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Legendary composer Michiaki Watanabe passes away at 96 years old

The late composer was known for his music for Mazinger Z, Kikaider, Super Sentai and more.
The late composer was known for his music for Mazinger Z, Kikaider, Super Sentai and more.
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30 Jun 2022 06:06:36 GMT9
30 Jun 2022 06:06:36 GMT9

Amin Abbas

DUBAI: Composer Michiaki Watanabe, also known as Chumei Watanabe, passed away due to heart failure at a Tokyo hospital on June 23. He was 96 years old.

Ichiro Mizuki, legendary Japanese singer of classic anime titles said on Twitter: “I lost my words in shock after receiving the sudden obituary of Dr. Michiaki Watanabe. Mazinger Z and other teachers’ songs are loved by fans all over the world, regardless of time and borders. If I didn’t meet my teacher, I wouldn’t be here now. A teacher who has been active throughout his life. Thank you very much for everything, I pray for your soul from the bottom of my heart.”

Takanobu Terada, Super Robot Wars video games series producer said on Twitter: “The composer Michiaki Watanabe, who was very helpful in Super Robot, passed away on the 23rd. I’ve heard stories from the people involved, but since it’s announced today … I would like to express my deepest condolences. Even though people’s lives are running out, there are immortal songs…”

Toshio Furukawa, veteran Japanese voice actor who is known as Piccolo (Dragon Ball franchise), Portgas D. Ace (One Piece franchise) and more said on Twitter: “Thank you for your help with the character song ‘Welcome to HEART’ (lyrics by Tomoko Aran / composition by Michiaki Watanabe) of Robot King Daioja. The theme song of [Magne Robo Gakeen] ‘Tatakae! Ga ☆ Keen’ was also Mr. Michiaki Watanabe …. I would like to express my sincere condolences.”

Masami Obari, veteran Japanese anime director, animation director, mecha and character designer said on Twitter: “Thank you to Michiaki Watanabe for all the excitement and courage! It was an honor to work with you.”

Watanabe was born in 1925. He studied psychology at the prestigious University of Tokyo under composers Ikuma Dan and Saburo Moroi. He made his debut as a composer for a radio drama produced by the Central Japan Broadcasting Company 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 large effect on Watanabe’s compositions. He introduced brass instruments when he created “Theme of Z” for Mazinger Z, also using an analog synthesizer. The combination was considered unique to 1970s listeners’ ears.

He composed music for the anime series Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, Getter Robo Go, and Transformers: Victory, among many others. He also composed the music for the first two Kikaider live-action series, Inazuman, the first six Super Sentai series (and contributed to later Super Sentai series as recently as last year’s Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger), and the first five Metal Heroes series starting with Space Sheriff Gavan.

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