SPECIAL INTERVIEW! with Hiromi Seki
A special interview that came with the “Digimon Adventure 02” DVD Box released on December 22, 2006.
|Hiromi Seki :: Producer|
|“Demashita! Power Puff Girls Z,” “Ojamajo Doremi” (both as Producer), etc.|
|Toei Animation’s first female producer whose first job was involved in 1994’s Marmalade Boy. She has worked in both hit series “Digimon Adventure” and “Ojamajo Doremi.” In recent years, she is working on “Kamisama kazoku,” etc.|
[ As Toei Animation’s producer, we asked her about her important role in deciding what direction the show was to take ]
We’d like to ask what things have changed from the first series “Digimon Adventure.”
I have two memories of what happened before “02” began, while we were thinking of its setup. The first was when Kakudou-san said that the kids in the first series step into the Digimon world and are unable to go back home for a while, but for the second series, he wanted to make a story where it would be more easier for them to come and go between both worlds. The other memory is what I think I read about in the newspapers back then, when an 8 or 9-year old boy in America skipped grades to go into university. I remember that when I saw that article, we got to discussing what sort of adult that boy would turn out to be like. I believe these two events may be what turned into the basis for creating “02.”
How was Daisuke’s character made?
He’s a really carefree child, but I definitely don’t believe that he won’t have a single worry or concern throughout his entire life. It’s just that there was this period in his life where it was so. Around the time when children are in elementary school, they really change drastically even within a one year difference. One can see huge changes in them both physically and mentally, and that one year for them is completely different from how an adult would change in one year. A child who hardly changes makes it very easy to see the child that has changed a lot. This is why I had the idea not to let Daisuke go through many large changes, so he could appear in contrast to the dramatic transformation that Ken-kun went through.
We’ve heard that you like thinking up small background details of the families.
▲ As she drifted in familiarity of the times, Seki-san talked on and on about her memories.
I love it. (laughs) After all, when you’re a child, it’s your interactions with family, teachers, and friends that influence your character development. That is why, even if there isn’t much opportunity in the show to bring up talk about the families, I still create the base of them anyway. For instance, if there was a child who hated their mother, it makes you wonder what happened that made that child hate her, doesn’t it? By creating the base of this, the actions and attitude that the character takes before that mother changes.
Also, we’ve heard that you’ve put a lot of effort into describing the children’s relationships.
I believe it was around the year 2000 that the environment surrounding our society’s children changed. That was when the number of children who couldn’t maintain mutual human relationships in the flesh began to grow exponentially… Even for that 8 or 9-year-old boy who went to university, there was the question of what sort of relationships he would create with society as a human being. Strangely enough, Jogress evolution fitted perfectly for a concept like this.
Even as a story, things weren’t settled simply on the idea that ‘kids will be kids.’
Indeed. That part is due to my thought during the first series that it might be interesting if Maekawa-san and Yoshimura-san worked together as a pair next. Yoshimura-san has a specialty with dark-type stories, but it was at this time that it particularly showed. If I were to give a reason why it was the two of them, it was because I thought that things would go well if Maekawa-san did the hot-blooded “no worries” boy that was Daisuke and Yoshimura-san did the Digimon Kaiser and other people on the dark side.
Is there a “02” episode in particular that left an impression?
▲ The ever-busy Seki-san had to take multiple calls on her cell phone throughout the interview.
I can’t explain to you why it’s so memorable to me as it’s so off the charts, but it’s the Dagomon episode. That’s the one that Konaka-san wrote. I remember when we had the meeting for that one. I was late for it, so by the time I slipped in and said, “Sorry, I’m late,” Kakudou-san told me they were almost done wrapping things up. It pretty much threw me for a loop how quickly they had finished. There’s also “Odaiba Memorial” and “Good bye, Ken-chan…”  — the ones that show changes in Ken-kun are what I particularly like.
What sort of existence do you think Wormmon was to Ken Ichijouji?
I had the idea that he was a younger brother to Ken, separated by a large age gap — a younger brother who really looked up to his older brother. But the older brother doesn’t want to spend his time playing with the younger, and the way the younger brother circles around him while going “Brother, Brother!” is so annoying that he acts unkind towards him. Everyone unconsciously creates an invisible barrier while interacting with other people, often provoking them to wonder whether they’d stepped too close into that space or if they should edge in a little closer. Ken-kun also had that sense of distance between his parents and brother, but Wormmon doesn’t pay attention and snuggles up as close as he can. Somehow or other, the Digimon have something of them that symbolize what their partners lack.
In closing, please leave a message to fans who have bought the DVD Box.
Well, the most fan letters I received back at that time were from middle schoolers. Those children must be around 20 by now. I wish to ask them, “Now that you’ve become an adult, have you gone through any sort of adventure?” I’d like it if they are able to write at least one story about their own growth.
N1) Kakudou-san — Hiroyuki Kakudou-san, both the series director and episode director. An important figure in the production of both “Digimon Adventure” and “Digimon Adventure 02”. An interview with Kakudou-san can be found here, so be sure to check it out.
N2) Unable to go back home for a while — When Taichi and the other six children go to summer camp, they are engulfed into a mysterious light and taken to the Digital World. They end up being stuck there for awhile, unable to return to the real world, and so they decide to continue their journey in the Digital World.
N3) Be more easier for them to come and go — It is in “02” where, by going to the elementary school’s computer room and using the computers there, the children are able to open the Digital Gate and go to the Digital World. In order to return back to the real world, they use the televisions that are scattered throughout the Digital World.
N4) Skipped grades — When those with higher scores than the average person are the exception and move up into higher grade levels than is the norm. There is a system in Japan where one can skip grades, but there are not many examples of people who have done so. Compared to Japan, this happens frequently in America.
N5) Dramatic transformation — The once Digimon Kaiser who once laughed maniacally and behaved in an unjust way converts into someone who treats Wormmon with concern and is even willing to sacrifice himself in order to atone for what he had done. Combine the existence of his brother and his relationship with Wormmon, and it truly was a dramatic transformation.
N6) Jogress evolution — A fusion evolution between such combinations as XV-mon and Stingmon, Aquilamon and Tailmon, and Ankylomon and Angemon. It is essential not only for the Digimon’s hearts to understand one another, but for their partners to feel it at the same time, too.
N7) Maekawa-san — Atsushi Maekawa-san who is in charge of the series as series composer and screenplay writer. He has written many screenplays for “Digimon Adventure” and “Digimon Tamers.” An interview with Maekawa-san can be found here, so be sure to check it out.
N8) Yoshimura-san — Genki Yoshimura-san who is in charge of the series as series composer and screenplay writer. Just like Maekawa-san, she has written many screenplays for “Digimon Adventure” and “Digimon Tamers.” An interview with Yoshimura-san can be found here, so be sure to check it out.
N9) The Dagomon episode — Meaning episode 13 (“The Call of Dagomon”), when Hikari is called to the Dark Sea and almost disappears from the real world altogether. It was created using the Cthulhu myth as a motif, and the episode is one of the most peculiar among the series.
N10) Konaka-san — Chiaki J. Konaka-san, who wrote the screenplay for “The Call of Dagomon.” He only wrote for this episode in “Digimon Adventure 02,” but he later becomes the series composer of “Digimon Tamers.” One of his most famous works is “Serial Experiments Lain,” etc.
N11) “Odaiba Memorial” — Meaning episode 17 (“Odaiba Memorial”), with screenplay by Yoshimura-san and episode directed by Hiroki Shibata-san. With the Odaiba city as a backdrop, Yamato’s father and even the Fuji TV staff who appeared in “Digimon Adventure” make an appearance. Wizarmon’s reappearance also makes this episode a memorable one.
N12) “Goodbye, Ken-chan…” — Meaning episode 21 (“Goodbye, Ken-chan…”), with screenplay by Maekawa-san and episode directed by Takao Yoshizawa-san. It is the episode where the Digimon Kaiser’s ambitions are stomped and Ken removes his sunglasses to return to his true self. After leaving behind the words in the title, Wormmon loses his life.