Spider-Man (Japanese: スパイダーマン, Hepburn: Supaidāman), also referred to as Japanese Spider-Man, is a Japanese live-action tokusatsu superhero television series produced by Toei Company, loosely based on Marvel Comics' Spider-Man character via a contract that was negotiated by producer Gene Pelc. The series lasted 41 episodes, which aired on Tokyo Channel 12 (TV Tokyo) 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.
While Toei's version of the character, Takuya Yamashiro/Spider-Man (portrayed by 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 robot 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, and will return in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One), the upcoming sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, set in the Spider-Verse franchise.
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 can activate his spider protector costume, shoot 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.
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