This article is about the
Shunsuke Kikuchi (菊池俊輔; November 1, 1931 in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, Japan – April 24, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan) was a prolific Japanese composer. He specialized in background music for television and film.
Shunsuke Kikuchi graduated from Nihon University College of Fine Arts, Music. Active from 1961 until 2017, Kikuchi was one of Japan's most highly demanded film and TV composers, working principally on tokusatsu and anime productions for children, as well as violent action films, jidaigeki and dorama. His works are comparatively more common in Toei Animation's productions.
Shunsuke Kikuchi created the soundtrack for the original Japanese Dr. Slump, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z series. He retired soon after the end of Dragon Ball Z in 1995, and was replaced by Akihito Tokunaga for Dragon Ball GT. His music from Dragon Ball Z was re-used for the 2008 OVA Dragon Ball: The Return of Son Goku and Friends! His music was re-used in Dragon Ball Z Kai from March 2011, due to the firing of Kenji Yamamoto by Toei Animation after allegations of plagiarism. Kikuchi's music initially only played on the final two Dragon Ball Kai episodes that aired on TV (episode 96 and episode 97), but a limited selection of his compositions were then used to re-score the remaining 96 episodes of Kai, which became the official score of Kai from then on.
Kikuchi's compositions characteristically have a 16-beat blues and pentatonic basis. Up-tempo works like those in Kamen Rider and Abarenbō Shōgun form the majority of his works, while the 12/8 theme of Doraemon and the slow background music from long-running series have become some of his best-known works. On April 24, 2021, he passed away from aspiration pneumonia at the age of 89.
Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z music packages
From 1986 to 1995, Kikuchi composed 23 different packages of music for the original Japanese versions of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, resulting in over 400 different pieces of music. The vast majority of his cues have not been released on CD. The recording dates are taken from Daizenshuu and BGM Collection booklets. Although most of these packages of music were mixed in stereo, they were only used in mono in the original run, except for the Japanese version of the Wrath of the Dragon movie (which was actually in surround sound, though the music itself appears to be stereo).
- A000-J000 Series (February 3, 1986) = The Beginning of Dragon Ball (debuted in Episode #001 of Dragon Ball. Mixed partially in stereo)
- M000 Series (March 31, 1986) = Dragon Balls, Training and the Tenka'ichi Budoukai (debuted in Episode #008 of Dragon Ball)
- M100 Series (August 4, 1986) = The Red Ribbon Army (debuted in Episode #029 of Dragon Ball)
- M200 Series (November 27, 1986) = DB Movie 1: The Legend of Shenlong (debuted in Episode #053 of Dragon Ball)
- M300 Series (February 17, 1987) = Karin and Tao Pai Pai (debuted in Episode #058 of Dragon Ball)
- M400 Series (June 24, 1987) = DB Movie 2: The Sleeping Princess in Devil's Castle (debuted in Episode #081 of Dragon Ball)
- M500 Series (January 29, 1988) = Piccolo Daimao (debuted in Episode #102 of Dragon Ball)
- M600 Series (June 22, 1988) = DB Movie 3: The Mystical Great Adventure (debuted in Episode #133 of Dragon Ball)
- M700 Series (March 24, 1989) = First DBZ TV Set (debuted in Episode #001 of Dragon Ball Z, and used primarily from Episodes #001-#199. Mixed mostly in stereo)
- M800 Series (June 28, 1989) = DBZ Movie 01: Return My Gohan!! (debuted in Episode #021 of Dragon Ball Z)
- M900 Series (February 21, 1990) = DBZ Movie 02 The Strongest Guy in the World (debuted in Episode #047 of Dragon Ball Z)
- M1000 Series (June 22, 1990) = DBZ Movie 03: The Super Decisive Battle for the Entire Earth (debuted in Bardock: The Father of Goku, and in Episode #066 of Dragon Ball Z. First entirely-stereo package; all others from this point on were also mixed in stereo)
- M1100 Series (February 13, 1991) = DBZ Movie 04: Super Saiyan Son Goku (debuted in Episode #097 of Dragon Ball Z)
- M1200 Series (June 26, 1991) = DBZ Movie 05: The Incredible Strongest vs. Strongest (debuted in Episode #114 of Dragon Ball Z)
- M1300 Series (February 13, 1992) = DBZ Movie 06: Clash!! 10 Billion Powerful Warriors (debuted in Episode #141 of Dragon Ball Z)
- M1400 Series (June 18, 1992) = DBZ Movie 07: Extreme Battle!! The Three Great Super Saiyans (debuted in Episode #161 of Dragon Ball Z)
- M1500 Series (February 13, 1993) = DBZ Movie 08: Burn Up!! A Red-Hot, Raging, Super-Fierce Fight (debuted in Episode #191 of Dragon Ball Z)
- M1600 Series (June 16, 1993) = DBZ Movie 09: The Galaxy's at the Brink!! The Super Incredible Guy (debuted in Episode #200 of Dragon Ball Z)
- M1700 Series (August 24, 1993) = Second DBZ TV Set (debuted in Episode #200 of Dragon Ball Z, and used primarily from Episodes #200-#291)
- M1800 Series (February 15, 1994) = DBZ Movie 10: The Dangerous Duo! Super Warriors Never Rest (debuted in Episode #234 of Dragon Ball Z)
- M1900 Series (June 22, 1994) = DBZ Movie 11: Super Warrior Defeat!! I'm the One Who'll Win (debuted in Episode #246 of Dragon Ball Z)
- M2000 Series (February 11, 1995) = DBZ Movie 12: The Rebirth of Fusion!! Goku and Vegeta (debuted in Episode #273 of Dragon Ball Z)
- M2100 Series (June 23, 1995) = DBZ Movie 13: Dragon Fist Explosion!! If Goku Can't Do It, Who Will? (debuted in Episode #289 of Dragon Ball Z. First stereo-recorded package to actually be used in stereo in the original run)
Background music composed by Kikuchi
- "Kyoufu no Ginyu Tokusentai"
- "Dai Nijuuikkai Tenka-Ichi Budokai"
- "Tenka Wakeme No Chou-Kessen"
- "Mashinki no Nemuri Hime"
- "Kono Yo De Ichi-Ban Tsuyoi Yatsu"
- "Kyoukugen Battaru! San Bai Suupa Saiya-jin"
- "Haran no Tenka-ichi Budokai"
- "Kamesennin Saigo no Mafuba"
- "Jinzoningen Machi E"
- "Ma Ni Ae!! Nanatsu no Doragonbaru"
- "Chikyuu Marugoto Chou-Kessen"