Juri Kato (aka Jeri Kato)
** Note: In the original Japanese version of "Digimon Tamers", Jeri's name is Juri Katou. She is 10 years old at the beginning of the show, not 13.
Although it was decided early on that there would only be three "digimon tamers" to begin with, I had it in mind that we should have a large number of children as part of the regular cast. As Takato is a normal, every-day child, it was important to solidly establish the relationships between him and his friends and classmates at school.
At first, I did not have any plans to make Jeri bear the heavy burden of "destiny" that she does in the middle of the second story arc (taking place in the Digital World).
However, Jeri is the girl most often on Takato's mind and closest to his heart.
This was something underlined not only in the scripts that I wrote, but also in Mr. Kaizawa's direction in the first episode. This was when Jeri's importance to the series was cemented.
"Woof!" Jeri uses a hand-made hand-puppet and practices ventriloquism.
This was something that was not in Jeri's original character concept, but Mr. Nakatsuru's design sketches of her included the hand-puppet.
I could see that this hand-puppet would definitely be of use as a prop in the drama to come, and more importantly, Jeri looked very cute with the puppet on her hand. Thus, Jeri's character was shaped and molded by Mr. Nakatsuru's designs.
Furthermore, Director Kaizawa came up with the idea that Jeri carried around the puppet to entertain her much younger brother. From this, the concept of Jeri's step-mother (a second wife to her father) was born.
Although I mentioned earlier that I don't create resumes or character sheets for my characters, I do discuss characters with Director Kaizawa and Producer Seki.
During these informal chats, we often talk about what sort of family a character might have.
On more than one occasion, these conversations have fed back into the scripts, and have been included in the stories.
The fact that Jeri's family runs a small restaurant was something that fit in with the commercial district that served as a backdrop to the series.
I had also thought up the idea that her birth mother had passed away, and that she had a young step-mother, but I had no intention of mentioning it in the series unless it was of actual use in the plot of the drama.
In episode 24, I illustrated Jeri's home situation for the first time. This was when I finally decided upon her role in the latter half of the series.
Those of you who have seen some of my previous works may remember that the name "Juri" shows up in several series.
In 1998's "serial experiments: lain", the heroine Lain has a best friend named "Alice". One of Alice's friends is named Juri.
In this series, Alice (not Juri) was played by Ms. Yoko Asada
Previous to "serial experiments:lain", Ms. Asada played the main character, "Alice", in a playstation game called "Alice in Cyberland".
Of course "Alice in Cyberland", "serial experiments lain" and "Digimon Tamers" are all separate works, not part of the same canon.
But as a script-writer and story-editor, I cannot help but notice the one thread tying them together.
They are all works that take place in "the network, presented as a fantasy world".
Ms. Asada played Alice very well in "lain", and I thought that I was satisfied.
But when I was asked to write a "net"-related work for a third time in Digimon Tamers, I felt that I couldn't disrupt the flow of what I'd been writing for the last few years.
Takato is not yet fully aware that he is falling in love, and there was no need (plot-wise) for the object of his affections to be Jeri, Juri or Alice.
It was a personal desire on my part, as an author, to bring Jeri into this work. This is deeply connected to one of my motivations for telling this story-- a hope that I can let Jeri have a happy ending at last.