Gloom set all over the anime industry on 24 April 2021 after the loss of yet another legend. Shunsuke Kikuchi, a respected composer passed away at the age of 89. The first news of the composer’s death was reported by the Oricon News. Although Oricon News was the first to publicly report the news, it was not publicized until 28 April. This was a great loss for the anime industry for Shunsuke Kikuchi’s work was inspirational. Some of his most famous works included the soundtracks from the Dragon Ball Z series and the opening of Doraemon. In his lifetime, Shunsuke Kikuchi has infiltrated anime moments with epic music. Shunsuke Kikuchi passed away at 89 but made sure to leave behind a lot to remember.
The cause of his death was reported to be aspiration pneumonia. Before his death, Kikuchi was undergoing treatment for the same. He had been inactive in the industry for his health condition since 2017. His family held a private funeral whereas fans and followers took to Twitter to mourn his passing away. It is indeed a great loss of the community and the world alike.
Shunsuke Kikuchi, the composer/musician of Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z, has passed away. His soundtracks will always be remembered. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/jLvzNu4sGA
— Dragon Ball Perfect Shots (@DBPerfectShots) April 28, 2021
Although most people (especially fans overseas) recognize him for his contribution to Dragon Ball and Doraemon, his work history had a far wider spectrum. He was also involved in shows that were majorly popular especially in Japan. This includes Kamen Rider, Tiger Mask, Getter Robo, and Sakigake!! Otokojuku. The impact of his music let fans feel the depth of the plot. He could grasp the emotions of a show and manifest them into his music. His talents were recognized and appreciated worldwide. Be it under intense fight scenes or heart throbbing emotional ones, Kikuchi’s music brought the most out of them.
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Shunsuke Kikuchi: Early Life and Works
The legendary composer from Japan, Shunsuke Kikuchi was born in Hirosaki, Aomori on November 1, 1931. He attended the Nihon University College of Art and debuted in the Eighth Enemy film in 1961. Shunsuke had his big break after composing Tiger Mask in 1969. His style of composition has been regarded as a checkpoint of revolution in Japanese music. He was easily one of the most demanded and skilled composers in the industry. Having him on any show guaranteed fans of the show’s quality.
Most of the shows that he worked in ran for many episodes. His composition in Doraemon exceeded expectations. The song “Doraemon no Uta” ran for 26 years. This translated song of this anime is well known by children and adults. Shunsuke Kikuchi’s song from Female Convict Scorpion, “Urami Bushi” also became a part of the American film starring Uma Thurman, Kill Bill.
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Award History of Shunsuke Kikuchi
Shunsuke Kikuchi worked in two Japanese films, To Trap a Kidnapper. For his contribution to the films, he was nominated for the 6th Japan Academy prize in 1983. He won the award for “Outstanding Music”.
His amazing sense of music was acknowledged enthusiastically by the JASRAC (Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers, and Publishers). JASRAC was the first to report the news of Shunsuke’s death to Oricon. They waited until the funeral had been privately done to report the news. He has won multiple awards from this organization. Shunsuke Kikuchi won the International Award multiple times for his record-breaking contribution to various anime series.
In 2013 he won the Award Of Merit presented to him at the Tokyo Anime Awards. At the 57th Japan Record Awards in 2015, Shunsuke Kikuchi won the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.
Fans of popular shows like Dragon Ball Z have committed to forums to pay their respects. Many others have also created tribute tracks as a mark of respect. His involvement in these anime series went beyond composition. At this point, he had taken over a large chunk of the fan community for his heartfelt music. Here is a tribute video that fans created in remembrance after Shunsuke Kikuchi passed away.
Be it anime series or Television films, Shunsuke Kikuchi has composed music that woke its soul. He has immortalized himself in his music for the years to come by. We pray for the best for his family and for his soul to rest in peace.
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