Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

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NintendoBlaze53
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Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

Postby NintendoBlaze53 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:42 am

The SSj3 Theme by Faulconer Productions is often called the greatest score they produced even to the point of non-Faulconer Productions fans saying it makes Goku's transformation a better scene. But I feel it misses the point of the transformation.

Let's look at Kikuchi's original version, I'm not knowledgeable enough to be able to tell you what track was used or the instrumentation arrangement, but in a word I'd call it terrifying. It uses many low notes as well as long high notes that I can only say feel similar to tracks from monster films, like a great evil is being unleashed. I think it actually was used for a villain in the movie it debuted in. When Goku finally finishes the transformation and a new music piece kicks in it's quiet, foreboding and chilling as the camera slowly pans over Goku's body and when he turns to the camera it swells up again in a menacing way, SSj3 is painted as a terrifying chilling and inhuman transformation, something which sends terror down everyone's spine.

So what about Faulconer Productions theme is wrong then? We all know the theme, it starts with the low guitar build up and then goes into that melody, a synth guitar I think, but the tone in a word is heroic. It feels as if our Goku is achieving a new power and is going to save the day. The song that follows as the camera pans over Goku is closer to Kikuchi's tone with a low bass I think making Goku seem more dark.

So what's the issue? Well there's no doubt with Kikuchi's score SSj3 is seen as something unworldly, but Faulconer's score fails to capture that at all. It frankly misses the whole point Kikuchi was making. SSj3 is seen in two completely different ways depending on your music choice. Which ever is better depends on your preference, I personally prefer the inhuman depiction to the all powerful saviour depiction.

Let's take a look at some other versions of the transformation, Sumitomo composed what I can only call a perfect mix of the two. A theme more associated with Vegetto Blue now, his version keeps the terrifying nature of SSj3 using the chanting and low beat while also feeling like an all powerful transformation, however the song which plays panning over Goku's body goes too far towards it being godly, perhaps I feel the fake choir is better used for the God Forms but it doesn't suit SSj3. I also feel Z movie 12 is worth mentioning, Kikuchi makes a theme completely intent for SSj3 here unlike the show which is a re purposed song, but once again it's scary. Using many same beats that would more commonly be associated with villains in his score, it's amazing. Nathan Johnson should be mentioned as well since he did the English score for movie 12, he composed a theme many associate with Gogeta, but that same melody is used earlier in the film for Goku's SSj3 transformation to great effect, managing to make SSj3 capture what I think was the original intent, another interesting part is the instruments, SSj3's version uses deep tones while Gogeta relies on a higher pitch.

We never got a Yamamoto version of course, but a track of his I felt would work best is Victory Blow or track 21 from OST 3. It retains the sorrow foreboding of Kikuchi's intent in Yamamoto's style of course, while also having a hopeful pitch with the rising beat and the camera panning over Goku as the song builds to it's end I felt was a powerful visual, so much so it's the song I choose to use in my own edit of Kai Final Chapters.

So on a scale from terrifying inhuman to heroic being we have:
Kikuchi Z>Kikuchi Movie 12>Johnson Movie 12>Sumitomo Kai>Faulconer Z.
What do you think? Did Faulconer's version stray from the intent of SSj3? Do you believe the Faulconer score better reflects SSj3? I never hear anyone discuss this so I would love to see other people's opinions.
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Re: Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

Postby Captain-Sora » Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:23 am

NintendoBlaze53 wrote:Let's look at Kikuchi's original version, I'm not knowledgeable enough to be able to tell you what track was used or the instrumentation arrangement, but in a word I'd call it terrifying. It uses many low notes as well as long high notes that I can only say feel similar to tracks from monster films, like a great evil is being unleashed. I think it actually was used for a villain in the movie it debuted in. When Goku finally finishes the transformation and a new music piece kicks in it's quiet, foreboding and chilling as the camera slowly pans over Goku's body and when he turns to the camera it swells up again in a menacing way, SSj3 is painted as a terrifying chilling and inhuman transformation, something which sends terror down everyone's spine.


It's actually another rendition of Shen Long's theme from Movie 4, although there is a bit of Slug's motif near the end of the piece for after his wish was made during the scene it originally played in. While not exactly composed for a great evil, variations of Shen Long's material do often gel well with dramatic and and fearful moments such as the Super Saiyan 3 transformation. The following piece for the slow pan was definitely for a villain initially, though. It's a cue from Movie 8 that plays with Broly's leitmotif a bit.

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Re: Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

Postby Diccolo-420 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:59 am

NintendoBlaze53 wrote:The SSj3 Theme by Faulconer Productions is often called the greatest score they produced even to the point of non-Faulconer Productions fans saying it makes Goku's transformation a better scene. But I feel it misses the point of the transformation.


Let me stop you right there.

To say Kikuchi was a perfect score is a fallacy because there were times it missed the beat as well, take for instance Gohan emerging from the cave to discover his dead dino friend and they play wonky happy music.

It's a different tone all-together that's better. Faulconer's SSJ3 theme captures how Goku is digging deep into himself to drag out this power and it's a massive struggle. This isn't like the SSJ theme which was just "we've never seen this before, wtf is happening", this is "Goku is literally pushing himself to places he shouldn't go" That's what the Faulconer SSJ3 theme did.

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Re: Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

Postby IHaveNoUserName » Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:29 pm

Ok I feel like that M1109 is a better theme for SSJ3 because it fits the horror of goku detroying parts of the earth but also SSj3 Theme (Faulconer) also made its point by showing how much goku's power has grown, Kikuchi's score and Faulconer's score is not perfect however, in episode 186 M1420 played which does not fit at all for the whole earth shaking which feels very awkward to me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3p4F4j3D6o&t, none the less I think both make their point

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Re: Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

Postby thaman91 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:23 pm

I'd say the Kikuchi approach works for the first Super Saiyan transformation more than the Faulconer one does. Because at that point, it really is a kind of a scary thing that Goku is going through. But by the point where we're at the 3rd transformation, and Goku is actually going through and naming them by number, then the scarier music feels really out of place because we know that nothing scary is going to happen. We know Goku is not going through anything dark. This is not our first rodeo, nor is it Goku's. Like, who is the scarier music trying to fool? The Faulconer music for that moment embraces what this actually is and doesn't try to BS us with "OMG what scary and dangerous thing is Goku going through????".

So to answer the question, the SSJ3 theme perhaps does miss the intention....but the intention was flawed to begin with, so I'm okay with that.

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Re: Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

Postby NintendoBlaze53 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:04 pm

Diccolo-420 wrote:
NintendoBlaze53 wrote:The SSj3 Theme by Faulconer Productions is often called the greatest score they produced even to the point of non-Faulconer Productions fans saying it makes Goku's transformation a better scene. But I feel it misses the point of the transformation.


Let me stop you right there.

To say Kikuchi was a perfect score is a fallacy because there were times it missed the beat as well, take for instance Gohan emerging from the cave to discover his dead dino friend and they play wonky happy music.

It's a different tone all-together that's better. Faulconer's SSJ3 theme captures how Goku is digging deep into himself to drag out this power and it's a massive struggle. This isn't like the SSJ theme which was just "we've never seen this before, wtf is happening", this is "Goku is literally pushing himself to places he shouldn't go" That's what the Faulconer SSJ3 theme did.

I was referring to this specific scene, not the whole score as a whole, both scores have misplaced music but I'm focusing on just the SSj3 transformation. SSj3 is something we've never seen before, and it is a big wtf moment because before this scene it was never implied possible to go beyond SSj2, in retrospect maybe that aspect is lost nowadays. Gotenks makes it a point to describe how scary he looks in the form later on and it does look unnatural, impossibly long hair and the lack of eyebrows with the user's eyes in a permanent angry gaze, this isn't a simple hair and eye colour change.
thaman91 wrote:I'd say the Kikuchi approach works for the first Super Saiyan transformation more than the Faulconer one does. Because at that point, it really is a kind of a scary thing that Goku is going through. But by the point where we're at the 3rd transformation, and Goku is actually going through and naming them by number, then the scarier music feels really out of place because we know that nothing scary is going to happen. We know Goku is not going through anything dark. This is not our first rodeo, nor is it Goku's. Like, who is the scarier music trying to fool? The Faulconer music for that moment embraces what this actually is and doesn't try to BS us with "OMG what scary and dangerous thing is Goku going through????".

So to answer the question, the SSJ3 theme perhaps does miss the intention....but the intention was flawed to begin with, so I'm okay with that.

We know nowadays nothing scary was going to happen, but in both the introduction of SSj and SSj2, Goku and Gohan struggled to control the form and keep their Saiyan instincts in check upon first awakening. And to call SSj3 not scary or dangerous is wrong, I already said how the show makes a point to say the form looks terrifying, but the form also drains the user's life energy to the point when Goku is alive again he can barely maintain it. SSj3 is a form that pushes the user over the limit to the point their face is disfigured and their life drained to maintain the form, it is unlike any other SSj form in that regard. Perhaps this is something that is simply lost nowadays with multiple new transformations being invented since then.
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Re: Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

Postby thaman91 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:44 am

NintendoBlaze53 wrote:We know nowadays nothing scary was going to happen, but in both the introduction of SSj and SSj2, Goku and Gohan struggled to control the form and keep their Saiyan instincts in check upon first awakening.

And that there is one of the key differences between SSJ3 and the rest. The previous two were triggered by intense emotions. When Goku is about to transform into a Super Saiyan, we are afraid and a little taken aback at the grief and rage that our normally happy-go-lucky protagonist is experiencing. And there was a similar sort of feeling with SSJ2. But with SSJ3....yeah not so much. There's no grief, and no intense emotions whatsoever. Quite the opposite: it's reduced to a some kind of grade school lesson that Goku is giving to Buu, as he goes form to form, naming each one by number. Right before he transforms to SSJ3, he actually puts this exact smirk on his face:

I don't get scary at all from that. Instead, I get the feeling that Goku is being mischievous and a little show-offy as he's about to reveal the new form.

NintendoBlaze53 wrote:And to call SSj3 not scary or dangerous is wrong, I already said how the show makes a point to say the form looks terrifying, but the form also drains the user's life energy to the point when Goku is alive again he can barely maintain it. SSj3 is a form that pushes the user over the limit to the point their face is disfigured and their life drained to maintain the form, it is unlike any other SSj form in that regard. Perhaps this is something that is simply lost nowadays with multiple new transformations being invented since then.

Well we know now that it drains life energy, but all we're told in the moment is that it lessens the time he can stay on Earth. And physically, it just looks like his hair got long and his eyebrows disappeared. I don't exactly find that terrifying, despite what the show may be trying to convince me. And really, all the attempts at selling how "terrifying" it is feel kind of half-hearted, as if they are trying to recapture the magic of the first Super Saiyan transformation, but without the actual substance to go with it.

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Re: Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

Postby Captain-Sora » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:40 am

I think the tone of those cues in the original score are fitting enough.

Not only is there some concern over Goku expending too much energy and using up the time he has left on Earth, but the music also helps to underscore the potential destruction that may result from his colossal surge of power. The earth is shaking, the sea is raging, buildings are being damaged, and Kaio is begging Goku to stop. There's a lot more to the dramatic nature of the sequence than solely how Goku himself is doing through all of it.

While Super Saiyan transformations aren't entirely exempt from being presented as "cool" moments in the original Japanese version (Trunks' debut being the big one that comes to mind), it's more of the norm for the music accompanying those moments to be more dramatic and almost terrifying, serving as a reminder of just how much of a shift in strength and ferocity these forms are. This is particularly apparent in Kikuchi's scores for the movies, where we get a better example of his thought process behind the music rather than that of the people responsible for the music placement within the show itself.

With the exclusion of Movie 7 giving a more heroic take on the transformations presented in that film, Kikuchi would typically use different arrangements of the Saiyan leitmotif, and they were never really presented in a conventionally hopeful light. They usually maintained that same air of danger and seriousness. It's why they often made fitting tracks for villainous moments within the show, despite initially accompanying a hero's transformation in their original appearances.

While not always the case, this same thought process behind how he composed those kinds of scenes often bled into Super Saiyan-related sequences in the show. The people responsible for the placement would either rehash those renditions of the Saiyan theme, or they'd simply just straight up use material originally made for movie villains. Vegeta's first transformation being accompanied by a variant of Coola's theme being one notable instance, as well as the aforementioned usage of Broly's material for SSJ3 Goku after he finished changing.

Their use of such music is really just staying true to how these transformations are usually meant to be presented, even well past the point where us viewers know full well how beneficial they are for the heroes' side.

What the dub score utilized isn't as ill-fitting as what they composed for Goku's original transformation back on Namek, but it does come off a bit tonally inconsistent with the visuals once they start cutting away to the destructive effects Goku is causing all over the place as a result of his rising power.

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Re: Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

Postby 90sDBZ » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:19 am

I actually think both themes do a good job at achieving what they set out to do. What makes the Faulconer theme better to me is that it's just so damn empowering and inspirational sounding. It's like listening to one of the Rocky soundtracks and then feeling like you can move heaven and earth. Like the Faucloner SS1 theme it also benefited from never having being played prior to that point, which adds to the sense of surprise and wonder.

The Kikuchi piece was originally from Movie 4 were Slug wished for his youth back, and had also been used a few times after that if I remember right. It does capture a sense of danger and unease, but lacked the shock factor due to being an old piece with plenty of exposure before the SS3 scene.

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Re: Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

Postby NintendoBlaze53 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:53 am

Captain-Sora wrote:I think the tone of those cues in the original score are fitting enough.

Not only is there some concern over Goku expending too much energy and using up the time he has left on Earth, but the music also helps to underscore the potential destruction that may result from his colossal surge of power. The earth is shaking, the sea is raging, buildings are being damaged, and Kaio is begging Goku to stop. There's a lot more to the dramatic nature of the sequence than solely how Goku himself is doing through all of it.

While Super Saiyan transformations aren't entirely exempt from being presented as "cool" moments in the original Japanese version (Trunks' debut being the big one that comes to mind), it's more of the norm for the music accompanying those moments to be more dramatic and almost terrifying, serving as a reminder of just how much of a shift in strength and ferocity these forms are. This is particularly apparent in Kikuchi's scores for the movies, where we get a better example of his thought process behind the music rather than that of the people responsible for the music placement within the show itself.

With the exclusion of Movie 7 giving a more heroic take on the transformations presented in that film, Kikuchi would typically use different arrangements of the Saiyan leitmotif, and they were never really presented in a conventionally hopeful light. They usually maintained that same air of danger and seriousness. It's why they often made fitting tracks for villainous moments within the show, despite initially accompanying a hero's transformation in their original appearances.

While not always the case, this same thought process behind how he composed those kinds of scenes often bled into Super Saiyan-related sequences in the show. The people responsible for the placement would either rehash those renditions of the Saiyan theme, or they'd simply just straight up use material originally made for movie villains. Vegeta's first transformation being accompanied by a variant of Coola's theme being one notable instance, as well as the aforementioned usage of Broly's material for SSJ3 Goku after he finished changing.

Their use of such music is really just staying true to how these transformations are usually meant to be presented, even well past the point where us viewers know full well how beneficial they are for the heroes' side.

What the dub score utilized isn't as ill-fitting as what they composed for Goku's original transformation back on Namek, but it does come off a bit tonally inconsistent with the visuals once they start cutting away to the destructive effects Goku is causing all over the place as a result of his rising power.

This is amazing! I'm a sucker for leitmotif and realizing Kikuchi did one for the Super Saiyan forms in the Z movies is astounding. I felt it important to include Fusion Reborn's SSj3 sequence in my analysis since it was Kikuchi's first time making a score for the SSj3 theme. Quality of the movies aside, Kikuchi's work with the music makes me respect them even more.
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Re: Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

Postby Slangh » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:58 pm

The original Funi dub is cheesy and always tries hard to be awesome, but the SSJ3 transformation is one of the instances where it actually works. Because the transformation is awesome, Schemmel's screaming is awesome, so the theme can be awesome as well. It also can be heroic and over the top, because here you have Goku pulling out this godly form with crazy hair just for Trunks to get the Dragon Radar. As far as musical scores go you can go with different intentions, as long as they fit the scene in their own way. IMO Faulconer also greatly adds to Cell's transformations with a great feeling of impending doom.

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Re: Does Faulconer Prod. SSJ3 Theme miss the intention?

Postby Kokonoe » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:38 am

I honestly feel that Faulconer made that scene alongside Schemmel. The other variations just pale in comparison to execution.


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