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When I was a kid I watched the live action Spider-Man and Captain America shows, but even as a young geek I knew that I was enduring these shows rather than enjoying them. Spider-Man came close to being something watchable, but Captain America was just fucking terrible.
At the time there was rumor of another Spider-Man show, one that was stranger and more action packed than the shows that we got in America. I finally managed to see an episode of this show at some convention or other: it was Supaidaman, the bizarre Japanese Spider-Man show.
Toei Company worked out a deal with Marvel where they got the rights to do whatever they wanted with the character; what they wanted to do was retain the costume and jettison pretty much everything else. In this universe, Spider-Man is a dirt bike racer whose main enemy is Dr. Monster. Monstrous kaiju attack on the regular, and Spidey deals with them by getting into his… giant robot. Yeah, it’s weird. And it’s very much in line with the 70s Japanese shows that really informed Power Rangers. Spidey even has a hot rod.
And now it’s officially available in the US. Marvel is running episodes of Supaidaman under the title Japanese Spider-Man on their website. Here’s the first episode to give you a magical taste:
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey