Kenichiro Fukui is a composer that few likely know off the top of their head. He began his career as a member of the Konami Kukeiha Club in 1990 under the moniker "Funiki Fukui". The first game he worked on was Sunset Riders
in 1991, but he only did the sound effects for the game. His first full composition job was Konami's light gun arcade game Lethal Enforcers
. He worked on a few more arcade games at Konami, including 1992's GI Joe
with Tsutomi Ogura and 1993's Violent Storm
with Seiichi Fukami.
Fukui-san left Konami after Violent Storm
and ended up at a subsidiary of SquareSoft, at a division called Solid. He eventually moved into the main Square offices, but was dormant for a few years. The next time he would compose a game it would have his trademark electronic style, and include plenty of power and energy behind the compositions and arrangement. While most of SquareSoft was busy on Final Fantasy VII
, there was a small team working on a side game in a different genre than the RPGs Square had engrossed itself in for nearly a decade. In 1997, Einhänder
was released to the world, and became a critical darling. This would be the last game that Fukui would be the sole composer of.
A few more years passed without a new game composed by Fukui-san. The PlayStation 2 was released and Square decided to try its hand at another non-RPG game. Fukui partnered up with Tsuyoshi Sekito to create hard rock compositions for All Star Pro-Wrestling
in 2000, alongside Kumi Tanioka. SquareSoft legend Nobuo Uematsu enjoyed the music on the soundtrack and approached the two about forming a band. At the time, Fukui declined, but they did team up to put on a single live performance. Afterwards, The Black Mages were formed. The other two insisted that Uematsu himself be one of the musicians or there would be no band. In 2003, All Star Pro-Wrestling III
was released; it was composed by the Fukui-Sekito duo once more.
The second Black Mages album released the following year, with 2005 having the next set of games that Fukui worked on. He helped compose a few songs for Front Mission 5: Scars of the War
, which was mostly composed by Hidenori Iwasaki. The same year he also began arranging songs for games he did not compose for. First was Hanjuku Hero 4 ~The 7 Heroes~
. He became the main composer for Project Sylpheed
in 2006, and also did arrangements for Final Fantasy XII
the same year. The next year saw a couple more arrangements, with Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
and Final Fantasy IV
The last wave of work that Fukui-san worked on included more arrangements than games composed. In 2008, the third Black Mages album released, and the group would eventually dissolve in 2010. After a long time away from the company, Fukui once again worked with Konami as an arranger for the Otomedius Gorgeous
and Otomedius Excellent
titles in 2009 and 2011 respectively. At Square, he worked on arrangements for Final Fantasy XIV
with Tsutomu Narita. His last credit as a full composer is for the PSP game Lord of Arcana
with Nobuo Uematsu and Satoshi Henmi, which released in 2010. One of the main reasons for his departure from the industry since then could be his appointment to HAL College of Tokyo, where he teaches classes based on composition and performance.