Sad news in the world of Japanese film today. Sadao Iizuka, whose optical effects work graced legendary tokusatsu titles from Godzilla to Ultraman, has died at the age of 88.
Iizuka’s cause of death was pneumonia.
Born in Tokyo in 1934, Iizuka worked on effects at Toho starting with the original 1954 Godzilla. Under the tutelage of special effects legend Eiji Tsuburaya, he pioneered Toho’s optical effects work, creating famous effects like Godzilla’s atomic breath and King Ghidorah’s gravity beams.
He also worked on TV series like Ultraman, where he created the titular protagonist’s famous Specium Beam (the video below shows how it was done).
In 1972, he established the special effects company Den Film Effects, which provided effects work for Toho, Tsuburaya and others.
Iizuka kept working late into life, even working on 2022’s Shin Ultraman.
The world of tokusatsu films and TV owes much of its unique look and feel to Iizuka, and he will be missed. For more about him, check out this in-depth interview with Brett Homenick.
Source: Ryusuke Hikawa