SPECIAL TALK! with Yuko Mizutani & Ai Maeda
A special interview that came with the “Digimon Adventure” DVD Box released on December 21, 2007.
Mizutani-san and Maeda-san discuss heroines, but what do the two mean by a new Digimon that they dream about?
|Yuko Mizutani :: Sora Takenouchi, Yuko Yagami||Main character roles in such works as “Tenkuu Senki Shurato” (as Lakshu), “Chibi Maruko-chan (First Season)” (as Sakiko Sakura), etc. Also performs a great number of heroine roles.|
|Ai Maeda :: Mimi Tachikawa||Main character roles in such works as “Yes! PreCure 5” (as Cure Aqua), “Hatarakids Maihamu Gumi” (as Mizuki Kotobuki), etc. She also performs as a singer under the name “AiM”.|
[ The two of them could have ended up as partners? ]
Was casting for both Mizutani-san and Maeda-san decided through auditioning?
Yuko Mizutani-san (abbreviated YM below) Yes, I auditioned for Sora.
Ai Maeda-san (abbreviated AM below) I auditioned for Piyomon and Sora.
YM Really? I didn’t know that.
AM Yes. In the end, I was allowed to try out for Mimi as well, and she was the role I was chosen for.
How did you perceive the character you acted?
YM She looks like a cute, young girl on the outside, but her sense of responsibility is so strong that she acts like a mother. Whenever she’s among friends, she think that she has to be the one with her act together. It’s only Taichi who she quarrels with on an equal footing, and with who she acts more like her age.
AM Back in the days while I was performing as Mimi, I thought her a rather selfish girl because she’d say “No” or “I’m tired” right away. When I watched her more recently, though, I thought that rather than selfish, it was more that, in a sense, she was honest about herself and her emotions. She also has a lot of kind and gentle parts about her, like when she pays attention to Palmon’s needs and worries for her.
What about the relationship between Sora and Mimi?
AM Mimi thinks that things will be all right with Sora-san around. Even when not in-character, that part of her happens to coincide with my feelings, since I can feel very secure with Yuko-san around.
YM Mimi-chan is like a younger sister to Sora. Mimi might complain and cry a lot, but she isn’t a nasty girl, so I think that Sora felt she must be there for her during those times. I suppose she’s like the person who puts everything in order behind the scenes.
AM I’m sure that it was because she had Sora-san that Mimi was able to hold on to her innocence.
If there is a particular episode or incident at the postrecording studio that left an impression on you, please tell us.
YM What left the most lasting impression on me was our competing over mics, of course. There aren’t many shows who have such a large number of regulars as us, and all who have lines for each episode, too!
AM Don’t forget that we also had scenes where all 16 of us had to make surprised “Wah!” sounds.
YM And even so, we only had 3 mics, so there would be 5 people to a mic, with one person left over. (laughs) It was quite chaotic at the beginning of the series. I’ve never experienced a squabble over mics that was worse than the one in Digimon, and I don’t think I ever will, either.
AM This was the first series I played as a regular, so what I kept forefront in my mind the whole time was to back away from the mic once I’d said my line.
YM It was your first time, too, Ai-chan? It was the first time for a few others, too, but everyone did well.
AM I’m glad I got to experience such a crowded studio as this early on. It shaped me up quickly, as if I was in Sparta. It also taught me how necessary it is to be considerate about the next person delivering lines after me.
Mizutani-san, did you also receive motivation from Maeda-san and the other new actors?
YM Oh, plenty. Everyone had strong personalities to boot. Shihomi Mizowaki-chan for instance, who acts as Palmon, had such a strange voice. Before I stepped into this career, people would often ask me where that voice of mine was coming from, and now that’s the exact reaction I have for her. (laughs) I think only she can bring out a voice like that. I wonder how she’s doing now. I miss her.
AM It’s really occasional, but I still exchange e-mails with her now and then.
YM I see! Also, there’s Mayumi Yamaguchi-chan’s Gabumon. Her voice sounded very cool.
AM She herself can be very manly. (laughs)
YM Sakurai-kun is also a big star, now, playing handsome characters, but during this time he was Tentomon speaking in dodgy Kansai dialect. (laughs)
[ The relationship with their partners is the same as in-character? ]
What was your relationship like with Shigematsu-san and Shihomi-san, the two who acted as your partners?
YM Piyomon is a cute character, but Atori-chan was a lot like a mother. Even though she was younger than me, she had a huge capacity for patience. I felt that she was really suited as Sora’s partner.
AM Shihomi-chan had an ambience about her that was just like Palmon — I couldn’t leave her on her own, and I tended to get worried if she wasn’t beside me… (laughs) Maybe we were a lot like Mimi and Palmon in that aspect.
Do you remember how you felt as you approached the last episode of this year-long, 54-episode series?
YM There aren’t many shows these days that cover a whole year, so I felt both a sense of accomplishment and not wanting to say goodbye to my role grow within me at the same time. But since we also had “02,” I didn’t exactly feel as if everything was over during the last episode.
AM I still clearly remember, during the last battle, the scene where the background turned white and each of us was brought up to the front. Also, in the last episode when Mimi’s hat flew off as they were going home, I remember thinking “Oh, I hate you” as the a capella “Butter-Fly” played.
YM I’m not just saying this because Ai-chan is here, but I thought Digimon’s songs were also wonderful.
We believe that the show is also memorable for Maeda-san in terms of her singing career.
AM Indeed! I’d often sing with Wada-san and Tanimoto-san in video game events, and whenever we played against the guests in games, I would ruthlessly beat the small children, so they’d call me “The White Demon”. (laughs) There were a lot of other places I was invited to sing as well, where a lot of people came and really impressed upon me how popular Digimon is.
YM I’ve never participated in a Digimon event myself, but in my radio program back in the day, I would hold a poll on what anime my listeners wanted me to feature, and an overwhelming majority of them wanted Digimon. Even just as a feature, it was done twice, and both Ai-chan and Atori-chan came as guests.
It’s because of the large number of fans, that the show was able to continue on into different series.
YM Yes, it’s proof that it is a show with power. Maybe we’ll even be known as “the first Digimon voice actors,” one day. (laughs) And some years in the future, we’ll talk about a lot of things in a show called “The Digimon Actor Special”.
AM Oh, I’d love that!
YM Yeah. With its completely plagiarized title. (laughs) [Title is similar to a variety TV show]
[ “Digimon Adventure” is a large piece to the both of them ]
The two of you performed as the grown up Sora and Mimi in the continuation “02,” so what did you think about that?
AM The once childlike Mimi was now acting more like an older sister and going abroad… I had fun seeing the many sides of her young adult form.
YM Sora-chan kept wearing pants before, but now that she was wearing more skirts, she was showing more of her girly side. I thought she looked awfully cute.
AM But Sora-san seemed to be involved in a love triangle at some point. And in the end, with Yamato…
YM Oh, yeah! That’s right!
AM I was so sure she’d be with Taichi in the end… I loved the ending in the movie, when she put on the hairpin that he’d given her.
YM “In the end, she chose looks!” you mean? (laughs) I remember now, the two of them married in the end.
What sort of show is “Digimon Adventure” to the two of you?”
YM It’s one show that has left a lasting mark inside of me. It makes me happy, too, to think that the people who loved Digimon can call up memories of it again when buying this DVD Box. When I’ve got my copy, I want to watch it again and recall the mountain of feelings I’d had, too.
AM Going on an adventure for one year as Mimi, working on my first job as a regular with seniors that I’d once watched on TV, and being given the chance to sing, are all very large events in my life. I’ve met a lot of people through this show, and it has broadened my view of the world in one burst.
[ The reappearance of Sora, Mimi, and the others that even the fans would want to see ]
Well, in closing, please give us a message to those who have bought this DVD box.
AM I think that the people who had seen it back then on television will discover new things that they had not felt before as children, while those who had never seen it before will find it refreshing. Please watch it a lot and find a lot of different ways to enjoy it.
YM The characters are cute, and the story is interesting. With such a well-done show as this, I think it will always be enjoyable no matter how much time has passed. Maybe when those people have children of their own, they could pass the DVD box down like a family heirloom… and as I was saying that, I just came up with a thought.
AM What is it?
YM Now that seven years have passed, the show’s become a nostalgic memory to us actors, right? So, I think it’s time that… it’s another title plagiarization, but how about we make a comeback in “Super Digimon Wars”? (laughs) [A copy of “Super Robot Wars”]
AM That’s a good idea! (laughs)
YM It could be a story or a video game where a lot of familiar Digimon members make an appearance, and they join your team or you fight them and things. I think that would be fun.
AM Yes, there was “Savers” last year, and Digimon games are still in production now.
YM I don’t think it’s a thoroughly unlikely concept either. If such a thing were to happen, it would really be fun to be Sora again.
AM I’d be happy if something like that were to happen. I’d like it, too, if we had a sequel with the first-year members, or met up again like a class reunion and went “Long time no see~” and talked about nothing. It’d be great to have an opportunity like that in the future.
YM How about we keep mentioning “Super Digimon Wars” until it becomes a reality? (laughs)
N1) Piyomon — Sora Takenouchi’s Digimon partner. Normally she acts like a baby that follows Sora everywhere, but whenever there is danger, she fights gallantly to protect Sora. She evolves into Birdramon and Garudamon. Voiced by Atori Shigematsu-san. As Piyomon, her voice is full of comfort, but when super-evolved to Garudamon, she sounds macho.
N2) Sakurai-kun — Meaning Takahiro Sakurai-san, who voiced Koushiro Izumi’s Digimon partner, Tentomon. He performed well as the Kansai-speaking Tentomon, even though he was born in Aichi. These days, he acts in many handsome character roles in highly popular shows such as “Konjiki no Gash Bell!!” (as Kiyomaro Takamine), “CODE GEASS Hangyaku no Lelouch” (as Suzaku), etc.
N3) Each of us was brought up to the front — Meaning the climax of episode 53 (“The Last Evil Digimon”), when the Crests within the hearts of the “Chosen Children” glow. The children challenge their last enemy, Apocalymon, who had been the cause of all the evil, but the key items of evolution, their Tags and Crests, are destroyed, and they themselves are dissolved into data. In the information world, surrounded by a brilliant white light, the children fall into despair. However, as they think back on all of the adventures they had faced up to that point, their willingness to fight returns, and the Crests within their hearts begin to glow.
N4) When Mimi’s hat flew off — A famous scene in the last episode (“A New World”) that touched many fans. Riding the trolley that would take them back to the real world, the children lean out of the window to wave goodbye to their Digimon as they begin to leave. And then, Mimi’s trademark hat gets caught in the wind and blows across the sky as the theme song “Butter-Fly” plays.
N5) Wada-san and Tanimoto-san — Meaning musicians Kouji Wada-san and Takayoshi Tanimoto-san. Wada-san made his major debut singing the opening “Butter-Fly” for “Adventure,” and has also sung the opening theme songs for all Digimon series. Tanimoto-san also made his major debut with the insert song “One Vision” for the third series, “Tamers.” Even to this day, Maeda-san is invited to sing with the two of them in their live concerts. “A lot of the people who come to listen are Digimon fans.” (Maeda-san)
N6) A lot of other places I was invited to sing — For “Adventure,” Maeda-san sang the first ending theme “I wish,” and the second ending theme, “keep on”. In an event featuring a costumed Agumon and Mimi, she spoke of this incident. “There was Mimi-chan in costume, but the children would get surprised when they saw me speaking as Mimi, so I had to hide a little bit before I spoke as her. Also, while I was singing, I accidentally took off one of Agumon’s claws. Agumon ended up shaking hands without his claws. (laughs)” (Maeda-san)
N7) Radio program — Meaning the radio program “Mizutani Yuko no Anime Tanteidan II” with Mizutani-san as personality, a long-standing radio program that began since 1990. When Shigematsu-san arrived as guest during the Digimon feature, she apparently spoke as Piyomon. “Atori-chan kept talking as if she were Piyomon, so even though we were on radio, it felt more like a CD drama. (laughs) It was as if we were in a strange otherspace, and I had a lot of fun.” (Mizutani-san)
N8) The hairpin that he’d given her — In the movie “Digimon Adventure -Bokura no War Game-” that showed in 2000, Taichi gives Sora a hairpin as a birthday present. The setting takes place a few months after their adventures in the Digital World, during spring vacation in 2000, where they fight a new species of Digimon that appears on the internet. However, Sora is ignoring Taichi due to a fight, while Mimi is on vacation in Hawaii, so neither of them are available for battle. This movie’s director is the same as that of the first movie, Mamoru Hosoda-san, and it is highly appraised by both fans and specialists alike.
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