Translations Archive

Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z Daizenshuu 5-Disc Set (01 April 1994)

Shigeru Miyashita Comment

Something Beyond 100%
By Music Selection Supervisor Shigeru Miyashita

I have served as Music Selection Supervisor for Kikuchi-san‘s musical scores, such as the one for Tiger Mask, ever since Toei Animation’s very first years. Recently, both the producer and Kikuchi-san requested me to be in charge of both Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball, one after the other.

During the transition from Dr. Slump to Dragon Ball, producer Shichijō-san heavily requested for me to continue to work with Kikuchi-san. Kikuchi-san scored a lot of the shows that Shichijō-san produced. And Shichijō-san is quite a unique individual, so during meetings, the things he is imagining in his head just start to overflow and he starts singing in front of the composer. (laughs) This inevitably puts Kikuchi-san in a bit of a pinch, so there have even been times when he just answered, “why don’t you just compose that, then?” (laughs) The Toei Animation staff has really liked Kikuchi-san‘s scores for quite a long time, so he got to do a lot of them. As a composer, he basically shouldered an entire era of Toei Animation shows.

Maybe this is because Kikuchi-san is used to it, but if there’s a need for a piece with a sense of uneasiness, the way he composes music can make even a piece that seems calm at first gradually take on that sense of uneasiness while not making a lot of pieces where the melody just changes completely, so it’s very easy to use. For instance, if asked to make a short, but impactful, piece for the sub-title, that’s exactly what he delivers, so it’s really easy for me to work with. He really is someone who takes others’ job into consideration.

We’ve also been frequently using the theatrical film pieces in tandem with the pieces composed for the television series, but now that we’ve entered the new series1, we also have Son Gohan’s theme and a number of variations of the new opening and ending themes as well, which is why the new pieces were given more of a school-like flair to them.

When it comes to the recording sessions, I’m actually there for nearly all of them. There are some times when I request things from Kikuchi-san when maybe I shouldn’t have. Like, for instance, to make the melody more intense, or to make the crescendo more vigorous. Whether a blessing or a curse, I can also read sheet music, so there are even some times when I will also request that he swing the baton in a specific way.

As for us here in the Music Supervision team, who work in the space between the footage and the music, we expertly match the lines of dialogue, the music and the sound effects, which by themselves work at 100% performance, and bring them closer to 200% performance. But I believe you all know that much already. And it’s not just the music: whether it’s the sound effects team or the voice actors, by themselves, they cannot bring out more than 100% performance. And when they are brought together, there are a lot of times when I go, “oh, this kind of music could also have gone really well here”. If you just mash any random pieces of music together, that will not necessarily get you ideal results. That is what I try to take into consideration.

(27 December 1993, at my office)

Shigeru Miyashita Profile:

Born in Asakusa, Tokyo. Having been born to a family of doctors, his initial plan was also to become a physician, but midway through, he set himself onto the path of music. He learned musical composition after enrolling in the Music course at the Nihon University’s Fine Arts College. After graduation, he established music production company Screen Music and got his first music selection work with the film productions from Toei Company’s Tokyo Studio. He was also very active as a composer and provided a number of pieces for productions such as the short films made by the Toei Company’s Educational Films department. He also handled the arrangement of the jingle from the famous Bunmeido Castella commercial.

After having departed from Screen Music, he signed on with Toei and was in charge of music selection for shows such as Fujimaru of the Wind and Wolf Boy Ken. Later, he moved on to the newly-established studio, TAVAC.2

Currently, he is the president of Video Music Office. Through his work composing and selecting music, he continues to breathe life into a number of shows as one of the foremost figures in musical production.

The following translator notes are included for the benefit of the reader as supplemental information.

1 There are a lot of references throughout the Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z Daizenshuu booklet regarding the Boo arc as a “new series”, despite still carrying the same Dragon Ball Z name and the fact that the episode count never started over from the beginning.
2 TAVAC – Toei Audio Visual Art Center
English Translation: Zénpai