Watching the Toei Spider-Man

Note: The disks I have are in Japanese, without dubbing or subtitles.  I only know about twenty or so words of Japanese, although many of those are words that are likely to occur in tokusatsu.  The challenge I am setting myself is to see whether I can follow what's going on in these without knowing what's being said.

We start with what my disk set calls  an "Intro Movie", although it's only about 25 minutes long.

Our Hero, who seems to be called "Yamashiro", is having a nap, and has a bad dream about being stuck in  room.  He hears a cry for help ("Tasukete!") and rescues his sister (Well, she calls him " oneechan", so I'm assuming she's his sister) and a kid (Nephew?  Kid Brother?)  from a gang of thugs dressed like Grey Bird-People  (GBP).  He switches to Spider-Man and fights them, but they literally vanish.  

He is observed by Internal Dialogue Mustache Man  (IDMM). Yamashiro gets a disturbing phone call, and then we see Spidey doing a lot of climbing. (Seriously, there are tons of climbing shots in this. Plus, the camera has a tendency to linger lovingly on Spidey's butt.)  He breaks into a room, and IDMM is there. I believe IDMM is a cop - at least, he says "Interpol" alot. IDMM shows him footage of kids and young women at a pool.  (I think  IDMM knows Spidey's ID.)   He also shows him footage of Fish-Headed Guy (FHG) firing torpedoes at a ship. I assume that IDMM has successfully recruited Spidey, as we see them shake hands.  Spidey battles some  GBPs, but it's a distraction as IDMM is kidnapped! Mystey Woman With Hat (MWWH) observes.  Spidey finds a note stuck to a wall, which I assume is a ransom or a threat.

We next meet One-Eyed Cyborg Man (OECM) , who carries what looks like a floor lamp without a shade.  He says "Spider-Man" alot in a threatening voice, so I assume he's a heel.  His aide is In Her Underwear Woman (IHUW), who may be the same person as MWWH, I'm not sure. Anyway, IHUW goes to the GBP boat, where she slaps the captive IDMM around.  We see Spidey swimming to the boat.  
Meanwhile FHG joins IHUW. I love FHG. How IDMM doesn't laugh in his face, I don't know.  Spidey's flying car approaches the boat, and something parachutes out of it. The GBP shoot the parachutist down,. but it's a dummy. Meanwhile, the  real Spidey boards the boat surreptitiously, and battles the GBP. who are as useless as these guys are in all tokusatsu.
Spidey quickly sets off an alarm - perhaps this version doesn't have "Spider-Sense"?   Spidey beats up alot of GBP, and he and IDMM take off in a speedboat.  IHUW sends a chopper after them.  On land, Spidey draws the chopper away from IDMM, and fortunately for him, the chopper guys are the worst shots in history. Spidey jumps onto the chopper and deals with its crew. He then summons his giant robot, because reasons.  Seeing this, FHG grows to giant size,  The giant robot (which is not Spider-Man themed at all) easily disposes of FHG with its power sword.    Afterwards, Spidey and IDMM have a nice chat as they amble down the boardwalk.
Overall:   Interesting stuff. the Spider-Man costume is the familiar one - the only difference I notice is that Spidey has a rather bulky two-way wrist TV.  It's fun seeing Spider-Man plopped down into the typical tokusatsu formula.

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  • There is no story that can't be improved by the line "He then summons his giant robot."

    I have feeling that reading your interpretation of what you see will be way more entertaining than watching the actual shows.  The lack of subtitles liberates your imagination. 

  • I took the liberty of looking this show up in the Encyclopedia of Dorama, my handy guide to Japanese live-action drama.  I learned that Spidey's secret ID is Yamashiro Takuya (with "Takuya" being the personal name).  "One-Eyed Cyborg Man" is apparently called Professor Monster, and In her Underwear Woman is Amazoness.  Anyway, on to Episode 1:

    A guy rappels into an office, cracks a safe, and is immediately arrested by waiting police.  He whimpers like a little girl.  Colorful Bug Guy (CBG) rescues the Whimpering Thief (WT) from the cops.  Elsewhere, we see Takuya riding a motorcycle. A girl calls him over, and tells him something.  He rides away.

    CBG, the Professor and Amazoness brainwash WT.  I think they're sending him to attack Spidey.  He robs a safe and leaves a message. The Girl from Before is hanging out with Injured Cop ("He's a cop. He's injured. He's Injured Cop, this fall on UPN!")  Spidey is there, too.  Spidey chases WT, but CBG dazzles him with eyeball rays.

    We then see the Yamashiro family eating breakfast.  It looks as though the little boy is a kid brother.  Other Girl comes in and starts helping herself to some breakfast. No idea whether she's a family member or just a friend.

    Later Spidey fights WT, as Amazoness and CBG observe. Spidey then has an extended fight scene with some Grey Bird-People.   Amazoness pushes WT off a building. Spidey saves him, summons his car, and drives off with WT.   At an amusement park, Spidey and the WT have a heart-to-heart. WT has memories of a circus.  The GBP attack using a roller coaster. WT races to surrender to Injured Cop.   CBG grows to giant size.  Spidey summons his flying fortress, which I have learned is called "Marveller". It transforms into the giant robot Leopardon.   Leopardon stabs Colorful Bug Guy with his power sword, then Spidey drives away.

    Overall:  Marvel should really do a team-up between Takuya and Peter Parker, just so we could have an entire comic of Parker going "WTF?"

  • When I first saw these in the early ‘90s, undubbed versions with no sub-titles the same as you are watching, I immediately fell in love with them. My friend dubbed a copy for me, but it was second generation (at least) and unwatchable. I’m not always the best judge of what I think you’ll like, but when I came across (relatively) clean dubs on DVD recently, I thought to myself, ”Bob has got to see these!”

    I started watching them the same way you have done, just trying to figure out the plot by the action, vocal inflection and body language. It’s not just too difficult, but every once in a while something bizarre and inexplicable happens.

    There is an extensive Wikipedia page about this series if you (or anyone else reading this thread) wants to consult it, but I agree with Darin that it’s more entertaining to try to figure out what’s going on yourself.

    Tracy doesn’t like Ultraman, but she enjoys this show almost as much as she does Robot Red Baron.

    The official title of the first episode, BTW (according to Wikipedia), is “The Time of Revenge Has Come! Beat Down Iron Cross Group!!”

  • Episode 2:   Tak is out riding on his motorcycle, when he almost runs down a kid. He gets a premonition of his family in trouble. He races home and switches to Spidey, but sees it was an illusion.   The kid shows up at Tak's house and has eyeball rays. I think he knows Tak is Spidey, but I'm not sure.  Spidey drives the kid to a meadow where other children jump up and down in slow motion.  The kid's big sister shows up, and appears to be suspicious of Spidey. Some militia types show up.  They alos have jumping slowly up and down powers.  They take Big Sister, and leave the kid with Spidey.  The militia types lock up Big Sister.  The militia types are working for Amazoness, who is wearing a red fright wig for some reason.  Spidey infiltrates their HQ and frees Big Sister and an old guy who appears to be her uncle.  However, a thug stabs Uncle Old Guy to death.  An alarm is sounded, and something is bubbling in the lake.  The townsfolk recapture Big Sister, but Spidey and the kid get away.  It appears that they are going to sacrifice the girl to the bubbling lake.  Spidey rescues Big Sister, and shows the villagers that he has the sacred scroll and some kind of pyramidal gadget. the head villager summons a Lizard-Headed Lake Monster, which grows to giant size. Spidey summons Leopardon, which stabs the monster with his sword. (You know, the first critter who figures out to duck that sword might just win!)  Amazoness has the Grey Bird People gun down the militia types.  Aftwerwards, Spidey, Big Sister and the kid talk about stuff, then they hit Spidey with eyeball rays, and he wakes up alone...Were they ghosts, mutants, who knows?

    Overall: Another fun episode.

  • You and I posted to this thread yesterday at roughly the same time, but I didn’t see your post until just now. Consequently, I’m an episode behind, but I’ll catch up tonight. Yesterday I watched episode 1; tonight I’ll watch episodes 2 and 3. I think Amazoness, Professor Monster and Grey Bird-People (I think these are the “Iron Cross Army”) rescued Whimpering Thief from the cops specifically to implicate Spider-Man in a series of thefts because WT’s “rappelling” style of cat burglary mimics Spidey’s wall-crawling abilities.

    Colorful Bug Guy’s primary power seems to be flashing lights from his eyes which seem to have no other purpose than to disorient his foes. (That, and he can grow to 50 feet tall.) Marveller is an impressive machine. It is a flying platform that can transform into a robot, which Siper-Man can either pilot (like Robot Red Baron) or control remotely (like Johnny Soko’s Flying Robot). It can also carry Spider-Man’s car, the Spider Machine GP-7. The toy and merchandising possibilities are endless.

    Regarding the battle in the amusement park, Spidey spends an awful lot of time posing before the fighting begins, as you will see. I really must question the intelligence of the Grey Bird People who at one point board a roller coaster to pursue Sipder-Man. You’d have to be pretty stupid to get caught by someone riding a roller coaster because it’s, y’know, on a track. All you’d have to do is walk away.

    Just to clear up some confusion, here’s a brief…


    Hitomi Sakuma: Takuya’s girlfriend, a 20-year-old freelance photographer.

    Shinko Yamashiro: Takuya’s 18-year-old younger sister.

    Takuji Yamashiro: Takuya’s 7-year-old younger brother.

    Also, in early episodes, Amazoness assumes the identity of Saeko Yoshida, editor of Weekly Woman magazine (a role she will abandon after Spider-Man learns her true identity). She assumes numerous disguises and changes her look multiple times throughout the series.

    From episode two, the kid firing “eyeball rays” is what I was alluding to yesterday when I mentioned “every once in a while something bizarre and inexplicable happens.” That took me by surprise the first time; I’ll see if it makes any more sense when I watch it again tonight now that I am expecting it.

  • Ah, cool, that makes sense.

  • I watched episodes 2 and 3 last night, but I'll wait for you before moving on to 3.

    "Spidey summons Leopardon, which stabs the monster with his sword."

    Tracy says Leopardon reminds her of Voltron:


    I can see that.

    The "Grey Bird People," BTW, are "Ninders" (the Iron Cross Army's foot soldiers).


  • Episode 3:  We see a girl sitting at a mirror, which shows her footage of an earthquake, which frightens her. Professor Monster and Amazoness also observe the quake.  They seem to think it has something to do with the girl.  We cut to Hitomi taking pictures taking pictures of Takyua, which Shinko and Takuji look on, bemused.  We then cut to Tak in the house, telling the other three something that surprises them. Hitomi reacts angrily  We then see Tak at Earthquake-Seeing Girl's (ESG) house. His face is covered with comedy bandages.  He meets the girl's parents, then she shows him a photo album. Amazoness and a thud knock out Tak, and ESG dives out the window. The thugs catch the girl, and drive off with her. Tak summons the Spider-Mobile, switching to Spidey off-camera.  Spidey rescues the girl, and she and Spidey have a long, emotional talk with her parents, before she runs off, crying.  Later, ESG gets a letter and takes a cab somewhere. Spidey follows   ESG goes to a building where she meets a somewhat more conventionally dressed Amazoness and a badly-aging mugato dressed as a caveman.    Still not sure why Amazoness and the Professor are interested in this kid? Do they think she can cause earthquakes? Spidey skitters, excellently. Cave-Mugato throws Spidey out the windows.  Spidey reports his failure to the parents.   Amazoness shows the girl a mirror, then angrily breaks it.  Spidey talks to the parents some more.  We then see Amazoness, ESG and Cave-Mugato at a Christian cemetery, at a gravesite with a priest. The priest shpws Amazoness pictures of two girls. she reacts badly to this. My guess is that whatever it was the Amazoness thought ESG had, it was actually the dead girl.  Amazoness beats up the priest.  Spidey shows up and poses in a tree for awhile. Then he fights the Iron  Cross guys for a while.  Amazoness goes to shoot ESG, but her father shows up and takes the bullet in his arm, instead.  Spidey knocks down Amazoness, and  Cave-Mugato grows to giant size.  Spidey summons Leopardon, and, in a move that no one could have predicted, stabs Cave-Mugato to death with his sword.  Afterwards, ESG is reunited with her parents, and Spidey thinks wistfully of his own (dead?) father.

    Overall: A fun episode, even though I'm not sure what was going on here.

  • What we have here is most definitely a case a mistaken identity. If Earthquake-Seeing Girl (whose name is Yoko, I think) does not cause the Earthquakes, perhaps she foresee the future.

    I gather the Hitomi was taking pictures of Takyua for (perhaps) a resume for a job interview. When she found out the job had something to do with another girl, that’s when she attacked him in a fit of jealousy and scratched his face. (Apparently he neglected to mention that the girl was 12 years old…?)

    When the thugs escape with Yoko, the parents fall to the ground when shot at, failing to rescue her. This appears to be a point of contention later on as Yoko appears to blame them and a flashback is shown.

    The official name of the Spider-Mobile is Spider-Machine GP-7.

    I thought this episode’s heavy looked like a Mugato, too, but one that has had its skin flayed off its face.

    Spidey does skitters excellently, doesn’t he?

    “Amazoness shows the girl a mirror, then angrily breaks it.” Maybe the girl’s power (whatever it is) works only when she looks in a mirror, and Amazoness is angry because it didn’t work…?

    The scene at the cemetery threw me… not so much because of the crosses, but because I didn’t know quite why they were there. I didn’t get the impression that the girl in the picture was dead, but that does make sense. OTOH, Yoko does have some sort of power. Yoko does seem to forgive her parents, but I thought there were two girls at the end (I could easily be wrong about this) and the case of mistaken identity was resolved.

    Yes, Takyua’s father is dead. His death figures into Spider-Man’s origin, which will be revealed soon.

  • Here are some responses to previous posts (with the help of the Toei Spidey Wiki).

    “I believe Internal Dialogue Mustache Man is a cop. I think IDMM knows Spidey's ID.”

    IDMM is Juzo Mamiya, 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.

    “…perhaps this version doesn't have ‘Spider-Sense’?”

    According to Wikipedia, “He has the ability to perceive threats from the Iron Cross Army with his spider senses.”

    “…the Spider-Man costume is the familiar one - the only difference I notice is that Spidey has a rather bulky two-way wrist TV.”

    The proper name of Takuya's Spider-Man costume is the “Spider-Protector.” 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.

    The “Spider Bracelet” is worn around Spider-Man's left wrist. It substitutes for the web shooters from his Marvel counterpart. It is also used to store the Spider Protector when Takuya is not wearing it. Like the web shooters, the Spider Bracelet can shoot nets and strings made from a special type of liquid called "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.

    “Marvel should really do a team-up between Takuya and Peter Parker, just so we could have an entire comic of Parker going ‘WTF?’”

    According to Wikipedia, the Takuya Yamashiro version of Spider-Man appeared alongside other versions during Marvel comics’ “Spider-Verse” comic book event.”

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