Takato Matsuda (aka Takato Matsuki)
** Note: In the original Japanese version of "Digimon Tamers", Takato's full name is Takato Matsuda. He is 10 years old at the beginning of the show, not 13.
Takato is not a very popular name in Japan.
The main character of Digimon Adventures was Tai (Taichi in the Japanese version), and the main character for 02 was Davis (Daichi in the Japanese version).
Both of these names start with a similar sound in Japanese, so I thought that the third season should continue this tradition.
After a great deal of thinking, I came up with "Takato".
I hoped to portray Takato as a very normal, un-exceptional elementary school students. The basic concept for Digimon Tamers is "a normal elementary school student has a great adventure over the span of a year".
This character should not be a stereotypical leader-hero, shouting "Let's go!" at the drop of a hat. But on the other hand, he mustn't be perceived as a weak-willed wimp. He must be full of curiosity, fascinated by monsters and digimon, but also flawed enough that he might brag or exaggerate things in front of his friends --- in other words, an every-day, regular child.
However, this kind of "normality" is unusual in a TV anime main character, and so there is a tendency for Takato to be misinterpreted as "quiet" or "withdrawn". In fact, when I explained my ideas to the producers, I had to emphasize the difference to them again and again.
Whenever I create a fresh new character, I generally don't write up a resume of his or her childhood and past.
This goes for any series I write for, not just Digimon Tamers. I find that I must first write these characters as living beings within my script before I can get a grasp on details like their environment (the city they live in, what their house is like), and how they react when the dramatic events get rolling. (This method is rarely used in story editing.)
First, I decided that the main stage would be West Shinjiku, a little town right behind a forest of skyscrapers. When I walked around that area to look for locations and scenes, I felt that this town still had the atmosphere of the Showa Era (approx. 1940 to 1980).
There was a small collection of boutiques and corner stores, and I decided to place Takato's family bakery there.
The reason I made Takato the son of a store-owner was because "Fun Fun Pharmacy", a previous series I worked on with Director Kaizawa, was also set in a small commercial district. I felt that it would be appropriate to continue this trend.
Regarding Takato's parents, I thought up a backstory in which his father suddenly quit his 9 to 5 job in middle management, bought the bakery from the old landowner, and took over the business. In fact, I even wrote some dialogue to indicate this, but for reasons of time, the lines were cut from the final script.
After I wrote the scripts for approximately three episodes, Mr. Nakatsuru (the character designer) shared some of Takato's preliminary sketches and facial expressions.
I gasped in surprise. There, before me, were pages and pages of the sensitive young boy that I was hoping to sketch out in my upcoming scripts. The pictures were overflowing with an ambition to create a character totally different from the ones in previous seasons of Digimon.
Regarding Takato and his friends, I believe that I may have created the original model for their characters. But Mr. Nakatsuru's illustrations had enough power to draw these characters through their upcoming drama.
By the time I saw the completed version of the first episode, I looked at Takato -- brought to life by Director Kaizawa 's storyboards and direction -- and saw something alive, not some object that I had created and could be moved about at my convenience. (Of course, it would be a terrible thing if he *had* ended up as such a character.) What I mean is: Takato had become a complete individual with his own personality far sooner than I had expected.
I am a screenwriter, and in terms of movie production, I spend most of my time doing pre-production work. Almost all the work I do comes *before* the actual workplace gets going. However, I got into my current line of work through live-action directing experience from my independent film days, and so I make a point of attending the recording sessions for the actors as often as I can.
Even in the casting stage, I make arrangements so that I can voice my opinion. I had a vote during the casting session for Digimon Tamers, too.
As expected, Takato's casting was difficult. There were many people who were at an "okay" level, where we felt that we could settle for them, but we couldn't decide on a single actor.
While listening to the audition files on the CD-R, we discovered that there was one person who should have been recorded, but was missing.
It was close to midnight, and there was nobody in the recording studio.
However, since Director Kaizawa wished to hear this one last audition, we (along with the producers) headed to the studio and called the assistants, who had long since gone home. We spent hours looking for the precise recorded date, and finally heard...
Makoto Tsumura's audition.
Such a natural, normal voice, unlike anybody else we'd heard so far...
The vote was unanimous. Ms. Tsumura became our Takato.
We couldn't imagine anyone else voicing Takato. That was how perfect she was for the role.