Akira Watanabe (渡辺 明, nicknamed Mr. Nabe Watanabe Akira) (ナベさん, was a Nabe-san)Japanese special effects art director who worked frequently on Toho's tokusatsu films during the Showa era. He is notable for approving and finalizing the designs of popular monsters such as King Ghidorah, Baragon, and Godzilla himself. Watanabe worked for Shochiku beginning in 1929, but transferred to Toho in 1941 at the recommendation of Eiji Tsuburaya, working on his first film with the company the following year. He departed from Toho in 1966 after serving as Tsuburaya's art director on Invasion of Astro-Monster. He co-founded Japanese Special Effects Productions, later renamed Japanese Special Effects Film Co., Ltd, with which he directed the special effects for Nikkatsu's sole Showa kaiju movie Gappa, and the Japanese-American co-production The Green Slime.
Special effects art director
- Godzilla (1954)[a]
- Godzilla Raids Again (1955)[b]
- Half Human (1955)[c]
- Rodan (1956)[c]
- The Mysterians (1957)
- The H-Man (1958)
- Varan (1958)
- The Three Treasures (1959)
- Battle in Outer Space (1959)
- The Secret of the Telegian (1960)
- The Human Vapor (1960)
- Mothra (1961)
- The Last War (1961)
- Gorath (1962)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
- Matango (1963)
- Atragon (1963)
- Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
- Dogora (1964)
- Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
- Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965)
- Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)
- Ultra Q (TV 1966)
Director of special effects
Akira Watanabe and Keiko Sawai with a model of the P-1
- Special effects staff members' positions did not begin to be credited individually until The Mysterians in 1957. As such, Watanabe was credited for "special technology" alongside Eiji Tsuburaya, Hiroshi Mukoyama, and Kuichiro Kishida.
- Credited for "special technology" alongside Hiroshi Mukoyama and Masao Shirota; see first note.
- Credited for "special technology" alongside Eiji Tsuburaya, Masao Shirota and Hiroshi Mukoyama; see first note.
- Credited as an "associate" through Japanese Special Effects Film Co., Ltd.; also storywriter.
- Only credited through Japanese Special Effects Film Co., Ltd. in the film's Japanese version.
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