Translation of an interview posted to the Digimon Partners website on December 26, 2021 with singer AiM, regarding her experience recording music for Digimon Tamers.
For the 20th anniversary of Digimon Tamers, we’ve held many different kinds of events this year, such as DigiFes 2021 and some collaborative pop-up shops.
For this Digimon Partners article, we’ve held an interview with AiM about the ending songs she sang for Digimon Tamers, and her memories of those days from the perspective of a vocalist!
AiM: Voice actress and singer. Served not only as the voice actress for Mimi Tachikawa in Digimon Adventure, but also as the vocalist for many Digimon songs such as “I wish” and “Tomorrow My Wind Will Blow”.
Digimon Partners Staff: A person in their 30s who loves Digimon
Anticipating the 20th anniversary of Digimon Tamers
Staff: Please tell us how you felt when you heard about the Digimon Tamers 20th anniversary.
AiM: Since we’d passed the 20th anniversary of Digimon Adventure, I started thinking things like “so this year is Tamers, right? Are they going to do something like DigiFes for it?” and “it’s been a while since I’ve seen the cast members, I really hope I get to see them again.”
Staff: What did you think when you heard that Digimon Tamers would indeed be featured at DigiFes 20211?
AiM: I was truly happy about it. I figured that the fans must have also been looking forward to seeing Tamers as a follow-up to Adventure and 02, so I was just as happy to see the Tamers cast go up on stage, chit-chat, and do a stage reading.
Staff: What was it like to meet the cast members again after so long?
AiM: We had to hold DigiFes with precautions against a pandemic, so we didn’t get to talk too deeply, but I got to chat with everyone for a little while backstage, and I could really feel how everyone was still as warm as ever. The other vocalists (Michihiko) Ohta-san, (Masataka) Fujishige-san, (Takayoshi) Tanimoto-san, and I made up a big family, and since Miyazaki-san had to cancel at the last minute2, everyone was around to help try and moderate the uncertainty and tension that came out of that, so I was very thankful for their help. The crowd wasn’t allowed to make noise, so it was a little frustrating because I was worried I wasn’t getting the crowd excited enough. It was a shame that I couldn’t have them sing along and couldn’t approach the audience, but I was still very happy to be able to sing while looking directly at everyone.
Having started work on Digimon Tamers right when things had gotten the busiest
Staff: Twenty years ago, when exactly was it when you heard you’d be singing for the Tamers ending songs?
AiM: Hmmm, I wonder? I think it might have been at the end of the summer of 2000, or maybe the beginning of autumn. I was constantly being sent back and forth everywhere at the time, since I had to do recordings for 02, and they were talking about having me on for its movie, and there were the Christmas songs too. So there were all of these things going at once, so I think discussions about a new TV show were in there as well.
Staff: Do you remember anything about when you first heard the Tamers songs or what it was like recording for them?
AiM: For “Moving on!”, I distinctly remember getting to have my own lyrics be picked via competition. The prompt word was “adventure”, and I’d started writing lyrics for it, but Michihiko Ohta-san’s demo song composition was so lovely and exciting, so when I heard it, I suddenly started writing more and more and accidentally ended up writing enough lyrics for three whole songs. I picked the one that felt just right, submitted it, and they ended up picking it, so I was truly grateful and happy and found a lot of self-confidence in that song.
“Days -Affection and the Ordinary-“ has much more mature melody and lyrics to it, so when I first heard them, I thought “is this really a Digimon song?” However, I felt that Juri-chan’s fluctuating emotions, loneliness, weakness, and strengths in the anime’s story itself felt much like those of the song’s protagonist, so I was convinced that they must have picked this song because of that.
When we were recording, our music director, Hiroshi Chiba-san, told me “please deliberately leave the breaths in there.” As a voice actress, I’m used to having times when I have to record without any backing music and completely in silence, and I’m very focused on trying not to make noises with my lips and such, so at first I was surprised to be told this, but he said that it would bring out a sense of urgency and desperation in the song, and I still make use of that to this day. I remember that the mixing engineer and Chiba-san were very particular about what kinds of breath sounds they wanted to use. Also, I’m very clear with my articulation, so I distinctly remember being told to sing it with a shakier feeling.
Staff: How interesting to hear about song production from that perspective! How did you feel when they actually played the song you’d sung for at the end of the anime episode?
AiM: I was always looking forward to seeing what kind of images they’d be showing over the song, so I’d be watching it thinking “they really are running!” (laughs). When we were filming the music video for “My Tomorrow”, I was thinking “it’d be nice if it rained the same way they describe in the lyrics,” and it actually rained the way I wanted to, and even in the ending theme video for the anime they had it rain there too, so it really hit me hard to see it with Takato-kun’s facial expressions. I particularly like the scene where everyone gathers around next to Takato-kun and throw the umbrellas up into the clear sky.
For “Days -Affection and the Ordinary-“, you can get a very realistic sense of Digimon actually hanging around the streets of Shinjuku, and it ends on a very lovely note of hope. I think it’d be fun to compare it with how Shinjuku looks like now.
“Moving on!” has footage showing off the charm of Okinawa, and it makes you want to go to Okinawa right now (laughs).
“Sunset Promise” depicts the characters within their ordinary daily lives, so I was particularly interested in what I saw out of it. Personally, I was relieved to see that Juri-chan was enjoying herself.
Staff: Of the four songs you sang for Tamers, which one is your favorite?
AiM: “Days -Affection and the Ordinary-” was my 10th single, and the first press edition for it had a 16-page booklet and an “AiM illustration” version of Carddass3 cards, and a ticket to apply for a Christmas card that would be sent out to all applicants. I received a lot of messages from those who applied for the Christmas card, and after I’d read what everyone had said, I felt like I’d received my own present from them. I received a print-out of them from Shintarou Matsui-san (our music producer), so I still read it again every so often and grin.
National touring for a game event
Staff: Beyond recording music, do you have any other particular memories to share?
AiM: I remember traveling across the country with Kouji Wada-san and Takayoshi Tanimoto-san for an event with the portable WonderSwan game Digimon Tamers Battle Spirit. Here’s the itinerary for the trip we were taking.
Staff: It’s a pretty tightly packed schedule.
AiM: We had to run and change trains and go back and forth everywhere. I think that was when I got to be much closer friends with Wada-san and Tanimoto-san. We went to the qualifier round venues all over the place, sang songs for them, watched the qualifiers, and had 3-on-3 team battles against the children who’d come to the venue. Wada-san and Tanimoto-san were nice people who probably were trying to let the kids win, but I wasn’t satisfied with having all three of us lose, so I was the immature one who decided to go for the win (laughs).
Volcano Ota was the MC at the time, and he started calling me the “White Demon”, and once Chiba-san heard that, even he started calling me the “White Demon” on the lyrics card for “Miracle Maker”…(laughs). That also happened (laughs).
Staff: Thinking about it from the perspective of the kids from back then, it probably would have been a memorable experience to be able to play against you at all.
AiM: I ended up tossing around a tiny little girl, so I’m still really sorry about that. I’d been singing alongside Wada-san here and there before then, but I think Tamers was when I got to have closer contact with more people. We went to a rural area for an event, and Bandai’s staff took me to a delicious restaurant, and I fondly remember thinking “Wow! We’re all adults here!” (laughs).
Staff: Please leave a message for Digimon Tamers fans.
AiM: I’m sure we’re all feeling the same way, but for me, Tamers was a series that expanded my world even further. At the time, I was simply just trying to do my best at whatever was right in front of me, but when I look back on it now, it was a series during which I took on a lot of challenges, and a series where I met many people through singing, and I felt that through this interview. I think, ten years from now, you might notice something different out of Tamers, and I think that goes for the songs as well too. So as I think back on the memories of those days and enjoy the realizations that came with it, I hope we can all continue to support Tamers together. And I’m looking forward to the day we can all sing together again with a smile.
Staff: Thank you very much!
“My Tomorrow” and “Days -Affection and the Ordinary-“: Ending songs for Digimon Tamers
“Moving on!”: Ending song for Digimon Tamers: The Adventurers’ Battle
“Sunset Promise”: Ending song for Digimon Tamers: Runaway Digimon Express
- “DigiFes 2021” = Referring to a live event held at the Yokosuka Arts Theater on August 1, 2021, part of an annual series of officially held “DigiFes” events. The 2021 event primarily featured music performances and a cast roundtable relevant to Tamers in light of its 20th anniversary. [↩]
- Vocalist Ayumi Miyazaki had originally been scheduled to perform at the DigiFes 2021 event, but had to cancel shortly before due to sudden illness. [↩]
- “Carddass” refers to Bandai’s card vending machines, which were responsible for distributing the Hyper Colosseum Digimon trading cards at the time. [↩]