Ruki Makino (aka Rika Nonaka)
** Note: In the original Japanese version of "Digimon Tamers", "Rika"s name is Ruki Makino. She is 10 years old at the beginning of the show,not 13.
When I was approached with the concept of the third season of Digimon, Producer Seki had already decided that the three recurring main characters would be of mixed genders (both boys and girls), and one of them would be an immigrant, or someone not raised in Japan.
Two boys, and a girl. It's a basic formula, but the Digimon series is sponsored by Bandai, and based on toys by Bandai.
Past marketing trends not only for the Digimon series, but for children's animation over all, had proven that products based on female characters did not sell in a boys' action figure and toy market.
Thus, we came up with the idea of making "the girl" a character stronger than anyone else, and paired her with a powerful digimon.
In the very earliest stages, I had envisioned someone like Trinity, the heroine of the movie "The Matrix".
Mr. Nakatsuru's early Rika designs were heavily influenced by this image.
Gradually, we came up with a totally different concept-- the "pineapple-head" Rika that you all know and love.
I was overjoyed.
Finally! We could create a heroine unlike any ever seen before!
Just because a character is strong, she shouldn't have to use rough language.
I focussed my efforts on making my dialogue show Rika's mature side as well as her incredibly childish side.
I insisted that Rika's voice actress should have a clear, strong voice, and suggested Fumiko Orikasa, who had been very memorable in her performance in a film called "Near Under Seven",playing a character with the same name as me.
Even after the audition, Ms. Orikasa was the closest to my concept of Rika, and so the decision was made without any problems.
Rika's father-less family is not something I set up as a huge plot point.
As I researched urban elementary schools, I discovered a trend in the past few years that there were many single-parent or fatherless families. Her rather twisted personality is not in any way based off of her lack of a father figure.
In the spring of 2002, there was a Digimon Tamers movie titled "Runaway Digimon Express". I was not consulted on this feature film, and so any inconsistencies between this and the TV series in terms of time and setting are inevitable. However, the director of the movie, Mr. Tetsuharu Nakamura, was
also an assistant director of the TV series (during the third story arc), and the screenwriter, Mr. Hiro Masaki, was also a regular writer for the series. They paid a great deal of attention to the psychological aspects of the series when completing the movie.
Personally, I am very grateful to them for boldly illustrating the parts of Rika's family life that the TV series never explored.