Akira Toriyama Comments on Dragon Quest Composer Koichi Sugiyama’s Death

Dragon Quest composer Koichi Sugiyama has died, with commentary by Dragon Ball illustrator Akira Toriyama

Akira Toriyama has commented on the death of his lifelong colleague Koichi Sugiyama, the composer of the Dragon Quest video game series.

According to the official Dragon Quest news site in Japan, hosted by Dragon Quest video game publisher Square-Enix, longtime Dragon Quest series composer Koichi Sugiyama has passed away at the age of 90 from septic shock.

Koichi Sugiyama started composing for the series with its first game, Dragon Quest (May 27, 1986).

He has composed over 500 songs for the Dragon Quest franchise since then, for the last 35 years.

Among his many accomplishments, in 2016 he was awarded the Guinness World Record for being “the oldest composer in the world to compose video game music.”

His last work was to compose the music for the upcoming Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate.

Akira Toriyama, the famed illustrator and manga author of Dragon Ball, designed all of the characters and monsters for the Dragon Quest series.

dragon quest 1 covert art by akira toriyama

Toriyama, alongside Dragon Quest founder and director Yuji Horii, had some parting words for their colleague.

I have translated their comments below.

Akira Toriyama’s Comment

Dragon Ball author Akira Toriyama comments on Dragon Quest composer Koichi Sugiyama death

“I was surprised to hear about the death of Sugiyama-sensei.
From the impression I had when I met him, just a few years ago, I thought of him as a sorcerer with eternal life—in a good way.

The overall image of Dragon Quest was determined by a number of wonderfully impressive masterpieces by Sugiyama-sensei, who has loved games since way back then.
It is no exaggeration to call them that.

It was a great honor to work with you for a long time!
I pray for your soul from the bottom of my heart.”


For Koichi Sugiyama’s 88th birthday, a few years ago as Toriyama mentions above, he drew this illustration for Sugiyama-sensei.

akira toriyama's birthday illustration of koichi sugiyama

Toriyama’s handwritten note reads that he is wishing his colleague a long life, and here he appears in Dragon Quest LXXXVIII (88).

Sugiyama-sensei is depicted as one of the Hero’s of the series, composing the famous Slime monsters, which have turned into musical notes.

Yuji Horii’s Comment

Dragon Quest founder Yuji Horii comments on Dragon Quest composer Koichi Sugiyama death

“I’m really sorry to hear of Sugiyama-sensei’s sudden passing.
For thirty-five years after making the first Dragon Quest, Sugiyama-sensei has brought the spirit of his music to the world.
As a master composer, he wrote a lot of really great songs.
Dragon Quest will continue to be played with his music.
Such a master should continue to live in the hearts of all players.
Sugiyama-sensei, thank you very much for being here for such a long time.”

Your Thoughts

dragon quest 3 cover art by akira toriyama

How do you feel about Koichi Sugiyama’s death?

And Akira Toriyama and Yuji Horii’s comments?

Have you ever played a Dragon Quest game? Are you a fan?

What does Koichi Sugiyama’s passing mean to you?

Sugiyama’s death reminds me of the recent death of Dragon Ball composer Shunsuke Kikuchi.

I played the first Dragon Quest game when I was 7. His music has always been there.

It feels like the composers of my youth are leaving this world!

I will listen to the Dragon Quest soundtracks once again, and play a few pieces on the piano, as I recall what this series and its music means to me.



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