May 2001 interview with Digimon Adventure 02 voice actors

A translation of the “@Voice” section of the May 2001 issue of Animedia, including an interview with Digimon Adventure 02 voice actors Reiko Kiuchi (Daisuke Motomiya), Junko Noda (V-mon), Romi Park (Ken Ichijouji), Naozumi Takahashi (Wormmon), Taisuke Yamamoto (Takeru Takaishi), and Miwa Matsumoto (Patamon) regarding their thoughts shortly after completing the final recording for the series.

Reiko Kiuchi: From Red House 25:00. Major roles include Majo Rin in Magical DoReMi.
Taisuke Yamamoto: From 81produce. Major roles include Terrance in South Park.
Romi Park: From Theatrical Group EN. Major roles include Loran Cehack in ∀ Gundam.
Junko Noda: From Aoni Production. Major roles include Mitsune Konno in Love Hina.
Miwa Matsumoto: From Aksent. Major roles include Chihara Miharu in Cardcaptor Sakura.
Naozumi Takahashi: From Towers. Major roles include Yamato Minazuki in Phantom Thief Jeanne.

Our feelings as one! Digimon 02 Finale Commemoration Group Talk

Digimon Adventure 02, which ran continuously for a full year, has finally reached its conclusion. In commemoration, we’ve gathered six members of the main cast and had them look back on their experiences over the past year. Here, you can sense the strength of their feelings for this show!

Surprise at the unexpected secrets behind the future for the children and their Digimon!

Editorial Staff: Earlier today (February 28), you finished your final post-recording for the series. Kiuchi-san and Park-san will be joining us a bit later, but we’d like to talk with you about a few things. Firstly, what were your impressions about reaching the final episode?
Takahashi: Everyone’s been in a huge fuss since the early morning. But, to be honest, it was more in the sense that if we weren’t, we wouldn’t be able to get it all out. The ending filled us with so many emotions that we realized, ah, it’s because of this. So we felt relief, but also sadness because we wouldn’t be returning next week, and it was a bundle of mixed feelings.
Noda: The atmosphere felt so strange in the morning, and you could sense that we were all thinking, “this really is the end after all.” If I have one regret, it’s that I couldn’t do one last Armor Evolution at the end. It all ended before I’d even realized it (laughs). To be honest, I still have a bit of that frustration left over. It was the first series where I had to show up every single week for a full year without fail, and it feels so sad that I won’t be able to return next week.
Yamamoto: To put it simply, I feel sad. Even though the kids will still be watching more of the Chosen Children’s adventures…For this last year, my senior voice actors really helped me a lot, but now I won’t be here next week for that, and it’s all over, and that makes me feel so sad. Reaching the end, there was such a huge hole in my heart that it made me want to cry.
Matsumoto: About three weeks ago, Noda-chan and I started saying things like “only three episodes left, huh?”
Noda: Yeah.
Matsumoto: Back then, we started thinking, oh, there’s only three episodes left, and the week after that, only two episodes left? Huh? Only two episodes, so that means we’ve only got today and next week? We’re counting today, right? We were totally in a frenzy about it. Including 02, I’ve been part of this cast for two full years now, recording early in the morning once every week, and it became such a part of my usual routine that I’d be very particular about. So I started thinking, we won’t have anything next week, what on earth am I going to do? I’m totally at a loss (laughs). This was such a big deal to me that it feels so sad for it to finally end. You know, that scene at the end* shows everyone as adults, but the Digimon still look exactly the same. In other words, even though the Digimon are the ones that evolve, but they don’t get any older in age. We had a conversation about this with the staff beforehand. What if the human reaches the end of their natural lifespan, or dies in an accident? They didn’t show it in the story itself, but the moment their partner died, the Digimon’s life would also…
Takahashi: End as well?
Matsumoto: Yeah. I wanted to cry when I heard that. We saw what happened with Oikawa earlier, right? So we were wondering what would happen there…It felt like the world spread out so much more widely during that last scene. In terms of generations, or perhaps time…
Noda: The ending was something around five minutes, right? At the very end, we suddenly saw them all as adults…I was pretty shocked to see Daisuke becoming a ramen shop owner.
Takahashi: Even Miyako was like “whaaaa?” at it, wasn’t she? (laughs)
Matsumoto: Whatever happened to soccer?
Yamamoto: He did seem like the type who’d suit being a soccer player.
Takahashi: Did he give up on it after losing to Ken-chan? (laughs)
Matsumoto: They said he started up a chain, but by that, do they mean a chain of food carts?
Noda: Yeah. Food carts all around the world!
Takahashi: Seems to me like it’d be pretty hard to pull off! (laughs)
Yamamoto: But Daisuke is definitely the kind of person who’d want to pull the cart around himself.
Matsumoto: At the end, I didn’t see Patamon anywhere when Takeru was writing his novel, so I thought, did he get stuffed in the closet? (laughs)
Takahshi: Like, “keep quiet in there”?
Yamamoto: But it does make you wonder why Patamon wasn’t there.
Matsumoto: It was a little sad, but beyond that, it felt a bit too empty. Made me think “doesn’t seem like I’m working hard enough.”
Takahashi: Angemon should use his wings as a fan.
Yamamoto: The manuscript’s gonna fly away!
Matsumoto: So he really is causing too much trouble! (laughs)
Takahashi: Personally, I knew Miyako said she liked Ken-chan at first sight, but I didn’t expect them to actually get married.
Matsumoto: And they had three kids, too!
Takahashi: Goodness, Ken, you worked really hard (laughs). But a certain someone around him is a bit prone to being jealous, so good on Wormmon for being more forgiving about that (laughs). Ken becoming a policeman1 was a pretty surprising future for him, though. But I do feel that he’s the kind of person who’d want to study what’s under the surface of a culprit, no matter how bad of a person they are.
Matsumoto: Personally, I’d thought Ken-chan would become a defense attorney and Iori the policeman.
Yamamoto: I also thought Ken-chan would move to the defensive side, since himself did a lot of awful things in the past and would understand those kinds of people’s feelings.
Takahashi: Yeah. So I wonder if he’d end up being an unusually nice policeman.
Noda: Like, when he’s arresting the culprit, “I understand how you feel, but sorry”? (laughs)
Matsumoto: Stingmon was wearing something, wasn’t he?
Takahashi: More like he had his wings out in full. He’s always tagging along no matter what. Although maybe that’ll cause problems if he’s Stingmon, but if he’s Wormmon, he’s got to go everywhere with him (laughs).
Yamamoto: Well, anyway, everyone seems to be happy in the end (laughs). But I was really happy to see a lot of “first”s, like “first Digimon doctor”.

*Referring to the epilogue after everyone worked together to bring peace to the real world and Digital World. The ending surprisingly showed the children as they were 25 years later. Incidentally, each occupation is as follows: Takeru as a novelist, Taichi as a diplomat, Yamato as an astronaut, Sora as an interior designer, Jou as a member of Doctors Without Borders2, Mimi a culinary expert, Koushirou a Digital World researcher, Miyako a housewife, Ken a policeman, Iori a defense attorney, Hikari a kindergarten teacher, and Daisuke the owner of a chain of ramen carts.

Wormmon’s death scene really is unforgettable!

Editorial Department: Going back through the entire story, are there any scenes or lines that left a particular impression on you?
Takahashi: For me, my strongest memory is of the scene where Wormmon died. As I was reading the script, I started really worrying about what would happen next, and once I got to the part where Ken embraced Wormmon and said “were you always this light?”, my heart broke. And then, the week afterwards when he returned, and he said “thank you for being born,” I really started breaking down in tears in front of the TV (laughs). So for the second half of the story, I kept thinking that I really wanted Wormmon and Ken-chan to be able to smile and laugh, and they ended up going through so many troubles and having such a hard time, but when they finally gathered at his house for a Christmas party, I finally got my wish and was really happy to see that.
Noda: For me, it’s the scene where Chibimon starts jumping on Daisuke’s stomach. I thought, I want to be woken up like that in the morning (laughs). I really like those scenes of daily life before any major incidents happened. In general, definitely the scene where Wormmon died. I’m not the kind of person who cries very often, but that one hurt so much I got teary-eyed.
Yamamoto: Wormmon’s death scene made me want to cry, too. Working from Takeru’s perspective, I remembered the scene when Angemon died, so now that the same thing was happening to Ken-chan, it was hard to watch. Personally, though, the scene that left the strongest impact on me was when Takeru blew up with anger and grief at the sight of seeing life being toyed with, in episode 19.
Takahashi: Oh, the first time Wormmon used Sticky Net (laughs). Patamon and Wormmon were taking their little fight so seriously, and yet the BGM was the kind of cutesy music you’d hear from a marching band3. In the story’s context, Wormmon was working so hard to protect his partner that he’d even used a special attack for the first time, but when I saw how it was actually portrayed on air, I went “wait, what?” (laughs)
Yamamoto: Also, in the end, I was happy to see Takeru finally being able to forgive Ken-chan.
(Here, Kiuchi-san and Park-san enter the conversation.)
Noda: (addressing both of them) We’re talking about memorable scenes and lines right now.
Yamamoto: Also, I love that one line “doctors aren’t the only ones who can save lives.” I thought, “wow, Takeru, where’d you learn to say such good things?” (laughs) And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget anything from today, either.
Matsumoto: I also think my strongest memory is of Wormmon’s death scene. Wormmon was so nice and sweet, so when I saw it on TV, I started crying (laughs). Last series had Angemon’s death, but since I was the one dying, I just saw it as “oh, I died,” but I think it was only during 02 when I really understood what kind of horrible pain Takeru must have been going through, and it was a shock.
Park: Death is really painful, isn’t it? I’m really thankful for that part afterwards when he comes back. If it weren’t for that, it would have felt completely helpless.
Matsumoto: So, really, it’s not as painful for the people it’s happening to as much as it is the people who have to be drawn in by it…
Yamamoto: Yeah, it’s painful to even think about.
Matsumoto: So, you know, I ended up very happy that Takeru loved me that much (laughs). But then Patamon wasn’t there in the ending (laughs).
Kiuchi/Park: Ah, come to think of it, you’re right.
Matsumoto: Yeah, we were wondering about what happened there earlier (laughs).
Park: At first, I understood the Digimon Kaiser to mainly be a villain who did bad things. Of course, I knew that he must be bearing some kind of trauma in his heart, but I had no idea they’d prepared that kind of background for him. So during the episode “When the Digivice is Seeped in Darkness”, his lines of “thank you for being born” to Wormmon and “Mama, thank you for giving birth to me” to his mother left such a huge impact on me. Wormmon’s death was the first time he had to really think about life and death and so many other things, so he was finally able to say “thank you” from the bottom of his heart. Also, he still goes through a lot of personal conflict even after that, right? I feel that “thank you” was really more of “his first step from there”. So as we went into the following episodes, I kept going back to that scene whenever I needed more motivation, and it’s the scene etched most firmly into my heart. Also, when Daisuke told him “live!”, he said it with such a deep voice that I felt chills during that moment.
Takahashi: He and Stingmon were very firm about letting themselves get killed at the time, right?
Park: Right. It’s the scene where Daisuke was trying to stop me, and XV-mon was trying to stop Stingmon, and the atmosphere between them as they interacted was incredibly tense. Reiko Kiuchi herself has a voice that lets you hear everything all the way to the bottom of the heart, so it hits you really hard.
Kiuchi: Personally, for me, it’s got to be the first episode when Daisuke inherits the Crest of Courage, and so I really got the sense that, since I’m playing the main protagonist, I’ve got to do a proper job of it. Also, the episode where he learns about the Kaiser’s true identity.
Park: Oh, the one with the soccer match.
Kiuchi: That was when Daisuke put two and two together and realized the Kaiser was Ken-chan, and at the very end, yelled “I admired you, and yet, why?!” He’d admired him so pure-heartedly, and considered him an amazing person to look up to, and yet he’d turned out to be the person doing the worst kinds of things, and in that moment that admiration flipped over completely into disgust, and it felt like a massive slap to the face. Also, probably the episode with Lighdramon’s Armor Evolution. The one where Daisuke goes “I’m so pathetic!” The way he just went ahead and said “I’m so pathetic” made me think, wow, he just got straight to the point (laughs). I think that’s probably the scene where you can understand best that Daisuke is someone who takes other people’s feelings into account and is willing to change in response.
Park: When you really think about it, I really think this is a series where you can understand everyone’s motivations, or rather, a series that conveys a lot of things you can take home with you.

Editorial Department: Before we move onto the next question, we’d like to ask Kiuchi-san and Park-san about their impressions of the ending…
Park: The ending was so cool. Ken Ichijouji as a detective and Stingmon flying behind him makes you think of a certain tokusatsu show4 (laughs).
Park5: At the very end, you see the kids facing the screen and running towards it, but ultimately, 02 isn’t a series about people working by themselves, but rather everyone working together and creating something even greater from it, so I got pretty teary-eyed…
Kiuchi: Personally, I was thinking “so he became that kind of person, huh?” (laughs). He starts pulling a cart around in America, and he gets his face on the cover of a magazine, and I realized, Daisuke’s actually the most pragmatic out of all of them (laughs). But it does make you wonder how he managed to pull off all the necessary training…
Noda: Wasn’t there a Chinese soup spring or something…? So maybe he uses the soup there to make it (laughs).
Kiuchi: I’m sure all of his friends would come to eat it.
Yamamoto: But since he’s pulling a cart, they might not know where he is.
Kiuchi: Wait a second, he’s running a chain of shops, but has he still been pulling that cart himself this whole time?
Park: Well, that’s fine, he’s the kind of person who’ll always go “I’ll pull it myself!” no matter how rich he gets.
Takahashi: It’s not Daisuke if he’s not insisting on pulling it himself (laughs). But we were talking earlier about why he didn’t become a soccer player.
Kiuchi: It’s because a ramen cart means he can expand his view of the world. He can meet all kinds of people and learn all sorts of things about life, all while pulling a ramen cart.

Editorial Department: Do you have any particularly memorable anecdotes from post-recording?
Park: Right before the end, when everyone’s shaken in fear against Vamdemon and Daisuke’s the only one who’s standing firmly against him, Ken, who’s also shaken, tries to stop him, and Kiuchi-san said “your hand is shaking…” in such an incredibly deep and seductive voice that it pierced right through me. I thought, wait, am I your damsel now? (laughs). After that, I kept finding myself getting shivers from Reiko Kiuchi (laughs).
Kiuchi: Huh, really?
Matsumoto: Yeah, Park-san’s right. Reiko-chan has such a deep voice that it hits you deeply. You really do end up thinking “is she trying to seduce me?” (laughs)
Takahashi: Yeah, she can sound manlier than even me (laughs).
Yamamoto: Also, Park-san was singing in the studio quite a lot…
Park: Ah, yeah, there was this Yuki Koyanagi6 song, and one day I heard some high-pitched noise and was in a good mood…
Takahashi: But I thought, wait, the note at the beginning is off, and that’s not even the right kind of noise (laughs).
Kiuchi: Let’s just say that Romi Park is a very noisy person (laughs).
Takahashi: On top of that, she’s thoroughly familiar with so many subjects (laughs).
Noda: Like a treasure trove of info (laughs). Also, she kept spilling things. She’d spill things like soda all the time, and since I was usually next to her, I vividly remember handing her a lot of tissues to clean it up (laughs).
Park: I spent this last year being very dependent on everyone (laughs).

Our feelings as one! We should all keep doing our best

Editorial Department: So then, is there anything that makes you grateful to have worked on 02?
I’m still quite a bit of a newbie, so I spent this last year imposing on everyone, and I learned a lot from it. I’m really grateful.
Takahashi: We talked about memorable lines and scenes earlier, and through all of those, I realized, ah, I’ve spent this last year coming to love each and every character, and appreciating each of their good points. And it really reminded me that these lines have become a part of me, and that we all worked together to make this happen.
Matsumoto: When 02 began, now that Takeru had gotten older and more mature, I figured Patamon would need to step up his game and keep up with him. But then people I knew who were watching the series told me Patamon had gotten cheekier. Getting more mature means he can’t just be cute all the time, so I took that as a compliment. Anyway, to put it simply, this was a series that could have an influence on a ton of people, so I knew I’d have to work harder than ever.
Park: At this point, I’m grateful for all of it. For being on 02, and for being Ken Ichijouji. And on top of that, getting to meet everyone there, which I think was the most memorable part of all of this, to the point it’s a treasure to me. I’m so happy to be able to be here, it’s just a total flood of gratitude and emotion.
Noda: In the process of doing this job, I met a lot of people I’d be working with for the first time, and on top of that, I was going to be a major character…So at first, I mainly got fired up over it. But I got along so well with everyone, and we all worked together so hard to create this for the last year, and I’m really grateful for that. This has been a series that made me think about lots of things.
Kiuchi: We were all a bunch of brats in the studio. A lot of us were from the same generation, and we got carried away all the time whenever we were there. I guess it was the sort of atmosphere where the full force of a child’s feelings was able to express itself in full. So thanks to that, I was able to have a lot of faith in everyone there, both in terms of my role, and in terms of as a person. So it’s to the point I would say “This is going to change your life, this series has changed people,” because it made me think about a lot of things like strength or strong will or a bit of a sense of awareness, in a way very different from the way I would a year ago. I truly want to thank everyone who worked alongside me on this series.

Editorial Department: It seems there was a wonderful kind of atmosphere going on at the studio. So, in closing, please leave a message for the fans…
Takahashi: 02 has always been a part of me, and I’ve had so much fun going to the post-recording sessions. So I hope those who were watching it can take any line from it, or any character’s particular way of life, from any part of the series, and think, “they said this, so I’m going to keep pushing on.” I want to live with that kind of passion, too! Those who live with passion are the ones who win in the end! So live your life passionately!!
Noda: The series has ended, but I hope everyone will continue to have the 02 characters live in their hearts.
Matsumoto: Through being in this series, I’ve gone on my own adventure with everyone. There’s such strong feelings of wanting to protect everything important to you, things teaching you about consideration for others, and I hope all of that can be conveyed to everyone who watched. Those people may be living in a very different kind of story, but I hope they’ll see their own lives as their own adventure.
Yamamoto: It was a year where each and every week could be brought together in a very thick novel, one that filled me with anticipation and excitement, one that made itself part of my normal life, to the point I feel like I’ve become immersed in the Digimon series itself. I want to thank everyone who supported us and cheered us on, and I hope Digimon has given you the strength to consider how to live your life from here on out. I’ve gotten a lot of energy from this series, and I hope everyone else has too. You should all set off on your own adventures. I’m on my own adventure, too!
Park: I think this was a place where all of our feelings came together as one. I feel that Digimon was a sort of destined encounter for me. You hear about all kinds of painful things going on and horrible news right now, but as far as “feelings” go, I think we’re in this together.
Everyone: Yeah.
Park: So if you don’t have fear and try speaking with the other person frankly, there are times it may hurt, but I think you’ll get your feelings across to the other person. Those who watched this series can feel that sentiment, and I hope they’ll pick up whatever Digimentals they have and push forward into life with all their might. Thank you so much for this last year.
Kiuchi: For me, I think Digimon is a series that gives you all kinds of ways to have strength. The strength to unite with your friends, the strength to overcome difficulties, the strength to be kind to others, all of that. Right now, there are a lot of times where everything just drifts away once things have settled down, but it wasn’t like that here. Depending on the situation, there are times you might even feel like you’re pulled along for the ride after that. So rather than being about rational logic, it’s a series where you can truly sense how far human emotions can reach. Ultimately, like Park-san said earlier, human emotions aren’t isolated things. You don’t get your feelings about important things from thinking about it consciously, but by what comes out when you’re actually there. I want to always keep this in mind, take on more jobs, and have more experiences at different recording sites. So I hope everyone who watched this series can take it back from the top, stop trying to bear all of their burdens alone, and come to understand each other. I think communication is a truly important thing, so to all of you, please do your best!
Editorial department: Thank you very much.

Thank you very much to the six people who spent around two hours speaking with us, and thank you for your hard work this past year. Anyone who has seen the show itself can probably understand the words “feelings as one” that all of them spoke of. It particularly struck us that, after leaving her final message, Park-san was in tears. During this chat, we could truly feel strong emotions in how all of the actors truly brought their feelings together as one to create this. To everyone who watched the series, and were able to treasure the feelings they got from it, find the gate to your own adventures and open it!

  1. In Japan, detectives who work in the public sector are formally considered part of the police department, hence why the word “policeman” is used both in reference to Ken’s position as an investigative detective and in reference to Iori (or more implicitly his late father) within this interview. Informally, they’re distinguished in practice with the word keiji, which Park uses later in the interview. []
  2. These seem to be errors on the part of the magazine editors; in Adventure 02‘s epilogue, Sora’s occupation is “a fashion designer specializing in Japanese-style outfits” and Jou’s “the Digital World’s first doctor”, which don’t match what the article has written here. For the sake of transparency, I’ve left the magazine translation as-is. []
  3. Takahashi refers to the BGM during Patamon and Wormmon’s fight as being like that of a chindonya, or a traditional Japanese marching band meant to advertise shops. []
  4. “A certain tokusatsu show” = Park is most likely referring to Kamen Rider Kuuga, a 2000 Toei-produced tokusatsu (live action and practical effects) transforming hero show that aired at approximately the same time as Adventure 02. The series features an insect-themed hero (Kuuga) who often works alongside a detective named Kaoru Ichijou. On top of Stingmon resembling the original green Kamen Rider, Ken’s brown longcoat is similar to one Ichijou would often wear. []
  5. The article prints Park’s name twice here, so since I don’t know if this is a typo or not, I’m reproducing it here. []
  6. Yuki Koyanagi = A singer whose debut hit singles were released right before and around the time Adventure 02 aired. []

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