The album Digimon Frontier Best Hit Parade (originally released April 2, 2003) contained a special booklet in its limited first press edition. The booklet contains comments from Toei Animation assistant producer Atsunari Baba regarding each of the series’ main characters, as well as a closing comment from Fuji TV producer Kyoutarou Kimura with a message in light of Frontier being the final Digimon anime series at the time, dedicated to all of the fans who supported Adventure through Frontier.
Atsunari Baba’s character comments
The exact definition of a proactive, hot-blooded boy. We wanted to make him the kind of hero who’s not very smart, but is quick to take action with forcefulness and a forward-thinking nature. In episode 20, when he’s thoroughly defeated by Duskmon, succumbs to cowardice, and returns to the real world, it’s an unusual moment for him, but any human being would have moments like this where they lose heart and start giving up. Takuya is just another normal elementary school kid, after all. He loses the battle, but he grows as a human being. Failure is just an opportunity to come back stronger.
The entire story starts with Agnimon. He’s really quite an unusual character for a lead protagonist Digimon, even just from the humanoid form alone. Ever since he defeated Cerberumon in the first episode, we hadn’t really been able to show him being all that strong, but after he returns from the real world in episode 22, he gets the forces of nature on his side to defeat his enemies, and I think he looked very cool. Also, I think “Burning Salamander” is just a fittingly good name for a special attack.
I remember being in a very long meeting talking about what aspects of him we should show off in his first appearance. He’s also pretty unusual for a lead protagonist Digimon, in that he’s a bird type. I think the flaming wings were modeled after the Chinese firebird.1 He really does come off as a very powerful protagonist Digimon, so he’s very popular.
Takuya’s form after combining both the Human and Beast spirits. The evolution sequence for him was really cool. He didn’t get to appear very much, but the story would have probably screeched to a halt if he hadn’t evolved into Ardhamon.
Takuya’s long-awaited Hyper Spirit Evolution form. Including MagnaGarurumon’s, the Hyper Spirit evolution sequences are ones I really like. For this character, we just wanted to make sure he came off as extremely strong, as thoroughly as possible. His attacks, like “Flame Dragon Fist”, are written entirely in kanji, which you don’t see often.2
Actually, at the time of this writing, I still haven’t gotten to see him move yet (laughs). But since he’s a character from the very end of this series, I bet he’s going to look really cool when he does.
When Takuya is defeated by Duskmon and loses his nerve and will, he evolves into this form. Since Takuya returned to a time point that’s a few hours prior to when he left for the Digital World, we made him with the idea of a time paradox coming from there being two of him at the same time. To be honest, we wanted to go a little more into him. In the original planning for Digimon Frontier, he was supposed to be the protagonist Digimon.
When I first saw the rough drafts for him, I thought he was a girl (laughs). Well, even now, depending on the angle, he sometimes looks like one. The most interesting thing about Kouji is how he seems to be a very mysterious character with many secrets from the very start. But when everyone’s in danger, he comes to help them. He wasn’t told that his birth mother was alive, and although he knows that now, he’s decided to call his stepmother his mom, so he’s actually a much kinder boy than he looks. This world really does have those kinds of strong people, after all.
For some reason, Kouji had a lot of episodes dedicated to him at the beginning, and Wolfmon ended up acting on his own a lot. Although, just so you know, it’s not that the staff was biased towards him or anything (laughs). So because of that, I think Wolfmon came off as the coolest. He looks really strong when he uses his sword attacks, and that’s probably why Kouji is so popular.
I have strong memories of the episode when he got this Spirit. He got it by working together with Gotsumon, so he knew he couldn’t let it go to waste. Kouji’s a responsible person, so I’m sure that’s how he felt, even if he didn’t put it in words. “Speed Star” is a rather difficult attack to work with, but it suits Kouji fairly well.
This is Kouji’s combined evolution form. As you’d expect from Kouji, his strength is in speed. I really love the episode with his fight with Duskmon in particular. In a sense, it may be destiny that he was able to evolve into BeoWolfmon.
Kouji’s Hyper Spirit Evolution form. He’s got both an armed and an unarmed mode. He’s quite slender, but that’s in line with Kouji’s wolf forms, and he’s agile and strong. His chest has a symbol based on the kanji for “light”, “光”, as a reminder that he bears the element of light.
His background was that he was good at magic tricks because he was interested in all sorts of miscellaneous trivia, but that part didn’t really come out in the series very often. We weren’t intentionally trying to make him such a comedic character, but he kept going in that direction no matter what we did (laughs). At first, Junpei came off as such a confident person, but he ended up getting his Spirit even later than Tomoki. His frustration over that experience allowed him to grow a little more.
He went from being the usual unreliable Junpei into a complete 180, and became the powerful and reliable Blizmon. His fight against the fake Blitzmon was particularly memorable. “Mjölnir Thunder” is as much of a special attack as you can get. Although he never really ended up using it as much after episode 31 (laughs).
A Digimon that resembles a heavy tank. I especially remember how, when he was fighting against his other self, he managed to fire at close range. When you look at his evolution sequence, you realize he can actually fly in the air, despite the fact he would normally look too heavy for that.
She’s the only girl in the Frontier group, and although she comes off as very strong-willed, she’s actually a nice girl. She says outright that she’s a repatriate student, and she was ostracized by her peers because of that, but lately I’ve been wondering if there might be more to it. This is just my personal headcanon, but I wonder if they actually bullied her for being cute. As a digression, she’s named after two women from our company.
She’s a rather feminine and cute Digimon. I really like the title of episode 4, “My Kicks Hurt! The Lady Warrior, Fairimon”, but it also marks the debut of her evolution sequence pose, which is very nice. One fun thing about her attacks, like “Carino Anca”, is that they have a bit of a comical aspect to them. We got to really show them off on the big screen for the theatrical movie (laughs).
A Digimon who first appeared during her climactic battle with Ranamon. Fairimon has a “cute” sense to her, so Shutumon comes off as more “direct and cool”. I think we were deliberately going for something like that. Apparently there’s been gossip about her chest being bigger than Fairimon’s…?
Tomoki’s one of the protagonists who grew the most. His actual older brother is significantly older than him, so he treats Takuya like his older brother, and that really does fit them, doesn’t it? He started off as a victim of Katsuharu and his friends’ bullying, but I feel they all really grew from the experience. He probably won’t be the subject of any more bullying from now on.
A Digimon who stands out a lot compared to the others. He’s small, but he’s strong, and his attack names, like “Clink-a-Clang” and “Icicle-la-la” are just excellent. This is a digression, but Takako Uehara-san, who played Darcmon3 in the movie Revival of the Ancient Digimon!!, said Chackmon was her favorite.
Tomoki’s personality changes rather drastically when he evolves into this Digimon (laughs). I’m sure everyone’s got their own baggage that they’re holding in, so it must be really cathartic to let it all out for a moment. The calmer of a person they are, the more they’re holding in this side of themself.
A kind older brother who’s worried about his mother. How must he have felt when he first heard he had a younger brother? He’s got a pretty intense background when it comes to his parents. After going to the Digital World, he probably was able to view the situation with his parents more objectively from the perspective of a single human being. We did actually decide on his parents’ names when we were working on the story, but they never came out in the anime.
He really did come off as amazingly strong during his first appearance and battle. This is a Digimon I really wanted to see appearing more often. He stands out for being a true “Warrior of Darkness”. Just because you’re associated with darkness doesn’t necessarily mean you’re evil.
He also came off as really strong during his first apeparance, and it’s amazing how he looked like he was able to defeat Cherubimon just like that, wasn’t it? (laughs) I love how he’s the speedy type who can run so quickly as he attacks. I also just really like the entire concept of a lion of darkness.
A familiar Digimon from Adventure, who put on a waistband thanks to Bokomon’s influence. It was surprising to have Araki-san, who played Hikari, as his voice, but it fit him very well. Is he still going to wear that waistband once he evolves? But then the idea of Seraphimon wearing that waistband would be…(sweats)
One of the Three Great Angels, and an easily recognizable and famous character even among the many Digimon out there, but unfortunately he didn’t get to show up very much. Hiyama-san’s performance made him stand out a lot, but then he was reborn into Patamon (wearing a waistband!)…which certainly causes some whiplash.
Lopmon was a very memorable character in Tamers, but he comes off very differently here. Shishido-san has a very distinctive voice, and she managed to pull off the very tricky role of a reborn Cherubimon with flying colors. He’s so cute, you almost wouldn’t believe whom he was reborn from.
The antagonist with the biggest driving presence in this series. He was carrying things all by himself, so he certainly had his hands completely full, didn’t he? He was one of the Three Great Angels, and he used to be a Digimon who was very passionate about doing the right thing, but as a Beast Digimon, he began to harbor strong jealousy towards Seraphimon and Ophanimon as Human Digimon, and eventually became a pitiful Digimon who was used as a pawn. The flashback gave us a brief glance at him from back when he was genuinely passionate about helping the Beast Digimon. He was kind of cute.
Ophanimon after being reborn. She’s more famous for her evolved form as Tailmon, but for this series, she primarily appears as Plotmon.
Everything to do with Takuya and his friends started when she called them. She’s a mysteriously sacred and strong Digimon. Ophanimon came off as somewhat like a mother to Takuya and all of the others. I wonder what kind of world she was trying to create?
We’d actually hinted at him from the very beginning, but he didn’t really get to show up much. When Lucemon’s child form first appeared, he was gliding leisurely through the air, and it had an eerie feeling to it. His adult form hasn’t appeared yet, but he’s probably going to take a completely different approach from his child form in giving Takuya and his friends a hard time.
He didn’t have a lot of lines, but he did a pretty good job carrying a lot of the comedy. At this point, being rubber-snapped is just a given with him. Kikuchi-san was having a lot of fun ad-libbing lines for him, and I always looked forward to them.
Probably the closest to being the Digimon Frontier group’s mentor. I think Sugiyama-san’s performance did a lot to make sure he didn’t come off as a simple mascot character. Bokomon seems to have his own special attacks, but we didn’t really touch on that within the anime.
Kyoutarou Kimura’s closing comment
After four years, with Frontier, the Digimon TV series has come to an end.
It’s already been a whole four years…
A whole four years where we walked alongside Digimon.
For these four years from March 1999 to April 2003, what kind of feelings have you all been bearing?
Naturally, there are people who started watching from Adventure, and there must be people who started watching from 02 or Tamers or had Frontier as their first and went back and watched the older series…
And thanks to everyone through those four years, DiGiMONMUSiC was able to reach its 100th release, which really reminds me deeply how much all of the fans have worked so hard to support us.
And as for a fifth series…
I don’t know if one will ever happen or not.
If we just sit around waiting, nothing will change.
If we just sit around hoping for it, nothing will happen.
So make sure your feelings get across.
Let’s get all of our feelings across.
And let’s get all of the Digimon fans’ thoughts across.
If we do, something will be sure to change.
If we do, something will be sure to happen.
And then, we’ll be able to see Taichi and Daisuke and Takato and Takuya and all of the other characters again…
So if you’re a Chosen Child, then…
Have courage…and go!!!
The adventure will never end.
Kyoutarou Kimura, February 2003
- The Chinese firebird (houou) is a legendary bird in Chinese mythology, which also happens to be the inspiratoin for Hououmon. [↩]
- Most Digimon attacks contain non-Japanese words, and are therefore usually written in the katakana script used for foreign languages. Even attacks that have Japanese words will usually write it in katakana or hiragana. Words that are entirely in kanji (Chinese characters) tend to be more technical or abstract, so while there are a handful of Digimon special attacks that are named this way, they aren’t very common. “Flame Dragon Fist” is “炎龍撃” (misprinted as “炎竜撃” in this booklet), which is read “enryuugeki“. [↩]
- The original booklet has a typographical error here and writes “Duskmon” instead. [↩]