If you are a fan of Spider-Man – either the comics or the movies – you may have heard of ‘the Japanese Spider-Man show’ or ‘Supaidāman’ – but what is it? What is the Japanese Spider-Man?
Aired in Japan via Tokyo Channel 12, between May 1978 and March 1979, Supaidāman (スパイダーマン) was a live-action television series based on Spider-Man. The series was created by the Toei Company and took inspiration from the Marvel Comics character of the same name who first appeared in comics in 1962.
However, those thinking that this Japanese take on Spidey was a straight-forward interpretation of the comic book character would be mistaken. Supaidāman took the name and look of Spidey, but not much more.
Instead of a show about photographer Peter Parker who is bitten by a radioactive spider, the series followed Takuya Yamashiro, a motorcycle racer who is injected with the blood of an alien from the Planet Spider. Whereas Parker dressed as Spider-Man to fight the likes of Doctor Octopus and the Lizard, Yamashiro fought Professor Monster and the Iron Cross Army.
Yamashiro’s suit is similar in style to Parker’s, and he has a spider sense and a web-shooter, but that is pretty much where any similarity ends. The show is instead akin to a Japanese Sentai series, where the hero fights monsters with the aid of a giant robot (known as Leopardon in the show).
How many episodes of the Japanese Spider-Man show were produced?
In total, 41 episodes of Supaidāman were produced, beginning with The Time of Revenge Has Come! Beat Down Iron Cross Group!!, which aired on May 17th 1978. The final episode, The Hero’s Shining Hot Blood, aired on March 14th 1979.
Across the course of the series, cast members included Shinji Tōdō as Takuya Yamashiro/Spider-Man, Rika Miura as Hitomi Sakuma, Izumi Ōyama as Shinko Yamashiro, Yukie Kagawa as Amazoness and Mitsuo Andō as Professor Monster.
What is the Japanese Spider-Man movie?
In addition to 41 episodes of the Supaidāman television series, an additional episode was released theatrically. The episode – sometimes referred to as episode 0 or episode 42 – actually takes place between episode 10 and 11 of the show.
This episode is known as Supaidāman or Spider-Man ’78 (the Movie) and hit cinema screens in 1978. This ‘film’ runs around 24 minutes in length (the average running time of a standard episode), was directed by Kōichi Takemoto, and written by Susumu Takaku, with a story by Saburo Yatsude.
Spider-Man ’78 premiered at the Toei Manga Matsuri film festival on July 22nd 1978, making it one of the many Spider-Man films in existence. Yep, it joins the ranks of Spider-Man 2 (2004), Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) and many more to be an official Spider-Man movie!
If you want a full list of all the Spider-Man movies, then take a look through my post: ‘What are the Spider-Man movies?’. This post will give you a rundown of all of Spider-Man’s movies.
As for what Spider-Man ’78 is all about, well, the story centres around Spider-Man’s encounters with the Iron Cross Army, and in particular the Sea Devil – a swordfish which can shoot torpedoes out of its mouth. It plays quite differently to a Western Spider-Man movie, but it does fit within the context of the television series.
Is the Japanese Spider-Man movie available on home video?
Both the series and the movie have previously been made available on DVD in Japan, and prior to this select episodes and the movie were released on VHS. In 2009, Marvel uploaded the movie and all 41 episodes onto Marvel.com, but the show was later removed.
List of episodes of Supaidāman / the Japanese Spider-Man
Should you be interested in the Japanese Spider-Man television show, plus the movie, here is a list of all 41 episodes of Supaidāman. I have listed the movie after episode 10 – when it is set.
- 1 The Time of Revenge Has Come! Beat Down Iron Cross Group!!
- 2 Mysterious World! The Man Who Follows His Fate
- 3 Mysterious Thief 001 vs. Spider-Man
- 4 The Terrifying Half Merman! The Miracle-Calling Silver Thread
- 5 Crash Machine GP-7! The Oath Siblings
- 6 Shuddering Laboratory! Devilish Professor Monster
- 7 Fearful Hit Tune! Song Dancing Murder Rock
- 8 Very Mysterious Folktale – The Cursed Cat Mound
- 9 Motion Accessory is a Loveful Beetle Insect Spy
- 10 To The Flaming Hell – See the Tears of the Snake Woman
- *Supaidāman – Aka Spider-Man (1978)
- 11 Professor Monster’s Ultra Poisoning
- 12 Becoming Splendid – To the Murderous Machine of Transformation
- 13 The Skull Group vs. The Devilish Hearse
- 14 Giving Father! Fight to the Song of the Hero
- 15 The Life of Our Arrangement
- 16 Fine Dog! Run to the Under of Father
- 17 Pro Wrestler Samson’s Tears
- 18 In the Mother’s Chest – Resurrect the Young Boys
- 19 The Boy Phantom – To the Villageless Map
- 20 Riddle – Calling the Riddle of My Secret Birth
- 21 Fall to the Great Skies – Father’s Love
- 22 Shredding Tears to the Dark Fate – Father and Child
- 23 To the Love Academy of the Homeless Children
- 24 Cockroach Boy – Great War
- 25 Treasure, Dog, and Double Grow Human
- 26 To the Absolute Crisis – The Imitation Hero
- 27 Farewell War Buddy – Beloved German Shepherd
- 28 The Front of the Alley – Boys’ Detective Group
- 29 Hurry, GP-7 – Time of Stop Sign
- 30 Good Luck, Beautiful Police Officer
- 31 There is No Child-Taking Detective Tomorrow
- 32 Sweet Whispering Enchantress
- 33 The Boy Teases the Horrible Wild Girl
- 34 Surprising Camera – Murderous Event
- 35 From the Unexplored Amazon – Here Comes the Mummified Beautiful Woman
- 36 The Onion Silver Mask and the Boys’ Detective Group
- 37 From the Secret Messenger of Hell – Great King Enma
- 38 The First Tin Plate Evening Star and the Boys’ Detective Group
- 39 Sports World – One Great Meeting
- 40 Farewell Zero Battle Tricks
- 41 The Hero’s Shining Hot Blood
I hope this information about the Japanese Spider-Man has been useful to you. Should you wish to know more about the Spider-Man movie series, please take a look around Don’t Tell Harry – The Spider-Man movie blog or click on one of the recommended reading links below.