Alright, I've created a comparison video of Gohan's power-up and his arrival on the battlefield. It contains all the relevant composers.
We've got Kikuchi, Sumitomo, and the team at Faulconer Productions. I threw in one scene with Takaki's score from Ultimate Tenkaichi since I think it's excellent and demonstrates how to successfully modernise the scene.
As Gohan powers up, Kikuchi's track is uplifting and extremely positive. It's a fun, relatively lighthearted scene that signifies the end of a power-up that was essentially a gag (Old Kaioshin reading/falling asleep during the process). Kikuchi gets this right.
Sumitomo takes a similar approach - it's upbeat and lighthearted. It's not very good music, and the style doesn't lend itself to Dragon Ball, but its placement isn't terrible
Takaki's attempt is much like Kikuchi's. You can hear the influence there very clearly. In fact, I can hear riffs from Kikuchi pretty clearly in this piece. He takes that sound and makes it a little grander and more heroic. An absolutely fine rendition for the scene. It's a video game, too, so I can give it a pass for being a bit on the sentimental side, also.
Faulconer Production's music is dark, big
and very heroic. The tone is entirely misplaced, unfortunately. It's not bad music by itself, but it makes the scene's silly parts feel out of place. This isn't another Super Saiyan transformation on Namek. There's no drama here.
Next, we have our newly powered Gohan approaching the battlefield and walking up to Boo. This scene is all about heroism. It's the arrival of, what we believe at this point, to be the saviour. Huge, awesome, momentous scene.
With Kikuchi, we get a longer version of the famed title music, M1706A. This song has been used to hype up the start of episode upon episode. It's big, it's heroic and, most importantly, it's exciting. It marks the start of something important and that's exactly what this scene needs.
As he touches down, we get some silence to take in the moment before Gohan approaches Boo. We get some music from Movie 11 (A Crucial Confrontation! The Bio Army). It's ominous, slow and builds the scene nicely to the point where Gohan says 'No, I intend to kill you' before it cuts to the eyecatch.
It works absolutely fine. I think something a little tenser would have helped but it's not scene-ruining.
Now, Sumitomo approaches Gohan's battlefield landing very differently. We get a huge, apocalyptic track as Gohan approaches. It entirely changes the tone of the scene. We go from heroic Kikuchi to end-of-the-world Sumitomo. It's too dark for this scene. This is the arrival of the hero, it's the hope the viewer has wanted. This music makes the situation seem dire and, even worse, it continues to play through a bunch of internal dialogue and exposition. There's no pause to take in Piccolo's words about how different Gohan is. There's no silence to build up Gohan's next move as he learns of the atrocities Boo has committed. It only pauses for a second as Gohan acknowledges he can feel the faint ki of his friends.
As Gohan walks towards Boo, we get a fantastic track from Battle of Gods. It's well placed and gives us a huge build-up as he paces slowly towards Boo and then- wait, what?!
The scene cuts?!
Yes, Kai cuts away from Gohan the second he reaches Boo. In the original show, he reaches Boo and we get the line "Hey, don't tell me you intend to fight me!" followed by, "No. I intend to kill you". It's a huge, jaw-dropping moment, underpinned by that magnificent build-up. And Kai cuts away from it! We go to Goku in the Kaioshin realm and don't cut back to Gohan delivering that line until the final shot of the episode after a bunch of Goten and Trunks nonsense.
The track from Battle of Gods would have worked wonders for that scene. The editing killed it.
Finally, we have Faulconer Productions! As Gohan arrives, we have a heroic track that totally nails what that moment is going for. The hero is here! He lands and the music drops very low with a slow consistent drum beat. It's a bit wall-to-wall but it works as well as silence in this case.
As he walks towards Boo, the drum beat picks up and pianos begin to play as it builds to the height of the track. It's a great track at that, too. It builds up until Gohan finally says his line. No issues at all other than the usual, 'this music doesn't belong in Dragon Ball' spiel. This time, it works great.
That was kinda long but I wanted to justify what works and what doesn't in the context of all the music used for this scene. Unfortunately, it's very true that even a replacement score from the 90s handled this scene better than Kai. Incredibly saddening that a team without a full understanding of the series could place better music than the company who made the show.
I can't believe I just praised the Faulconer score. What the fuck is happening?!