Written by Jonny Lobo
Digimon faithful, rejoice! At last, more than fifteen years later, English-speaking fans of the original animated series Digimon Adventure (1999 – 2000) have received confirmation that their beloved dub cast will be reprising their respective roles for Digimon Adventure tri.
In case you haven’t heard since the momentous announcement in 2014 (to help mark the anime’s 15th anniversary), here’s a quick rundown: Digimon Adventure tri. – Chapter 1: Reunion (2015) is the first of several forthcoming movies depicting the DigiDestined—Tai, Matt, Sora, Izzy, Mimi, Joe, Kari, and T.K. (as they’re known to North American audiences, at any rate)—after the events of Digimon Adventure 02 (2000 – 2001). As high school students, new adventures in the Digital World await the established cast…and, of course, their long-time Digimon companions.
While news quickly spread that the original Japanese actors would be returning, things were a bit more ambiguous for fans of the English dub. Countless North American viewers who were introduced to the franchise by way of bygone blocks of programming, such as Fox Kids or Kids’ WB, waited on pins and needles for any sign of hope that the original team of actors responsible for so many heartwarming childhood memories could be reassembled.
Time lurches ever onward: as many surmised, much of the cast had no doubt moved on to other projects in the years since Digimon Adventure. Would they be willing and able to reprise their roles after such a long time? Murmurs across the web speculated that the most difficult part of the equation would probably be getting Joshua Seth, a.k.a. main character Tai Kamiya, to return to the world of acting after unofficially retiring from voice acting to pursue work as an author and performing mentalist, while touring extensively as a motivational speaker. Fortunately, only months after the news initially broke at the Digimon Adventure 15th Anniversary Event, fans had their answer.
In December of 2014, anime-trivia outlet Did You Know Anime? pleasantly stunned the anime community when an episode spotlighting the Digimon franchise featured none other than Joshua Seth himself as the narrator. At the end of said webisode, Mr. Seth explicitly made his willingness to return evident:
“So hey, fans! I know I haven’t recorded something in a long, long time (years, to be precise), and the reason I’m doing this now is ever since the 15th anniversary of Digimon was announced, I’ve been inundated with emails and private messages asking if I’ll come back and voice Tai. My answer to you is, if I’m asked, I will be happy to. I’d be happy to keep the integrity of Tai’s character in Digimon intact…”
And now, coming full circle, it seems the various studio executives involved went right to work capitalizing on a good business opportunity. After all, if the Japanese end of production is going all-in, and both the fans and actors themselves want it to happen, why not make every effort to bring back the North American experience of Digimon Adventure proper?
With the recording handled by STUDIOPOLIS, Inc. and U.S. theatrical distribution by Eleven Arts, be sure to keep a sharp eye on the digital horizon of the internet! According to Animation World Network, Toei Animation’s Digimon Adventure tri. – Chapter 1: Reunion is slated to appear in over four hundred theaters starting September 15, 2016. Will one of them be near you? It can’t hurt to hope, because when it comes to the Digimon franchise, one thing seems certain: with the right amount of serendipity, hope can really go a long way toward saving the day.