Growing up, I was a huge fan of both Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02. While I continued to watch the various seasons over the years, they never really had the same impact to me. However, when Digimon Adventure tri. was announced, I couldn’t have been more excited.
Split into a six-part series, each film would be released around 4 to 6 months apart from each other, with the first movie Reunion premiering on November 21, 2015 in theaters in Japan and streamed on Crunchyroll. It would be a little over 10 months until an English version was released from Shout Factory, and it was a huge surprise when it was announced that many of the original voice actors would be returning for the films.
While the final film in Digimon Adventure Tri., Future, debuted back in May, this month sees the release of the fifth film, Coexistence, in North America. At Anime Expo, we had a chance to chat with three members of the film’s English cast: Joshua Seth (Taichi “Tai” Kamiya), Colleen O’Shaughnessey (Sora Takenouchi) and Johnny Yong Bosch, who is the new voice Takeru “T.K.” Takaishi about Digimon Adventure tri.
With the release of movie five, Coexistence, how has it been working on the series up to this point?
Colleen and Johnny: Awesome!
Joshua: It’s an awesome experience to be able to do this much in the marketplace and have people actually want to watch so much of it.
Johnny, how has it been taking over the role T.K. in the Digimon Adventure tri.?
Johnny: At first, it was scary because as I mentioned before in another interview, I didn’t know these characters were from an existing series. So for me coming in, I just auditioned for all the male characters, and then I found out it was an existing series. And I was scared, and then I was nervous and had to do a lot of of research and find what I could online. Then I talked to a lot of my friends online who were texting me saying, “Oh, your T.K. Cool.” And then I asked a lot of questions, but then after all of it now that we’ve gone through these movies I feel comfortable. It’s a great character. It’s a good show, and I want 20 more movie.
Joshua and Colleen, how has it been for both of you who were part of the original series to come back and return to the roles you played so long ago?
Colleen: It’s been great. I was so surprised that it was coming back. I didn’t know. Actually, I heard from a fan in New Zealand who asked me if I was going to [work on] Digimon Adventure tri., and I didn’t even know it was coming. I was like, “Sure, if they call.” And they did! It’s just been great. It’s been really nice to revisit Sora and this world and get back to Studiopolis and keep going with that.
Joshua: I wasn’t just coming back to voice Digimon, I was coming back to voiceovers entirely. I had stopped doing voice acting about 10 years ago after voicing, I think the last series I worked on was Cyborg 009. So I left L.A. to tour around to do my live shows doing mentalism and hypnosis and hadn’t been back, but then they asked me to do this. I said absolutely. I want to keep the integrity of the character alive and do it for the fans, as well as do it for my kids. I didn’t know if I would be rusty or if I would be starting over in a sense, but as soon as I got into the studio and put the headphones on, saw the script and they said go, it all just came rushing back as if I never left. It was so much fun, I’m glad I had the opportunity.
Digimon Adventure tri. has a much deeper story compared to the original cartoon, as we see more of the characters’ personalities and character development. How has it been for you two to delve deeper into these characters?
Colleen: I loved it. It’s been great because I feel like I’ve grown into an anime voice actor. Digimon was my very first anime role and I was learning as I went and it was very stressful, very nerve wracking. And now I have X amount of years under my belt, and both Sora and myself are more mature. So, It’s been great. Sora’s being able to do a bit of an emotional roller coaster through this new series is great.
Joshua: As a performer, as an actor, I like the opportunity to stretch a bit with these Digimon tri. movies and the fact that they are a little bit older and the fact that they are more conscious of the effect that their decisions are going to have, like if the Digimon are going to battle and if the battle will lead to destruction. It’s more interesting as an actor to go through that process rather than always say, “Let’s fight!”
In the third film, Confession, we see the reboot take place and now the memories of the Digimon have been erased. How was it trying to capture that emotional moment?
Colleen: It was really hard, especially for Sora, because Biyomon wasn’t having it, telling Sora to leave her alone and stop following her while everyone else was at least trying. So, she was the lone man out, so it was hard for her. And it was great to have that emotional connection and that emotional roller coaster with her.
Joshua: I have kids, so to imagine if something like that happened, lets say if someone falls into a coma or got knocked out and had memory loss. So if they were to look at me, this person who is so close to my heart or creature/Digimon and they suddenly didn’t recognize me and know the relationship that we had would be heartbreaking, so it’s easy to feel what that would be like. It’s really great writing and nice to see the evolution of the series go to these unexpected places.
T.K. had a very emotional scene where he knew Patamon was infected but was worried about losing him. How challenging was that for you?
Johnny: Well, the story was there, so it was pretty easy to get into the emotional moments of that. I also had this puppy. I unfortunately had to put her down. It would have been great if I could have restarted her, but that emotion is easy to kind of draw up when you’ve gone through something where you can find your way into that emotion.
Have any of you watched the final movie in Digimon Adventure tri. yet?
Colleen: No, I haven’t.
Joshua: We don’t do that. I don’t think any of us watch the original because it messes with your read. It messes up your ability to bring something original to it.
For fans, people who haven’t seen the original series or any of the movies, what is a great reason for them to watch Digimon Adventure tri.?
Colleen: I think they do a pretty good job of reintroducing the characters without blatantly reintroducing them. I think you can watch these movies, apart from the original series, without having too much trouble with figuring out what’s happening. And if you are an anime fan, why not? Why not start watching this iconic show.
Joshua: I think that’s the best answer because it will be a big piece of the puzzle missing if you didn’t know the series.
Johnny: I think it would definitely help to have the original series. I needed it just to know what I was doing or who these people were and to grow attached to them now. I would definitely say to look into some of the older stuff, but I think if you are committed to get through a few movies, you will be alright.
Finally, I have to ask, outside of your character’s Digimon, who is your favorite Digimon?
Colleen: I like Agumon. He makes me laugh. I like him a lot.
Joshua: Well, Motimon because I also voiced that [character], and he’s such a cute pink squishy thing.