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Digimon Tamers 20th Anniversary Stage Show Features 'Cancel Culture' Villain

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Writer Chiaki J. Konaka expresses support for COVID-19 conspiracy theories in retrospective blog posts

The "DigiFes 2021" event on Sunday featured a 20th anniversary stage show for Digimon Tamers, the third Digimon series. The show included a live script-reading play, with an original story serving as a sequel to Digimon Tamers set in the modern day. Notably, the story featured a number of politically charged words and themes, including "political correctness" and "cancel culture."

In the play, the Tamers are reunited to fight against a new villain, which takes the form of "Political Correctness," that threatens the real and digital worlds. Chief officer Yamaki dramatically describes it as "the greatest problem facing the internet and media" because it forces people to "conform to a single values system" and "censors real news to replace them with fake news." Although the Tamers are initially nonplussed by Yamaki's breathless call to action, they are shaken when "Political Correctness" takes on a physical form and launches into attack.

Writer Chiaki J. Konaka, who worked on the screenplay of the original Digimon Tamers anime, confirmed on Twitter that he wrote the script-reading play.

Konaka has also been maintaining a retrospective blog for the series, where he writes his recollections and thoughts about various episodes and other aspects of the anime. A number of posts share his thoughts on the current technological landscape, including his beliefs around the suppression of "alternative information" regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a post from May, he wrote that when writing the original Digimon Tamers series, there were certain depictions of violence and the use of guns that he avoided due to the political climate around the 9/11 terrorist attack. Later, in the 2010s, he began to look into the background behind the incident. Although he thought that the early conspiracy theories were "unrealistic" and was critical about the 9/11 "Truthers," he admitted to maintaining some suspicion around the circumstances in which the attack occurred.

He then drew a comparison to the year of 2020, remarking that he saw the YouTuber James Corbett describe the situation as "COVID-9/11." (Corbett is a prominent 9/11 and COVID conspiracy proponent.) Konaka wrote that while he did not agree with everything Corbett said, he described him as someone who "analyzed the situation rationally, and simply continued to sound the alarm around the dangers, not just of the illness but of the societal situation happening in the world."

Corbett's views have included blaming Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for "manipulating" the virus and pandemic, that the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011 and the Apollo Moon Landing was a hoax, along with other unsupported conspiracies.

He expressed dismay in seeing Corbett's YouTube channel get removed last year, and said that he has personally lost faith in academics and medical professionals, especially when it comes to the topics of epidemiology, bacteriology, biology, information technology, and social engineering.

He remarked that the situation has inspired him with his fiction, and that he has been looking for ways to portray it through symmetry and symbolism, even if it does not exactly match reality.

"I hope you will forgive me for the unusual contents of this entry," he concluded. "However, if I don't write about this, I don't think you'll be able to understand why I've been speaking so passionately about this anime from 20 years ago."

In another blog post from June, he wrote about the temporary suspension of Google's services during the 2020 U.S. presidential election. He also highlighted a seminar at the World Economic Forum in October 2019 which included a section on how to control information. "I have not written anything conspiratorial at all. I'm just stating the facts," he claimed.

On Wednesday, he tweeted in English: "I'm going to write my view for overseas fans in 9/8 or later."

The DigiFest 2021 event stream is available for archive viewing within Japan for ticket holders until August 7.

The Digimon Tamers anime debuted in Japan on April 1, 2001. The series commemorated its 15th anniversary in 2016 by rebooting its Digivice, the D-Power (or D-Ark in Japan), for a limited time.

Konaka is currently working with Yoshitoshi ABe's (creator and character designer for Serial Experiments Lain and Haibane Renmei) on the Despera anime project. Although the project was suspended for a year and a few months due to the pandemic, he confirmed that staff is still working hard on the project, and asked fans to be patient.

Source: DigiFes 2021 event livestream

This article has a follow-up: Digimon Tamers Writer Chiaki J. Konaka Responds to Overseas Backlash Over 20th Anniversary Stage Play (2021-08-09 13:45)
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