SPECIAL INTERVIEW! with Hiroyuki Kakudou
A special interview that came with the “Digimon Adventure 02” DVD Box released on December 22, 2006.
|Hiroyuki Kakudou :: Series Director, Episode Director|
|”Super Robot Taisaku OG Divine Wars,” “Transformer Galaxy Force,” etc.|
|Mainly supervises as episode director in TV animations. He acts as the director for “Digimon Adventure,” “02,” and the television series mentioned above where he puts entire shows into order. He is a member of the independent animation production group, “Group Ebisen.”|
[ We asked him about his work as the series director, the central figure of the anime production scene who pulled along the rest of the staff ]
May we ask first about what you did as series director?
I was the one who formed the general framework of the entire series, wrapping up the story so that it goes “in this way.” But the basis of my work came from Bandai-san, who told me that they’ll release so-and-so Digimon for the market on XX month, so I would adjust the climactic points of the story and the timing of evolutions to fit their plans. (laughs)
We’ve heard that you were also the one who made the evolution CG ever since the first series…
Yes. In fact, I’d been making them ever since the very first evolution scene. There wasn’t necessarily a special request for them, but as the story took place in the Digital World, I felt that I should be responsible for doing them. Rather than combining the tones for all episodes, I wanted to have variety sprinkled throughout while also having them share some common theme at the same time. So while there were cheerful episodes, there would also be really serious episodes, and I thought about where in “Digimon Adventure” I should give it that distinctive common feature. That’s where I came up with the premise to “Always put in an evolution scene.”  As long as an episode had that, it didn’t matter what else we did to it. I also made the evolution scenes CG because it was necessary to distinguish them as a characteristic feature.
Was it you who thought of the development for the climax?
▲ As he was also the series director for the previous series “Digimon Adventure,” he made many comparisons with it.
Oikawa’s character, as well as when his involvement in the story would happen, was vague to me, but I had a concept at the beginning that the events that happened this time were to be caused by the human world. In the previous series, it was the Digital World causing problems for the human world, but in “02” I chose for the problems to be found in the human world. Since they would eventually be joining forces with Chosen Children from all over the world, it was made early on for Mimi to bring the boy Michael with her.
He may be the main culprit, but Oikawa is a character that’s hard to hate.
When you look upon the series as a whole to begin with, you become aware that it doesn’t contain a character that is 100% evil. Even among the main characters, you cannot say that all of them are perfectly good: somewhere inside of them they have a dark part of themselves. Among them is the character with the least evil in him, Daisuke. The only thing bad about him is his head. (laughs) There were a lot of anime normally made with the idea that a given rule must occur, but I decided to do them while having doubts about whether or not it was a good idea to take on such given rules without any detail. Even if we went on with these given rules, I tried to take appropriate steps in showing why such things had occurred through step-by-step arrangements and reasoning. That is why I tried to add a little bit of realness each time to the characters, despite the restrictions that they are from anime. And yet although these children have that bit of realness in them, in the center of them is Daisuke with the most anime-like personality. I made him that way on purpose because in a world that has a touch of reality in it, the anime-like Daisuke is prevented from doing much in the first half. But that in a way ends up idealizing Daisuke, which is how I wanted to bring him towards appearing as if he is exactly the right person to save the world.
Was there any episode in particular that left an impression on you?
▲ Kakudou-san told us a lot that could not be bound within this page.
“When The Digivice Is Seeped With Darkness,” the episode that Yoshimura-san wrote the screenplay for. At first it was broken up into four parts and we were talking about inserting them separately throughout different episodes. But producer Seki-san put a stop to that, saying that if we were going to go through with this, it would be better to bundle it up into one episode. As that episode didn’t even have much of an evolution scene, it was a gamble on whether or not it would work as a single episode, but she said that “It’s an adventure series where everything is a gamble,” and so I had Yoshimura-san put it together into one script. Apparently it was really frazzling emotionally to have put that one together to begin with. The episode director for it, Shibata-san and Park-san who was performing had some troubles as well, but they did their very best. There was a moment when we discussed whether to cast a different person for Ken’s brother, but the casting manager told us to believe in Park here and let her do it.
Looking back now, what sort of series did “02” mean to you?
Immediately after it ended, Maekawa-san, Yoshimura-san, Masaki-san and I talked about how we had done everything we could. To be honest, it was actually a situation where we couldn’t immediately find what else to have done even after a few days when it ended. I think we cleaned up so much that we didn’t even leave behind the weeds. (laughs) That’s why I was happy when “Tamers” started. The Tamers world was the sort of place that made you think that maybe it should have been used as the concept for the very first series. There was the real world, and with the Digimon coming to them, it was easier to depict how the real world and partners affected them. As “Tamers” went into a direction that we hadn’t touched upon in the two years before it, I felt that there was no other appropriate way.
In closing, please leave a message to the fans who have bought the DVD Box.
There are some things that you may not have understood while watching it as a child, and that you understand now that your knowledge has expanded. In that way, I believe that you will be able to view different parts as you watch from the beginning, so I hope that you please enjoy.
N1) Bandai — Japan’s prominent toy-making company and where production of “Digital Monster” series comes from. It is also the greatest sponsor of the anime “Digimon” series. Currently they go by the name Bandai Namco Group, and they lead the business world as a toy hobby industry.
N2) Evolution CG — The Digimon’s evolution scenes whose work was carried on from the previous series “Digimon Adventure.” It is filled with both CG animation and normal animation of cell, but it was Kakudou-san who made the CG animation. Back in the day, he said he worked on them for so long that he barely even slept.
N3) Cheerful episodes — Both the previous series and “02” are the same in that they come in a variety of moods. In “02,” episode 12 (“Duel on the Digimon Meadow”), episode 15 (“Shurimon’s Martial Arts”), and episode 22 (“Brave Evolution! XV-mon”) are remembered as cheerful episodes.
N4) Always put in an evolution scene — In “02,” armor evolution, normal evolution, and the Jogress evolution that occurs when two Digimon fuse together show the abundant varieties of evolution. The finishing lines that every Digimon has during their evolution scenes each has their own distinctive accent. It would be fun listening to them one by one to compare.
N5) Problems to be found in the human world — If a direct continuation of “02” had been made instead of “Tamers,” it’s possible that there could have been a story where the cause of problems did not lay in either the Digital World or human world, but in a different place altogether, with humans and Digimon working together to solve the issue.
N6) Mimi — One of the Chosen Children from “Digimon Adventure,” Mimi Tachikawa. In “02,” she and her family move to America due to her father’s work, and she sometimes comes to Japan. Her Digimon partner is Palmon. Miyako adores her and calls her “Mimi-oneesama.” [Note: Big sister Mimi]
N7) Michael — Appears in episode 14 (“Shurimon’s Hurricane”). An American Chosen Child who Mimi brings along to the Digital World, he gets his good looks from his father the Hollywood star. His Digimon partner is Betamon, who evolves into Seadramon.
N8) A given rule — Other conventional rules such as “The main girl and boy fall in love with each other” were also not taken on by Digimon. It’s said that the reason why Miyako and Ken got married in the end was because their voice actors got along so well with each other.
N9) The most anime-like — A hot-blooded male who moves straight ahead like a bullet once he’s got an idea of doing something. He gets carried away easily, but is utterly soft when with the girl (Hikari) he loves. In a way, it is very easy to understand why Daisuke is the protagonist. It is most likely because of his personality that he became the central figure among the Chosen Children.
N10) “When the Digivice is Seeped in Darkness” — Episode 23, which depicts how Ken Ichijouji obtained the Digivice of darkness and led to him walking down the path of the Kaiser. The story of the episode is written with focus on the time when Ken’s older brother, Osamu, was still alive, and Ken’s voice actor, Park-san, also performed the role of his brother.
N11) Hiroki Shibata-san — An episode director who worked as series director for such shows as “Himitsu no Akko-chan” that broadcasted in 1988, and “Bobobobo Bobobo” that broadcasted in 2003.” In “02,” he directed such episodes as episode 17 (“Odaiba Memorial”).
N12) Hiro Masaki-san — A screenplay writer who worked on series composition of such shows as “Majime ni Fumajime Kaiketsu Zorori” which broadcasted in 2005, and “Full Moon wo Sagashite” which broadcasted in 2002. In “02,” he wrote the screenplay for such episodes as episode 19 (“The Evil Synthetic Beast, Chimeramon”).
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