Yeah, some of you have heard of this legendary series…BUT THIS IS FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T!! I'm sure some of you have all heard of and are fans of some of japans famous sentai super hero shows: Jinzouningen Kikaida, Kamen Rider, Kaiketsuu Zubat and Rainbowman among many others. I know that you've all heard of one of america's favorite superheroes: Marvel Comic's Spider-Man!! If your fans of both though, you probobly didn't know that this existed. Searching the comic shop two days ago for some of my favorite setai series, I was pleasantly suprised to find out that Toei (of One Piece and Dragonball fame) had produced a Spider-Man series of its own. Unfortunantly episodes of Toei's Spider-Man are hard to come by, I've only seen about 22 out of the 41.
The story is much different than the comics and, well, it's fairly starnge, but here's the major gist of it. The evil "Iron Cross Army" (Testsu-Jyuuji-Gun) murders Yamashiro Hiroshi and attempt to kill his son Yamashiro Takuya (played by Toudou Shinji). Takuya's life is saved by Gariah, the spider-man, an alien who came to Earth in the spacecraft Marveller (Marvel Comics reference thrown in there). Garia injects a serum into Takuya which not only heals his wounds but also gives him super strength, the ability to climb walls and a special sense of danger (ie "Spider-sense"). Taking the guise of a hero named "Spider-Man" Takuya battles Professor Monster's "Iron Cross Army" . This japanese version of Spider-Man gets his web shooting ability from a bracelet he wears on his left arm. The bracelet is also communications device used to summon the spaceship Marveller. When Spider-Man is not needed the costume is stored in the bracelet.
The Spider-Man Sentai was the first series in which the hero uses a giant robot to defeat giant monsters. After Spider-Man beats up on the human sized monsters they turn into giants (ala, Power Rangers). Spider-Man then calls "Marveller" to fire missles at the monster and then transform into the giant robot "Leopardon". Leopardon uses various weapons to kill the monster. This concept proved so popular that Toei added it their third Sentai series "Battle Fever J", which was originally planned to be "Captain Japan", based on Marvel's "Captain America". This Spider-Man drives a car, The "Spider Machine GP-7" which he uses to transport himself to Marveller before transforming Marveller into Leopardon.
Unlike most Japanese super heroes who henshin (transform) in front of the monsters Yamashiro Takuya puts on the Spider-Man costume in secret. So no one living knows who Spider-Man really is. Unfortunantly Yamashiro, Takuya doesn't know that his girlfriend Sakuma Hitomi is working for Amazone an agent of the Iron Cross Army. Of course she doesn't know her boss is really Amazone either.
Here's some pics of it...
Spider-Man fights a monster
Spider-Man's giant robot Lepardon
Spider-Man in the Spider Machine GP-7
Andou Mitsuo (Professor Monster) had previously played Professor Gill in Jinzouningen Kikaida (1972), Fuehrer Geisel in Inazuman Flash (1974) and Black Cross Fuhrer in Himtsu Sentai Gorenjaa (1975). Toudou Shinji (Yamashiro, Takuya) would go on to play the chief villain in ChÃ´jinki Metalder (1987).
Has anyone else every seen this series becuase, I must say, despite all the cheesyness, It is VERY awesome!
EDIT: Added some pics.