Game Music, Television

Super Fighting Robot: The Music of the Mega Man Cartoon

Super Fighting Robot: The Music of the Mega Man Cartoon

October 13, 2017 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Super Fighting Robot: The Music of the Mega Man Cartoonon Twitter

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I have written about the music of video game cartoons in the past covering shows such as the Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, Captain N: The Gamemaster, The Legend of Zelda and many more. Today I’ve looking back at the music from the 1994 Mega Man cartoon.

The show was produced by four studios including Capcom and the music was composed by Tom Keenlyside and John Mitchell. Read on for more details about the show’s music, theme song, and soundtrack album.

Mega Man first aired in the fall of 1994 and ran for two seasons spanning 27 episodes. The show was based on the first series of Mega Man video games and featured Mega Man, his dog Rush, and the female robot Roll who worked with Dr. Light to fight the evil Dr. Wily and his robots which included Mega Man‘s brother Proto Man.

The Opening Theme

The opening theme song which you can listen to just above is a pulse pounding electronic rock and roll tune. Throughout the song which features a distinctly hummable theme you’ll hear the lyrics “Super-Fighting Robot – Mega Man!” in two sets of three repetitions which create a feeling of charging up with their slight pitch increases. The song then climaxes with the lyric “Fighting to Save the World!”.

The Background Music

I recently re-watched several episodes of the show, which revealed that the end credits theme which you can listen to above was used several times throughout the show as background music. This music was used in scenes where Mega Man sprung into action, and was fighting Dr. Wily or his robots. At times the theme was presented in various forms, and slightly different instrumentation.

MMcartoon_wily

Whenever Dr. Wily or his robots were scheming on screen the music shifted to a long noted grunge guitar riff. It reminded me of the music from the Dragonball Z Ocean Productions dub, and the guitar riffs used when the Saiyans were on screen. As it turns out according to Wikipedia some of the show’s background music was used in episodes of Dragonball Z.

The Soundtrack Album

I remember seeing the official soundtrack album at my local music store back in 1995. CDs were also expensive, and I always listened before buying. You can listen to the first track of the 12 track album above, and you’ll notice that it does not contain any of the show’s background music, theme song or closing credits. You can listen to the full album on YouTube here thanks to user Mega Fan. When I re-watched the show I noticed that some of these songs played over the end credits during the show’s second season. The music is interesting, but personally I would have preferred a release of Tom Keenlyside’s and John Mitchell’s work.

I wrote the composers of the show’s music Tom Keenlyside and John Mitchell. John Mitchell said that he had a great time working on the show with animation icon Joe Ruby, of Ruby Spears Productions. Tom Keenlyside offered some offered some insight about working on the music for Mega Man:

The production company John and I worked for, Ocean Studios in Vancouver, gave us pretty well carte blanche to write whatever we wanted for the Mega Man theme and many other shows we did. When we finalized the theme the post production facility edited the picture to the music. Not every show worked the same way and sometimes we would have to post music to existing video, but this wasn’t the case with Mega Man. In general we would write the theme to a show and post maybe a dozen episodes with underscore (very involved) and the production house would fill in the rest of the shows with our library.

John and I wrote themes and underscore for many series during those years (about 1990 to 2010) including the Canadian version of Dragonball Z and several European animated series, such as Jungo the Adventurer, Spiff and Hercules, Swift and the Little Circus, and a great one called “Troll Tales”. Most of these titles are unfamiliar to North American audiences, but did well in France, Spain, Germany and Britain. I have all the masters of these themes but I’ve never thought of publishing them.

Tom Keenlyside, Composer

You can read more about both composer’s animation work at their Anitunes website. You can also listen to the Canadian version of the Dragonball Z theme too! And if you’re a Jazz fan make sure you check out Tom Keenlyside’s website.

Although you can’t buy the soundtrack, you can still buy the complete series on DVD from Discotek media on Amazon.

Did you watch Mega Man in the 90’s? Would you like to see the show’s music released one day?

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