'Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna' Producer Talks Film & Franchise's Effect on Fans

It's been over 20 years since Digimon first graced television screens and the final chapter of Tai, Matt, Sora and the rest of the original Digidestined will be told in the upcoming film Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna.

The original 1999 Digimon series' premise was simple. Eight children are swept off into a digital world where digital monsters (Digimon) live. Each child has their own special partner Digimon and are tasked with stopping the forces of evil in this world and their own.

While the plot is simple, the characters and themes in it were not. Digimon was unlike many animated children shows in the late 90s/early 2000s. It dealt with loss, grief, depression and a slew of other topics that you don't normally see in an animated series.

Digimon didn't treat its audience like children and that's why those who grew up with the show remember it fondly even 20 years later. Now, those same fans are getting to see the Digidestined themselves grow up as they prepare for one last adventure with their Digimon.

Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution producer Yusuke Kinoshita answered Newsweek's questions regarding the film and franchise over email in March to talk about the themes of the film and what makes Digimon such a beloved franchise.

digimon last evolution kizuna digidestined still 2
Toei Animation

What about the Digimon franchise makes it so appealing 20 years later?

YK: With 20 years since the first release, I feel that there's been a real history and life impact on our fans. Back then they were children, but now they're adult fans that just love the work.

Are you surprised by how much Digimon is loved outside of Japan?

YK: There are various goods and games in addition to the actual animation itself, so we understand that our overseas market share is significant. Considering the appeal of Digimon as a whole, however, I think there is still great potential to expand the franchise to our fans even more.

Digimon has dealt with more adult themes than other anime featuring children in the leads. Do you believe that's what made it so memorable?

YK: When a 10-year-old child turns 15, he'll look back at the stories and lessons that embodied important things humans should always keep in mind as they navigate through life, perhaps reflecting on "what Digimon taught me", even 20 years later. It may be more a matter of shaping one's mentality, something that stays with them for a lifetime, guides them even; rather than just leaving an initial impression.

Last Evolution seemingly deals with the theme of growing up. Is that the main theme and are there others that fans can look out for?

YK: "Growth" and "bonds" are essential themes that make up the core of Digimon. The same has held true since elementary school, and they are especially prominent when depicting the growth of the main characters as they progress into their college years.

With other franchises seem to be averse to aging characters, why is it important to have the original Digidestined grow up?

YK: Even when faced with a roadblock, they will overcome all obstacles and move forward with the combination of their own personal growth and the help of their friends and partners. Moving forward means getting older, and the hurdles you have to jump over are different depending on your age. Digimon Adventure draws the ideology of growth in life as a whole, rather than just that of one singular thing; the same holds true in Digimon Adventure 02, Tri, and Last Evolution.

Plenty of Digimon fans grew up alongside these characters. What has made these characters in particular easy to connect with?

YK: With eight characters comes eight different stories. While the simple answer may be "diversity", we affirm and support each person's unique walk of life. I think that the fans also projected themselves on their favorite characters and connected with them that way.

A lot of people who worked with the original series are on board for Last Evolution. How important was it to have them involved?

YK: By integrating both newcomers and veterans of the production, we wanted to "inherit", if you will, what is important to Digimon. As a result of respecting both counterparts, a great work was completed.

A lot of fans were disappointed that the Digidestined of Adventures Season 2 (Davis, Ken etc) had minor roles in the Tri movies. Will fans be happy with their inclusion in Last Evolution?

YK: The experience of seeing the characters' appearances as adults for the first time is something that I want fans to look forward to. The main story of this movie is based around Tai and Matt, but the characters of Davis (and others from 02) play an important role as well. I think the action is cool, but what really makes it worth watching is how they all come together as one force.

As Digimon moves past 20 years, what is next for the series?

YK: The Digimon fans of today are those who grew up watching and falling for the show as children, something that is shared by many throughout the world. Though we are telling a story about the last adventure in honor of this 20th anniversary, these characters will live on, just like the fans who grew up watching them, and it is my wish for those to continue walking alongside Digimon, and keep them in their hearts. I don't think it'll be long before adult fans start watching the new Digimon series with their own children, and I hope this leads to two generations of fans, parents and children alike, over the course of the next 20 years.

Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna can be purchased as a digital download on iTunes, Microsoft and Sony PlayStation Network starting on September 29, the film's North American digital release date. Fans can also purchase the film via DVD or Blu-ray starting October 6.

'Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna' Producer Talks Film & Franchise's Effect on Fans | Newsgeek