Looks pretty faithful to the comics, right?
The infamous Japanese version of Spider-Man
, this was the result of a short-lived licensing agreement between Marvel Comics
which also resulted in the anime version
of The Tomb of Dracula
and some elements of Battle Fever J
In this version Spider-Man is Takuya Yamashiro, a young Japanese motorcycle racer who's given blood by a 400-year-old Human Alien
from the planet Spider, letting him turn into Spider-Man in order to defeat the Iron Cross Army. He has the basic costume and powers of the Western version (though he tends to shout attack names
to use webs, and the webs and costume come from a bracelet) but little else is similar.
The show was produced in 1978-79, between the second (J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai
) and third (Battle Fever J
) Super Sentai
shows and has many similarities to that franchise — Spider-Man has a car called the Spider-Machine GP-7 and a Humongous Mecha
, and the series follows the familiar Super Sentai
formula of a single organization sending out a Monster of the Week
which gets defeated, then grows to giant size
, and is defeated by the hero in the robot. In fact, it introduced this concept to Super Sentai
— the first two shows (Himitsu Sentai Goranger
and J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai
) didn't have giant robots.
The series is not related in any way to the earlier Spider-Man
manga by Ryoichi Ikegami
, although it did have a few manga adaptations that were published in different children's magazines. Incidentally, Spider-Man's giant robot Leopardon did
make it to the United States as part of the Godaikin
All 41 episodes (42 including The Movie
, which takes place between Episodes 10 and 11, but is listed as "Episode 0" for archival purposes) can be seen with subtitles on Marvel's official page for the series
. Stan Lee likes it
and Marvel clearly doesn't consider it an Old Shame
, so hey.
This show provides examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Iron Cross Army sometimes uses these to get around undetected.
- Actor Allusion: Episode 31 introduces Hiroshi Miyauchi as a guitar-toting modern cowboy out for revenge against a giant evil organization, much like his character in Kaiketsu Zubat.
- Air Vent Passageway: Spider-Man often uses this technique to sneak into Iron Cross bases.
- Alien Invasion: Courtesy of the Iron Cross Army.
- Aliens Speaking English: Well, speaking Japanese and writing English. Spider-Man's car has "Spider Machine GP-7" written on it.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Takuya's little brother, Takuji.
- Arm Cannon: The Bomb Wolf Machine BEM used one of these.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever
- Bad Boss: Professor Monster and Amazoness, their treatment of Kabuton in Episode 9 being a fine example.
- Bad Habits: For whatever reason, the Amazonian warriors Bella and Rita are seen wearing nuns' habits when the Iron Cross Army first resurrects them in Episode 35.
- Big Bad: Professor Monster, who has laser-beam eyes but tends to sit around commanding things.
- Big Badass Wolf: Bomb Wolf, Episode 29's Machine BEM.
- Big Creepy Crawlies: Cockroach Machine, Episode 24's Machine BEM.
- Big Damn Heroes: Detective Tachibana gets such a moment in Episode 39 when he saves Spider-Man from being executed by the monsters of the week.
- Bloodless Carnage: In one scene, Amazoness and her henchman shoot down a bunch of men with guns. This seems to have the effect of making them fall down.
- Boom Stick: One Machine BEM, the Sorceress Beast, has a staff that doubles as some sort of gun.
- Brats with Slingshots: Episode 28's "youth detective club."
- By the Power of Grayskull!: Leopardon's Transformation Sequence always happens straight after Spider-Man announcing "Marveller! Change Leopardon!"
- Calling Your Attacks: Used both for Spider-Man's web slinging techniques and for Leopardon's special attacks.
- Catapult Nightmare: From Takuya, after he has a vision of Shinko being attacked by the Snake Woman in Episode 9.
- Chest Blaster: Leopardon's Leopardon String attack, a sort of weighted rope fired out of a panel on Leopardon's chest.
- Chest Insignia: As with other versions of the character, Spider-Man has a black spider symbol on his chest, with a larger and more stylized red one on his back.
- Cool Car: The Spider Machine GP-7.
- Crying Wolf: Comes up in Episode 34, when a boy with a reputation for creating hoax photos manages to take a picture of a murder committed by the Iron Cross Army.
- Dem Bones: The Skeleton Beast Machine BEM from Episode 22 and his henchman the White-robed Beast took the form of monstrous, walking skeletons.
- The Dragon: Amazoness to Professor Monster.
- Emergency Transformation: Takuya was turned into Spider-Man partly to prevent him from dying from a wound to the neck given to him by some Mooks.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Ricky from Episode 16 could sense Ninders in disguise.
- Evil Redhead: Amazoness, once she switches to her second outfit. The rest of the time, she has black hair.
- Expy: In Episode 17, when Samson the wrestler turns into a Machine BEM, he resembles The Thing.
- Saeko Yoshida, Amazoness' civilian identity, is a gender flipped version of J. Jonah Jameson.
- Professor Monster is also loosely based on Doctor Doom.
- Eye Beam: Professor Monster can fire these out of his mechanical eye.
- Eye Catch: Two sets of these were used during the series. The first set had illustrated pictures of Spider-Man in his car and Leopardon, and the second set is up there as the page pictures. With both sets, the image with Spider-Man would be used going into commercials, and the image of Leopardon was used when coming back to the show.
- Fantastic Drug: "Mash" from Episode 31.
- Finishing Move: Leopardon's Sword Vigor, which consists of it throwing its never-used-for-anything-else sword at the enemy.
- Flying Car: Spider-Man's Spider Machine GP-7.
- Full Body Disguise: Spider-Man's costume, the Spider Protector.
- Gag Dub: Many Western fans were first aware of the existence of Japanese Spiderman through a hilarious (and sadly lost) Gag Dub on Youtube.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Episode 21 comes about as close to this as is possible in something that isn't a game, because Spider-Man's ability to summon his spaceship/robot is only there for the obligatory robot scene and is not otherwise treated like something he can actually do. In this episode, Spider-Man needs to get a dying man to the airport to see his son; hitchhiking on trains while being attacked by bad guys on foot? Yes. Flying in Marveller, where he doesn't even need to transform into robot form and can easily bypass the bad guys? No.
- Giant Enemy Crab: Gamina, Episode 25's Machine Bem.
- Glamour Failure: The Iron Cross Army's Mecha-Mooks could disguise themselves as humans, but would generally be given away by either their metallic hands or the exposed circuitry behind their ear.
- Healing Factor: One of Takuya's powers.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: This incarnation of Spider-Man doesn't generally fall victim to this trope, but several of the Iron Cross Army's plots invoke this by creating scandals in an attempt to ruin his reputation.
- Hidden Elf Village: The alien village from Episode 19.
- Human Aliens
- I Have No Son: Masao's father says this of his son in Episode 13 after the younger man, who ran away from home to join a biker gang when his mother died, comes back home only to physically harass his father for money to pay for modifications for his bike, then complains about how little money his father actually has, essentially calling him a lazy cheapskate.
- In Name Only: Has little in common with his American Marvel counterpart other than the costume and some of his abilities.
- Instrument of Murder: Goh Tachibana carries around a guitar with a gun hidden inside.
- Interpol Special Agent: Takuya frequently works with Interpol agents to thwart the Iron Cross Army's plots, after one of them discovers his Secret Identity in The Movie.
- In the Name of the Moon: Spider-Man often introduces himself to enemies with such phrases. Early on, he'd consistently describe himself as "An emissary from hell" or as the "Iron Cross Killer" before announcing his name, but later on he changes it from episode to episode to better suit the plot.
- Intrepid Reporter: Hitomi, Takuya's girlfriend.
- Kitsune: Episode 33's Machine BEM, Fire Fox, is based off this.
- Like That Show But With Mecha
- Loan Shark: The Iron Cross Army sets up a false organization of these as part of its plot in Episode 24, kidnapping people who can't pay them back to put them to work in one of their factories to produce poisonous gas.
- Make My Monster Grow
- Meaningful Name: Professor Monster and Amazoness.
- Mega Neko: Episode 8's Machine BEM, an ancient cat demon killed by Takuya's ancestor long ago and revived by the Iron Cross Army.
- Mineral MacGuffin: The Star of Egypt from Episode 25. We're not told why the Iron Cross Army wants it - they just do.
- Monster of the Week: The Machine BEMs.
- Mooks: The duck-faced Ninders. They originally fight with machetes exclusively, but start to use guns around Episode 5.
- Mecha-Mooks: Their exact nature isn't discussed, but elements such as the items listed under Glamour Failure lead us to assume the Ninders are these.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Big Bad is named Professor Monster. Need we say more?
- No MacGuffin, No Winner: Occurs in Episode 40, when Spider-Man decides to destroy the plans for an experimental jet engine rather than let the Iron Cross Army use them for evil.
- No Peripheral Vision: In the first episode, Takuya manages to hide from his family after becoming Spider-Man for the first time by clinging to the ceiling of his (not that large) bedroom.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Takuya often pretends to be a lazy goofball in his everyday life, in order to ward off any suspicions of him being Spider-Man.
- The Obi-Wan: Garia.
- The Other Darrin: The actress who portrayed Bella Army changed between Episodes 38 and 39.
- Parental Abandonment: Takuya's mother apparently died sometime before the beginning of the series, while his father is killed by the Iron Cross Army in the opener.
- Percussive Prevention: Spider-Man pulls this on Tachibana in Episode 39, in order to prevent the latter from walking into an Iron Cross trap.
- Phantom Thief: Episode 3 involves a thief called 001, who gets kidnapped by the Iron Cross Army and hypnotized into committing crimes in Spider-Man's name.
- Episode 25 involves another thief, 107, who retired five years ago after stealing a highly valuable jewel to look after his orphaned grandson. Unfortunately, the Iron Cross Army now wants this jewel, and they're not above kidnapping or killing people to get what they want...
- Playing with Fire: The Fire Fox Machine BEM had such powers.
- Retool: Somewhat less than halfway through the run, the show abruptly started focussing on Spider-Man helping kids. This was actually a sign of the times, as around 1979-84 tokusatsu began getting Lighter and Softer (because of pressure from Moral Guardians) moving away from the more violent and brutal early-1970s series such as Kamen Rider Amazon and Choujin Barom 1. It can even be seen in the Tsuburaya series Ultraman Eighty.
- Rocket Punch: Leopardon's Arm Rockets.
- Short Anime Movie: Tokusatsu version.
- Short-Lived, Big Impact: Japanese Spider-Man ran for one season (41 episodes and one movie) and made the Humongous Mecha genre.
- Sixth Ranger: Bella and Rita become this for the Iron Cross Army once they're introduced in Episode 35.
- Sizeshifter: The Machine BEMs seemed to initiate the Make My Monster Grow bits all on their own, and some also displayed the ability to shrink to a pocket size.
- Sneeze Cut: Two of these in Episode 34. Hitomi gets the first one, after some kids call her a third-rate photographer, and Takuya gets another one later, when Amazoness and Professor Monster note that he's been snooping around near one of their factories (Takuya did have a cold at the time, though).
- Soft Glass: Spider-Man effortlessly breaks through a glass window in Episode 19, without cutting himself or his costume.
- Something Person: Spider-Man, as ever.
- Spell My Name with an S: Takuya's Spider Bracelet (as well as the official subs) spells Spidey's name as one word, "Spiderman", instead of the usual two words with a hyphen.
- Spider-Sense: Duh.
- Stock Footage
- Stop Trick
- Super Robot
- Super Senses: The Machine BEM from Episode 6, Robacular, had a super sense of smell. Later episodes portray Spider-Man as having similar abilities.
- Super Strength: The plot of Episode 33 involves Spider-Man encountering a young girl who has this as a result of wearing a special pendant from Planet Spider.
- Tank Goodness: Episode 21 features a Machine BEM that's half tank, half buffalo.
- Theme Music Power-Up: Most episodes will have some version of the show's opening theme playing over the big fight scene at the climax.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: This is always the attack that kills the Monster of the Week.
- Tragic Monster: Kabuton, Episode 9's Machine BEM, as well as the Snake Woman in Episode 10.
- Transformation Name Announcement: The Machine BEMs would often announce their names right after growing to their giant size.
- Transformation Trinket: Takuya's Spider Bracelet, which besides shooting webs and releasing his suit for him to transform into, can also detect Mooks in disguise, among other functions.
- Transforming Mecha: Marveller/Leopardon, going from spaceship to humanoid robot.
- Turtle Power: Kamenger, Episode 19's Machine BEM.
- Victim of the Week: Episodes often involve Spider-Man helping random kids who happen to get involved with whatever the Iron Cross Army is up to this week.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The primary power of Dr. Miracle, an old associate of Professor Monster who appears for one episode.
- Wall Crawl: A standard part of the Spider-Man arsenal.
- Was Once a Man: Several Machine BEMs were ordinary humans who were kidnapped by the Iron Cross Army and rebuilt into horrible monsters.
- We Named the Monkey : In Episode 27, Takuji names a dog he adopts after Takuya, his big brother.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Takuya's sister, Shinko, can't stand spiders.