I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

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Kokonoe
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I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by Kokonoe » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:20 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyuUcTewmBI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QR64g26dEs

When I think Wuxia I think of stuff like this. Kikuchi's OST feels very Japanese, and in other times typical orchestra fare while sometimes electronic.

Good music mind you, but nothing that feels like distinct "chinese" at the same time. So I'm confused when people state this about this about the OST.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by Kunzait_83 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:55 pm

The issue is that you're not really looking at Wuxia scores from the right time period in the genre's history.

The Kikuchi Dragon Ball score is specifically evoking martial arts & wuxia film scores that were contemporary predominantly throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and the early 1980s. While they certainly made a great deal use of classical Chinese musical elements (particularly in the string arrangements), they often during that time were combined with a very percussion and brass-heavy sound, giving the soundtracks a very thunderous, bombastic flavor to them not found in much older/ancient Chinese music. Occasionally there'd be VERY slight bits of modern guitar work thrown in, though this would generally be incredibly, incredibly subtle and subdued.

This style of music is most particularly notable in the scores for most Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest martial arts/Wuxia film scores; whose films are also where a GREAT deal of Dragon Ball's aesthetic and tonal identity comes from in general, even well beyond just the music.

Here's some examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGlMyXT1YkU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8BTLNmFqMY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UXqNc-pUIY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfORsRJT7wE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vrpBn-pWcQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKv7kgccsd8

The similarities with Kikuchi's DB score should be pretty readily apparent. :P

Of the examples you've given: the first one seems to be an example of a MUCH later, much more modern style of Wuxia music (combining broadly classical Chinese music elements with a soft, poppy, electronic sound) prevalent in the 2000s, and the second one is a much, much older, "pure", truly classical Chinese opera style which is almost wholly & entirely strings and pretty much no percussion or brass instrumentation whatsoever (which wouldn't become hallmarks of Chinese Wuxia/martial arts music until the early-ish 20th century or thereabouts).
http://80s90sdragonballart.tumblr.com/

Kunzait's Wuxia Thread
Journey to the West, chapter 26 wrote:The strong man will meet someone stronger still:
Come to naught at last he surely will!
Zephyr wrote:And that's to say nothing of how pretty much impossible it is to capture what made the original run of the series so great. I'm in the generation of fans that started with Toonami, so I totally empathize with the feeling of having "missed the party", experiencing disappointment, and wanting to experience it myself. But I can't, that's how life is. Time is a bitch. The party is over. Kageyama, Kikuchi, and Maeda are off the sauce now; Yanami almost OD'd; Yamamoto got arrested; Toriyama's not going to light trash cans on fire and hang from the chandelier anymore. We can't get the band back together, and even if we could, everyone's either old, in poor health, or calmed way the fuck down. Best we're going to get, and are getting, is a party that's almost entirely devoid of the magic that made the original one so awesome that we even want more.
Kamiccolo9 wrote:It grinds my gears that people get "outraged" over any of this stuff. It's a fucking cartoon. If you are that determined to be angry about something, get off the internet and make a stand for something that actually matters.
Rocketman wrote:"Shonen" basically means "stupid sentimental shit" anyway, so it's ok to be anti-shonen.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by KBABZ » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:10 pm

Is Kikuchi the only Dragon Ball composer to have really gone for the wuxia roots of the story's inspiration? It feels like Yamamoto and Sumitomo don't even try to capture the sounds and stylings of what he did for DB and Z.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by Kunzait_83 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:08 am

KBABZ wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:10 pm
Is Kikuchi the only Dragon Ball composer to have really gone for the wuxia roots of the story's inspiration? It feels like Yamamoto and Sumitomo don't even try to capture the sounds and stylings of what he did for DB and Z.
Pretty much yes, but I think its also worth noting here that throughout ALL of the series' original run, Kikuchi was pretty much THE ONLY composer that Dragon Ball had ever had, outside of Tokunaga's GT score (which while in NO way nearly as distinctively Chinese-rooted, is still very much deeply within a classic "magical fantasy/adventure" realm at least).

ALL of the "non Wuxia-like" composers that Dragon Ball has had were brought in well AFTER the fact: either for FUNimation - a foreign language adaptation which took IMMENSE intentional liberties with the material shortly after the series had already ended - or for Dragon Ball's Japanese revival material (which while official, wasn't until literal DECADES after the series had ended).

GT and FUNimation aside, Dragon Ball's musical scores beginning to deviate away from a Wuxia motif is overall VERY much a more recent phenomenon, and a conversation we simply wouldn't be having throughout all of the 90s and just about all of the 2000s.

As far as Yamamoto and Sumitomo are concerned, they both go for a very general, generic "action movie" approach to the score. Its at the very least WAY more musically competent than pretty much ANYTHING that FUNimation ever used (which are mostly atonal messes), but certainly a great, great deal less memorably distinctive or thematically/tonally fitting with the material.
http://80s90sdragonballart.tumblr.com/

Kunzait's Wuxia Thread
Journey to the West, chapter 26 wrote:The strong man will meet someone stronger still:
Come to naught at last he surely will!
Zephyr wrote:And that's to say nothing of how pretty much impossible it is to capture what made the original run of the series so great. I'm in the generation of fans that started with Toonami, so I totally empathize with the feeling of having "missed the party", experiencing disappointment, and wanting to experience it myself. But I can't, that's how life is. Time is a bitch. The party is over. Kageyama, Kikuchi, and Maeda are off the sauce now; Yanami almost OD'd; Yamamoto got arrested; Toriyama's not going to light trash cans on fire and hang from the chandelier anymore. We can't get the band back together, and even if we could, everyone's either old, in poor health, or calmed way the fuck down. Best we're going to get, and are getting, is a party that's almost entirely devoid of the magic that made the original one so awesome that we even want more.
Kamiccolo9 wrote:It grinds my gears that people get "outraged" over any of this stuff. It's a fucking cartoon. If you are that determined to be angry about something, get off the internet and make a stand for something that actually matters.
Rocketman wrote:"Shonen" basically means "stupid sentimental shit" anyway, so it's ok to be anti-shonen.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by KBABZ » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:23 am

Kunzait_83 wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:08 am
Pretty much yes, but I think its also worth noting here that throughout ALL of the series' original run, Kikuchi was pretty much THE ONLY composer that Dragon Ball had ever had, outside of Tokunaga's GT score (which while in NO way nearly as distinctively Chinese-rooted, is still very much deeply within a classic "magical fantasy/adventure" realm at least).
Thanks! I felt as much, but since you're the wuxia expert around here and all...

Mood and wuxia roots aside, I do feel like it's an immense shame that neither Yamamoto and especially Sumitomo have even attempted to bring over any of the classic character themes (the four that I know are Roshi, Piccolo, Yajirobe and Nimbus). It was cool and all to hear Vegeta's new theme in The Final Chapters when he's revealed to be put back into the action against Buu, but why couldn't that have been one of the original themes? I'm totally unfamiliar with Kikuchi's themes post-Dragon Ball, and between Kai's rubbish implementation and Sumitomo's new works, it's as if none of that even existed in the first place! The closest we've gotten are new, consistent themes and chucking in a Ha La Head Cha La cover as a nostalgia play. If we were still using the old Kikuchi themes there could have been a stronger musical connection to the old stuff.

Further side-bar: I think Super's insistence on providing a new opening every five episodes to sell another Single CD has robbed it of having a grander overarching theme like Dragon Ball and Z did.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by Pantalones » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:42 am

Super's insistence on providing a new opening every five episodes to sell another Single CD
...say what?

Super's had exactly two opening songs, "Chozetsu Dynamic" and "Limit Break x Survivor." I can only assume you must've meant the ending songs instead -- it does seem like they switch those every dozen episodes or so.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by SuperSaiyaManZ94 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:48 am

Pantalones wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:42 am
Super's insistence on providing a new opening every five episodes to sell another Single CD
...say what?

Super's had exactly two opening songs, "Chozetsu Dynamic" and "Limit Break x Survivor." I can only assume you must've meant the ending songs instead -- it does seem like they switch those every dozen episodes or so.
I'm guessing the thing with having multiple closing animations started with GT, because it had a grand total of four in the course of it's little over a year run.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by KBABZ » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:50 am

Pantalones wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:42 am
Super's insistence on providing a new opening every five episodes to sell another Single CD
...say what?

Super's had exactly two opening songs, "Chozetsu Dynamic" and "Limit Break x Survivor." I can only assume you must've meant the ending songs instead -- it does seem like they switch those every dozen episodes or so.
Huh, okay I didn't know that! I've seen TONS of snippets of endings and I kinda assumed that the same applied to the openings too.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by emi_b7 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:19 am

Pantalones wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:42 am
I can only assume you must've meant the ending songs instead -- it does seem like they switch those every dozen episodes or so.
They have a new ending for every cour (ie every 3 months). So yeah, there's a new ending every 12-13 episodes.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by Kokonoe » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:10 pm

Kunzait_83 wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:55 pm
The issue is that you're not really looking at Wuxia scores from the right time period in the genre's history.

The Kikuchi Dragon Ball score is specifically evoking martial arts & wuxia film scores that were contemporary predominantly throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and the early 1980s. While they certainly made a great deal use of classical Chinese musical elements (particularly in the string arrangements), they often during that time were combined with a very percussion and brass-heavy sound, giving the soundtracks a very thunderous, bombastic flavor to them not found in much older/ancient Chinese music. Occasionally there'd be VERY slight bits of modern guitar work thrown in, though this would generally be incredibly, incredibly subtle and subdued.

This style of music is most particularly notable in the scores for most Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest martial arts/Wuxia film scores; whose films are also where a GREAT deal of Dragon Ball's aesthetic and tonal identity comes from in general, even well beyond just the music.

Here's some examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGlMyXT1YkU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8BTLNmFqMY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UXqNc-pUIY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfORsRJT7wE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vrpBn-pWcQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKv7kgccsd8

The similarities with Kikuchi's DB score should be pretty readily apparent. :P

Of the examples you've given: the first one seems to be an example of a MUCH later, much more modern style of Wuxia music (combining broadly classical Chinese music elements with a soft, poppy, electronic sound) prevalent in the 2000s, and the second one is a much, much older, "pure", truly classical Chinese opera style which is almost wholly & entirely strings and pretty much no percussion or brass instrumentation whatsoever (which wouldn't become hallmarks of Chinese Wuxia/martial arts music until the early-ish 20th century or thereabouts).
Ah... I see. So it's more of a modern thing in the past 30 or so years in those martial arts movies that makes sense.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by DrBriefsCat » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:22 pm

There was even a point in the Dragon Ball title-cards where the Golden Harvest Films' logo was parodied:
1986 Dragon Ball's Golden Harvest Intro

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by KBABZ » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:31 pm

DrBriefsCat wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:22 pm
There was even a point in the Dragon Ball title-cards where the Golden Harvest Films' logo was parodied:
1986 Dragon Ball's Golden Harvest Intro
Man I love those WMAT title cards! The third one feels like badass Tron! But with martial arts!

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by TheBigBoy » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:14 pm

Plagiarism issues aside, I really like the Yamamoto score and think it's second to only Kikuchi...

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by KBABZ » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:26 pm

TheBigBoy wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:14 pm
Plagiarism issues aside, I really like the Yamamoto score and think it's second to only Kikuchi...
It has some great tunes that I love (The Braveheart Challenging the Strong and the main Kai orchestral theme being but two examples), but my main issues with it are that A) It can get extremely repetitive, B) It doesn't make any attempt to give characters or forms any themes, and C) It overall feels way too modern compared to the footage it's placed against (a complaint I have with much of Kai, granted).

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by Michsi » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:27 pm

To be perfectly honest, I always thought the original DB score was something typical of that time period. It reminds me a lot of, for instance, Akira Ifukube's work (Godzilla)

The only modern day composer that I feel could come close to that classical feel is Kaoru Wada (best known for Inuyasha OST)

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by MasenkoHA » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:43 pm

KBABZ wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:26 pm
TheBigBoy wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:14 pm
Plagiarism issues aside, I really like the Yamamoto score and think it's second to only Kikuchi...
It has some great tunes that I love (The Braveheart Challenging the Strong and the main Kai orchestral theme being but two examples), but my main issues with it are that A) It can get extremely repetitive, B) It doesn't make any attempt to give characters or forms any themes, and C) It overall feels way too modern compared to the footage it's placed against (a complaint I have with much of Kai, granted).
Yeah the Yamamoto score had some great stuff but it was definitely way too repetitive. I’m pretty sure that one sad wailing music was used for like...every emotional scene. Goku dies? Sad woman wails. Kurilin is ready to kill Vegeta to avenge their fallen friends? Sad woman wails. Vegeta dies? Sad woman wails

And while Dragon Ball Classic wasn’t afraid to use Mystical Adventure as a motif, particularly for Goku, Dragon Soul instrumental seemed to play once an episode just so you didn’t forget what the opening sounded like.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by Kunzait_83 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:53 pm

MasenkoHA wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:43 pm
And while Dragon Ball Classic wasn’t afraid to use Mystical Adventure as a motif, particularly for Goku, Dragon Soul instrumental seemed to play once an episode just so you didn’t forget what the opening sounded like.
One of my (many) big problems with Kai was this. Dragon Soul would easily top my list of absolute WORST pieces of Dragon Ball music that aren't from FUNimation. Absolutely teeth-gnashingly unlistenable tune that calls to mind everything sappy, drippy, and sanctimoniously unbearable about 2000s Shonen drivel, and gives DB far, far too much of that kind of maudlin One Piece-esque tone. :sick: :sick: :sick:

So of course, Kai just HAD to lay that shit on SUPER thick in like practically every single episode, making an already bland-ified version of the series almost outright unwatchable at times.
http://80s90sdragonballart.tumblr.com/

Kunzait's Wuxia Thread
Journey to the West, chapter 26 wrote:The strong man will meet someone stronger still:
Come to naught at last he surely will!
Zephyr wrote:And that's to say nothing of how pretty much impossible it is to capture what made the original run of the series so great. I'm in the generation of fans that started with Toonami, so I totally empathize with the feeling of having "missed the party", experiencing disappointment, and wanting to experience it myself. But I can't, that's how life is. Time is a bitch. The party is over. Kageyama, Kikuchi, and Maeda are off the sauce now; Yanami almost OD'd; Yamamoto got arrested; Toriyama's not going to light trash cans on fire and hang from the chandelier anymore. We can't get the band back together, and even if we could, everyone's either old, in poor health, or calmed way the fuck down. Best we're going to get, and are getting, is a party that's almost entirely devoid of the magic that made the original one so awesome that we even want more.
Kamiccolo9 wrote:It grinds my gears that people get "outraged" over any of this stuff. It's a fucking cartoon. If you are that determined to be angry about something, get off the internet and make a stand for something that actually matters.
Rocketman wrote:"Shonen" basically means "stupid sentimental shit" anyway, so it's ok to be anti-shonen.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by ABED » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:17 pm

Upa/Bora's theme has a weird boing effect that plays through it. Was that a common element in wuxia scores?
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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by Kunzait_83 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:30 pm

ABED wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:17 pm
Upa/Bora's theme has a weird boing effect that plays through it. Was that a common element in wuxia scores?
Are you talking about the Juice Harp? Yeah, that's certainly used a lot in a bunch of martial arts film soundtracks of the era - particularly for more lighter, comedic ones, though its used in more serious/dramatic scenes too - though Kikuchi's score for original/pre-Z Dragon Ball seems to really play it up more in a ton of his pieces for that series (its use is dialed way, way back by Z).
http://80s90sdragonballart.tumblr.com/

Kunzait's Wuxia Thread
Journey to the West, chapter 26 wrote:The strong man will meet someone stronger still:
Come to naught at last he surely will!
Zephyr wrote:And that's to say nothing of how pretty much impossible it is to capture what made the original run of the series so great. I'm in the generation of fans that started with Toonami, so I totally empathize with the feeling of having "missed the party", experiencing disappointment, and wanting to experience it myself. But I can't, that's how life is. Time is a bitch. The party is over. Kageyama, Kikuchi, and Maeda are off the sauce now; Yanami almost OD'd; Yamamoto got arrested; Toriyama's not going to light trash cans on fire and hang from the chandelier anymore. We can't get the band back together, and even if we could, everyone's either old, in poor health, or calmed way the fuck down. Best we're going to get, and are getting, is a party that's almost entirely devoid of the magic that made the original one so awesome that we even want more.
Kamiccolo9 wrote:It grinds my gears that people get "outraged" over any of this stuff. It's a fucking cartoon. If you are that determined to be angry about something, get off the internet and make a stand for something that actually matters.
Rocketman wrote:"Shonen" basically means "stupid sentimental shit" anyway, so it's ok to be anti-shonen.

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Re: I don't get "Wuxia" from the Kikuchi score

Post by ABED » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:48 pm

Kunzait_83 wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:30 pm
ABED wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:17 pm
Upa/Bora's theme has a weird boing effect that plays through it. Was that a common element in wuxia scores?
Are you talking about the Juice Harp? Yeah, that's certainly used a lot in a bunch of martial arts film soundtracks of the era - particularly for more lighter, comedic ones, though its used in more serious/dramatic scenes too - though Kikuchi's score for original/pre-Z Dragon Ball seems to really play it up more in a ton of his pieces for that series (its use is dialed way, way back by Z).
That's the one. I don't like it in the more dramatic scenes. It's silly. That theme playing under Bora's death is perfect except for that. That one thing undercuts one of DB's best most dramatic moments.
The biggest truths aren't original. The truth is ketchup. It's Jim Belushi. Its job isn't to blow our minds. It's to be within reach.
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