Japan is home to a lot of things, but did you know it is home to one of the best superhero tv series that had no right to be so good it turns 45 this year, and it is the Japanese Spider-Man TV Series.
Japanese Spider-Man is very 100% loosely based on Marvel Comics’ old web-head himself Spider-Man and was produced by Toei Company, the home of both Kamen Rider and Super Sentai franchises. The series follows Motorcycle racer Takuya Yamashiro, who with his father finds the space warship Marveller and meets Garia, the last surviving warrior of Planet Spider. After explaining to Yamashiro, Garia gives him a bracelet that gives him the powers and suite to become Spider-Man and to control the Marveller and transform it into a giant robot named Leopardon.
Yes, you read that and for 41 episodes and 1 film this was a hit in Japan. Sadly due to Spider-Man being a Marvel property, Japanese Spider-Man was never seen again via reruns and such without paying a licensing fee to Marvel. It wasn’t until 2004 that Toei and Marvel sat down and renegotiate and in December of 2005 Japanese Spider-Man series and film was released via DVD box set in Japan only. The legend of Japanese Spider-Man was so great that as of 2023 in the upcoming Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse film, the whole world will finally get to see Yakuya Yamashiro and Leopardon on the big screen and will finally get the love that they deserve.
Now if that can be the same for Italian Spider-Man then the comic world will be in a better place.