Composer Michiaki Watanabe (also known as Chumei Watanabe) died due to In the heart failed in a Tokyo hospital on June 23. He was 96 years old.
Watanabe was born in 1925. He studied psychology at the prestigious University of Tokyo under the direction of composers Ikuma Dan and Saburo Moroi. He made his debut as a composer for a radio play produced by the Central Japan Broadcasting Corporation in the 1950s. For the next 20 years, Watanabe worked with TOHO regularly on film soundtracks while improving his craft under the likes of jazz musician Sadao Watanabe. This had a strong effect on Watanabe’s compositions. He introduced brass instruments when he created “Z theme” for Mazinger-Z, also using an analog synthesizer. The combination was considered unique to the ears of 1970s listeners.
He composed the music for the animated series Mazinger-Z, Godannar, Getter Robo Goand Transformers: Victory, among others. He also composed the music for the first two Kikaider live action series, Inazumanthe first six Super Sentai series (and contributed to the later Super Sentai series as recently as last year Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger), and the first five Metal Heroes series beginning with Gavan Space Sheriff.
Update: Corrected date of death. Thank you, Damien Salazar.
Image source: Studio21
Source: Kyodo News