Spider-Man (Japanese TV series)

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Japanese Spider-Man.png
Series logo
Created byToei Company
Marvel Comics
Based on
Developed byShozo Uehara
Susumu Takaku
Directed byKoichi Takemoto
StarringShinji Todō
Mitsuo Andō
Yukie Kagawa
Narrated byTōru Ōhira
ComposerMichiaki Watanabe
Country of originJapan
No. of episodes41 (+ 1 film)
Running time24 minutes
Production companyToei Company
DistributorToei Company
Original networkTokyo Channel 12 (TV Tokyo)
Original releaseMay 17, 1978 (1978-05-17) –
March 14, 1979 (1979-03-14)
Preceded byThe Amazing Spider-Man (TV series)
Followed bySpider-Man (1981 TV series)

Spider-Man (Japanese: スパイダーマン, Hepburn: Supaidāman), also referred to as Japanese Spider-Man, is a Japanese live-action tokusatsu television series produced by Toei Company, loosely based on Marvel Comics' Spider-Man character via a contract that was negotiated by producer Gene Pelc.[1][2][3] The series lasted 41 episodes, which aired in the Wednesday 19:30 JST time slot of Tokyo Channel 12 (TV Tokyo) from May 17, 1978, to March 14, 1979. A theatrical episode was shown in the Toei Manga Matsuri film festival on July 22, 1978. From March 5 to December 24, 2009, Marvel uploaded English subtitled versions of all 41 episodes on their website.[4]

While Toei's version of the character, Takuya Yamashiro/Spider-Man wore the same costume as his Marvel Comics counterpart, the show's storyline and the origin of the character's powers deviated from the source material. In addition to fighting by himself, this incarnation of Spider-Man piloted a giant robot known as Leopardon, which he would summon to fight off enlarged versions of the show's monsters. Toei would later adopt the giant robot concept for their Super Sentai franchise. Yamashiro subsequently appeared in the comic storylines Spider-Verse and Spider-Geddon, and will return in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One), the upcoming sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, set in the Spider-Verse franchise.


Young motorcycle racer Takuya Yamashiro sees a UFO falling to Earth, a space warship named the Marveller. Takuya's father Dr. Hiroshi Yamashiro, a space archaeologist, investigates the case, but is killed upon finding the spaceship. The incident also attracts the attention of Professor Monster and his evil Iron Cross Army (鉄十字団, Tetsu Jūji Dan), an alien group that plans to rule the universe.

Takuya follows his father to the Marveller and discovers Garia, the last surviving warrior of Planet Spider, a world that was destroyed by Professor Monster and the Iron Cross Army. Garia explains that he was hunting Prof. Monster but now needs someone to carry on the fight and he injects Takuya with some of his own blood. The blood of a person from Planet Spider gives Takuya spider-like powers. Garia then gives Takuya a bracelet that can activate his spider protector costume, shoot web-lines, and controls the Marveller ship (which can also transform into a giant battle robot called "Leopardon"). Using his powers, Takuya fights Professor Monster's army and other threats to Earth under the name Spider-Man.



The Japanese Spider-Man costume.

In this series, Spider-Man's civilian identity is Takuya Yamashiro (山城 拓也, Yamashiro Takuya), a 22-year-old motocross racer. He has the ability to perceive threats from the Iron Cross Army with his spider-senses. He fights the Iron Cross Army in order to avenge his father's death. To conceal his superhero identity, Takuya acts as a weakling in front of his friends. Takuya gets chastised by his friends whenever he runs away from danger and is often compared unfavorably to Spider-Man. Moreover, his financial income as a motorcycle racer decreases after becoming Spider-Man due to his reduced participation in races, forcing him to assist Hitomi in her job to pay for his expenses.

Takuya assumes the identity of Spider-Man when he dons the protective suit known as the Spider-Protector. He is genetically altered as a result of the Spider-Extract injected into his body by Garia, gaining spider-like abilities such as being able to stick to and climb up walls. He can also detect the activities of nearby enemies with his Spider-Senses, and his physical strength is greater than the average person. However, he has also inherited some of the same weaknesses actual spiders have, such as a strong sensitivity towards cold.

Spider-Man keeps his true identity a secret from the public, although his reputation as a defender of justice is established early on. Spider-Man even gets a hit song named after him called the "Spider-Man Boogie" in Episode 7. Only Juzo Mamiya and the staff of the Interpol Secret Intelligence Division know of Spider-Man's true identity, starting with the movie and every episode in the series from 11 and onward. They cooperate in various instances to thwart the schemes of the Iron Cross Army.

Spider-Man spends most of the series fighting off Ninders (the Iron Cross Army's foot soldiers). He rarely finishes the Machine BEMs by himself, as they usually turn giant, forcing Spider-Man to summon Leopardon. Spider-Man thus occupies a peculiar position in the Japanese superhero genre of having no signature finishing move or weapon, such as Kamen Rider's Rider Kick or Kikaider's Denji End.

When Spider-Man faces the enemy in each episode, he introduces himself while performing a dramatic pose. A version of the show's theme song then plays as background music as Spider-Man begins to fight. The same shot of Spider-Man conducting the pose would be used repeatedly a couple of times before battle. Toei's version of Spider-Man rarely uses his web shooter to swing between buildings, as his main mode of transportation is a car called the Spider Machine GP-7, along with an aircraft called the Marveller. His web shooter instead shoots a rope which he latches onto things and he swings with it using both hands like Tarzan.


Spider Protector (スパイダープロテクター, Supaidā Purotekutā)
Takuya's Spider-Man costume. Unlike his Marvel counterpart, Takuya keeps his outfit stored inside his Spider Bracelet and wears it only when changing identities. When Takuya releases it from his bracelet, it instantly wraps onto his body, allowing Takuya to change into it easily.
Spider Bracelet (スパイダーブレスレット, Supaidā Buresuretto)
A bracelet worn around Spider-Man's left wrist, used to shoot webbing and to store the Spider Protector when Takuya is not wearing it.[5] The Spider Bracelet's webbing takes the form of nets and strings made from "Spider Fluid", which is stored within the bracelet and is produced indefinitely. The bracelet is also equipped with a homing device that allows Spider-Man to summon the GP-7 or Marveller. No toy version of the Spider Bracelet was ever made during the run of the show's airing, while related products and manga adaptations omitted the bracelet altogether. A lighter version of the Spider Bracelet prop was built specifically for action scenes, since the one used in close shots was too heavy for the suit actor to wear during stunts.[citation needed]
Spider Strings (スパイダーストリングス, Supaidā Sutoringusu)
A rope made of spider webbing shot from Spider-Man's Spider Bracelet. It can pull objects that weigh more than a hundred tons.
Spider Net (スパイダーネット, Supaidā Netto)
A net made of spider webbing also shot from Spider-Man's Spider Bracelet. It is used to capture a group of enemies at once.
The Spider Machine GP-7 (スパイダーマシンGP-7, Supaidā Mashin Jī Pī Sebun)
Spider-Man's flying car. The car is equipped with machine guns and missile launchers inside its bonnet. It is usually stored inside the Marveller aircraft.[5] The name GP-7 is a reference to the name of the American producer Gene Pelc.[1][circular reference][2]
The Marveller (マーベラー, Māberā)
The spacecraft that Garia came to Earth with. It is 45 meters (approx 150 feet) tall and weighs over 25,000 tons. It is usually stored underground and surfaces by cracking the ground whenever Spider-Man summons it. The ship's bridge is shaped like a leopard's head, which is where Leopardon's head is stored, and cracks left and right when transforming into robot mode. It is capable of flying to outer space at the speed of light. Because Marveller is usually transformed immediately into Leopardon whenever Spider-Man boards it, it is rarely seen in spacecraft mode. The Marveller is primarily equipped with cannons on its bow, which are capable of destroying most Machine BEMs.


Leopardon, Spider-Man's giant robot.

Leopardon (レオパルドン, Reoparudon) is a giant robot that Marveller can transform into. It is over 60 meters (approx. 200 feet) tall and has a weight of over 25,000 tons.

Only the first few episodes of the series featured actual battle scenes between Leopardon and the giant-sized Machine BEMs. As the series progressed the dramatic portions of the episodes were made longer, while battle scenes were made shorter in order to keep up with the running time. Because of this, there were numerous episodes in which Leopardon would throw his sword immediately after transforming from Marveller, finishing off the Machine Bem in a single blow. A few episodes did not even feature Leopardon at all. Leopardon does not suffer any damages, not even during the final battle against the giant version of Professor Monster, who is finished off with the Sword Vigor throw like most of the previous Machine Bems.

Leopardon and the giant-sized Machine Bems rarely appeared together in the same shots; most of the giant-sized battles involved Leopardon in one shot and the Machine BEM in another launching projectiles at each other. This was because the large Leopardon model often dwarfed the stuntmen in the Machine BEM suits.[citation needed] Due to structural problems, the Leopardon suit was difficult for the stuntman to move in and during the course of the series, the suit was damaged and later lost.[citation needed] As a result, all future fight scenes with Leopardon could only be made using stock footage of previous fights.[citation needed]


Hitomi Sakuma (佐久間 ひとみ, Sakuma Hitomi)
Takuya's girlfriend, a 20-year-old freelance photographer. She is the only main character besides Spider-Man to ride the Spider Machine GP-7.
Shinko Yamashiro (山城 新子, Yamashiro Shinko)
Takuya's 18-year-old younger sister, who takes care of the household chores for the Yamashiro residence.
Takuji Yamashiro (山城 拓次, Yamashiro Takuji)
Takuya's 7-year-old younger brother.
Dr. Yamashiro (山城博士, Yamashiro-hakase)
Takuya's father. An astronomer who is killed during the first episode after his research led to the discovery of the Iron Cross Army.
Garia (ガリア)
An alien from Planet Spider. 400 years prior to the events of the first episode, he pursued the Iron Cross Army in search of vengeance after they destroyed his homeworld, but crash-landed into the Earth and was imprisoned in a cave for centuries. He is the one who injects Takuya with the Spider Extract. Died in Episode 2.
Juzo Mamiya (間宮 重三, Mamiya Jūzō)
An investigator in charge of Interpol's Secret Intelligence Division. He manages to uncover the fact that Spider-Man is Takuya and asks for his assistance in their mutual battle against the Iron Cross Army. Upon agreeing, Takuya receives a radio transmitter from him, which allows Spider-Man to rendezvous with Interpol and vice versa.

Iron Cross Army

The Iron Cross Army (鉄十字団, Tetsu Jūji Dan) are the main villains of the series. They are an alien army that has destroyed numerous galaxies in their path of conquest.

Professor Monster (モンスター教授, Monsutā-kyōju)
The leader of the Iron Cross Army. He was responsible for the destruction of Planet Spider and 400 years later, he seeks to conquer the Earth as well. The blood of other lifeforms serves as the source of his immortality. In the final episode, he enlarges himself and turns into "Big Monster", but is defeated by a single strike of Leopardon's "Sword Vigour" attack. He resembles Doctor Doom though it has never confirmed to be inspired by him.
Amazoness (アマゾネス, Amazonesu)
The female commander of the Iron Cross Army. She is in charge of espionage and the planning of attacks. From the beginning of the series, she assumes the identity of Saeko Yoshida (吉田 冴子, Yoshida Saeko), the editor of Weekly Woman (週刊ウーマン, Shūkan-ūman) magazine. After Spider-Man sees through Saeko's true identity, she disappears from her job and Weekly Woman is discontinued shortly afterward. Although she suspects that Takuya is really Spider-Man, she is unable to prove this without a doubt until the final episode. Her outfit changes throughout the course of the series: she wears a black leotard with her own natural hair for the first 18 episodes; a silver mini-skirt outfit and a red hairpiece for episodes 19 throughout 30 and 32; the same outfit but with a black hairpiece for episodes 31 and 33 to 38; and her original leotard outfit with a hairpiece for the final three episodes.
Bella and Rita (ベラ&リタ, Bera to Rita)
Two ancient female warriors from an uncharted region of the Amazon whose mummified bodies were resurrected by Professor Monster. Bella uses a bow with poisoned arrows, while Rita wields a machine-gun.
Ninders (ニンダー, Nindā, subtitled only as Iron Cross Army henchmen in Marvel website)
The foot soldiers of the Iron Cross Army. They disguise themselves as humans while conducting undercover missions in public, but are still identifiable by the exposed circuits behind their ears and their metallic hands.

Machine Bem

Biological weapons created by the Iron Cross Army. A new Machine Bem (マシーンベム, Mashīn Bemu) is usually created for each plot, usually to carry out the Iron Cross Army's plans or to serve as a bodyguard. The origins of the Machine Bems are never fully clarified, although a few of them (like Samson) are actually genetically modified humans, while others (like the Monster Cat) were apparitions brought back to life. The Machine Bems have the ability to change size at will, changing not only to giant size, but also to small palm sizes as well (such as the case with Kabuton).


  • Takuya Yamashiro / Spider-Man: Shinji Tōdō
  • Hitomi Sakuma: Rika Miura (episodes 1-12, 14, 15, 17, 18 & 20-41)
  • Shinko Yamashiro: Izumi Ōyama (episodes 1-39 & 41)
  • Takuji Yamashiro: Yoshiharu Yabuki (ep. 1-16, 18-24, 26, 27, 29-33, 35-39 & 41)
  • Professor Monster: Mitsuo Andō (all episodes)
  • Amazoness: Yukie Kagawa (all episodes)
  • Garia: Toshiaki Nishizawa (episodes 1 & 2)
  • Dr. Hiroshi Yamashiro: Fuyuki Murakami (episode 1)
  • Jūzō Mamiya: Noboru Nakaya (episodes 11, 12 & 14 & Movie)
  • Rita: Rie Rinehart (episodes 35-41)
  • Bella: Tina Margo (episodes 35-38) Wanita Somaborudo (episodes 39-41)
  • Narrator: Tōru Ōhira
  • Spider-Man's suit actor: Hirofumi Koga (all episodes), Ryusuke Sakitsu (episodes 17 & 18)
  • Voice of various Machine BEMs: Shōzō Iizuka (episodes 1-7, 13-21, 26 & 28-38 & Movie)
  • Voice of various Machine BEMs: Hisako Kyōda (episodes 8 & 23)
  • Voice of various Machine BEMs: Shin Aomori (episodes 24 & 25)

Episode list

Ep# Translated title/Dub title Director Writer Japanese Airdate
1"The Time of Revenge Has Come! Beat Down Iron Cross Group!!"
"Fukushū no Toki wa Kitareri! Ute Tetsu Jūji Dan!!" (復讐の時は来たれり! 撃て鉄十字団!!)
Kōichi TakemotoShōzō UeharaMay 17, 1978 (1978-05-17)
2"Mysterious World! The Man Who Follows His Fate"
"Kaiki no Sekai! Shukumei ni Ikiru Otoko" (怪奇の世界! 宿命に生きる男)
Kōichi TakemotoSusumu TakakuMay 24, 1978 (1978-05-24)
3"Phantom Thief 001 VS. Spider-Man"
"Kaitō Daburu-Ō Wan Tai Kumo-Otoko" (怪盗001vsくも男)
Katsuhiko TaguchiSusumu TakakuMay 31, 1978 (1978-05-31)
4"The Terrifying Half Merman! The Miracle-Calling Silver Thread"
"Kyōfu no Hangyojin! Kiseki o Yobu Gin no Ito" (恐怖の半魚人! 奇蹟を呼ぶ銀の糸)
Katsuhiko TaguchiShōzō UeharaJune 7, 1978 (1978-06-07)
5"Crash Machine GP-7! The Oath Siblings"
"Gekitotsu Mashin Jī-Pī-Sebun! Kyōdai no Chikai" (激突マシンGP-7! 兄弟の誓い)
Kōichi TakemotoSusumu TakakuJune 14, 1978 (1978-06-14)
6"Shuddering Laboratory! Devilish Professor Monster"
"Senritsu no Jikkenshitsu! Akuma no Monsutā Kyōju" (戦慄の実験室! 悪魔のモンスター教授)
Kōichi TakemotoShōzō UeharaJune 21, 1978 (1978-06-21)
7"Fearful Hit Tune! Song Dancing Murder Rock"
"Osoroshiki Hitto-Kyoku! Utatte Odoru Satsujin Rokku" (恐ろしきヒット曲! 歌って踊る殺人ロック)
Katsuhiko TaguchiShōzō UeharaJune 28, 1978 (1978-06-28)
8"A Very Mysterious Folktale: The Cursed Cat Mound"
"Yo ni mo Fushigi na Mukashi-Banashi Noroi no Neko-Zuka" (世にも不思議な昔ばなし 呪いの猫塚)
Katsuhiko TaguchiSusumu TakakuJuly 5, 1978 (1978-07-05)
9"Motion Accessory Is a Loveful Beetle Insect Spy"
"Ugoku Akusesarī wa Koi no Kabutomushi Supai" (動くアクセサリーは恋のカブト虫スパイ)
Takaharu SaekiShōzō UeharaJuly 12, 1978 (1978-07-12)
10"To the Flaming Hell: See the Tears of the Snake Woman"
"Honō Jigoku ni Hebi-Onna no Namida o Mita" (炎地獄にへび女の涙を見た)
Takaharu SaekiShōzō UeharaJuly 19, 1978 (1978-07-19)
11"Professor Monster's Ultra Poisoning"
"Monsutā Kyōju no Urutora Dokusatsu" (モンスター教授のウルトラ毒殺)
Kōichi TakemotoSusumu TakakuJuly 26, 1978 (1978-07-26)
12"Becoming Splendid: To the Murderous Machine of Transformation"
"Karei Naru Satsujin Mashīn e no Henshin" (華麗なる殺人マシーンへの変身)
Kōichi TakemotoShōzō UeharaAugust 2, 1978 (1978-08-02)
13"The Skull Group VS. The Devilish Hearse"
"Dokuro Dan Tai Akuma no Reikyūsha" (ドクロ団対悪魔の霊柩車)
Kimio HirayamaSusumu TakakuAugust 9, 1978 (1978-08-09)
14"Dedicate to My Father the Song of a Brave Man Who Cannot Fight"
"Chichi ni Sasageyo Tatakaenu Yūsha no Uta o" (父に捧げよ 戦えぬ勇者の歌を)
Kimio HirayamaShōzō UeharaAugust 16, 1978 (1978-08-16)
15"The Promise of Our Lives"
"Bokutachi no Inochi no Yakusoku" (ぼくたちの命の約束)
Kōichi TakemotoSusumu TakakuAugust 23, 1978 (1978-08-23)
16"Famous Dog, Run Back to Father!"
"Meiken yo Chichi no Moto e Hashire" (名犬よ 父のもとへ走れ)
Kōichi TakemotoShōzō UeharaAugust 30, 1978 (1978-08-30)
17"Pro Wrestler Samson's Tears"
"Puro Resurā Samuson no Namida" (プロレスラー サムソンの涙)
Takaharu SaekiSusumu TakakuSeptember 6, 1978 (1978-09-06)
18"In the Mother's Chest: Resurrect the Young Boys"
"Haha no Mune ni Yomigaeru Shōnen" (母の胸に甦る少年)
Takaharu SaekiKuniaki OshikawaSeptember 13, 1978 (1978-09-13)
19"The Boy Phantom: To the Villageless Map"
"Maboroshi no Shōnen Chizu ni Nai Mura" (まぼろしの少年 地図にない村)
Kōichi TakemotoShōzō UeharaSeptember 20, 1978 (1978-09-20)
20"Riddle: Calling the Riddle of My Secret Birth"
"Nazo ga Nazo o Yobu Watashi no Shuushō no Himitsu" (謎が謎を呼ぶ私の出生の秘密)
Kōichi TakemotoHirohisa SodaSeptember 27, 1978 (1978-09-27)
21"Fall to the Great Skies: Father's Love"
"Ōzora ni Chiru Chichi no Ai" (大空に散る父の愛)
Kōichi TakemotoSusumu TakakuOctober 4, 1978 (1978-10-04)
22"Shedding Tears to the Dark Fate: Father and Child"
"Kurai Unmei ni Nake Chichi to Ko" (暗い運命に泣け 父と子)
Takaharu SaekiSusumu TakakuOctober 11, 1978 (1978-10-11)
23"To the Love Academy of the Homeless Children"
"Ie Naki Ko tachi ni Ai no Gakuen o" (家なき子たちに愛の学園を)
Takaharu SaekiHirohisa SodaOctober 18, 1978 (1978-10-18)
24"Cockroach Boy: Great War"
"Gokiburi Shōnen Dai Sensō" (ゴキブリ少年大戦争)
Hideo TanakaSusumu TakakuOctober 25, 1978 (1978-10-25)
25"Treasure, Dog, and Double Grow Human"
"Hihō to Inu to Fukusei-Ningen" (秘宝と犬と複成人間)
Hideo TanakaMikio MatsushitaNovember 1, 1978 (1978-11-01)
26"To the Absolute Crisis: The Imitation Hero"
"Zettai Pinchi no Nisemono Hīrō" (絶対ピンチのにせものヒーロー)
Kōichi TakemotoKuniaki OshikawaNovember 8, 1978 (1978-11-08)
27"Farewell War Buddy: Beloved German Shepherd"
"Saraba Sen'yū Itoshi no Sepādo" (さらば戦友 愛しのセパード)
Kōichi TakemotoSusumu TakakuNovember 15, 1978 (1978-11-15)
28"The Front of the Alley: Boys' Detective Group"
"Ekimae Yokochō no Shōnen Tantei Dan" (駅前横町の少年探偵団)
Yoshiaki KobayashiMikio MatsushitaNovember 22, 1978 (1978-11-22)
29"Hurry, GP-7: Time of Stop Sign"
"Isoge Jī-Pī-Sebun Jikan yo Tomare" (急げGP-7 時間よ止まれ)
Yoshiaki KobayashiShōzō UeharaNovember 29, 1978 (1978-11-29)
30"Good Luck, Beautiful Police Officer"
"Ganbare Bijin Omawarisan" (ガンバレ美人おまわりさん)
Takaharu SaekiHirohisa SodaDecember 6, 1978 (1978-12-06)
31"There Is No Child-Taking Detective Tomorrow"
"Ashita Naki Kozure Keiji" (明日なき子連れ刑事)
Kōichi TakemotoShōzō UeharaDecember 13, 1978 (1978-12-13)
32"Sweet Whispering Enchantress"
"Amaku Sasayaku Yōjo" (甘くささやく妖女)
Takaharu SaekiMikio MatsushitaDecember 20, 1978 (1978-12-20)
33"The Boy Teases the Horrible Wild Girl"
"Otokonoko o Ibiru Yasei no Sugoi Shōjo" (男の子をイビる野性の凄い少女)
Kōichi TakemotoSusumu TakakuDecember 27, 1978 (1978-12-27)
34"Surprising Camera: Murderous Event"
"Bikkuri Kamera Satsujin Jiken" (びっくりカメラ殺人事件)
Kōichi TakemotoHirohisa SodaJanuary 10, 1979 (1979-01-10)
35"From the Unexplored Amazon: Here Comes the Mummified Beautiful Woman"
"Hikyō Amazon kara Kita Mīra Bijo" (秘境アマゾンから来たミイラ美女)
Yoshiaki KobayashiSusumu TakakuJanuary 17, 1979 (1979-01-17)
36"The Onion Silver Mask and the Boys' Detective Group"
"Tamanegi Tekkamen to Shōnen Tantei Dan" (たまねぎ鉄仮面と少年探偵団)
Yoshiaki KobayashiShōzō UeharaJanuary 31, 1979 (1979-01-31)
37"From the Secret Messenger of Hell: Great King Enma"
"Jigoku kara no Misshi Enma Daiō" (地獄からの密使 えん魔大王)
Takaharu SaekiSusumu TakakuFebruary 7, 1979 (1979-02-07)
38"The First Tin Plate Evening Star and the Boys' Detective Group"
"Buriki no Ichibanboshi to Shōnen Tantei Dan" (ブリキの一番星と少年探偵団)
Takaharu SaekiHirohisa SodaFebruary 14, 1979 (1979-02-14)
39"Sports World: One Great Meeting"
"Kakutōgi Sekai-Ichi Taikai" (格闘技世界一大会)
Yoshiaki KobayashiShōzō UeharaFebruary 21, 1979 (1979-02-21)
40"Farewell Zero Battle Tricks"
"Saraba Zero-Sen no Nazo" (さらばゼロ戦の謎)
Yoshiaki KobayashiMikio MatsushitaMarch 7, 1979 (1979-03-07)
41"The Hero's Shining Hot Blood"
"Kagayake Nekketsu no Yūsha" (輝け熱血の勇者)
Yoshiaki KobayashiShōzō UeharaMarch 14, 1979 (1979-03-14)


The show was the result of a three-year licensing agreement when publisher Gene Pelc visited Japan on the behalf of Marvel that allowed both to use each other's properties in any way they wanted. Toei initially planned to use Spider-Man as a supporting character for an unmade television series starring a fictionalized version of Yamato Takeru who was sent to the present via a time warp. The character who would've appeared on this show was intended to be identical to the Marvel version.[5] However, Toei decided to make Spider-Man the protagonist instead and the character of Yamato Takeru was revised into Garia, an alien who gives Spider-Man his powers. The resulting show deviated from the source material completely, outside of Spider-Man's costume and some of his superpowers and gadgets.[5] Other productions by Toei as a result of this licensing deal included Battle Fever J (a show originally conceived about a Japanese counterpart of Captain America)[6] and an animated television movie based on the comic book Tomb of Dracula. Marvel would use the main robots from two of Toei's anime programs, Wakusei Robo Danguard Ace and Chōdenji Robo Combattler V, in their comic book adaptation of the Shogun Warriors toyline. A toy version of Leopardon, Spider-Man's robot from the Toei series, was also sold in the United States as part of the Godaikin line.

Although the show's story was criticized for bearing almost no resemblance to the Marvel version, the staff at Marvel Comics, including Spider-Man's co-creator Stan Lee, praised the show for its special effects and stunt work, especially the spider-like movement of the character himself.[7] While it is said that Marvel initially opposed the addition of Leopardon, the robot was viewed as a necessary gimmick to attract younger viewers and was ultimately kept. The show's mechanical designer, Katsushi Murakami (a toy designer at the time), expressed concern about Toei's capability to market Spider-Man to Japanese audiences and was given permission by producer Yoshinori Watanabe to take whatever liberties he deemed necessary. Murakami came up with the idea of giving Spider-Man an extraterrestrial origin, as well as a spider-like spacecraft that could transform into a giant robot (due to the popularity of the giant robot shows in Japan at the time).

The action figure version of Leopardon was initially sold as a part of the Chogokin toyline and became an unprecedented success in the market, which contributed to the TV series' popularity as well.[8] The success of the show made Toei introduce the giant robot concept to their Super Sentai franchise in Battle Fever J (a show which they also co-produced with Marvel) and contributed to Spider-Man's popularity when Marvel began to export more of their properties to Japan during later years.

The head writer of the series was Shozo Uehara (Goranger, JAKQ, The Return of Ultraman), who wrote 15 episodes, while Uehara’s Sentai collaborator Susumu Takaku (who was head writer of the show alongside Uehara) wrote 15 episodes and the movie. There were many episodes in which the "monster of the week" (usually a "Machine BEM" created by the villain) was not relevant to the plot, as well as two episodes (ep. 12 and ep. 27) which featured no monsters at all. The show also featured a story arc in which the female antagonist Amazoness tries to uncover Spider-Man's secret identity.

Rather infamously, every time Spider-Man's giant robot finished a monster, it always used the exact same shot only with a new monster digitally added but they never correctly cut out the very first monster of the series who could always be seen very briefly before exploding. This occurred because at some point during filming of the series, the Leopardon suit was stolen from the set; Toei could not afford to make a replacement and opted to splice the existing footage into new episodes instead.[9]


A theatrical version of Spider-Man was shown on the Toei Manga Matsuri film festival on July 22, 1978. It was directed by series director Kōichi Takemoto and written by Susumu Takaku. The movie was the first appearance of the character of Juzo Mamiya, who subsequently appeared in three episodes of the series (episodes 11, 12 and 14). Because of this, the movie takes place between episodes 10 and 11.[citation needed]


Theme songs

Opening theme
  • "Kakero! Spider-Man" (駆けろ!スパイダーマン, Kakero! Supaidāman, Run! Spider-Man)
Ending theme
  • "Chikai no Ballade" (誓いのバラード, Chikai no Barādo, The Oath's Ballade)
    • Lyrics: Saburo Yatsude
    • Composition & Arrangement: Michiaki Watanabe (listed as Chumei Watanabe)
    • Artist: Yuki Hide

Home media

7 disc DVD boxset

Because Spider-Man is a Marvel property, Toei was not allowed to rerun the series or use publicity stills of Spider-Man from the show without paying licensing fees to Marvel. Original characters and other elements exclusive to Toei's television series (such as the villains and the giant robot Leopardon), were exempt from these licensing issues, as these were creations of Toei.

As a result, only a single VHS collection of episodes (which featured episodes 1, 31, and the movie) was released in Japan during the 1980s, and reprints of the official soundtrack had the original cover on the jacket replaced with an image of Leopardon. The rest of the series was unavailable on home video for many years. The 1995 superhero guidebook Chōjin Gahō (超人画報, The Super Heroes Chronicle) (published by Takeshobo) was the last time Toei was allowed to publish a photograph of Spider-Man. Every retrospective coverage of Toei's Spider-Man published since then was done without using photographs of the Spider-Man character himself.

In 2004, Toei began renegotiating with Marvel for the rights to release the series on DVD in Japan. The Region 2 DVD box set was released on December 9, 2005, and includes all 41 episodes and the movie on seven discs, as well as a booklet which features every publicity still of Spider-Man shot for the series. In July 2006, Bandai released a series of toys related to the Toei's Spider-Man TV series, such as the Soul of Chogokin GX-33 Leopardon toy robot (with a Spider-Man figure included), the "Soul of Soft Vinyl" Spider-Man action figure, and a Popynica Spider-Machine GP-7 toy car.

On March 5, 2009, Marvel began broadcasting the series to an international audience for the first time on their video streaming website. A different episode (including the movie version) was uploaded every week until the entire series was available on December 17 of the same year.[4] These episodes were shown in their original Japanese audio with English subtitles. The episodes were later taken down.[when?][citation needed]

In other media

Apart from the costume and powers of the main character, this TV series is unrelated to Ryoichi Ikegami's earlier manga adaptation of Spider-Man or the original Spider-Man comics. However, several manga adaptations of the Toei version were published by different magazines, such as TV Land, Tanoshī Yōchien, TV Magazine, and Bōken'ō.[10]

Takuya Yamashiro and Leopardon appeared in several issues of the 2014 and 2018 comic book events Spider-Verse and Spider-Geddon, alongside other alternate universe versions of Spider-Man such as Miles Morales and Miguel O'Hara (Spider-Man 2099), thereby allowing Yamashiro to interact with his fellow Spider-Men for the first time in Marvel canon.[11]

A version of Spider-Man's giant robot, Leopardon, appears in Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One.

Takuya Yamashiro and Leopardon will appear in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One), with producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller confirming on social media that their respective designs for the film had been finalized.[12]

Southeast Asia release

Singapore and Malaysia: PMP Entertainment and (Marvel Malaysia)

Philippines on its Tagalog (Filipino dubbed adaptation) version and produced by Viva Entertainment (aired on Yey!)

See also


  1. ^ a b c Marvel's 616
  2. ^ a b c "Marvel's 616 (2020) | Documentary Series | Synopsis, Trailer, Clips & Latest News | Marvel | Marvel".
  3. ^ "Spider-Man on TV". IGN. Archived from the original on 2010-10-24. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  4. ^ a b "Japanese Spider-Man Movie Hub at Marvel.com". Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  5. ^ a b c d Hamerlinck, P. C. (October 2010). "Lost in Translation: Your Friendly Overseas Spider-Man". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (44): 51–52.
  6. ^ Spider-Man Page, Japan Hero Encyclopedia. Archived 2007-01-12 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on February 23, 2007.
  7. ^ Stan Lee interview, Volume 8, Spider-Man DVD Boxset.
  8. ^ According to the August 2003 issue of Japanese magazine Toy Journal, the sales of the Leopardon toy exceeded those of Daitetsujin 17 and Tōshō Daimos.
  9. ^ Davidson, Chris. "Leopardon: The Secret History Of Spider-Man's Giant Robot". CBR. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  10. ^ "Manga versions of Toei's Spider-Man". Archived from the original on 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-03. Retrieved 2014-05-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Ross, Diandra (November 7, 2019). "Spider-Verse 2: Phil Lord Teases Japanese Spider-Man Appearance". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on November 8, 2019. Retrieved October 27, 2020.

External links