[interview] memories of our digimon adventure pt. 4

SPECIAL TALK! with Masami Kikuchi & Umi Tenjin
A special interview that came with the “Digimon Adventure” DVD Box released on December 21, 2007.

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

Kikuchi-san and Tenjin-san talk about their memories on performing as the brains (?) of the cast, Jyou and Koushiro.

Masami Kikuchi :: Jyou Kido, Shin Kido, Masami Izumi Main character roles in such works as “Ah, Megumi-sama” (as Keiichi Morisato), “Kikou Senki Dragonar” (as Kaine Wakaba), etc. He has performed in all Digimon series.
Umi Tenjin :: Koushiro Izumi Main character roles in such works as “Mahoraba -Heartful Days-” (as Asami Kurosaki), etc. In the fourth series, “Digimon Frontier,” she performed as Pandamon.

[ How did Koushiro view his clumsy senior, Jyou? ]

Please tell us how you ended up getting the parts of Jyou and Koushiro respectively.

Masami Kikuchi-san (abbreviated MK below) I received my part through auditioning… but back then, I had just recently gotten over the flu.
Umi Tenjin-san (abbreviated UT below) Eh?! Were you all right?
MK I auditioned for both Jyou and Yamato, but they were done in a daze as I hadn’t fully recovered yet. After I’d finished, I was so certain that I wouldn’t make it on the cast list. How surprised I was when I did. (laughs) Also, since Yamato was a cool character, I think I put more of an effort in my tryout for him. (laughs)
UT I auditioned for Sora and Mimi first. My audition for Koushiro happened after I asked to try out for him, too.
MK I see~
UT Yes. But ever since that audition, Koushiro’s role was the one I wanted to do the most. When the president at my agency asked me who I thought I got when the results came in, I said that I wanted Koushiro and I was so surprised when I heard I got the part that I cried a little.

How did you view the character you played?

MK I think Jyou’s character is quite easy to understand. Since he’s the oldest of the group, he feels his sense of responsibility doubled and he works hard in his own way. The sad thing, though, is that he’s such a spaz that his efforts often end up dragging everyone down rather than help. (laughs)
UT Yes, this is true. (laughs)
MK I think he also had an arrogant side to him because he was oldest [Note: In Asian culture, being older automatically means that those younger than you must give you respect and value your opinions]. But near the end, my impression of him changed in that he’d cultivated a sort of kindness towards those younger than him, and he became a person who could sincerely sympathize with others.
UT Koushiro’s character setup was a little heavy[1], so I was concerned about what sort of child he must be like. He actually turned out to be rather normal. His only fault was that he wasn’t good at socializing with others. But I think even that changed for the better when he went back to Tokyo and had a good talk with his parents. Still, we humans can’t change everything about ourselves right away, so we probably only got to see a small part of his growth. In Koushiro’s case, I feel that he changed a lot more after this show had taken place.

Jyou may be the oldest but he was always running around in circles, while Koushiro was more level-headed and carefully analyzed each situation.

MK Indeed. I found that rather interesting, in fact, and I enjoyed performing in such a manner. There were many times when I thought that Koushiro was the boy to depend on. Although, I don’t know what Koushiro thought of Jyou. (laughs)
UT Now, this is an awkward position you’ve put me in… (laughs) I believe Koushiro considered him a friend, of course, but I don’t think he thought much about it.
MK I don’t remember the two conversing with each other for very long.
UT Yes, there was hardly any conversation between them. Taichi was about the only one who Koushiro would talk with regularly. He didn’t even converse that much with the other Digimon… In fact, I think most of his conversations were with Gennai-san[2] and the guest characters.
MK Could he have thought, “That Jyou-senpai, what a big idiot”? (laughs)
UT Oh, I don’t think so. He probably didn’t pay much attention to that. (laughs) He was too busy with his own issues.

[ The two were a little disappointed upon seeing the evolved forms of their partners ]

Was there anything easy or difficult that you found about your role during your performance?

MK Since Jyou is such a straightforward character, he was easy for me to perform. Personally, I meant to act as close to a real human as possible, but within the series he ended up turning into the opposite of that by having more of an overboard and humorous personality. I enjoyed that gap.
UT I got a grasp on my role while I was performing. I guess the hardest parts were when Koushiro would sometimes laugh or cry. I couldn’t really digest those parts inside of myself, and I had to be careful about how much emotion I had to express.

Kikuchi-san, didn’t you feel that performing as Jyou was difficult?

MK I performed freely for Jyou. But yes, since I did perform other roles alongside his, I had trouble making them sound different from one another. Like when I did Jyou’s entire family[3].
UT Yes, you voiced them all by yourself. (laughs)
MK (laughs) I even went so far to voice Jyou’s mother in the CD drama. (laughs) And, speaking of which, I was also Koushiro’s dad, too.
UT Yes, you were the father.

How did you perform in respect to the relationship with your character’s partner?

UT Tentomon is a friendly soul, but I think he didn’t know how to interact with Koushiro at first. I also didn’t know my emotional distance with Tentomon, so I spoke the formal lines of the script while thinking that was about as far as it got. Koushiro always spoke courteously to everyone, but he eventually got to speaking on even terms with Tentomon alone.
MK I think Jyou considers Gomamon to be both a friend and a brother. Since he was also cute to look at, I interacted with him while thinking that he was a cute guy.

Gomamon’s visual is really cute, but as he evolves…

MK I was also surprised when he evolved. (laughs)
UT Ikkakumon and Zudomon…
MK Well, I suppose Junko-chan[4] was more surprised then I was. (laughs) Also, when Tentomon evolves… you know?
UT Yes, Kabuterimon looks like he has the face of a baddie. To be honest, I didn’t like it. (laughs) Although I saw the lineart beforehand, he looked even more evil when I saw him on the studio screen. I’m not a fan of bugs to begin with, so I might not have liked Tentomon either, but then Kabuterimon… (laughs) Even though Motimon was so cute.

[ The guest characters who left a severe impact ]

Did you have any favorites among the guest characters?

MK I really liked my miscellaneous role as Gazimon[5]. His face looks a little scary but he acts goofy sometimes. I feel there really would be cats around with a face like that. I had a lot of fun performing him.
UT I believe there were a lot back then, but when I think back on them now… Oh, the Sukamon[6] that Mimi and Koushiro met when they were together! That shape left an impact. He wasn’t cute at all, but I still remember that character even now. (laughs)

Was there an episode or line among all 54 episodes that left an impression on you?

UT My strongest impression was the episode when Tentomon evolved for the first time[7]. The other Digimon evolved when the children were in danger, but Tentomon cheated a little and that was disappointing. (laughs) And when I saw Kabuterimon, who looked even more evil when he was moving, that was even more disappointing. (laughs)
MK I see. (laughs)
UT But, well, those were my thoughts at the time, but now that I look back on it, I see that Tentomon already trusted Koushiro a great deal at that point. Here was a program that they had absolutely no idea about and there was no telling what could happen to him, yet he said to try it out on him… that’s not something he could have said unless they were in a trusting relationship. Now I think of Tentomon to be very brave.
MK My impression was the first and last episodes. While we were recording the first episode, not even we knew what would occur after episode two, so it was memorably for me in that we were acting through trial and error as we determined what sort of person our characters would turn out to be. The last episode was when the children had to separate from the Digimon and there was a scene between Jyou and Gomamon where they shook hands. When Jyou said, “That was a hand!” when Gomamon held out a hand… I really loved that line. The two of them were sad, but the way they laughed to hide their embarrassment was very good.

Did you feel a sense of satisfaction after recording for the last episode?

MK Yes. Performing a single show for one year is very long and laborious, so I was happy when it ended without issue. But since I was told that Jyou would also be appearing for “02” that came after, I was excited wondering what sort of attitude he would take.
UT Indeed. But in “02” it was obvious how much they had grown and would keep on growing, so I also felt sad because I would have to say goodbye to Koushiro at this year of his life.

[ They’re curious about who Jyou and Koushiro married when they became adults? ]

There are depictions of Jyou and Koushiro as adults in the last episode of “02”.

MK Jyou became a doctor of the Digital World[8]. That was nice.
UT It made me happy to learn that Koushiro also became a proper adult and raised a family. (laughs) As he was socially-crippled. I did wonder who it was that he married, though.
MK We didn’t find out who Jyou’s wife was either.

In closing, please give us a message to those who have bought this DVD box.

MK If the children who had watched “Adventure” when they were young still have memories of it and think the Adventure is interesting, that would make me very happy. There were many among the boy, girl, and Digimon characters who were rich with unique traits, so if you find a character you like and watch the series with them at the center, you might be able to see things in a different way, too. Please look for a way in which you personally can enjoy the show.
UT Each of the 54 episodes had a different charm about them that made them interesting, and I think this show teaches the basics of humankind such as the importance of life and friendship. In the world that we live in now, there are a lot of people who hurt others just because they didn’t like some little thing about them. That’s why, I would be happy if people who enjoy watching this took this as a chance to take a good look at what’s in their own hearts.

N1) A little heavy — Koushiro’s character setup is that he is really an adopted child. His real mother and father died in a car crash while he was still a baby. His adopted parents intended to keep this a secret from him, but Koushiro accidentally finds out the truth and draws inside himself, becoming unable to socialize with others. However, in episode 38 (“Revival! The Devil, VenomVamdemon”), his parents speak the truth about his real mother and father, and Koushiro, too, speaks out to them about how he honestly feels. His bond with his kind parents was able to grow deeper.
N2) Gennai-san — A mysterious old man who guides the “Chosen Children” and supports them in many different forms. He often contacts them through Koushiro’s laptop. In the 3D hologram of the past that shows up in episode 45 (“Clash of the Ultimate Levels! WarGreymon VS MetalGarurumon”), he appears as his younger self and fights Piemon in order to protect the children’s Digivices and Crests.
N3) Jyou’s entire family — The oldest brother, Shin, is the only one among Jyou’s family to make an appearance in “Adventure.” In “02” we get to see the second oldest brother, Shuu. In the drama CD “Digimon Adventure 02 -Michi e no Armor Shinka-“, Jyou’s father and mother make an appearance. All of these characters are voiced by Kikuchi-san. When these characters’ lines did not overlap (in those cases, they would have to be recorded separately), they were performed in one go. Kikuchi-san’s fellow actors were also struck with wonder by his quick switch-overs during the scene when the Kido family talks.
N4) Junko-chan — Junko Takeuchi-san, who voiced the cheeky but hard-not-to-love Gomamon, Jyou’s Digimon partner. Her main character roles include such shows as “Naruto” (as Naruto Uzumaki) and “Hunter x Hunter” (as Gon). In the fourth Digimon series “Frontier,” she performed the main protagonist, Takuya Kanbara.
N5) Gazimon — A rabbit Digimon who looks more like a cat. He serves Etemon, the ruler of Server Continent. He has a wicked personality and will take a big attitude against those who are weaker than him, but is subservient in front of Etemon. Several of them are stationed throughout Server Continent and they are voiced by Kikuchi-san, the narrator Hiroaki Hirata-san, and others.
N6) Sukamon — A poop-shaped Digimon that is formed from the collected remains of computer data. He first appears in episode 10 (“Centarumon the Defender!”) and is voiced by Motoko Kumai-san. With his partner Chuumon (voiced by Kappei Yamaguchi-san), they try to rob Mimi but become good Digimon after they are bathed in the light of the Digivice.
N7) When Tentomon evolved for the first time — Meaning episode 5 (“Electric Shock! Kabuterimon”), when Tentomon first evolves into his Adult level, Kabuterimon, at a strange factory. Koushiro discovers a mysterious program inside the factory’s large battery whose code alone can produce energy. After that, in order to save their friends from a berserk Andromon with a black gear, Tentomon suggests that Koushiro use that mysterious program on him.
N8) A doctor of the Digital World — Born into a long family line of doctors, Jyou aims to become one as well in order to please his parents. However, during his adventure in the Digital World, he starts wanting to be a doctor through his own choice, not because of anyone else’s. In the last episode of “02,” we learn that the adult Jyou has become the first doctor of the Digital World. Adult Koushiro has become a Digital World researcher. Their children also make an appearance: Jyou has one son, Koushiro has one daughter.

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