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.”
渡辺宙明先生の突然の訃報を受けショックで言葉を失いました。マジンガーＺをはじめ先生の歌は、時代を越え、国境を越え、世界中のファンに愛されています。先生に出会わなかったら、今の僕はありません。生涯現役を貫いた先生。今まで本当にありがとうございました。心よりご冥福をお祈りいたします。 pic.twitter.com/SQ4Jb5wpZB— Ichiro Mizuki (@aniki_z) June 27, 2022
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…”
スパロボでも大変お世話になった作曲家の渡辺宙明先生が２３日に亡くなられました。関係者の方からお話は聞いておりましたが、本日に発表ということで……心からお悔やみ申し上げます。人の命は尽きるとも、不滅の楽曲はあるのです……。— 寺田貴信/Takanobu_Terada (@TakanobuTerada) June 27, 2022
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.”
■作曲家・渡辺宙明先生の訃報……。— 声優・古川登志夫（青二プロダクション） (@TOSHIO_FURUKAWA) June 27, 2022
最強ロボ ダイオージャ】のキャラクターソング『HEARTへようこそ』（作詞・亜蘭知子／作曲・渡辺宙明）などでお世話になりました。【マグネロボ ガ☆キーン】の主題歌『たたかえ！ガ☆キーン』も渡辺宙明先生でした……。謹んで哀悼の意を表します。 pic.twitter.com/V31GM3UqZs
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.”
渡辺宙明先生、たくさんの感動と勇気をありがとうございました！— 大張正己 /Masami Obari最新画集発売中 (@G1_BARI) June 27, 2022
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.