Shunsuke Kikuchi’s Golden Bat Music
May 20, 2020
Cinema-KAN Announces CD Soundtrack to THE GOLDEN BAT, music by Shunsuke Kikuchi
– Randall D. Larson
When the Earth is threatened by an evil alien, a group of UN scientists travel to the lost city of Atlantis where they unearth a superhuman mummy named The Golden Bat who is prophesied to help the humans survive this terrible attack.
The Japanese archival soundtrack label Cinema-KAN announces the original motion picture soundtrack from a classic Japanese dark hero movie THE GOLDEN BAT (1966, Ôgon Bat) from 1966, composed by Shunsuke Kikuchi (THE SNAKE GIRL AND THE SILVER-HAIRED WITCH, GOKE, BODY SNATCHER FROM HELL, GAMERA VS. GUIRON/JIHER/ZIGRA, KAMEN RIDER series). In addition to Kikuchi’s score, the album contains the film’s popular theme song, which was also used in subsequent TV anime series broadcast in 1967-68.
The film is deliciously campy for American audiences. Despite the motif of the skull, which is a symbol of death and evil, THE GOLDEN BAT immediately captivated Japanese children in its unique setting about a super-human devoted to justice.
The soundtrack music has been digital remastered from the original master tape. As is typical of Cinema-KAN’s releases, the album also contains unused score, trailer music, etc. as bonus tracks.
Created by Takeo Nagamatsu and directed by Hajime Satô (CAPTAIN ULTRA, GOKE BODY SNATCHER FROM HELL,THE TERROR BENEATH THE SEA), THE GOLDEN BAT stars Sonny Chiba as Dr. Yamatone, Osamu Kobayashi as the voice of Ôgon Bat, and Wataru Yamagawa. The character was based on a Japanese superhero created by Suzuki Ichiro and Takeo Nagamatsu in 1931. Ôgon Bat is considered to be the world’s first comic book superhero and a precursor to later superhero characters such as Superman (debut 1938) and Batman (debut 1939). In the 1950s, the character was adapted into manga (including one by Japan’s “godfather of manga,” Osamu Tezuka. One live-action movie, ÔGON BAT: MATENRÔ NO KAIJIN (1950 directed by Toshio Shimura), pre-dated the Hajime Satô version, and in 1972 comedy biopic ÔGON BATTO GA YATTEKURU, was released. For all its silliness the film has come to be well-regarded in America as a fun exercise in camp superhero entertainment, supported by a fine orchestral music score.
Cinema-KAN’s soundtrack album to the Kikuchi score is scheduled for release on July 22, 2020, and is currently pre-orderable from ArkSquare.
Watch the film’s original trailer and bask in its superhero wonderment here.
Listen to some of the film’s music, posted on youtube: