Series logo
Created byToei Company
Marvel Comics
Based on
Written byShozo Uehara
Susumu Takaku
Directed byKoichi Takemoto
StarringShinji Tōdō
Rika Miura
Mitsuo Andō
Yukie Kagawa
Izumi Ōyama
Yoshiharu Yabuki
Narrated byTōru Ōhira
Opening theme"Kakero! Spider-Man" by Yuki Hide
Ending theme"Chikai no Ballad" by Yuki Hide
ComposerMichiaki Watanabe
Country of originJapan
No. of episodes41 (+ 1 film)
Running time24 minutes
Production companyToei Company
Original release
NetworkTokyo Channel 12 (TV Tokyo)
ReleaseMay 17, 1978 (1978-05-17) –
March 14, 1979 (1979-03-14)

Spider-Man (Japanese: スパイダーマン, Hepburn: Supaidāman), also referred to as Japanese Spider-Man or Toei Spider-Man, is a Japanese live-action tokusatsu super hero television series produced by Toei Company, loosely based on Marvel Comics' character of the same name via a contract that was negotiated by producer Gene Pelc.[1][2][3] The series lasted 41 episodes, which aired on Tokyo Channel 12 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 (portrayed by Kōsuke Kayama (Shinji Tōdō)), 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 mecha 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.


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 activates his spider protector costume, shoots 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.



Spider-Man, striking his signature pose from the show

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, and 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, a behavior shared with the character Superman. 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 assuming life as 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 detect the activities of nearby enemies with his Spider-Senses, and his physical strength is much 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 temperatures.

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, which was later used as a weapon against him, emitting sound frequencies only Spider-Man's enhanced hearing could pick up on, causing him great distress. 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 supersize themselves, 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 (due to budget costs), as his main mode of transportation is a car called the Spider Machine GP-7. His spacecraft, the Marveller, is also capable of atmospheric flight and used on occasion. His web shooter shoots rope instead of Spider-Man's iconic webbing, which he latches onto surfaces to swing in a manner akin to Tarzan.

The costume used for Spider-Man was a modified version of the suit used in the show's American counterpart, The Amazing Spider-Man (TV series), the only difference being the removal of the circular lens in favour of slanted, more intimidating ones.


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 with great speed, and ease.
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 has a seemingly infinite capacity.. The bracelet is also equipped with a homing device that allows Spider-Man to summon the GP-7 or Marveller. 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 (200 ft) 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. Garia 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 he was the inspiration.
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 Amazons 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).


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)
"Supaidāman" (スパイダーマン)
Kōichi TakemotoSusumu TakakuJuly 22, 1978 (1978-07-22)
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 film 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 by some 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 (Gorenger, 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, after the first 12 episodes of the series, every time Spider-Man's giant robot finished a monster, it always used the exact same shot only with a new monster composited in, but due to the nature of the splice, the very first monster of the series was always visible very briefly before exploding. Rumors persisted that the Leopardon suit had been stolen from the set and was the reason for the switch to stock footage. However, according to an account from Gene Pelc's son who had been on set, the suit had not been stolen and the switch the stock footage had been a budgetary measure. The Leopardon suit was later repurposed into Daidenzin, the main robot from Denshi Sentai Denjiman.[9]


Main article: Spider-Man (1978 film)

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 film was the first appearance of the character of Juzo Mamiya, who subsequently appeared in three episodes of the series (11, 12 and 14). Because of this, the film takes place between episodes 10 and 11.[citation needed]


Theme songs

Opening theme
Ending theme

Home media

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7-DVD box set

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 and 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 148-page booklet which features every publicity still of Spider-Man shot for the series.[10] 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]


Spider-Man: The Animated Series (Spider-Man TAS), which ran from 1994 to 1998, drew some influence from Japanese Spider-Man. The writer of Spider-Man TAS, John Semper, found Japanese Spider-Man to be the only previous Spider-Man adaptation that impressed him, as he thought it was a "great" show and "goofy fun". Japanese Spider-Man's giant robot influenced the final multi-part parallel universe arc where Spider-Man's wealthy alter-ego has a robot.[11]

The massive success of the show and the sales for the Leopardon toys inspired Toei to integrate a Giant Robot to their Super Sentai series, which would not only lead it to become one of the most popular Tokusatsu franchises in Japan but also led to the success of Power Rangers.

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.[12]

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.[13]

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

See also


  1. ^ a b c Marvel's 616
  2. ^ a b c "Marvel's 616 (2020)". Marvel. Archived from the original on 2022-05-18. Retrieved 2021-02-04.
  3. ^ "Spider-Man on TV". IGN. Archived from the original on 2010-10-24. Retrieved 2022-04-21.
  4. ^ a b "Japanese Spider-Man". Marvel. 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! (44). TwoMorrows Publishing: 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. ^ "How Marvel Comics Changed Tokusatsu & Japan Forever ft Gene & Ted Pelc (Guest Host, Matt Alt)". Krewe of Japan (Podcast). 30 September 2022. Archived from the original on 17 November 2023. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
  10. ^ "スパイダーマン 東映TVシリーズ DVD-BOX 特集 | 東映ビデオオフィシャルサイト". 東映ビデオ株式会社 (in Japanese). 2005-08-20. Archived from the original on 2022-07-04. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  11. ^ "John Semper on "Spider-Man": 10th Anniversary Interview". Marvel Animation Age. toonzone.net. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  12. ^ "Manga versions of Toei's Spider-Man". Archived from the original on 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2007-01-15.
  13. ^ "Japanese Spider-Man Returns At Last This November In Marvel's 'Spider-Verse'". 29 April 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-05-03. Retrieved April 21, 2022.