[interview] memories of our digimon frontier pt. 3

SPECIAL INTERVIEW! with Ken’ichi Suzumura
A special interview that came with the “Digimon Frontier” DVD Box released on August 24, 2007.

Purchase of the DVD Box (Region 2 only) available at: Amazon.JP, CDJapan, YesAsia

The last interview among the cast is the master of darkness who appeared in the latter half of the series, Kouichi, as voiced by Suzumura-san.

[ About the big accident that occurred during his first evolution ]

Your first appearance in the show was as the evil Duskmon. How did you feel about that?

Voice of Kouichi Kimura, Duskmon, Velgmon, Löwemon, and KaiserLeomon.

I got fired up about it. Back then, I rarely got the chance to play the bad guy, but I really love the dark hero[1] types. Also, he looked cool and he was super strong. He appears out of nowhere and beats up the main characters before leaving again. The other members of the cast told me “You got the best part,” and I really did think that I did. (laughs)

When Kouichi evolved to Löwemon for the first time, he was also pretty strong.

That episode was also very memorable to me. [2] Cherubimon tells him to come back to the dark side again, and then there’s a moment when you think that just maybe he will, but instead he says “I won’t lose to the darkness anymore” — that series of developments and the lines said in them were very good. As an aside, what happens afterward is the scene when Kouichi evolves to Löwemon for the first time, and that was when a serious accident happened. I went through a test before the actual performance, where I shouted “Spirit Evolution” for the first time. Just when I got to “Spirit Evo,” I cracked my back. Almost at once, I broke into a cold sweat (laughs). For the next five minutes I fought, but once I sat down, I couldn’t move anymore. Everyone who’d broken out laughing at first[3] started to look concerned, and someone from the staff borrowed a wheelchair to roll me out to the hospital (laughs). Since I couldn’t record it that day, Kouichi’s first Spirit Evolution was recorded when I was at the studio all by myself the following day (laughs).

Even when he went to the side of justice, the drama that involved Kouichi still had anxious developments.

Alongside the principal main story that focuses on Takeuchi-san’s Takuya, the twins’ story[4] of me and Kamiya is also being revealed all the while. What’s more, it turns into a sad story where Kouichi was possibly dead. Even I didn’t know whether Kouichi was alive or not until the last episode, so I acted it out while wondering to myself how this was going to end. Everyone around me would often say irresponsible things like, “Oh, he’s definitely dead” (laughs). That’s why I was relieved when I read the screenplay for the last episode. It was a truly wonderful story to the very end. I’m really sorry to say this, but I think it was these two brothers that were the best thing out of this series. Even Takeuchi-san said “Hmph, you guys are so popular” (laughs).

[ About his passion for Frontier ]

You came into the series mid-way, but were you able to fit into the atmosphere right away?

Main roles in series such as “Ichigo 100%” (as Junpei Manaka), “Kidou Senshi GUNDAM SEED DESTINY” (as Shinn Asuka), etc. His latest role is in “ZOMBIE-LOAN” (as Chika Akatsuki). From Osaka prefecture.

Even though I came in the series in the middle, I was taken under their wing quite easily so I looked forward to post-recording every week. After the recording session was over, all of us would always go out to eat together. This was an idea that we got excited about back then but Neemon would sometimes get caught up in something unbelievable and yet never die, right? So we’d get to talking that Neemon must actually be pretty friggin’ strong. We’d talk stupid about how he must definitely be hiding something huge in those red tights and how he’ll end up being the last boss. (laughs)

For a series that you enjoyed so much, how did you feel when it reached its last episode?

I was very sad about ending the series with these members. The story had full closure, so I knew that having a sequel would be impossible, and while I felt a sense of completeness, I thought that I’d like to keep continuing it a bit longer with these members. Also, it was a really intense year to me personally. It was a time when our generation mingled with our seniors and when I finally got a job. Put into expression, it was a transitional period for me where I was aiming for a higher plane, so it was a year where I used an approach every time that has now become my foundation. I’m sure that this comes out in the role so, even though I know it really isn’t the right thing to do, Kouichi was a character who took in everything about that from me.

In closing, please give a message to those who have bought the DVD Box.

I can say with confidence that it is a series that you will not regret watching. Those of you who bought it have made the right choice (laughs). Not only does it have a big flow like what you’d find in a Taiga drama, but each episode comes with a highlight scene, so it should have you feeling catharsis every time. Even if you just watch one, each episode is made up so that it can hold its own, so I’d like it if you rewatched through a variety of ways and kept finding more discoveries.

N1) Dark hero — Suzumura-san is known to be a huge tokusatsu fan. The character that is especially his favorite is the lonely dark hero Hakaida, who appears in “Jinzou Ningen Kikaida”. Although a member of the evil organization that fights against the protagonist Kikaida, he doesn’t obey orders and often goes after Kikaida of his own accord while acting independently. This establishment is said to be the pioneer of all dark heroes. Suzumura-san apparently loves Duskmon because he was a character that brought Hakaida to mind.
N2) That episode was also very memorable to me — After Cherubimon erases Kouichi’s memories and makes him Duskmon, Kouichi evolves into the true warrior of Darkness Löwemon for the first time and drives off Cherubimon’s clone in episode 33 (“The New Warrior of Darkness! Löwemon & KaiserLeomon”). The insert song that plays during this episode’s A-part, “Oreta Tsubasa de ~With Broken Wings~ Kouichi’s Theme” is also Suzumura-san’s favorite song. “At the time I was recording it, I hadn’t even seen Kouichi’s face yet. But I sang it in pretty high spirits (laughs)”.
N3) Everyone who’d broken out laughing at first — This incident is apparently also a memorable one to the other cast members. When asking Takeuchi-san about her impression of Suzumura-san, the first thing she remembered was this episode and she said, “He couldn’t move at all. It looked like it hurt him pretty bad but it also made him look so pathetic that I couldn’t help laughing (laughs)”. Suzumura-san made a comeback for recording the next week. Since he did not suffer from any after-effects, even to this day Ryuuzaburou Ohtomo-san who voiced Cherubimon would ask him sometimes, “Is your back all right?”
N4) The twins’ story — Even in the year before “Frontier,” Suzumura-san and Kamiya-san acted in roles that faced off one another. Back then, they often had many opportunities to eat out together, and Suzumura-san talked about this strange episode that had occurred at one of those times. “My audition for Kouichi took place some time after the first cour was over. When I told Kamiya that I’d been chosen for Kouichi, he said, ‘I knew it.’ He didn’t know that I’d been trying for the role, but for some vague reason, he had the feeling that I would be Kouichi. That’s interesting, isn’t it?”

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