Spider-Man was a Japanese superhero television series produced by Toei Company in 1978, based on Marvel’s popular Spider-Man character. At the time, Marvel made a deal with Toei, whereby for a four-year period Toei could use Marvel’s characters in any way they saw fit. Here’s what Toei did:
- Similar SpiderMan costume
- Different storyline: SpiderMan is a motorcycle racer named Takuya Yamashiro
- Spider-Man’s costume was released from a wrist device that Takuya would activate. The costume would “eject” from the bracelet, spring through the air, sweep down, and “cover” him. A quick edit featuring him zipping up, and presto! He’s all ready to go!
- There’s a UFO called the “Marveller”, which can transform into a giant robot named Leopardon. (Giant Robots were Big in Japan (TM) at the time, so you had to have them)
- Takuya’s father is a space archaeologist (probably the only one in the world at the time! now, of course, there are as many as there are lawyers)
- The bad guy is named Professor Monster and he has an evil “Iron Cross Army” made up of aliens (naturally)
You can watch the entire series at the Marvel Web Site.
Some of the episode names (translated) are really goofy, like: The Time of Revenge Has Come! Beat Down Iron Cross Group!!, Fearful Hit Tune! Song Dancing Murder Rock, Motion Accessory is a Loveful Beetle Insect Spy, and In the Mother’s Chest: Resurrect the Young Boys.
(Tokusatsu means a live-action film or TV show that usually features superheroes and lots of special effects)