Main Character Memorial Round-Table Discussion with Makoto Tsumura, Mayumi Yamaguchi, and Fumiko Orikasa.
A special interview that came with the “Digimon Tamers” DVD Box released on April 25, 2007.
The three main characters of Tamers talk about their memories from back then.
The growth of their characters and their Digimon’s evolution?!
What sort of atmosphere was the recording studio like back in the day?
Fumiko Orikasa-san (abbreviated FO below) How many years has it been?
Mayumi Yamaguchi-san (abbreviated MY below) Five years, I think?
Makoto Tsumura-san (abbreviated MT below) It looks that way~
MY Oh dear… that’s amazing. Time really does fly.
MT Indeed. Guilmon sure was cute~ The part where he was very innocent at first and didn’t know anything was good. Even though he gradually got smarter. (laughs)
MY You make it sound like he stopped being cute (laughs). But I guess I remember more of the heartwarming feel in the beginning. When we moved into the second half of the series, it got all muddly…
MT Right, right. In the Digital World, we had to face oncoming waves of battles, so it turned into a difficult time… Now that I think about it, Jian kept stopping Terriermon from evolving at first, didn’t he?
MY Yup. I thought Terriermon was cute the way he was, so I wanted him to stay that way too. It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to evolve, just that I wanted him to stay cute…
FO So that’s why Jian kept preventing him from evolving too! (laughs)
MY Right, right. (laughs)
MT He was the Digimon who changed appearances in the most drastic way.
Was there any sort of reaction regarding that among the cast while recording?
“Sazae-san” (as Wakame Isono), “Astro Boy: Tetsuwan Atom” (as Atom), etc. From Hokkaido.
MY Quite a lot, actually! There was this feeling of “ehhhh” coming from all of us, and there was even some booing involved. The person voicing him herself also let out a yell of surprise. (laughs) Apparently she’d been casted in the first place to act cute, but for it to end up that way had given her a shock.
By evolving, she has to change the way she acts after all.
MT All of those in the cast who voiced Digimon were like that. The forms that they’re introduced as evolve bigger and stronger, so they had to step up their acting each time.
MY Hiroki-kun was dripping with sweat in the end (laughs). He did really well.
FO Hiroki-kun looked like he had a lot more trouble with his beginning form. (laughs)
MY Impmon, right? You’re right, that role was probably the most troublesome. I personally thought it would be funny if Culumon got all muscular though (laughs).
MT Culumon became good friends with Juri, didn’t he?
MY But in the end, it got all jumbled up somewhat (laughs).
FO In any case, Juri-chan was a sad girl. Judging from her family situation too…
About the backgrounds of each character
The fact that each character comes with their own family background is one of the best parts of the Digimon series.
MT Takato grew up in a bakery, so while Tokyo was having trouble, there was a scene where he made bread by himself. What did Ruki-chan’s family do again? They lived in a large estate.
FO Her mother was a model, but… the only adult who was there with Ruki for most of the time was her grandma.
MT What about her father?
FO He wasn’t with them. Some memories of him came up during the movie, but… All of the characters surrounding Ruki — her grandma, her mother, and Renamon — where all voiced by Imai-san, which I thought was pretty amazing.
MY It felt like you two were enough to fill an entire family.
MT I was really impressed too!
MY Speaking of which, Renamon hardly seemed to change when she evolved. Unlike Terriermon… (laughs)
MT Oh, I remember Kyubimon very well… Since she was a nine-tailed fox, it left a very big impression on me.
It’s tough work acting as Digimon?! What happened in audition…
While acting as your character, was there ever a time when you wanted to voice a Digimon?
“BLEACH” (as Rukia Kuchiki), “Atashinchi” (as Mikan), “Saishuu Heiki Kanojo” (as Chise), etc. From Tokyo.
MT Yes! Like Terriermon. I wanted to try a cute role. I kept wanting to try one the whole time, and the series ended without me getting a chance. (laughs)
MY I voiced a Digimon in the first series. My role as Jian was decided through audition, but back then, the thought that I’d be accepted for audition never crossed my mind, so I mentioned how cute Terriermon was while looking at the promotional pictures, like it was someone else’s business. (laughs)
FO I auditioned for a number of roles back then, with Ruki being one of them. I also tried out for Impmon at the same time. I’d voiced him with no idea of what the storyline even was, so I have memories of wondering who would be Impmon and it turned out to be Hiroki-kun! (laughs)
MT A woman could certainly get away with voicing Impmon.
MY But it would be pretty scary if that happened for real~ (laughs)
FO I never expected the storyline to end up that way, so when I think about that now, it is scary. (laughs)
MT In my case, my audition tape didn’t reach the casting office the first time, so I was decided for the role after a tryout later on.
MY If no one had realized that then, Tsumura-san’s Takato wouldn’t have existed. That’s also kind of amazing. (laughs)
Did you ever face something difficult while acting as Takato?
MT Takato was a normal boy, so he was very easy to act.
MY He was exactly like you~ (laughs). I thought it was wonderful how you were able to express a pure-hearted elementary school child so naturally.
How about Jian?
MY I voiced him without much conscious effort, but somehow I kept getting told that I made him sound sexy. Aoi-chan would be the one who’d tell me that, and I’d answer back that Terriermon shouldn’t say such things. (laughs)
MT We’d also call him Zenra [Note: Zenra = buck naked] instead of Jianliang. (laughs)
MY You’re right, even though everyone is naked when they evolve to Ultimate. That part was really embarrassing. (laughs)
How about Ruki?
“Digimon Adventure” (as Gabumon), “Galaxy Angel” (as Forte), etc. From Iwate prefecture.
FO I think I acted her role without as much difficulty as I expected. At any rate, I went with Ruki being cool, without having it seem like she had much friends. (laughs)
MY Ruki is a tsundere, isn’t she?
FO Oh, maybe! She wasn’t described in that way back then, though.
MY She was tsundere of the season. Must’ve been nice.
FO Ruki was the first character for me that had common phrases. That’s why when it came time to saying things like “Card Slash,” I’d look at how the two of you did it first while thinking about how I should speak.
Have you ever wanted to see your character in a certain way?
MT I’d like to see him in a relationship, whether it’s with Juri-chan or not. I want to see him try making advances. Without changing my voice. (laughs)
MY He won’t get past saying “Um” or “Ah,” I expect. I’d like to see what Jian does in his daily life. Like whether or not he just sits in front of his computer all day or maybe have an episode of “Jianliang goes to Akihabara” (laughs). Maybe he tries to go into maid cafes while making sure no one sees him or he doesn’t go into any stores and just buys bulk items along the streets.
FO In that case, Ruki would probably be made to join an Akihabara tour. Then when she’s walking along, she’ll get pointed at to voices of “There’s the Digimon Queen!” (laughs).
Please leave a message to the fans who have watched the show then.
MT Probably the impression that you had five years ago will be different from what you get now. For the amount of time that’s passed, the impact you receive from it will change, so it’d be nice if you enjoyed that.
MY If you buy it now with your New Year’s money, you can watch it at any time so I’d like it if even your children and grandchildren enjoyed it too. I think this story is a very good asset, so I’d like others to watch it by all means.
FO Those who keep the DVDs at hand must be super-fans, so I’d like for you to look back on the scenery and what else has changed from five years’ time, as well as enjoy this story of everyone’s friendships and youth once more.
N1) Jian kept stopping Terriermon — Jian was against the idea of Digimon fighting each other and so kept Terriermon from evolving. That was because letting him evolve would mean that he had to fight. Jian’s way of thinking was the exact opposite of Ruki, who thought that fighting was a Digimon’s reason for existing, but it grew evident that the Digimon themselves also wanted to evolve. By interacting not just with Takato and Ruki, but with Guilmon and Renamon, Jian reevaluates his thinking on both his partner’s evolution and fighting.
N2) The person voicing him herself — Aoi Tada-san who voices Terriermon. The same “Aoi-chan” who Yamaguchi-san refers to later on. As a Digimon partner, she also voices the evolved forms like Gargomon. Terriermon first appears in “Digimon Adventure 02″‘s movie “Digimon Hurricane Jouriku!!/Chouzetsu Shinka!! Ougon no Digimental” and is voiced by Tada-san. What’s more, she also voices Jian’s younger sister Shaochung’s partner, Lopmon.
N3) Hiroki-kun — Hiroki Takahashi-san who voices Beelzebumon/Impmon. A popular voice actor who is famous for performing a wide range of roles, from cool to comedic, as can be seen in “Konjiki no Gash Bell!!” (as Parco Folgore), “Tennis no Oujisama” (as Eiji Kikumaru), and “School Rumble” (as Kenji Harima). He apparently voiced Impmon and Beelzebumon with such enthusiasm that Yamaguchi-san says he came out sweating “as if he’s been under a waterfall”.
N4) Bakery — Takato’s home above the “Matsuda Bakery.” A small bakery located a bit outside of West Shinjuku, Takato often helps out his parents at the store. It is shown in episode 43 (“Hearts Connect! The Revival of Beelzebumon”!) that Takato knows how to make bread, when Takato and the others go to the store while the city has been evacuated due to the D-Reaper and make bread for breakfast. In the latter half of the series, Takato’s father also makes bread in the shape of Guilmon’s head.
N5) Imai-san — Yuka Imai-san who voices Renamon. She not only voices Kyubimon, but also Ruki’s mother and grandmother. Chiaki Konaka-san talks about this casting in his homepage, saying that it was a suggestion from producer Seki Hiromi-san. The song when Sakuyamon evolves is not only sung by Imai-san, but she also came up with the lyrics. Other than “Digimon Tamers,” she has performed in such roles as Yuki-sensei in “Ojamajo Doremi”.
N6) Nine-tailed fox — Renamon’s evolved form, Kyubimon, who is modeled after the nine-tailed fox spirit. It is a fictional existence that came from ancient Chinese legend, but in Japan it is famous for transforming into a beautiful woman from “Tamamo-no-mae” which is a story written in the “Otogizoushi” during the Heian period.
N7) Voiced a Digimon — About Gabumon, who appeared as Yamato Ishida’s Digimon partner in “Digimon Adventure” and “Digimon Adventure 02”. Due to his shyness, he wears Garurumon’s pelt over his normal form. His true form underneath the pelt is said to be a “reptile Digimon,” but does not make an appearance in the anime. Yamaguchi-san often passes by the Oogado Crossing in Shinjuku even now, and says that she often remembers “Digimon Tamers” at that time.
N8) Tsundere — One of the character types often used to describe female characters in video games and anime. Although they have romantic interest in the main character, they cannot express that feeling well and so take on a “tsun” [prickly] attitude in front of other people. But when the two of them are alone, they change into a “dere” [sweet] attitude, which describes the tsundere. There are various theories as to where the word first sprung from, but it became popular usage around 2002. Afterwards in 2006, it was nominated for the “New/Popular Word Award”.