Translated Interviews with Tenya Yabuno & Atsuhiro Tomioka, w/ Adventure: Length Info

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To celebrate the special chapter of V-Tamer and the new series Digimon Adventure:, there was recently a joint interview/talk with Tenya Yabuno (the artist of V-Tamer, who also designed a number of Digimon characters, Taichi included) and Atsuhiro Tomioka, the series composer of Digimon Adventure:.


These go over a number of things from the earliest years of the franchise up to right now with Adventure: in production and is a fun read.

The interviews may contain spoilers for some things, so general warning.

They were conducted remotely before Adventure: coming back from hiatus was announced.



The talk/interview was published in two parts. Since they compliment eachother and go over material that overlaps we are putting the translations of both up at the same time.

Huge thanks to onkei for translating both of these.



The first part was published on the V-Jump website and focused on the manga, along with Taichi.



A special one-shot comic "Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01" is available to read in V-Jump's July special edition! It's a team-up story with Taichi Yagami, the protagonist of "Digimon Adventure:". Mr. Tenya Yabuno and Mr. Atsuhiro Tomioka held a joint interview to commemorate this, and also told us of the comic's behind-the-scenes production process and anime secrets!
◆Profiles
Tenya Yabuno: Comic artist. Created "Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01" in 1999 [note- V-Tamer actually began in 1998] for serialization in V-Jump. He has also worked on "Inazuma Eleven," "Bocchi Waiwai Misake e," etc.
Atsuhiro Tomioka: Screenplay writer. The series composer in charge of the "Digimon Adventure:" series that began airing in April 2020. His major works are "Dragonball Super," the "Pocket Monster" series, the "Inazuma Eleven" series, etc.
-Please tell us how you two first got involved with "Digimon."
Yabuno: My beginnings took place when I drew a one-shot for a special edition of Jump, around the time when the "Digital Monster" toy was taking a dive into mixed media. Since I drew illustrations and 4-panel comics for articles, I was pretty much involved since day one.
Tomioka: Mine was when I received the offer from Toei Animation to work on the new "Digimon Adventure:" series as the series composer. I watched the old series and movies, but in terms of the job, Yabuno-san is my Digimon senior. I'm the Digimon freshman (laughs).
-I hear that the two of you already knew each other before all of this.
Tomioka: We first worked together on the "Inazuma Eleven" series. I was the screenplay writer for the anime, while Yabuno-san did the comic version. We didn't meet face-to-face back then, but I knew his name. There was a script writer that we were mutual friends with, and it was through them that we met together for dinner and drinks. It's been a number of years since the "Inazuma Eleven" series.
Yabuno: Yes, so it's actually only recently that we've begun talking to each other again.
Tomioka: Back then, we'd said to each other rather frivolously that it would be nice to work together again. When I received the offer for "Digimon" now, that was the first time I learned that Yabuno-san had drawn the "Digimon" comic. A person from Toei Animation told me to read it, saying that it would be a good reference, and when I did, I could tell right away that it had the Yabuno touch (laugh). I was drawn in by Taichi's passion.
Yabuno: I'm happy to hear that. (laughs)
Tomioka: In that moment when I was reading the comic and thinking of reporting to you, Yabuno-san, that I'd been chosen as the writer for Digimon Adventure:, I got a message from Yabuno-san that planning for the comic was in the works. It made me so excited. It was indirect again, but we were co-starring (laughs).
-Tell us what you thought when you heard that V-Tamer 01 was being revived.
Yabuno: I was happy to get the chance to draw "V-Tamer 01" once more, and grateful to be asked to work again on a series that's from so many years ago. I drew the [new one-shot] comic while looking back on pages, making sure that I'd gotten finer details correct like the shape of the digivice and such. Also, since it's a collab with the anime and [V-Tamer Taichi] would be side-by-side with anime Taichi, I was careful to make the characters' heights and style as close to the standard V-Tamer Taichi as possible.
Tomioka: My first thought was "How are we going to collab on this?" As a TV series, I'm working with several screenplay writers but the Taichi that I write has slight differences to the Taichi that other people do, down to the nuances of any single word he says. Therefore, I was extremely interested in seeing how the new anime Taichi would be interpreted and depicted, and how he would converse with V-Tamer Taichi. When I read the actual thing, their dialogue felt very natural and I enjoyed it.
Yabuno: I'm glad to hear you say that. The strongest impression of Taichi Yagami's character is from the 1999 Digimon Adventure, and while V-Tamer Taichi is the same as him in name, I often used him as a parallel entity. Since this one-shot is published at the same time the interpretation of the new anime Taichi is being formed, I thought it would be nice to make a story about "bridging the gap between Taichis" between 1999 "Digimon Adventure" to "Digimon Adventure:", from the standpoint of a parallel universe cheering on the other. This is what I discussed with Hiroshi Izawa-san, the original concept creator.
Tomioka: I easily dived into it [without it feeling out of place]!
Yabuno: I'm glad!
Tomioka: I think it would be fun if this one-shot wasn't just a single contained moment, but expanded as a series. Seeing Digimon Adventure: Taichi have more places to be active [outside the TV] makes me very happy. That's why I'm kind of hoping that this collab will be the starting point to "expanding" into something greater.
Yabuno: Izawa-san's works have a thorough grasp of the characters' inner thoughts, so while it's very easy to draw, the battles and action scenes get convoluted. The script itself draws a descriptive mental picture, but when you apply that into comic form, you often run out of pages. In this case [with the one-shot], I unfortunately had to cut out most of the second half of the action scenes. Therefore.... y'know... I wonder if you can put it in the anime instead (laughs).
Tomioka: I think that would be up to the producers at Toei Animation... (laughs)
Yabuno: (laughs)



-What are your impressions of the various renditions of Taichi that are in the 1999 series "Digimon Adventure," in "V-Tamer 01," and "Digimon Adventure:"?
Yabuno: At the beginning of serialization, we had a limit of 13 pages per month, so V-Tamer Taichi had to carry on his duty alone, without many appearances of other characters. Because of that, and also probably because it was to Izawa-san's tastes, V-Tamer Taichi had a straight head on his shoulders and had to be a bit mature. The 1999 Taichi worked with a team, so he was able to expose the weaker, human parts of himself, and my impression of him is that he is very human. My first impression of the new Taichi is that he's similar to V-Tamer Taichi, so for this collab, I felt incredibly close to him in that way.
Tomioka: To tell you the truth, the new Taichi is based on V-Tamer Taichi. The director, along with the production team, made a very conscious decision on that. His [new Taichi's] basic format is having inherited the personality of the original Taichi, but with the ability to observe situations calmly and send out instructions as per V-Tamer. I want to form this new series where the children are always with their Digimon, fighting together, hurt together, getting through dangers together. From that, I want to make a Taichi that constantly pulls his friends forward, has a strong sense of responsibility, and is a dependable hero.
Yabuno: Ohhh! V-Tamer Taichi is the format, huh! Broadcast has been temporarily delayed after episode 3, but it was fortunate to have been able to see them. I can't wait to see what happens in episode 4.
Tomioka: The first three episodes are more of a prologue to facing the digital crisis rather than an adventure. From episode 4 onward, they'll be traveling through an unknown world. The upcoming scenarios will have the battle aspects heightened, with one danger after another, so new Taichi has no time for hesitating (laughs). He'll be in a position where he's already in another battle before he realizes it.
Yabuno: The first three episodes were like a roller coaster. The action scenes were so cool. The part where Greymon whirled while kicking, or whirled once and settled his balance before kicking, that was awesome.


Tomioka: That kind of stuff is exciting, right? (laughs) In scenario action scenes, if the writer has a suggestion about what moves to make, it's often broadened in the episode direction of the storyboard. That goes for the drama portion as well. From the POV of the scenario, when I see that what I'd imagined has been broadened into something cool on video, I do think "They got me good! It's so cool!"
-What should readers look out for in this special one-shot comic?
Yabuno: I paid special attention to the volume of hair for Digimon Adventure: Taichi (laughs). Also, this is the first time ever that I've drawn Agumon properly. His design has an exquisite balance to it. I wanted to draw him in a cute way similar to Mr. Kenji Watanabe's style, and I practiced on it assiduously.
Tomioka: This one-shot has many good scene shots. There's a cool shot of the two Taichi's standing side-by-side and saying "Let's go!!!" and a cute shot of Agumon riding on Zeromaru's head. It's rather fresh, so I hope readers enjoy it.
-Thank you!





The second part was published on Digimon Web and focuses more on the anime, and some behind the scenes elements of it.





A special one-shot comic "Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01" is available to read in V-Jump's July special edition! It's a team-up story with Taichi Yagami, the protagonist of "Digimon Adventure:". Mr. Tenya Yabuno and Mr. Atsuhiro Tomioka held a joint interview to commemorate this, and also told us of the comic's behind-the-scenes production process and anime secrets!
◆Profiles
Tenya Yabuno: Comic artist. Created "Digimon Adventure V-Tamer 01" in 1999 [note- V-Tamer actually began in 1998] for serialization in V-Jump. He has also worked on "Inazuma Eleven," "Bocchi Waiwai Misake e," etc.
Atsuhiro Tomioka: Screenplay writer. The series compositor in charge of the "Digimon Adventure:" series that began airing in April 2020. His major works are "Dragonball Super," "Pocket Monster" series, the "Inazuma Eleven" series, etc.
-Tomioka-san, what does your role as series composer entail?
Tomioka: I never know how to give a short answer to that question (laughs). Since this role is not in the system of TV dramas, it's hard for some people to understand. The series composer is responsible for listening to everyone's ideas while putting the flow of the entire series' story and character actions into words. Of course, I also take an active part in writing scenarios and fleshing out the story. Since "Digimon Adventure:" is a long series that will be on the air for a year, the writing is divided up between five people. When each screenplay writer brings forth their ideas of what they think "this character would do in this scene," my stance is to not reject any of their ideas. Rather, I make sure to treat them with delicacy since the ideas actually grow from further input by the director and producer. My job is to aggressively expand the story into something fun (laughs).
Yabuno: Would overlooking the entire story be the job of the series compositor?
Tomioka: Yes, however, when you're making "drawings" out of the scenario, you start needing the director to step in and make their judgment. The scenario is made by integrating the director's image on various things such as the storyboard, the character direction, and the protagonist's emotional development. Therefore, the scenario is a bundle of ideas from many people, from the director to the producer to the screenplay writer of that episode. The job of the series compositor is to keep everyone motivated and draw out their ideas, so at the end of a meeting, I'm already exhausted.
Yabuno: I see, it takes up a lot of energy.
-Yabuno-sensei, when you were creating "V-Tamer 01," you were working with Hiroshi Izawa-san, who formed the original concept. How did you two create it?
Yabuno: Back when "V-Tamer 01" was serialized, we had many meetings, probably around three times a month. There'd be one meeting about what will happen next, one meeting where we shared opinions on the formed script, and another meeting where we shared opinions on the comic's rough draft. The supervising editor also came to the meetings, so all three of us would join heads and confer on it for several hours. I think I expended more effort in it than any other comic. We were a small number of people, but we felt like a team.
-Yabuno-san, what are your thoughts after watching "Digimon Adventure:"?
Yabuno: There were many homages scattered throughout, and I could tell that Tomioka-san researched a lot as I watched it. I was curious how you gathered your information and materials.
Tomioka: Well, the producer and director are very familiar with the old series (laughs). My stance on it is purely making "a new Digimon Adventure." While the characters are the same, the setting takes place in the current world where people are familiar with the internet, and I thought about what kind of threatening incidents would take place in current times, factors that wouldn't have occurred in the old series. I was also given the order to make the battle aspects stronger. That's why, rather than reading the materials and taking in info, I concentrated more on respecting the info of the old series while making something new.
Yabuno: I often see your name in other anime works, so in the past, I thought that it was a pen name that was used by various people (laughs).
Tomioka: No no, there's only one of me (laughs). Production of a series is possible only with the help of the producers, director, and other screenplay writers. A script is just a bunch of words, so if I want to write about a scene that's on a big scale, I can easily go to the extreme and write "An army swarm came flying in." That would frustrate the person who has to draw that, so the director steps in to make adjustments. That's why I think comic artists are amazing! You draw the art and make it look cool all on your own.
Yabuno: I wish Izawa-san was here to hear that. When I had my first meeting with him on V-Tamer 01, he wanted "Several thousand Digimon lined up" at the opening scene of the research lab. The first words out of my mouth upon hearing that were "And who's going to draw those thousands of Digimon?" (laughs)
Tomioka: That's a common occurrence in scripts. Scenario writers love large armies appearing on the horizon like the kind seen in Hollywood movies. We're just dying to do something like that (laughs).
-Was drawing the new Taichi for the team-up comic easy for you, Tenya Yabuno-sensei?
Yabuno: Well, he was easy to draw in action. Having Agumon ride on Zeromaru's head and depicting the combo play was one of many challenges for this comic. Also, what I've been careful about since the very first serialization is that I don't "make" Digimon fight, but "aid the Digimon who wants to fight." I took care that Zeromaru and Taichi's relationship was like that of a boxer and his second.
Tomioka: I could tell that from reading the comic. There's a strong sense of buddy-ship between Taichi, the brains, and Zeromaru, the fighter. We're also making the image of "two as one" in Digimon Adventure:, so you can expect to see more scenes like that in fights from episode 4 onward.
Yabuno: In the first meeting, Volcano Ota-san (*Head of Digimon for Bandai since 1998. Currently affiliated with Aoni Productions as a voice actor) said the words "unity between rider and steed" and I couldn't forget it. It was those words that made me decide on Taichi riding on Zeromaru during fights in the midpoint phase of V-Tamer 01.
Tomioka: Yeah, the fourth volume cover of V-Tamer had Taichi riding on Zeromaru. That cover art was always on my mind, and when I was thinking how he would ride on Greymon, I wrote "he's riding him" in the script and left it for the director to decide (laughs). I remember feeling moved and thinking "So this is where he's been put!" when I saw the actual art. I added a lot of hints in the action parts that pay respects to V-Tamer.


Yabuno: That seriously makes me happy. In the comic version, you just can't help it being parallel and it feels secondary to the anime. But getting feedback from you, Tomioka-san, like this makes me really grateful.
Tomioka: Well, I have the style of taking in what I think is good and using it for myself (laughs).
-Please tell us what you're looking forward to in the anime.
Yabuno: Since Omegamon went full blast in only episode 3, I'm looking forward to seeing if there's a Digimon even stronger than Omegamon in the future.


Tomioka: The new Taichi is modeled after V-Tamer Taichi, but I was also careful about that in the story as well. For instance, I used Angemon as a reference in terms of forming the story composition. And, in upcoming developments, their adventure in the digital world begins, they gather up friends one after another, and they clear missions that are given to them.


Yabuno: The comic was meant to match the broadcast, so, oops, I drew the five of them gathered together in it. (laughs)
Tomioka: Under regular circumstances, the anime broadcast would have reached that point by now... Their journey is different from the original series, so I hope new fans as well as old are both surprised and pleased by this re-interpretation of it.
Yabuno: I can't wait!
Tomioka: Takeru and Hikari are a touch involved with Omegamon's appearance, and we've incorporated plot devices that foreshadow what will happen in the future.
Yabuno: Since it's moving so fast, you just might find new discoveries on your second or third watch.
Tomioka: Yes. That's why I'd like it if viewers just sat back and enjoyed how cool it is when watching it first in real time, then later they rewatch it on stream and discover things that lead to the setup of future developments and predict what happens next. My scenario team is also using the final video as hints to expand further ideas. The production team as well enjoys making it, so I'd be happy if everyone enjoyed.
-Thank you!




The interviews give a lot of great behind the scenes info for the original run of V-Tamer, the new chapter of V-Tamer, Digimon Adventure:, and is a great look at the making of things from 2 different people who have large connections to the franchise.


And while we already realistically knew it due to various production things, having the series composer say the show is planned to air for a year should put some concerns to rest.
 

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Leoil01

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He was right I rewatched ep 1 today and noticed that when izzy booted ep his laptop mimi's last name was on the screen its exciting finding new thing when you rewatch episodes
 

Muur

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I enjoyed reading the interviews- thanks for posting.
 

Unknown Neo

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Interviews are always interesting to read. Thanks a lot.
 

Theigno

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Finding out that V-Tamer will be influencing the new Anime puts me in an incredibly positive mood.

As far as the character of Taichi goes it will be interesting to see where they'll end up striking the balance.
It was always amazing to watch V-Tamer Taichi (V-Taichi?) outsmart his opponents but he himself didn't have much of an arc; He was competent, he had his principles, he didn't really waver. It worked for the story of the Manga which was mostly a crescendo of battles.
Similarly, with the new Taichi, it makes sense for a more action oriented anime that he would already come with much of the self control and reliability that the Adventure Taichi still had to learn, so they can get to the more creative and involved fights sooner. But the anime is also keeping much of its character focus, so Taichi's development has to get somewhere, and with the original character arc being pretty much halfway obsolete for the new incarnation, they'll have to come up with something new... I'm looking forward to that.
 

Mon-Ohma

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So, the new Taichi is modelled more on the V-Tamer version.

Not sure how to feel about that, given my current impressions regarding his bonding with Agumon, and other things. Excusing the fact I never found the Manga as mind blowing as I was apparently supposed to...
I guess time will tell whether it was a good idea, but I am curious about how they intend to execute things like Skullgreymon. Unless they decide to cut that out of the reboot altogether...
 
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VanChizzle

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Yeah I love that they're basing the new Taichi more on the one from V-Tamer, yet with a bit of Adventure Taichi's personality as well. Best of both worlds. Always wanted them to explore the possibility of humans being more involved in how their Digimon battle.
 

Quinlan58

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Since Omegamon's use is based on Angemon, that probably means we'll see him again mid-series and then get a new mode in the end (Merciful mode? Maybe even X, since the previous V-Pets were based on that?).

Good to see the series is influenced by V-Tamer, especially good to see that the combats will be a focus since they've been awesome so far. Hopefully reboot Taichi has more of an arc than V-Tamer Taichi did, though.
 
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