If you’re on the Internet at all, at some point you’ve probably seen a bizarre set of clips featuring Spider-Man piloting a giant robot, or perhaps doing what looks suspiciously like cheaply shot professional wrestling. And no, they’re not fan films or ripoffs; they’re from an actual, licensed TV series that aired in Japan, and Marvel is finally making it available again.
Specifically, they’re making the show yet another alternate universe for Spider-Man as part of their sprawling Spider-Verse crossover, which is basically Dan Slott making every possible continuity joke about Spidey right down to mocking the newspaper strip and Hostess Fruit Pie ads. Both the first episode and the seventh, about a rock band being turned into cyborgs, are available for your streaming delight. Believe it or not, this show is actually somewhat important to Japanese pop culture; Leopardon, his flying robot/spaceship, was an enormously popular toy that influenced tokusatsu TV shows and arguably helped pave the way for the Power Rangers. It also helped lay the groundwork for Spidey’s almost absurd level of popularity in Japan.
That said, the Japanese Spider-Man is pretty much completely different, aside from the outfit, powers, and webs. He’s got a heavily armed flying car, which lives inside his invincible robot, and he’s also a swinging motorcycle racer who gets his powers from an alien. So basically it’s everything you’d expect from a late ’70s Japanese action series, except there’s a Spider-Man suit in it.
As for seeing the rest of the episodes, Marvel had them posted for free for a while on their site; they own the right to the series completely. They were ultimately taken down, but hopefully we’ll see them in some form again. It’s just too insane not to have at our fingertips at all times: