When I first became involved with the third season of Digimon, the digimon selected to be the main character's partner was a very different type than Guilmon. This character had its own unique charms, but I insisted that it would be better to have a digimon that could "evolve" along with the main character; a character that would start from a newborn state.
At the time, I often used the phrase "more primitive" to describe this digimon, but I now realize that what I really meant was "more like a kaijyu(Japanese monster, like Godzilla or Gamera)". The next digimon that was selected, along with the statement "We're going to go with this one", was Guilmon. Of course, there were no voices of dissent this time.
Carrying great power within him, while still having some innocent cuteness on the surface. Guilmon truly was a "kaijyu" in the classic mold.
Digimon are digital monsters. They are a completely new, completely original type of "monster" for the modern age.
However, in my eyes, they are still a kind of "kaijyu".
I watched the first Ultraman series as I grew up, and many different kaijyu movies helped me become who I am today.
"Kaijyu" are not just large behemoths. They are not merely dinosaurs in a modern world.
As I see it, true "kaijyu" are a mysterious fantastic presence.
There are many specific episodes from the Ultraman series that have stayed with me, such as "Kanegon's net" and "Grow up, little turtle". I feel that the "kaijyu" who appeared in these works have some connection to digimon.
I was able to create the drama that I had envisioned from the very start --the drama of a main character, and his partner digimon -- from the first to third episode of the series.
A young kaijyu meets a young boy. The kaijyu follows him to school, causing all kinds of panic...
It was some time later that I realized that this drama was very similar to the beginning of a "kaijyu movie as juvenile science fiction", which I and my younger brother Kazuya Konaka (movie director) had always wanted to make.
While this movie was never made into a reality, we once had a chance to present it in script form. At the time, Daiei was attempting to release a remake of the classic movie "Gamera". The Konaka Brothers' concept of Gamera focussed on the relationship between children and kaijyu, just as Daiei's kaijyu movies had. While this received the support of a certain audience, it was eventually cancelled, and the film was later directed by Mr. Shuusuke Kaneko and written by Mr. Kazunori Ito as a film for older audiences.
I still have every intention of making a kaijyu film for a juvenile audience, as part of the Konaka Brothers.
However, I used this very concept as the introductory story arc for Digimon Tamers without even intending to do so.
Of course, the details are different, and it wasn't as if I had set out to make Digimon Tamers into a "kaijyu" series. But as I ruminated on the series, that is what happened. More accurately, I think that as I learned to love Digimon, they overlapped in my mind with kaijyu.
Another reason that this happened was Guilmon's size.
When I saw the first design sketches, I thought that Guilmon would be about the same size as Agumon from the first season of Digimon. However, when compared to humans, Guilmon was about the size of an adult. He was nowhere near small enough for a child to hide in his room.
To be honest, I thought: "We've got a problem."
I then thought it over, and realized that if I used this "problem" and wove it into the drama as the main character's problem, it would be very interesting.
When I heard that Producer Seki was going to ask the famous Ms. Masako Nozawa to voice Guilmon, I truly felt in my soul that I was a part of a mainstream series for the legendary Toei Animation company.
Ms. Nozawa breathed life into Guilmon. To me, the greatest thing she did was to expand Guilmon's innocence many times beyond what I had dared to hope.
In Episode 41 ("Homeward Bound"), Guilmon begs the Ark to stop, even though the Ark has no way to respond or even indicate that it understands. To me, this was the best Guilmon moment.
Growlmon... WarGrowlmon... each time Guilmon digivolves, he becomes larger and larger. The design of his Mega form, Dukemon, had already been decided before the series began, and even from the first episode, he appears in the opening sequence as a silhouette.
Takato and Guilmon evolve and grow together. In either case, things don't always progress as smoothly as they wish. Takato makes mistakes, gets hurt, and gets up again, wiping away his tears, to help Guilmon evolve further.
I envisioned from the start that the evolution to Dukemon would be one of the key points in the series.
However, I pondered the details of how to actually create a dramatic episode out of this as I helped create the first part of the series, and I watched closely as the script writers and directors built up the series. I must now confess that I had one moment of indecision during this process.
Digimon Tamers is created as a totally separate series from the previous two seasons. However, as I wrote in my early notes, I created the world view of Digimon Tamers as one that includes "Digimon Adventures" (Digimon Seasons 1 and 2).
When Takato announces to Guilmon that he is a tamer, he puts on a pair of goggles, the iconic symbol of the main characters from Digimon Seasons 1 and 2. This was my manifesto for the unique world view of Digimon Tamers.
However, this was something that was necessary to show the children in real world (already familiar with the Digimon series) the line between reality and fiction. I felt that it would not be in the best interests of Digimon fans *or* the children now enjoying Digimon Tamers if these characters interacted with the world of Digimon Adventures, or with the characters from the previous series. (I am told that when the series began, many fans wished for links to the two previous seasons of Digimon. However, I believe that it is dishonest and unfair for writers to give in to these requests as"fan service".)
My conundrum came when Takato, who adores all things Digimon and loves Guilmon more than anyone in the world, gives in to the weakness and confusion within him to make Guilmon digivolve into a horrifying form. Something very powerful was needed to guide Takato to the proper path to digivolution.
What could give Takato this strong impact? Who else but the main character of Digimon, Tai, and his partner Agumon?
When creating the rough structure of the middle section of the series, I put forth this idea.
A huge debate ensued between myself and the producer, the director, and the many other staff members. The one thing that we all believed was that we wanted to choose whichever path would make "Digimon Tamers" a better dramatic series. My conundrum had the unexpected result of allowing me to confirm that all our hearts were as one on this issue.
We were unable to come to a conclusion through committee, and so I took it upon myself to come up with an answer. Thus, episode 35 ("Give A Little Bit") was created. Part of what helped me decide that the episode would work was some words of advice from Mr. Hiroyuki Kakudou, who was series director for the first season of Digimon, as well as the director for this episode.