For nearly 30 years, the Dragon Ball brand name has continued to entertain viewers and attract new anime fans around the globe. Famous for its wacky adventures, high-octane action, and crazy hairstyles, it also includes many enjoyable and addicting songs from the first series to the controversial GT in both Japanese and in English (ok, maybe not too much in English). And to commemorate the debut of the new Dragon Ball Super movie featuring Broly, let’s explore what we feel are the best 5 songs from all the installments.
5. Dan Dan Kokoro Hikareteku by ZARD
Say what what you want about about GT, but this is a song that kind of makes the franchise come full circle as we saw it back in 1997. When GT finally ends, the song is played and features clips from the original Dragon Ball to the end of GT which gives that “complete feeling.” It gives the viewer a feeling that between his beginnings in Dragon Ball to where he ends in GT, that deep down inside, despite all the hardships and intergalactic battles, Gokuu is always going to be that curious country boy. The song is a great way of making feel nostalgic over one’s youth (especially for fans that are 30+) or for you younger folks out there, it will probably make you wonder if there is ever such a thing as growing up.
4. Saikyou no Fusion by Kageyama Hironobu
In terms of intensity, this song probably ranks number 1 and why fans love Kageyama’s voice/note control. The song does a great job of opening with the chorus by reminding the audience they saw the strongest fusion ever. The verses are also a masculine and poetic way of talking about Gokuu and Vegeta’s complicated rivalry/friendship, but when they fuse, they are the ultimate fighter (take that UFC roster!). The brass instrumentals are super intense and give the song a majestic feel, and flows excellently to Kage-chan’s powerful voice.
3. Unmei no Hi ~Spirit vs Spirit~ by Kageyama Hironobu
The song is from when Gohan first turns Super Saiya-Jin 2 in the original Dragon Ball Z broadcast. The soft hook and lyrics perfectly reflect Android 16’s kind-hearted (or circuited or programmed?) qualities and Gohan’s initial shock. Then with the techno chords, it pans to Gohan’s explosive rage to his new transformation. The message of the lyrics perfectly set this iconic moment that evolves the character about ultimately surpassing your own limits and achieving great things. Kageyama Hironibu’s talents are further showcased that he can also bring the same intensity he does with his opening songs to a softer song such as this. Removing it from the English dub is one thing, but it was very disappointing that this song was not reused in Dragon Ball Kai, because we feel it still holds up and it brings the viewer feel the emotion of being reborn by rage and turning that rage into hope.
2. Aoi Kaze No Hope by Kageyama Hironobu
You may know this as the ending theme to the Future Trunks special. After viewing an episode that is relatively much darker compared to the rest of the Dragon Ball franchise, the ending to this special ends with a higher sense of optimism. Kageyama’s voice control is perfectly showcased in this song and the chorus is masterfully built up through the verses. The lyrics perfectly compliment the rather bittersweet goodbye between Trunks and Bulma, and how Trunks travels to the past will give him a whacky adventure, a tough battle, and that he has the fate of the future in his hands.
1. Hikari no Will Power by Kageyama Hironobu
HIkari no Will Power is considered the official song for Future Trunks and is another classic performed by Kageyama Hironobu, Mr. Dragon Ball himself. Though available on the best song collection album, many of you reading probably had more exposure to the instrumental version through the games such as Ultimate Battle 22 and Final Bout for the PlayStation 1, or Shinbutoden for the Saturn. The opening piano chords that goes to the melody of the chorus demonstrates that the character has a very dark background, and its transition to a majestic sense gives the listener a feel that these sad days are going to come to an end. The lyrics perfectly tell the story of Future Trunks that despite the future he is from, and with all the odds against him, he will still do what is right even if he has to go through space and time.
Though the songs of Dragon Ball can be just as explosive as the fight scenes, if there is one thing we can also take from them, it is a sense of optimism and to aim for our dreams and goals. Some songs are cheesy and will make you laugh, some are packed with emotion, but they all bring you out on a great sense of excitement and wonder. Also, we feel the need to give some honorable mentions to a few songs from the games. The Biggest Fight from the Japanese version of Dragon Ball Final Bout for PS1, and Ore wa Tokoton Tomaranai from Dragon Ball Z Budoukai 3 as exciting songs that are great additions to the soundtracks of the franchise. From the anime, there is of course We Gotta Power (the second DBZ opening), Don’t You See from Dragon Ball GT, and F from Fukkatsu no F. So to all Dragon Ball fans out there, what are your favorite songs?