[interview] memories of our digimon frontier pt. 1

SPECIAL INTERVIEW! with Junko Takeuchi
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

Takeuchi-san spoke about her lively performance as the energetic protagonist Takuya.

[ Performing as Takuya Kanbara ]

Did you find anything difficult while acting out Takuya Kanbara?

Voice of Takuya Kanbara, Agnimon, Vritramon, Ardhamon, KaiserGreymon, and Susanoomon.

Takuya is the type of boy who says plainly what’s on his mind, so I acted while thinking that whatever was written [in the screenplay] was exactly what Takuya was feeling. It was actually when he evolved into a Digimon that it got difficult. Takuya is still an elementary schooler in the inside, but outside he looks like a Digimon and he even fights. I was worried over it at first. But — and this is just my interpretation of it — I think that Takuya is a very adaptable person. That’s why, even when he’s a Digimon, he immediately finds fun in it. He clearly won’t worry over it at all, so I realized halfway that I didn’t need to worry either. Also, the scenes involving special attacks and evolution I had to perform with a more and more powered up sense each time. It’s an important part, so even if it was the same technique or evolution form, it gave a different nuance each time[1], so I never got used to it.

How was the atmosphere like during post-recording?

It was pretty peaceful. I’d play-argue with Kouji’s actor, Kamiya-kun, much like how Takuya and Kouji do. (laughs) I really loved both the scenes where those two argued as well as talking to Kamiya-kun. Of course, talking to the others was fun too. My senior Ku-chan [Kumiko Watanabe-san] performed the youngest child Tomoki, which I found interesting. Even now when I perform female roles in other shows, she’d tease me by calling me “Oniichan” (laughs). My cat teacher[2], Kazuko Sugiyama-san (voice of Bokomon) and Masami Kikuchi-san (voice of Neemon) also took in a lot of their surroundings. Whenever I got too strung up and starting running around in circles, they’d create an atmosphere that took out the tension in me. I really felt an aura of warmth from those who’d performed the longest at the forefront.

If there was an episode or scene that left an impression on you, please tell us.

The first episode when Takuya immediately went to protect Tomoki even though they still didn’t know each other yet, I thought was interesting. It made me see that he really has the disposition of the older brother. Having to fight into B-part[3] of the last episode was also memorable. I was expecting to at least take it easy in the last episode (laughs).

In episode 16, the role of Gomamon that you performed in previous series appeared.

In the Digimon series “Adventure” and “02,” she performed as Gomamon. Her latest roles include “NARUTO -Shippuuden-” (as Naruto), “Yes! Precure 5” (as Rin Natsuki), etc. From Saitama prefecture.

I think it was a delicate decision made by the staff, but I’m very close friends with Kaida-san[4] who performed Gomamon for that episode. When I heard Gomamon was going to appear, I thought that I’d like to do it, but having someone I adore act as Gomamon made me very happy. I really looked forward to the recording for that day.

[ Looking back on the year of Frontier ]

What did the year spent as Takuya Kanbara mean to you?

The more I performed him, the more I saw the various things that I was lacking, so it was a year in which I received a lot of homework. That sounds vague when I put it into words, but it made me think that I had to make “Junko Takeuchi” a lot bigger. For instance, even if I acted as Takuya, if I’m a small, distrustful, and narrow-minded human being, that would make Takuya restricted. Even though the real Takuya is more big-hearted and free, he’d appear not to have those qualities because of me. To this day, I think about making myself a more open and deeper person, and in this way, “Frontier” was a series that gave me homework I’d never forget.

Please give a closing message to those who bought the DVD Box.

Members with very different personalities become the truest friends you could ever meet. That isn’t something you can see unless you watch the whole year’s worth, so I’d like you to enjoy yourself as you watch from beginning to end. Also, with the character variety, I think your sense of the show will change as you watch from each of their perspectives. For instance, Takuya’s point of view would be completely different from Kouji’s. I’m sure you’ll find it a lot of fun to rewatch again and again through different eyes.

N1) Different nuance each time — Takeuchi-san performs many transformation/battle scenes in other shows, and revealed a personal stance in them. “For instance, when Takuya uses a new technique for the first time, he’d definitely be wondering to himself what its name is. Even if the words come naturally to him, he wouldn’t know what it means. But the more he uses it, the more he comes to understand. That’s why I felt that I had to be on the same level of emotion as him. If the same performance was good each time, then it could just be reused after all. (laughs)”
N2) Cat teacher — Takeuchi-san uploads pictures of her beloved cats almost every time in her personal blog, “Shin- Take no ko seikatsu,” and it was Kazuko Sugiyama-san (voice of Bokomon) who was the reason she started having them. The kitten she received from Sugiyama-san that she named “Denka-kun” [Your Highness] is the source of her happiness and “If Sugiyama-san hadn’t called to me back then, I never would’ve had cats as pets so I really am grateful.” To read a little more about Sugiyama-san’s other works, read note 8 in Tomita Sukehiro’s interview here. [link pending]
N3) B-part — In Japanese animation, it is mainstream for an episode to be divided into two parts, with the first half called A-part and the second half B-part. Digimon Frontier is also produced in this format. Just as Takeuchi-san said about “I remember fighting almost to the very end,” the last episode 50 (“Transcend Time! The Birth of a New Legend”) involved a fierce fight between Susanoomon and Lucemon that got even more intense as it went into B-part.
N4) Kaida-san — Yuki Kaida-san who performed Gomamon in episode 16 (“Just Being Strong Isn’t Enough! The Beautiful Warrior, Shutumon”). Her main roles were in such series as “HUNTER X HUNTER” (as Kurapica), “Tennis no Oujisama” (as Shuusuke Fuji), “Shounen Onmyouji” (as Masahiro Abeno), etc. Born in Tokyo. Besides the Gomamon performed by Kaida-san, there were the voices of numerous other Gomamon who appeared at the same time. Takeuchi-san’s voice is apparently included in their cries of “Goma~”

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