Bullza wrote:And even though the show by this point was in the mid 90's, the music sounds that dated that it's like something you would hear in some of those really naff Chinese martial arts movies in the 70's.
Bullza wrote:That sounds like something you would hear in those 70's martial arts movies even though it was a 90's series. It ages the show terribly.
Dragon Ball literally and unequivocally IS one of those cheesy 70s martial arts movies, made as a serial TV anime.
Understand something guys: at a certain point, these kinds of convos can sometimes go beyond just personal preference and delve into just what's correct and incorrect about how the show was originally produced and for what type of audience.
Getting COMPLETELY past the idea of what one personally prefers, lets establish a few things here: the Faulconer score was produced for the express purpose of helping to reinvent the tone and presentation of Dragon Ball Z as an American Action Cartoon along the lines of G.I. Joe, Transformers, Justice League, etc. featuring characters of a superheroic nature fighting supervillains and saving the world every week.
Whether or not you personally prefer that version of the show is irrelevant: that isn't in any way what this show was originally produced to convey or embody in its native form
. Dragon Ball, from Pilaf through Boo, was made to embody classic (and yes, decidedly cheesy) Chinese martial arts fantasy films of the 60s, 70s, and 80s in the form of a more longform serialized manga and anime TV series.
Everything from the characters being hermetic weirdos out in the middle of nowhere training to master superhumanly powerful kung fu Chi techniques from ancient Taoist lore, to using those techniques to compete against each other in tournaments and to fight against other rivals and settle old scores or test their skills against despotic tyrannical emperors or ancient demons, to traveling around the afterlife and train with gods and deities from Buddhist lore, all the way down to even the presence of weird sci fi concepts like Hoi Poi Capsules, cyborgs, futuristic cities with hovercrafts, space aliens, and time traveling bio creatures getting into the mix (because lets not forget that sci fi didn't just suddenly come into the picture with Z: its been a part of the series' makeup from the very first chapter onward, and moreover sci fi concepts cropping up in martial arts fantasy is hardly unique or specific to just DB/Z)...
...EVERYTHING you see in DB reflects and represents what kung fu fantasy films of the past several decades - up to and including DB's time in which it was made - were generally doing. There simply IS NO "stark tonal shift" that happens from end of original Dragon Ball to the beginning of DBZ that somehow "justifies" the idea that "Kikuchi may have fit original DB, but definitely didn't fit DBZ": that very notion is largely completely made up by people who are looking for after-the-fact excuses and rationalizations to justify their own initial perceptions of how the series was first presented to them (where the dub for DBZ ran very hard with the whole "hardcore badass superhero action squad" thing while the dub for DB stuck somewhat more closely to the original martial arts theme).
In reality, the WHOLE anime in its Japanese form from DB episode 1 to DBZ episode 291 marks a fairly consistent tone of "whimsically bent Chinese-rooted kung fu fairy tale with equal parts ridiculous slapstick and violent fighting" with a VEEEEERY graaaaaadual bending and tweaking of that tone that occurs to its full completion well long prior
to the transition from DB to DBZ.
Whether you like it or not, whether you prefer the "reversioning" of the tone and story/characters done by a company wholly unrelated to the show's creation more than a decade after the fact, it doesn't ultimately matter... what you are ultimately watching is the footage from a show that was originally made as a gigantic love letter to hokey and weird Chinese martial arts fantasy films of the 60s-90s
. The Kikuchi score was made in large part to REFLECT that. It not only suits the material, it cannot POSSIBLY be more appropriately befitting of the material in question.
I'd go so far as to argue that one of the net effects of the FUNimation dub's production (the score being a major component in it, along with the heavy script rewrites) was to in some ways alter the very GENRE of what it is that Dragon Ball is representing. Because the types of 90s kids superheroic action cartoons from America are in NO way similar or related in ANY way to the kinds of wuxia films that DB was in actual fact imitating and paying homage to. Shows like Beast Wars or Batman Beyond, and whatever else have you have NOTHING in the way of common ground whatsoever with mystical kung fu movies like Zu Warriors, Duel to the Death, Buddha's Palm, etc. most of which in the case of the latter films are scored MUCH more in the same vein as Kikuchi.
And I'm sorry, but a generalized "action comedy" label to tag DB/Z with is an unbelievably vague and unhelpfully nondescript non-classification that in NO WAY gets at the heart of what DB/Z is ultimately doing: clearly this series is aiming for something MUCH more specific, something that can CLEARLY be seen and pointed to in MOUNTAINS of other similar works.
People can argue that Faulconer's score is much more fitting of a late 90s American action superhero cartoon show, and they'd be correct in making that argument: but this gets COMPLETELY away from the fact that Dragon Ball/Z is in no remote way a late 90s American action superhero show
. That's NOT what it was produced as originally and that's NOT the audience it was made for. It was RE-PURPOSED and REWORKED into being that kind of show more than ten years after it was originally finished in Japan.
If you like and prefer that re-purposing of the show, then great, splendid, good for you. No one's trying to take that away from you: but that has NOTHING to do remotely with whether or not the original production score "fit or suit the material". The fact is, it PERFECTLY fits and suits the material AS IT WAS ORIGINALLY CONCEIVED AND INTENDED. It doesn't fit or suit what that material was much later on re-imagined into being by a totally unrelated outside company
, which is ultimately the interpretation of the show that dub/Faulconer fans are in love with.
Its fine to prefer that version, and its fine to not like or not give a crap about Chinese martial arts fantasy as a genre: but understand that when you talk about the FUNimation DBZ dub, you are talking about something with VERY different creative intentions for a VERY different type of audience than that of the originally produced show in question that it takes its footage from.
Whether dub and Faulconer fans like it or not, Dragon Ball/Z in its Japanese production is a thoroughly massive
pastiche on Chinese martial arts folklore as represented in cheesy kung fu fantasy films for almost an entire century now (literally since the silent film era). The dub, knowing its audience of late 90s/early 2000s American middle school kids wouldn't know nor care about that stuff but WOULD like the surface-level superficiality of a much more generalized cool action show, went to the trouble of drastically retooling the whole package (including particularly the score) and re-inventing it as the next animated equivalent to Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
Both the Kikuchi and Faulconer scores perfectly fit both of those drastically
opposing and clashing intentions in their respective versions of the series. But understand that what separates those two starkly different intentions and interpretations of this series is that only ONE of those two reflects the original creative intentions and vision of the series' creator/author and the original production team that was actually responsible for writing, drawing, and animating the fucking thing in the first place (and thus giving it life to begin with): and it damn sure isn't Faulconer/FUNimation.
My ultimate point here is: its one thing to personally prefer a later re-invented alternate version of something. Its quite another to then turn around and say "this later reversion is so intrinsically superior that it gets and understands the material way better than the original did" when the very core aims of the two versions are in no way remotely even close to related
One's a matter of personal preference. The other is just blindingly ignorant and disrespectful towards the material (and moreover, its key creative influences) that MADE THE VERY SHOW YOU LOVE SO MUCH POSSIBLE TO EVEN EXIST IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Without those "naf" Chinese martial arts flicks, you simply wouldn't HAVE any Dragon Ball/Z. In ANY capacity. Period
Whether or not you enjoy Kikuchi's score as either music unto itself or as a score for what you perceive as your beloved childhood hard rockin' superhero fightfest cartoon is TOTALLY unrelated and irrelevant toward whether or not it "fits" or "suits" the material as it was originally conceived and intended
. And no matter how you slice it or dice it, the Kikuchi score, be it "good" or "bad" music unto itself, it could not POSSIBLY be a better fit to suit this anime series' tone in its original intended form.
Saying you prefer Faulconer over Kikuchi is one thing: I vociferously disagree with that of course, but I can respect and engage with that in a reasonable manner as simply a matter of vastly differing tastes. Saying (or even IMPLYING) that Kikuchi (and by extension Toei and possibly even Toriyama himself) somehow didn't "understand" this material and "misjudged" it by giving it the "dated" style of score that they did is something PROFOUNDLY more ridiculous and downright stupid and disrespectful to the core heart and soul of the very work that people here purport to love so much to begin with. Because if that kind of "they misjudged what they were scoring" sentiment should be applied anyone
, it'd unquestionably be to FUNimation and to Faulconer Productions above all else.
That Kikuchi makes Dragon Ball/Z sound like an old cheesy martial arts movie is most certainly NOT a bug, and its not even merely a feature: its in direct support of the very reason that this series even exists at all in the first place... that reason being cheesy (and very, VERY old) kung fu fantasy stories based on ancient Chinese myths. Those have a VERY distinct style
of film score
that has gone with them for the better part of several decades prior to DB's creation: having the anime be made with a similar score is hardly in ANY way ill-fitting to the material.
The only way it might come off as "ill-fitting" to someone is if they simply don't know about, have not seen, and/or just don't care about the kinds of martial arts fantasy films, TV shows, and assorted material that DB is drawing directly from to give it life and its overall direction. Which, lets be honest, this applies to a VAST overwhelming chunk of Dragon Ball's Western audience, both sub AND dub fans alike, who generally comprise people who are FAR more familiar with and fond of the kinds of generalized American kids' action/superhero cartoons that the Faulconer score is trying to help reinvent this series as, and typically have utterly zero experience with or interest in films and television shows that actually represent DB's genre of absurdly over the top Chinese-derived martial arts high fantasy.
This core distinction is literally where just about damn near close to ALL of the discrepancy and conflict between different sects of American DB/Z fandom ultimately comes down to, regardless of whether or not most of them clearly sees and understands it for what it is.