Hypnos Meeting 2019 Q&A with Chiaki Konaka

(Chiaki Konaka Q&A | Yuuki Nakashima Q&A)

The Digimon fan event organizer DIGIMADO held an event named “Hypnos Meeting 2019” on March 17, 2019 at the Shinjuku Loft/Plus One, which included Digimon Tamers lead writer Chiaki Konaka and Digimon Xros Wars manga artist and writer Yuuki Nakashima. Questions were taken through the website, and posted there afterwards. The below is a translation of Konaka’s portion of the Q&A.

Regarding the main story of Tamers

Q. Guilmon had roughly the same personality all the way up until MegaloGrowmon, but why did his personality change so much when he became Dukemon?
Even if it’s because Takato was involved, SaintGalgomon and Sakuyamon didn’t change much compared to Terriermon and Renamon.
Also, was there a deliberate reason that Cyberdramon had Ryou’s voice instead of Cyberdramon’s voice?

A. As far as Justimon goes, I was surprised that this ended up being singled out, or rather, although we didn’t intend to give Justimon any particular treatment, Ryou’s personality is rather blatantly apparent, so I think it simply happened that way. As for Dukemon, that was decided in accordance with Nozawa-san’s performance.

Q. Digimon are mentioned to not have genders in digimon tamers , however they are shown to have genders in scenes of other digimon series. Can we conclude that they only lack genders in the tamers universe?1

A: Of course we the writers and directors of Digimon anime had been told that Digimon have no gender.
But during the writing of the scripts, we could not imagine that Lenanon has male elements.So near the ending episode, Ruki(Rika)’s family accepted Lenamon as family.

We were told “they don’t have gender,” and we wrote the story thinking, “oh, okay,” but as we were writing the story, we couldn’t imagine Sakuyamon as anything but feminine. That’s why Renamon was accepted by Ruki’s family near the end of the story.

Q. Hello, Tamers was a very enjoyable series.
As I was rewatching the series, I became curious about Behemoth (Beelzebumon’s motorcycle). It doesn’t seem to be a Digimon, but it doesn’t seem to be a DigiGnome or part of the D-Reaper, and of course it’s not the DigiEntelecheia, and if you reach it seems closest to a kind of ARMS, but what is it actually classified as?

A: I can’t speak definitively about Digimon lore, but I think it should feel something like Grani.
It doesn’t seem to have much of an individual ego of its own, but it most certainly has a bond with Beelzebumon.

Q: When Tamers was airing, the games/TCG put out a new “main line Perfect-level evolution of Leomon” named GrappLeomon.
The Leomon of Tamers was sent off from the story with some very neat timing, so it was often speculated that Leomon would be reborn in a similar way to Adventure, and reappear as GrappLeomon.
Was the animation side of production aware of this Digimon, or did the game side of production suggest using this Digimon (or perhaps also Leomon’s alternate color variation Perfect-level, Panjamon)? I hope you are able to tell us.

During Digimon Tamers, Leomon died, but a new Digimon named GrappLeomon appeared in the card game.
Seeing that, I thought, “Leomon’s going to evolve into GrappLeomon and return, right?”, and was looking forward to seeing when he’d return, but he didn’t show himself until the very end.
I came to understand that it was important to maintain the story’s point that things that die do not come back easily. That said, why was the GrappLeomon evolution made at that exact time, and was there any particular direction to have him evolve into GrappLeomon? Or was there any request to have GrappLeomon appear?

No, I wasn’t aware of that information at the time.
But, hearing that, it makes me think that as we were progressing with Tamers‘s story, whoever was in charge of the card game may have read it and thought that up as a sort of relief.

Q. In episode 40 of Digimon Tamers, Juri sees a torrent of the D-Reaper’s red jelly, falls into despair, is unconsciously led somewhere, and vanishes somewhere. Afterwards, what returns is actually a “J-Reaper” (the scene where Hirokazu whispers to Takato that she’s gone to the bathroom), but I still don’t understand if this scene meant that a part of the D-Reaper took her away and replaced her with something that copied her appearance, or whether she was possessed by a part of the D-Reaper that integrated itself into her? What’s the correct way to interpret this scene according to Konaka-san? If you could please help explain, thank you.

A: Juri’s body never actually combined with an Agent. However, it was portrayed in such a way that it would mislead you into thinking that had happened.
There is a high possibility that Juri’s own emotions were unconsciously being copied by the Agent.

Q. Among the characters in Tamers, the teacher, Nami Asanuma, left a particularly strong impression. Was there someone she was based on? Also, does she continue working as a teacher after the events of the story?

A: When I first saw Asanuma-sensei on Nico Nico last year3, she really did leave a very strong impression.
At the time, we’d only intended her as a background character, but Kaya Masutani-san’s performance ended up having a huge impact. I think Asanuma-sensei is definitely still working as a teacher.

Q: Digimon Tamers has the aura of cast members with each of their own individual characteristics, ranging from the main characters to the one-offs, but did Konaka-san ever make a specific casting request?
Also, please tell us as much as you can about anything you know from behind the scenes in terms of casting.

There’s everything I’ve written on the Resources page on konaka.com.
Things like how Ruki needed to have a hard and solid voice, so we picked Fumiko Orikasa-san, and how Youko Asada-san became a recommended pick for Juri.

Q. Hello, Konaka-san.
I have a question about something that was written on your website, Digimon Tamers Resources.
It says there that Takato’s father came from the background of opening the Matsuda Bakery after quitting his job as a corporate worker, and that there were originally some dialogue lines about that, so what were those lines about?
Also, if you happen to have any background information or story details about Takato, or, rather, the Matsuda family, that weren’t depicted in the series proper, could you tell us about it? Thank you very much.

A: I’m sorry, but I don’t remember any of it at all.
I probably wrote a line like that during the scene when they were communicating with Takato, but I think it was scrapped in consideration of the situation that was going on. Other than the part about quitting the corporate job, I don’t think there was any particular background for him that wasn’t in the series. On the other hand, I’m worried about what might have happened after the Keyakibashi Shopping Town went away…4

Q. In regards to the structure (progression of events) of evolution through the Digivice, Kakudou-san5 stated earlier that, depending on the evolution conditions, a signal is emitted from the Digivice and Digimon data is stored, and that Agumon could evolve into Greymon by downloading that data from the cloud.
Having heard that, I’m interested in what the structure of the D-Ark’s Card Slash/evolution would be.

As far as the Card Slash goes, while special attacks and items are depicted on each card, the text effects on the actual cards have times when they differ, so I figured that it wouldn’t just be the Ark reading the card by itself and materializing that into effect.
I don’t know if you had any particular ideas about how the Card Slash structure worked, but if you did, please tell us what they were.

A. If I were to think about it now, I would say that each card has its own cryptographic key information, which is pulled from the Digital World (the world of the general Internet in Tamers)…Rather close to modern cryptocurrency. So in that case, maybe you could come up with a program to disguise it these days…

Q. I’ve seen something about initial plans to make Impmon the partner of the main protagonist in Tamers, but I would like to ask if you have any thoughts about what kind of story Tamers would have been if you had gone forward with that plan.

A. No, I have absolutely none. Impmon’s a character who seems like he can communicate with you from the get-go, right?
I wanted to portray that moment of first contact and the process of how they got to know each other through it, so that’s why I refused.

Q. It’s been written on a certain wiki that the number of children had been reduced from the number in the OP due to a change in plans, and it’s become a controversial topic, but is that actually what happened?

A. Huh? That seems to be quite the misunderstanding.
Initially, we narrowed down the number of Tamers to three, but I told Kaizawa-san6 at the very beginning that we would be gradually adding more, and when I saw the opening, there were a lot more than I’d imagined. During the second half of the series, we colored them in and had them show up as distinct characters.

Regarding Digimon Tamers 2018

Q. Will we ever get to see how the Malice Bot actually looks like? And will the plot with Malice Bot ever be continued?1

A. I didn’t describe how looks like Malice-Bot. But it should have some elements of Lenamon’s.2
I didn’t describe what it looked like very clearly, but its design should have some elements of Renamon’s.

Q. ¿How would a sequel of Digimon Tamers be? ¿Could you detail what would the plot be like? ¿Did you ever got an official offer to make a sequel for Digimon Tamers?1

Unfortunately so far there is no project to make 2018 as anime.
The 2018 plot will be not long term series. Maybe 13 episodes.
Unfortunately, my proposal seems to have been left unattended for a year. Personally, I think it would be nice to have it be a 1-cour late-night anime.7

Q. Are there any plans for any future story developments for the “Digimon Tamers 2018” drama CD that came as a bonus with the Digimon Tamers Blu-ray?

It’s been almost a year since the BD-Box was released, and it feels like the momentum has gone down, but if the fans have enough passion for it, I’m sure there might be a way to open the possibility again.

Q. The “Digimon Tamers 2018” drama CD was amazing. Have there been any talks about continuing the story?
Or, rather, where can I throw money at so we can enjoy the sequel? We really want you to do a sequel.

A. If you want to send in a request, personally, I think you might be more likely to get results from Happinet8 than you would from Toei Animation.

Q. Are there any plans to make a sequel to the Tamers Blu-ray Box bonus drama CD (regardless of whatever medium it’s in, such as a novel or such)?
Is there any possibility of putting it out to the world by having Nakashima-san draw it as a manga?!

I 120% wanted to make one when the Blu-ray Box was released. No, but I came to understand that reality is not all that simple…
Nakashima-san’s manga has an incredible amount of appeal. That said, I still haven’t given up on putting it in video form…

Q. Whenever I listen to “Digimon Tamers 2018”, I end up wondering about what comes next!
When I think about wanting a sequel, since Imai-san has retired9, the process of actually making!! it into an anime would likely go in a different direction from what Konaka-san would want.
But could a continuation for “Digimon Tamers 2018” ever happen in a different form, such as a novel, sometime in the future?
Also, if you could write a new kind of Digimon story besides Tamers, what kind of story would you want to write?

A. 2018 was conceptualized based on the fact that Imai-san would not be there.
It would inevitably end up being several years since we recorded the drama CD, but if we could make a continuation, I still have a little bit of hope that said fact could change.
I received two sets of the Blu-ray Box as a sample, and I would like to give one to her.


Q. What is your favorite insert song and your favorite soundtrack piece?

A. My favorite insert song would be “SLASH!!”. For the BGM piece, “Theme of Digimon Tamers”.

Q. Why is your Twitter icon Lopmon? Also, that Lopmon is really cute (´?`)

A. I tried out this and that, and this one just worked out the best for me. Of course, I also happen to have a particular attachment to him.

Q. Have you ever thought about writing the script for a Digimon game?

A. It’s not outside the range of possibility, that’s all.

Q. The director of Digimon Adventure tri., Keitarou Motonaga, made his directorial debut with Malice@Doll, which was originally drafted and written by Konaka-san. Could you tell us what your impressions were of Director Motonaga?

A. Motonaga-san was originally a support director for Director Toshiki Hirano, so I think I first met him through Vampire Princess Miyu and Devilman Lady. Malice@Doll was made in a bit of a different way from usual, and it felt mainly like I wrote the story and handed it off to them to do the rest, so we didn’t interact very much.

Q. Why do you look like Professor Snape?

A. I don’t know (laughs). Well, we’re not that similar anymore. That was only back then. He’s dead now, after all.

Translator's notes
  1. This question was originally submitted in English, so I have left it as-is. [] [] []
  2. The first part of Konaka’s response to this question was in English, in response to the question originally being in English. He then followed it up with a response in Japanese, which I have accordingly translated. [] [] []
  3. “Nico Nico last year” = Refers to a livestream broadcast of Tamers episodes 1-24 that was held in early 2018 on Japanese video sharing site Nico Nico Douga, in commemoration of the Blu-ray Box release. []
  4. The Keyakibashi Shopping District was a small shopping district in Shinjuku known for its “old-time” (Showa-era) atmosphere, where the Matsuda family bakery was located within the story of Tamers. In 2006, after the series had long ended, the Kashiwagi district where the shopping district was located began going through redevelopment, and the shopping district itself began to be dismantled and redeveloped in around 2013. []
  5. “Kakudou-san” = Referring to Hiroyuki Kakudou, director of the original Adventure and Adventure 02. []
  6. “Kaizawa-san” = Referring to Yukio Kaizawa, the director for Tamers. []
  7. “A 1-cour late-night anime” = A “cour” is used in descriptions of Japanese TV shows and anime to refer to a 12-14 episode block (i.e. Tamers is a 4-cour anime). “Late-night” refers to it being an anime made more for the adults’ audience, instead of the usual weekend morning or weekday early evening blocks — in essence, Konaka is saying that a theoretical Tamers sequel would be best as a short seasonal anime made for adults, rather than Toei Animation’s usual kids’ anime that are generally in 4-cour blocks. []
  8. Happinet = The media company responsible for publishing and distributing most of Toei’s Digimon home video releases since Savers, including the Tamers Blu-ray Box in question. []
  9. Renamon’s voice actress, Yuka Imai, was on hiatus at the time of the drama CD’s recording due to wanting to focus on raising her son, resulting in the plot development regarding them and the Malice Bot as Konaka did not want to change their voice actor. Afterwards, in August 2018, Imai fully retired from voice acting, blocking out future possibilities of her returning as Renamon. []

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