Digimon Tamers is the third season in the Digimon series and tells the story of Takato and his connection to the Digimon Guilmon and his friends. It has been 17 years since the series first aired in 2001 and thanks to the support of many enthusiastic fans, a Blu-ray box set with all 51 episodes of Digimon Tamers was released in Japan on 3 April 2018.
This article is an interview with the character designer Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru. He was asked about the anime’s production and how he came up with the illustrations for the Blu-ray box set.
About the character design
― First of all, do you remember anything special from the time of the broadcast you can share with us?
All this time, the biggest memory I have is, earnestly, creating characters. (laugh) Instead of the image design, the idea behind it is what makes it good or bad in this case, so to find ideas with depth was hard.
― What did you pay most attention to while designing the characters for Digimon Tamers?
From the beginning of the Digimon series, I have been drawing a strange head-body ratio. Because I made the feet and hands of the Digimon really big, so I also designed the feet and hands of the humans bigger. However, it is important to consider the background and props or the whole balance is thrown off. Thinking about it now, I think it was unreasonable that I did it like that and if I had the chance, I would like to experiment with it again.
Takato and his partner Digimon Guilmon
― Does that mean the human characters were designed after the Digimon and that their design was taken into consideration?
I did consider the color of the partner Digimon and the contrast they would have while creating them. But aside from that, I didn’t consider anything else.
― What kind of communication with the producer Seki Hiromi and the series compositor Chiaki Konaka did you have while making the design?
First, I got to read the scenario, then I made some rough sketches and showed them to producer Seki who guided me in a certain direction. Konaka used the designs and incorporated them more in the script… That’s how I remember it.
The series director Yukio Kaizawa can also draw and has great ideas, but I was able to come up with the character designs freely.
― Tell us how you started to design the three main characters, Takato, Rika, and Henry.
Takato and Henry
Takato, as the hero of a Digimon series, should have goggles but be easily distinguishable from the previous main characters. For Henry, I focused on his eyes and his eyebrows first, because he should be the wise and calm character. And for Rika, I started with the silhouette of her hair.
― Which Tamers characters do you have fond memories of?
From human characters, it would be Rika, and for the Digimon, it’s Terriermon. Terriermon is interacting well with his part and is fun to draw. That’s his charm.