Do Yourself A Favor And Watch Two Full Episodes of The Japanese Spider-Man
Yeah yeah yeah, wow!
Do you love kitschy action adventure television from the ’70s? Do you love Spider-Man? Do you love giant robots and motorcycle racing? Sit down: we have a wonderful surprise for you.
Yesterday Marvel announced that they will be releasing episodes of the Japanese version of Spider-Man, a 1978 tokusatsu series by Toei that was (incredibly) loosely based on the classic superhero. Takuya Yamashiro, a motorcycle racer who comes across the last surviving member of a race from planet “Spider,” and who is granted special supernatural abilities and weapons to fight Professor Monster and his group of evil extraterrestrials the Iron Cross Army as an “emissary from hell.” One of those weapons, by the way, is a giant robot spaceship. Hells yeah. That sounds way better than a handmade web slinger and a flash bulb camera, or whatever it is Parker’s got.
Dan Slott, writer of Marvel’s Spider-Verse series, had this to say about the Japanese classic:
If you’ve never seen an episode of the Japanese, live action Spider-Man show from the 70’s, then you are in for a treat! He is like no Spidey you’ve ever seen before! Sure, he’s got spider-sense, can climb walls, and swing on a web…but he’s also got the Spider-Machine GP7, a flying, missile-launching race car—and a leopard-headed spaceship, Marveller, that transforms into his giant robot, LEOPARDON!!!
And no, it’s not a Power Ranger-style robot. Leopardon came FIRST. So all those Power Ranger/Sentai shows? THEY had a Leopardon-style robot. Deal with it.
In fact, it was Leopardon and the Spider-Man series that paved the way for all future shows in the Tokusatsu genre, including Super Sentai, Ultraman, and Kamen Rider. It also almost led to a Captain America-style collaboration between Toei and Marvel (called Captain Japan, of course), but somehow that never panned out.
Marvel owns the complete rights to Toei’s Spider-Man and once had all 41 installments up online for anyone to watch, but as of their recent announcement they only have the first and the seventh episode available for some reason. Hopefully they’re trying to cash in on Yamashiro and Leopardon’s recent appearance in Spider-Verse #12 and will bring the rest of them back soon, because I have a feeling none of us are going to be satisfied until we’ve watched the whole dang thing.
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