SPECIAL TALK! with Yuuto Kazama & Mayumi Yamaguchi
A special interview that came with the “Digimon Adventure” DVD Box released on December 21, 2007.
In perfect synchronization, Kazama-san and Yamaguchi-san talk about their newbie days on “Adventure.”
|Yuuto Kazama :: Yamato Ishida, MetalSeadramon||Main character roles in such works as “Dr. Rin ni Kiite mite!” (as Takashi Tokiwa), “Busou Renkin” (as Hideyuki Okakura), etc. From cool characters to comedic relief, he performs a wide range of roles.|
|Mayumi Yamaguchi :: Tsunomon, Gabumon, Garurumon, etc.||Main character roles in such works as “Digimon Tamers” (as Jianliang Lee), “Galaxy Angel” (as Forte), etc. Popular for performing as male youth and older sister-type characters.|
[ “Digimon Adventure” was where the both of them made their debut ]
For you two, “Digimon Adventure” was your debut as voice actors, wasn’t it?
Mayumi Yamaguchi-san (abbreviated MY below) Yes. That’s why I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Imagine me in that state, and in the same cast with people like Fujita-san and Sakamoto-san…
Yuuto Kazama-san (abbreviated YK below) Yeah, such prominent, big-name seniors! I had no idea what the show would be about or who the cast was, so when I saw the first episode script, I was almost freaking out, going all “What’s up with this amazing cast?!” I thought, “Am I going to be okay here?” (laughs)
MY And things like, “I might not make it out of the studio alive!” (laughs) But when I actually met them during postrecording, the two of them were very kind.
YK Yes, they were very warm-hearted. There were many times when our characters would pick fights with Toko-san [Toshiko Fujita-san] and Chika-san, so we were causing trouble for both of them in all aspects.
MY Who knows just how many obligations we owe them…
Your first roles, Yamato and Gabumon, were decided through audition, right?
YK I tried out for both Gabumon and Jyou.
MY I tried out for Gabumon and Jyou, too. Huh? You didn’t go for Yamato?
YK Yeah. When my agent asked me which role I wanted to try out, I thought I couldn’t do a pretty boy character like him, so I was really astonished when I was chosen for the role. Afterwards, when I asked Kakudou-san [the director] about it, he said that he’d decided on me the instant I’d come in.
MY The only thing I was asked to do during audition was to voice Gabumon evolving into Garurumon, so when I went to postrecording for the first episode, I thought I’d be doing it as Gabumon… only to find out that my first line was for Tsunomon. I remember thinking, “Gosh, he’s so tiny~” (laughs) Even by just suddenly seeing a picture of him, it wasn’t as if I knew how to apply my voice to match him. But the other actors were doing just that with their characters, so I was kind of intimidated, thinking “Who are these people?” (laughs)
What character image did you have to deal with as you faced your first recording session?
MY I still do this even now, but I prefer getting direction [at the studio] rather then deciding on something and being stuck in that view. The most I’ve probably thought is, even in times like this, Gabumon is still gentle and considerate towards Yamato. I hoped that I’d be able to mature along with the storyline.
YK I’d heard that Yamato was a cool character, which I thought was a part of him that didn’t agree with me. So there was that factor in the beginning. But I learned that he was actually quite similar to me, and a surprisingly passionate guy.
It was a bit surprising at first to find out that Yamato’s Crest was Friendship.
MY Right, especially when he didn’t have friends. (laughs)
YK He’s the type that can’t express friendship very well. It’s hard for him to just come out and say things like thank you.
MY He’s tsundere. [Internet slang describing a contradictory personality of someone who is good-willed on the inside, but harsh on the outside]
YK Yeah, that’s the word we use now to describe people like him. (laughs) I think that Yamato’s true feelings were expressed really well in the lyrics of “Oretachi no Melody,” the song that the two of us sang as a duet. The truth about him is that he really cares about friendships. Maybe that’s why he was given the Crest of Friendship, so he could also be able to express himself more honestly.
[ What is the relationship between the cool Yamato and the gentle Gabumon? ]
How did you view your partner as you performed?
YK To Yamato, Gabumon is a bit like his wife. A very well-balanced one.
MY That’s because the husband is a useless child. (laughs)
YK Right, he rushes off to do reckless things. And he watches his younger brother more than his partner. (laughs)
MY No matter how much devotion Gabumon shows, he doesn’t turn around to notice. But all Gabumon says about it is, “You’re fine that way. I’ll just keep waiting for you.” (laughs)
YK But Yamato does worry about Gabumon, too. Like those times when Garurumon is attacked.
MY Oh, I would expect that he be a little worried in those times, at least! (laughs)
YK Yeah, you’re right. I’m sorry. (laughs)
Yamato’s love for Takeru is indeed impressive.
YK That part was actually the hardest to do. I’m the younger brother of two, so I didn’t understand how he felt that way towards his brother. Normally, it’s the younger brother that gets trampled underfoot by the older brother, isn’t it? (laughs)
MY Oh, but the family situation for Yamato and Takeru was complicated. If he became that way because of how they’d split up and lived separately, I can understand that.
YK I mused a lot on that, too. But I think it was the restaurant episode with Jyou, that gave Yamato the chance to change and take a step back from his Takeru-filled world. Those feelings of irritation he’d felt towards Jyou changed, with a snap, to appreciation for him, and even I felt like something inside of me had unclenched itself. It was around that time that I felt living as Yamato was going smoothly for the first time ever. Even though I should have been doing that sooner. (laughs)
MY Well, if you’re going to say that, then I felt the same thing much later than you. Probably near the end, in that episode when Yamato turned dark and Gabumon was lecturing him. (laughs) That’s how many problems I was facing then. And then there were all those stages of evolution. I didn’t know how far I was going to have to evolve.
YK Yeah, there had to be an end at some point.
MY I thought WereGarurumon would be the last one, so I went to my limits to make him sound the strongest. But then when I saw the new ending for the second half, there was MetalGarurumon… Chika-san and I were exclaiming about how the two of us looked like robots! (laughs) That’s why I went through a lot of trouble with Metal’s special attacks. Humans have it easy, they just have to say things like “Go get him!” (laughs)
YK But I’m jealous that you get to have special attacks. Children might tell us to do something during the fights, but we don’t even have a catchphrase.
[ Many fans were surprised by Yamato’s marriage ]
What was the atmosphere like during postrecording sessions?
MY We became comfortable with each other right away, and did things in harmony. The big-name seniors treated us in a way that let us not feel overwhelmed by their presence.
YK We really were like one big family.
MY Most important of all are the amazing people who came for guest roles. Like Shiozawa-san’s Devimon. I’m really glad I had the chance to perform alongside him.
YK Yeah. As actors, it’s our good luck to see how those amazing people go about their acting in numerous ways. My view on acting was completely blown away by Ueda-san’s Numemon.
MY Even thinking now about Ueda-san performing Numemon is incredible. There were a lot of people like that. Masutani-san’s Etemon was funny, and Ishida-san’s Wizarmon was wonderful.
Was there any scene in particular within all 54 episodes that left an impression on you?
MY I will never forget running up Odaiba’s Fuji TV station and going all the way up to the Sphere.
YK It fell, didn’t it?
MY Yeah. We destroyed Fuji TV.
YK The memories come back to me every time I go to Odaiba. I’ve heard that fans still gather up in Odaiba every year on the day. The episode on Gotsumon in particular left a great impression on me. Whenever I pass by that shop window now, I’m reminded about those two. (laughs)
What feelings did you have as you did the last episode of your first job as voice actor?
MY I cried at the last episode.
YK So did I. I felt like I’d lived another person’s life for a year, so I was reluctant to have to stop there and step out of his shoes.
MY Yeah, I was deeply moved, too. But then we were chosen to show up in “02” next, and by the time “02” was done, it felt like we’d really done enough.
YK And it ends with them all being adults.
MY That part surprised me.
YK What I kept thinking most was, if it was such a good idea to have shown so much of the future, and all the way up to the part where he’d married to Sora. (laughs)
MY As well as a lot of other things… (laughs)
There were a lot of fans who were surprised by the development between Yamato and Sora in 02.
MY Honestly, Sora! If you’d spent just a few minutes to ask [Gabumon] for advice, I would have said, “Sora, don’t do this to yourself. It’s Taichi you should go for.” (laughs)
YK It’s tough work taking care of Yamato, you’re saying? (laughs)
[ The emotions they’ve put into their characters and a message to the fans ]
What did you wish the viewers to understand through your performance?
YK I never really thought of a theme. Rather I just lived as Yamato. Instead of me actively presenting something, I felt as if I was the one being watched. That difference is what I hope will allow the people who are just watching to feel as if they themselves had gone on an adventure. I think I was only able to accomplish this because I didn’t have the ability to do any calculated acting back then.
MY I just wanted, at any rate, for the children to enjoy the show and think “Wow, Garurumon seems really strong and really cool!” Wanting to make children happy, just like how I had adored the anime I’d watched when I was a kid, was my main thing. The memories of what you see as a child can be pretty intense, so I thought about how I’d like to have been of some use to someone in their life.
In closing, please give us a message to those who have bought this DVD box.
YK The reason why a DVD box can still be released after all these years is because there is a large number of people who still love this series. There aren’t many shows who have that sort of fanbase, and the only thing I can say about that is, thank you. I’ll be glad if, not only the people who bought the boxset watch it, but if it is also watched many times by the children now, and by children in the future.
MY I think that when you see something that you used to be obsessed with as a child, you can take back the feelings you’d felt back then. Maybe for people who are worrying over something now, they’ll be reminded on how they used to be pure as a child upon watching the DVD, and that will enable them to start over. That’s why I think it’s a good idea to watch it whenever something comes up. Even I feel like a child again just by watching the opening.
N1) “Oretachi no Melody” — A Yamato and Gabumon duet character song that was recorded in the maxi single, “Digimon Adventure 02 Best Partner 2 – Yamato Ishida & Gabumon,” and released on June 2000. The bass played in Yamato’s own character song, “Negai Kanaeru Kagi,” which is included in the same CD, was performed by Kazama-san himself. “Before I went into voice acting, I used to play bass in a band. There’s a live scene in “02” where I also really did play the bass. My experience in music didn’t end up being a waste after all. (laughs)” (Kazama-san)
N2) The restaurant episode — Meaning episode 23 (“You’re My Friend! WereGarurumon”), where Yamato works in a restaurant to help Jyou, who couldn’t pay the bill and therefore ends up laboring tirelessly under the restaurant owner, Digitamamon. Tricked by PicoDevimon’s secret schemes, Yamato loses his ability to believe in his friends and tries to run off alone with Takeru. However, upon seeing Jyou risk his own life to save Takeru when he is in danger, Yamato has a change of heart and takes back his belief in his friends, activating the power of the Crest of “Friendship” to allow Garurumon to super-evolve into WereGarurumon for the first time.
N3) In that episode when Yamato turned dark and Gabumon was lecturing him — Meaning episode 51 (“The Clown from Hell, Piemon”), when Yamato and Gabumon separate from their friends and wander into a cave of darkness. As he walks through the cave of darkness and is enveloped by black mist, Yamato becomes filled with disgust for himself and ends up crouching in the darkness, saying how useless he is and how he cannot go back to being everyone’s friend again. However, touched by Gabumon’s words and tears, Yamato pushes out the black mist inside his heart and restrengthens his bond with Gabumon. The two head back to friends who are waiting for them.
N4) Devimon — A Fallen Angel Digimon on top of Infinity Mountain on File Island, who unleashed black gears that made Digimon become vicious and tried to take over the world. He is destroyed when Angemon sacrifices his own life to attack him. Voiced by the late Kaneto Shiozawa-san, who was known for such roles as M’Quve in “Kidou Senshi Gundam” and Rei in “Hokuto no Ken.”
N5) Numemon — One of the most hated in the Digimon world, using its own poop as a weapon. It makes its first appearance in episode 6 (“Palmon’s Angry Evolution!”) and is voiced by Yuji Ueda. Kazama-san remembers being surprised over how “this character always has its tongue sticking out, and you can really tell that its tongue is sticking out just by the sound in Ueda-san’s acting.”
N6) Etemon — This boss of Server Continent was performed humorously and with much high-tension by Yasunori Masutani-san, who also performed a character of the polar opposite in the fourth series, “Frontier,” as the intelligent tactician, Mercurymon. Meanwhile, Akira Ishida-san, who is famous for pretty boy roles, voiced Wizarmon.
N7) Running up Odaiba’s Fuji TV station — There is one scene in episode 37 (“All Perfect Levels Advance! The Glittering Angewomon”) where WereGarurumon runs up the wall of the Fuji TV building in order to chase after Vamdemon, who at the time went out of the sphere viewing platform with both Hikari and Tailmon in his grasp. After that, Angewomon gathers up all of the Digimon’s powers and releases it into her attack, Holy Arrow, to defeat Vamdemon, but due to the damage it received from that vicious battle, the Sphere breaks off from the building and crashes heavily to the ground.
N8) Gotsumon — Appears in episode 33 (“Pumpmon and Gotsumon are Shibuya-type Digimon”). He, along with Pumpmon, drags Yamato and Takeru into hanging out with them in Shibuya, but both end up killed by Vamdemon. And then, when Yamato passes in front of the shop window where they had played dress up, Yamato thinks about them in a heartrending flashback. He is voiced by Yuu Sugimoto-san.