(Full title of article: “V-Jump July Special Issue: Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01 Oneshot Celebration! Special Chat with Manga Artist Tenya Yabuno-sensei and Screenwriter Atsuhiro Tomioka-san! -Ver. V-Jump Web-“)
A translation of this V-Jump Web interview from May 25, 2020, with artist Tenya Yabuno of Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01 and head writer Atsuhiro Tomioka of the 2020 Digimon Adventure: reboot, commemorating the two works’ crossover chapter released in V-Jump in 2020.
(Part 1: V-Jump Web | Part 2: Digimon Web)
This month’s best-selling “V-Jump July Special Issue” features a oneshot chapter for Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01! This crossover story features the main character of Digimon Adventure:, Taichi Yagami. In commemoration, Tenya Yabuno-sensei and Atsuhiro Tomioka-san came to talk with us about some stories from behind the scenes of the manga’s production, and some secrets about the new anime!
Tenya Yabuno: Manga artist. Artist for Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01, which was serialized in V-Jump starting 1999. His major works include Inazuma Eleven and Pochi: Hurry, Hurry, to the Cape.
Atsuhiro Tomioka: Writer. Lead writer for Digimon Adventure:, which began broadcast in April 2020. His major works include Dragon Ball Super, the Pokémon series, and the Inazuma Eleven series.
–Please tell us about how you ended up involved with Digimon.
Yabuno: My introduction to the series was when they decided to make the “Digital Monster” toys into a multimedia franchise, and I was asked to draw a oneshot chapter for a special issue in Jump. I also ended up drawing illustrations and four-panel comics for articles, so I’d been involved in it from day one.
Tomioka: Toei Animation informed me about their new project, Digimon Adventure:, and asked me to be the main writer. Although I’ve watched the original series and its movies, in terms of actually working on the franchise, Yabuno-san is my Digimon senior. I’m like a Digimon first-grader (laughs).
–We’ve heard that Yabuno-san and Tomioka-san were already acquainted.
Tomioka: I was involved in Inazuma Eleven. I was the head writer for the anime, and Yabuno-san was the artist for the manga. I wasn’t familiar with him at the time, though, I only knew his name. Later, it turned out we had a mutual scriptwriter friend, and we decided to have dinner together. By that time, it had already been a long time after Inazuma Eleven.
Yabuno: Right. We never actually got to talk to each other until quite recently.
Tomioka: It was then when we casually put out the thought “we should do something together again sometime.” So when discussions about the current Digimon project came up, I remembered that Yabuno-san had been the artist for the very first Digimon manga. When Toei Animation told me to “please use this as reference,” I started reading it and got a huge pang of “oh, this is so Yabuno-esque” (laughs). I was whacked in the face with the key points of Taichi’s passion.
Yabuno: That makes me happy to hear (laughs).
Tomioka: Once I was finalized as the lead writer for Digimon Adventure:, I was reading the manga and thinking about contacting Yabuno-san about it, but then I got a call from him saying “the manga project has started.” I got super excited. It felt like we were collaborating, albeit indirectly (laughs).
–Please tell us about what your impressions were when you heard about the plan to bring back V-Tamer 01.
Yabuno: I was happy to be able to draw for V-Tamer 01 again. This was something I made a long, long time ago, so I’m grateful to be called on for it again. I was looking back at my old work to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes when drawing the details, thinking things like “what was the Digivice shaped like again?”. And since it’s a crossover with the anime version of Taichi, I put my all into making him as straightforward as possible, a classic depiction of “V-Tamer 01‘s Taichi” in terms of his body proportions and art style.
Tomioka: My first thought was “I wonder how a crossover could be pulled off?” I’m working with multiple other writers on the TV series, and so the Taichi from my pen and the Taichi from others’ have some subtle differences. So I was very interested in how the new anime’s version of Taichi would be interpreted and drawn, and how he would talk to the V-Tamer 01 version of Taichi. Once I actually read it, I thought it was interesting in how the two of them felt like they were having a very natural conversation.
Yabuno: I’m glad to hear that. The Taichi from 1999’s Digimon Adventure has a very strong presence, and even though V-Tamer 01 has a character bearing the same name, they were ultimately treated as different versions of the character from alternate universes. Since this new anime is bringing in yet another new interpretation of Taichi, I wanted to get some perspective on how we originally treated them as alternate-universe characters along with some encouragement, so I had a meeting with Hiroshi Izawa-san, the original author of V-Tamer 01, and discussed with him the “bridge between Taichi incarnations” from 1999’s Digimon Adventure to Digimon Adventure:.
Tomioka: You nailed him quite well!
Yabuno: Thank goodness!
Tomioka: I think it would be interesting to see this work get bigger and bigger, rather than stopping only at this oneshot. I’m glad that Taichi’s area of influence can expand beyond Digimon Adventure:, so I look forward to seeing his influence “spread” via this crossover.
Yabuno: The core of the character from Izawa-san’s original story is solid, so it’s very easy to depict him, but it’s also the sort of story with a lot of battles and action scenes and people moving around, so the visuals are a huge emphasis and when you put it in manga form, you end up running out of pages quite often. Unfortunately, even this time, I ended up having to cut the second half of the action scene quite significantly. So…could you maybe animate it for me (laughs)?
Tomioka: That’ll depend on what the producer at Toei Animation says…(laughs).
–What impressions do you have of each Taichi from 1999’s Digimon Adventure, V-Tamer 01, and Digimon Adventure:?
Yabuno: When V-Tamer was first published, we only had thirteen pages per month, and we couldn’t put out other characters as much, and Taichi had to carry the mission all by himself. Part of that was also how Izawa-san personally preferred to write it, but because of that the Taichi there was able to become a bit more of a proper adult. Taichi in the 1999 version of Adventure was from a story about working as a team, and it had more of a humanistic approach that addresses human weaknesses a little more. My first impression of New Taichi was that he actually quite resembles V-Tamer 01‘s Taichi, and that’s why I had a particular affinity for this crossover.
Tomioka: Actually, the core of New Taichi is directly based off V-Tamer 01, and the director and production team are very conscious of this idea. The basic structure is that while he inherits the personality traits of the original Adventure‘s Taichi, he also gives instructions while calmly watching how things unfold in the same way he would in V-Tamer 01. For this story, we want to make it in such a way that he’s always with his Digimon, fights together with him, gets hurt together with him, and gets through dangerous situations together with him. Of course, he still works together with other allies, but we want him to be a heroic figure with a strong sense of responsibility and dependability.
Yabuno: Oh! So you’re pulling from V-Tamer 01‘s Taichi! The broadcast got stalled after three episodes, but seeing all three episodes at once was very fun. I really want to see how things unfold from episode 4.
Tomioka: Episodes 1 through 3 were less like an adventure and more like the beginnings of the digital crisis. Episode 4 is where they will continue their adventure in an unknown world. The battle aspects are now so strong that they’ll be thrown into crises one after another, so New Taichi will be in a position where he can’t hesitate (laughs). Before he realizes it, he’ll have been fighting quite a bit.
Yabuno: Episodes 1 through 3 were already like a roller coaster. The action scenes were cool and gave me chills. Watching Greymon spinning and landing a kick, and then spinning again and piling up kicks on top of each other, that was so satisfying.
Tomioka: That kind of stuff gets you so excited (laughs). When you suggest those kinds of movements in the story writing, it often explodes into something amazing during storyboard production. And then even more so when it gets completed on screen. From the perspective of the writer, when you get to see the image bursting out as something cooler than you expected it to be, you end up thinking “He did it! That is so cool!”
–Are there any particular aspects of this oneshot that you would like us to pay particular attention to?
Yabuno: I paid a lot of attention to how I drew Digimon Adventure: Taichi’s hair volume (laughs). Actually, this was my first time getting to draw Agumon properly. That design really has an incredible sense of balance to it. I wanted to draw him in a cute way so that I wouldn’t lose to Kenji Watanabe-san, so I practiced drawing him a lot and did my best.
Tomioka: There are a lot of really good shots in this one. There’s also a very cool shot where you see both Taichis line up side by side and go “okay, let’s go!!!” Also, there’s a very cute shot with Agumon riding on Zeromaru’s head. It’s very refreshing to see, so I hope you enjoy it.
–Thank you very much!
“Ver. Digimon Web”, which will tell us about secret stories behind anime production, will be released at 11:00 AM on May 28 (Thursday)!
Be sure to check Digimon Web, too!