Japanese Spider-Man composer Michiaki Watanabe dies at 96

The Japanese Spider-Man from the 1978 TV series is crouched in a pose, ready for action.

Screenshot: Toei/Marvel

Michiaki”Chumei” Watanabe, the Japanese composer who composed the first six Super Sentai TV series and several other Japanese pop culture classics, died at the age of 96.

Anime News Network reports that Watanabe died of heart failure on June 23, with his death confirmed by japanese magazine Televi Kun yesterday morning. Watanabe’s work as a composer has spanned tons of classic Japanese anime and Tokusatsu series in his work at Toho, including hits like the legendary super robot show Mazinger-Z, Getter Robo Goand Transformers: Victorythe series finale of the franchise’s first generation.

But Watanabe is probably best known for his work composing the first six entries in the iconic live-action superhero franchise. Super Sentai. , better known in the West as Power Rangers. Watanabe was the main composer of Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, JAKQ Dengekitai, J Fight Fever, Denshi Sentai Denjiman, Taiyo Sentai Vulcan Sunand Dai Sentai-V Gogglesestablishing brass and synth music sound that defines a new generation of superheroes for Japanese audiences. Watanabe’s legacy is still felt in the long-running series to this day; not only would he occasionally return to the franchise to compose songs for individual series, Watanabe returned full-time to compose the anniversary team’s retro-infused soundtrack Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the franchise Last year.

In the Wis, Watanabe might not be a well-known name, but chances are you’ve heard what is probably his most iconic work outside of Japan: the theme song for Toei’s 1978 Spider Man series. Watanabe composed both “Kakero!” Spider-Man” and “Chikai no Ballad”, the opening and ending themes of the series (who were performed by artist Yuki Hide) as as well as the series soundtrack, the first winning something of a cult status outside of Japan as Spider Man show slowly but surely making its way home of the webslinger in the United States

Watanabe is survived by his son, Toshiyuki Watanabe, who has composed music for several anime television series and his own films.

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