Shunsuke Kikuchi, Dragon Ball Music Composer, Dies at 89

Shunsuke Kikuchi, the composer for the popular “Dragon Ball” anime series, died on Saturday at a medical facility in Tokyo, according to the Japanese music industry outlet Oricon News. He was 89.

According to Oricon, Kikuchi was undergoing medical treatment for aspirational pneumonia.

Kikuchi began his composing career in the 1960s, and the first film he worked on was 1961’s “The Eighth Enemy.” He went on compose the music and theme songs for several long-running anime series and TV dramas into the 2010s.

The Japanese anime “Dragon Ball,” produced by Toei Animation, premiered in 1986, and Kikuchi composed the music for the series, which gained massive popularity around the world. He also joined the sequel series “Dragon Ball Z” in 1989, a follow-up movie and the remastered series “Dragon Ball Z Kai,” and composed the music for them as well.

Some of his other composing credits include “The Unfettered Shogun (Abarengō Shōgun),” the theme song for “Doraemon,” “Masked Rider (Kamen Rider),” “Tiger Mask,” “Gaiking,” “Tōshō Daimos,” “Dr. Slump” and dozens more. Kikuchi retired in 2017 due to illness.

Overlook Events, a production company that hosts concerts featuring the music of “Dragon Ball” and composers like John Williams and Ennio Morricone, paid tribute to Kikuchi on Twitter.

“Our work and concerts are dedicated to him from the beginning,” the company wrote.

Kikuchi was nominated for a Japan Academy Award for outstanding music in 1983 for his work on “The Gate of Youth” and “To Trap a Kidnapper.” He received an award of merit at the Tokyo Anime Awards in 2013 and a lifetime Japan Record Award for distinguished service in 2015.

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