners?
A: All of them will have similar experiences to Jou and Gomamon in Part 2, when they started falling out of sync with each other and had differing feelings. It might be because of a rift forming between them, or it might be because the children are growing and the gaps between them and their Digimon are widening. The reasons differ for each kid. (Kakihara)

Q: Is there a mastermind behind the infected Digimon incidents?
A: It does seem as if there’s something manipulating Meicoomon and planning something, but it’s not going out of its way to cause the infections. So perhaps it might be more accurate to say that there isn’t a specific mastermind behind the actual infections. (Kakihara)

Q: Are Nishijima and Himekawa hiding anything?
A: They are. Himekawa is hiding something very huge, and you should definitely be very wary of her. They’re former lovers, longtime friends, and superior and underling. They work in the same Data Processing Bureau, but Nishijima doesn’t know everything Himekawa does, so there’s an increasing sense of disparity between them. (Kakihara)

Q: How much does Meiko know about Meicoomon’s secret?
A: In Part 3, we’ll be elaborating on what relationship Meiko’s father has to Meicoomon in his research work. Meiko knows that Meicoomon is a special kind of Digimon, but I don’t think she expected things to end the way they did in Part 2, nor that Meicoomon would take on that form. So when she saw Meicoomon transform in front of her, she herself was also forced to consider what she was supposed to be and do. (Kakihara)

Q: What was the mysterious cyberspace that appeared in Part 2?
A: It’s one of many worlds like the real world and the Digital World. But that cyberspace was a special one created by the mysterious man, and although Gomamon and Palmon made it in, he tweaked it so that none of the other Digimon that arrived later could come in after them. (Arai)

Q: We’ve seen everyone in different outfits, like in bathhouse wear or school uniforms, so will we be seeing more from here on out?
A: Actually, due to certain background circumstances2, you’ll mostly be seeing them in uniforms from now on. As for why they won’t be changing their clothes very often, the reason corresponds to a particularly important part of the story. (Arai)

Q: What’s going on with the relationship between Taichi, Yamato, and Sora right now?
A: Taichi and Sora are classmates in the same school group. High school is a very emotionally sensitive time of one’s life, so it’s not a time when people’s relations to each other are set firmly in stone. On top of that, Meiko’s entered the picture, which brings in another kind of human relationship that hasn’t been in play yet, and to be honest, I don’t think it would be unusual for those kinds of relationships to change even further into anything from now on. (Arai)

Q: Why is Patamon not in Ultimate form in Part 3’s poster?
A: The first PV for Part 3 focuses on Patamon saying “I’m infected, aren’t I?”, and so we thought having him still be in Child form would better reflect what happens in the story…so that’s why we kept him in that form. (Arai)

Q: Is Yamato’s band really that famous?
A: The KOD concert ticket in Part 1 shows that they’re clearly popular enough to hold their own dedicated concerts. His old band, the TEEN-AGE WOLVES, has temporarily dissolved for the time being, but there’s a chance they might still reform in the future. So there’s actually going to be a TEEN-AGE WOLVES song playing in Part 3. (Arai)

Q: Please give some words of encouragement for Digimon Universe App Monsters, which will begin its broadcast in October!
A: tri. is made for the adults who originally watched Digimon as kids, but we all still want there to be Digimon for the kids of today. I have great expectations for it to be a series that can make new memories for today’s children. (Kakihara) Appmon is the kind of series that can make use of the kinds of gimmicks, story, and battles that suit 2016 best, so I’m personally looking forward to it! (Arai)

Voice actor Natsuki Hanae (voice of Taichi Yagami)

Born June 26, in Kanagawa Prefecture. Blood type B. From Across Entertainment. Major roles include Rokuro Enmadou in Twin Star Exorcists and Reita Toritsuka in The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.

“The Chosen Children” overcome their worries and press on —

The Chosen Children have managed to overcome many battles thus far. In Part 3, it seems that Patamon will end up being infected, so what will the Chosen Children choose to do? We talk with Natsuki Hanae, who plays Taichi Yagami, about everything up to this point and what to expect from here.

Taichi will gain even more resolve for Part 3

–What’s your impression of the high school-aged Taichi in tri.?
In all senses of the word, he’s gotten a lot more mature. Of course, he looks older, too. He also thinks through things much more deeply and takes his surroundings more into consideration than he did when he was in grade school. Now that he’s grown, Taichi has a lot to worry about while he fights in tri., but he managed to gain resolve by the time of the fight with Alphamon in Part 1, and so I could tell he wasn’t just a character who agonized about things all the time.

–How do you feel about playing Taichi in that state?
I’ve loved this series ever since the original Digimon Adventure (hereinafter, Adventure), and when I was a kid I thought Taichi was very cool, so I was very happy when I passed the audition. On the other hand, it’s a series with a long history behind it, so there was a lot of pressure. But at his core, I don’t think Taichi’s changed from his time in grade school. I’m taking Toshiko Fujita-san’s3 performance of Taichi into account, but I’m also using trial and error to bring forth a high school-aged Taichi that’s unique to me. There’s a lot of serious and dark scenes, too, but the staff and director told me “when he’s with his friends, like Yamato and Sora, Taichi should be bright as usual.” I paid particular attention to that during the daily life scenes.

–You can tell there’s a bit of distance between him and the others, including Yamato and Sora.
He’s a kid in high school, so he’s not at the age where he’d be clingy with other people, so I think it’s only natural for him to be a bit more distant with Yamato. But when an incident with an infected Digimon happens, they do seem to have a lot more of a strained relationship. As for Sora…well, they’re both high school kids now, so I wonder if Taichi might be dealing with certain kinds of things to think about (laughs).

–Is there a scene that’s left a particular impression on you so far?
The scene where he has his reunion with Agumon. They have a back-and-forth with “you’ve gotten bigger” and “you’ve gotten smaller”, and it made me all soft. There were a lot of times when even the daily life scenes made me feel like I wanted to cry. When they went to the hot springs theme park in Part 2, the Digimon were all adorably cute, and I was personally as happy as I could be.

–Which Digimon is your favorite right now?
Back when I was watching the original Adventure, I loved Gomamon. Right now, my favorite of the Digimon partners are Agumon and Gabumon. I really love how Tentomon has a bit of a comical way of talking.

–What was the atmosphere like at the recording site?
The Digimon voice actors are the same ones as the ones in Adventure, so I was naturally very nervous at first. But when we actually started recording, everyone was very kind to me. It was like we were being watched over by a mom, and it was a very comforting feeling. Also, when we actually got to hear them acting out the Digimon, I remember thinking “wow, there really are actual humans who can make those voices!” I was particularly struck by Palmon’s voice, and I felt a deep sense of respect for her actress Kinoko (Yamada)-san.

–In Part 2, a mysterious man appeared, and Meicoomon killed Leomon, so we’re very interested in what’ll happen in Part 3.
Part 3 is mainly focused on Koushirou and Takeru. In the past, Takeru and Patamon had to overcome a lot of times when Patamon couldn’t evolve, and now, in Part 3, you can really see the strength of their bonds. At the same time, you can see Tentomon looking after Koushirou as he loses sight of everything around him, so there’s really a lot to look forward to. The poster shows that HerakleKabuterimon will be making his first appearance, so please look forward to it. And something really shocking is also going to happen at the end of Part 3. Taichi will have to solidify his resolve to grow even more from where he was in Part 2, and mature even more. Out of all six parts, Part 3 is a very important turning point, so don’t miss it!

Character designer Atsuya Uki

I paid particular attention to their hair

–Part 3 will be released on September 24. We’d like to start by asking what you particularly focused on when depicting the “Chosen Children” in high school.
I didn’t think there was a need to significantly change their designs too much from their designs in Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02, so I tried to mainly keep them as close to their original designs as possible, only making them a little taller. My particular focus was on the hair. Most of all, I really wanted to make sure their hair didn’t look too different from before. I did worry that Takeru’s silhouette looks a little too much like Koushirou’s. Back when he was in grade school, Takeru wore a hat, so there wasn’t too much need to worry about that, but now that he was in middle school, he’d be wearing a uniform and thus wouldn’t be wearing a hat as much anymore. The characters that changed the most were Yamato and Jou, and then Mimi. I took into account the fact that Yamato and Jou had the most drastic changes in hairstyle between Adventure and 02, so I modernized their hairstyles. Mimi was a more extravagant kind of girl who changed her hair color often, so I thought I should have her change it drastically in tri. as well, and after going through multiple drafts, I arrived at the current design.

–How did you design the new characters in tri., such as Meiko Mochizuki?
Before I started designing her, I knew that Meiko was meant to be a shy transfer student, so with that as a premise, the most important thing was making sure that she didn’t blend in next to any of the other kids. Giving her black hair and glasses was the natural result. As for Nishijima and Himekawa, I made multiple drafts for them, and the staff picked out the final designs from among the drafts.

–Were there any characters that were easy for you to draw, and were there any that were difficult?
I can never get a proper grasp on the volume of Taichi’s hair. I couldn’t figure out a proper process for his hairstyle, so I was constantly making adjustments when I drew him. Most of the other characters have short hair, so I had a fairly easy time with them.

–All of the posters released for Parts 1-3 have Ultimate-level Digimon on them, and they leave quite an impact.
Ultimate-level Digimon are very big, and are on a different level of scale from humans, so I always had trouble figuring out how to pull off a balance between them. If I make the humans too big, I can’t get the Digimon in there, and if I focus too much on the Digimon, the humans would get too small. It’s a lot of information that needs to be conveyed in one picture, so I ended up making a lot of adjustments while consulting with the designer.

–On the other hand, the Blu-ray and DVD packages have more of a lovely daily life feel to them.
The theatrical poster art is made to have impact, so I wanted the package art to come off as more slice-of-life, leading to the art being the way it is now.

–The Digimon have designs that date back to the original Adventure, so did that have an influence on how you drew the poster art?
I had a particularly difficult time with the eyes. They were the kind of eyes where the highlights had to be put in carefully, otherwise they’d look devoid of emotion.

–The illustration you drew for this magazine issue has all of the children and Digimon in it, and they seem to be having a fun time.
There’s eighteen characters in total, so it was naturally quite a task, but I had a lot of fun drawing it. First, I decided where the protagonist, Taichi, would be, and then I started drawing the characters around him. Incidentally, in this picture, you can see Mimi’s dumped everything on Koushirou (laughs).

–After seeing Parts 1 and 2, if you could have one of the Digimon as your partner, which would you pick?
Tentomon. Patamon is also very small and cute, but Tentomon’s the one who seems most mature, and he feels like the type you could have an easygoing conversation with.

–Is there a particular scene that stood out to you in Parts 1 or 2?
Seeing Leomon get all lovey-dovey over Meicoomon. It was quite shocking (laughs).

–What do you personally think Digimon Adventure‘s strength is?
Normally, the Digimon seem like children and the kids like parents watching over them, but when they get into battle, their positions reverse, and the kids are able to rely on the Digimon more. I like that part of it. It feels like a very different relationship from just normal friendship.

–And Part 3 will finally be released on September 24.
It’s been some time since Part 2 was released, but I hope you can refresh your memory with the Blu-ray and DVDs and enjoy Part 3 at the theater.

Translator's notes
  1. For the sake of transparency: although this was not actually the case in Adventure 02 (Gennai’s role primarily had to do with military research data), it does say “average people” (一般の人々) in the original text here. []
  2. The euphemistic use of the word 事情 (jijou) here implies that the reason is primarily relevant to production necessities, rather than story. []
  3. Toshiko Fujita = The voice actress for Taichi in the original Adventure. []

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *