Interview with Masashi Sogo- Ghost Game Series Composer (head writer)

MarcFBR

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bilibili has done an interview with Masashi Sogo regarding his long career in anime writing. An extended portion near the end talks about his work as series composer on Digimon Ghost Game.


This is a quick overview and rough translations of elements from the Ghost Game section.



He mentions he is the series composer because Atsuhiro Tomioka fell ill due to his busy schedule. They've known each-other for 20 years, have a good working relationship, and since he had helped with scripting on Adventure:, it made sense for him to take his place.

There are some references to urban legends and things form literature, but they don't generally use really well known things because people can look them up quickly. The main priority is using a specific Digimon to craft a story.

The content is 'horror story', so there has to be some horror. During planning they aimed more for junior high from elementary school, which allows adults to enjoy those aspects, although he notes various kids shows from when he grew up such as Ultra Q, Akuma-kun, Operation Mystery!, and Ultra Seven are far more scary to kids. Basically, they aren't worry about scaring kids, just a tiny bit. The producers think they have a good handle on it, so just let them write.

The supervisor decided the kids should be junior high students, as it would better fit having to deal with these elements, but also just barely being able to deal with it.

It's noted by the interviewer that Digimon is often a serial, but Ghost Game tends to have one and dones. Sogo notes that many Digimon episodes end in one even outside of Ghost Game. The basis in the writing was looking at Tiktok and Youtube and them believing kids tend to jump off after a minute due to boredom, and the feeling its hard to make them watch longer stories. They are also worried that if its a serial they may not see the beginning and will skip it, or if it is too long they will half and give up, so he feels it's hard to write serials for kids and teenagers. He feels one offs have increased in anime the last few years. He notes that even watching a two minute video, you might jump off before it is done.

His favorite Digimon is without a doubt, Angoramon. Gentle, considerate, and always stands up for Ruli at critical moments. Also full of wisdom, he finds it very enjoyable to write his scenes.

Without spoiling, it's commented that there are various small details throughout the series that the audience may or may notice that foreshadow things, some done with great effort. Some of these he expects for people to only notice watching the final episode and after seeing it going "Ah! That line from the first few episodes was foreshadowing this..."

He thinks if you can think about that and find it more interesting if you think about that and wonder what it will imply in the end. He thinks you'll be satisfied with it in the end and asks everyone to watch until the end and thanks them.




The most interesting things from this that we didn't know, is that it appears the original plan for Ghost Game was to have Tomioka continue on as series composer from Adventure:, along with mentioning various well known 'kids horror' shows like Ultra Q as inspiration (which makes sense based on the show.) The kids and teens not having interest in serial storytelling feels relatively out of touch though (especially with serial storytelling appearing to become 'more' popular in the last number of years.

Angoramon being a favorite also makes sense, as Angoramon often gets the last word in.
 

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Muur

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Oh God he's using Masuda logic of kids have no attention span and lose interest in things after a few seconds. I hope that doesn't doom the Digimon anime to be endless filler episodes until the end of time cuz that would just make Digimon as an anime really unappealing to me.
 

TheImpster

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Oh God he's using Masuda logic of kids have no attention span and lose interest in things after a few seconds. I hope that doesn't doom the Digimon anime to be endless filler episodes until the end of time cuz that would just make Digimon as an anime really unappealing to me.
The difference here is that this guy is only in charge of ghost game. There is no reason to believe he's also going to be in charge of many more seasons. And unlike pokemon, nothing indicates that ghost game will get a continuation. The reason it got annoying with Pokemon is because that series reset the plot and progression with each series.
 

Yamato-san

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Oh God he's using Masuda logic of kids have no attention span and lose interest in things after a few seconds. I hope that doesn't doom the Digimon anime to be endless filler episodes until the end of time cuz that would just make Digimon as an anime really unappealing to me.
The difference here is that this guy is only in charge of ghost game. There is no reason to believe he's also going to be in charge of many more seasons. And unlike pokemon, nothing indicates that ghost game will get a continuation. The reason it got annoying with Pokemon is because that series reset the plot and progression with each series.
Yeah, but there's reason for concern when you consider that Adventure: was also largely tied down by some monster-of-the-day plots.

The ironic thing is that the early Digimon series, which stuck quite strongly to a serial format (at least compared to the modern series), were released at a time when it was far, far less convenient to get access to serials. There wasn't TV-on-demand, there wasn't streaming, and in Japan, you were damn lucky if there was ever a rerun.
 

TheImpster

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Oh God he's using Masuda logic of kids have no attention span and lose interest in things after a few seconds. I hope that doesn't doom the Digimon anime to be endless filler episodes until the end of time cuz that would just make Digimon as an anime really unappealing to me.
The difference here is that this guy is only in charge of ghost game. There is no reason to believe he's also going to be in charge of many more seasons. And unlike pokemon, nothing indicates that ghost game will get a continuation. The reason it got annoying with Pokemon is because that series reset the plot and progression with each series.
Yeah, but there's reason for concern when you consider that Adventure: was also largely tied down by some monster-of-the-day plots.

The ironic thing is that the early Digimon series, which stuck quite strongly to a serial format (at least compared to the modern series), were released at a time when it was far, far less convenient to get access to serials. There wasn't TV-on-demand, there wasn't streaming, and in Japan, you were damn lucky if there was ever a rerun.
That was NOT the problem most people had with adventure 2020. It stuck to the monster of the week formula around the same as all previous seasons. The problem with Adventure 2020 was that the characters were terribly bland despite being based on some of the most interesting characters in the franchise. And the enemies were also quite boring, rarely ever speaking a word and mostly just being roaring beasts.
 

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Oh God he's using Masuda logic of kids have no attention span and lose interest in things after a few seconds. I hope that doesn't doom the Digimon anime to be endless filler episodes until the end of time cuz that would just make Digimon as an anime really unappealing to me.
The difference here is that this guy is only in charge of ghost game. There is no reason to believe he's also going to be in charge of many more seasons. And unlike pokemon, nothing indicates that ghost game will get a continuation. The reason it got annoying with Pokemon is because that series reset the plot and progression with each series.
Yeah, but there's reason for concern when you consider that Adventure: was also largely tied down by some monster-of-the-day plots.

The ironic thing is that the early Digimon series, which stuck quite strongly to a serial format (at least compared to the modern series), were released at a time when it was far, far less convenient to get access to serials. There wasn't TV-on-demand, there wasn't streaming, and in Japan, you were damn lucky if there was ever a rerun.
That was NOT the problem most people had with adventure 2020. It stuck to the monster of the week formula around the same as all previous seasons. The problem with Adventure 2020 was that the characters were terribly bland despite being based on some of the most interesting characters in the franchise. And the enemies were also quite boring, rarely ever speaking a word and mostly just being roaring beasts.
There’s also the fact that unlike Ghost Game, Adventure 2020 had established a story from the very start.

Marc and I said in this week’s podcast last night that you can’t call Ghost Game endless filler when that wrongly assumes that there was a main narrative at the front front because that is just fundamentally not true. Any elements that could be considered part of the larger narrative have always taken a back seat to the plot of the week.

To quote @MarcFBR: The problem with Ghost Game isn’t that it’s episodic, it’s that it doesn’t do the episodic format well.
 

Amandil7

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I'm afraid I don't agree with this logic! I loved Ghost Game initially but now I don't look forward to watching it, the plot has barely advanced and if anything my attention has moved on while waiting for something to happen already.
 

Bartz

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Yeah, that comment is pretty out of touch. There are a number of recent shows with a serialized format that have enjoyed success so the idea that kids only like short one episode plotlines doesn't sync up. That said, i wouldn't mind the format if each episode was good at holding attention on their own, but Ghost Game has been struggling with that and I feel it's gotten worse about it as time has gone on.
 

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It is funny to think that in one side they trust the childs enough to do a horror themed series with deaths and stuff, but in another side can't trust the attention span of the childs, and because of tiktoks
 

JasperGunner02

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It is funny to think that in one side they trust the childs enough to do a horror themed series with deaths and stuff, but in another side can't trust the attention span of the childs, and because of tiktoks
I dunno, if Japanese kids are anything like American kids, I think he's right on the money there. Horror and horror-adjacent media are very popular with kid audiences, even those who's attention spans really got slashed by TikTok and the like.
 

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Really hope they do something like 3 first movie of Adventure Tri. For future series or sequel series of past season to complete all their evolution (For 02 and XW i also hope they do comple normal line evolution).

I think only kids that like this type episode (Ghost Game and Adventure reboot) or maybe local viewers?. I like pokemon when i was a kid but now no.

They could make game with amazing story, but why can't with anime (I mean reboot and GG, i dont have any problem about past season story just their evolution not complete)?
 

WhamEpisode3695

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I was definitely not amused. I really wanted an unexpected plot twist that no one saw coming. But the slow pacing made it very uninteresting.
 

Chimera-gui

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Agree to disagree. I think Ghost Game so far does the episodic format well.
To be fair, that's more Marc's opinion.

While I don't fully agree with him, I do understand the reasons he gave for his opinion (see the aforementioned podcast) and do think there's room for improvement in Ghost Game's handling of the format.
 

TheImpster

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Agree to disagree. I think Ghost Game so far does the episodic format well.
To be fair, that's more Marc's opinion.

While I don't fully agree with him, I do understand the reasons he gave for his opinion (see the aforementioned podcast) and do think there's room for improvement in Ghost Game's handling of the format.
For sure. I think it does a fine job, filling the same niche as something like extreme Ghostbusters and Ben 10 for me, but there are things it could improve
 

TheDigiVoid

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This interview does not cement my hope for this series going forward. Personally I think that currently there is a divide between fans on this series as a whole.
Partly due to its story progression. As much as I do fall victim to getting excited whenever I see Gulus or any black variant of a legacy partner digimon, the overall repitition of this formula despite the amount of episodes in alarms me. This is because As much as people want to say that the basis of this series is monster of the week we have yet to see the digital world be expanded or some explanation concerning the whereabouts of Hiro's dad the digivice etc. And considering the fact that we are 40+ episodes in and the creator justifying this method of writing based on childrens consumption of YouTube and Tik Tok is a horrible excuse, and ironically enough kids will grow bored of this method themselves. As for adult fans the feeling as I would personally describe it is like dangling a carrot in front of us to keep engagement via a gulus drop, but eventually this is going to kill the series for the adult audiences as well because of its overall repitition
 

Chimera-gui

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That's pretty much my sentiment @TheImpster.

As much as people want to say that the basis of this series is monster of the week
That's not just people saying, that has been confirmed fact since before the series even started. The stuff regarding the Digital World and Hiro's dad has always been a subplot at best.

ironically enough kids will grow bored of this method themselves.
eventually this is going to kill the series for both audiences in my opinion
Real Ghostbusters, Ben 10, Scooby Doo were episodic as hell and were considerably successful. Hell, most kid's media is still episodic outside a few series like The Owl House because serialized series are notoriously hard to jump into the middle of without binge watching the whole thing as I had to with The Owl House after watching Knock, Knock, Knockin' on Hooty's Door so I could understand the characters' behavior and the significance of Hooty's actions.
 
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TheDigiVoid

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The defensive reply says it all. It funny to see but if it makes it better for you we can agree to disagree lol
 

WhamEpisode3695

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This interview does not cement my hope for this series going forward. Personally I think that currently there is a divide between fans on this series as a whole.
Partly due to its story progression. As much as I do fall victim to getting excited whenever I see Gulus or any black variant of a legacy partner digimon, the overall repitition of this formula despite the amount of episodes in alarms me. This is because As much as people want to say that the basis of this series is monster of the week we have yet to see the digital world be expanded or some explanation concerning the whereabouts of Hiro's dad the digivice etc. And considering the fact that we are 40+ episodes in and the creator justifying this method of writing based on childrens consumption of YouTube and Tik Tok is a horrible excuse, and ironically enough kids will grow bored of this method themselves. As for adult fans the feeling as I would personally describe it is like dangling a carrot in front of us to keep engagement via a gulus drop, but eventually this is going to kill the series for the adult audiences as well because of its overall repitition
Yeah i hear you bro.
 
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