Sunday, July 5, 2009

Everything is Better in Japan

It's true. I've checked. Don't believe me? Then take a moment to compare America's painfully inferior version of one of our favourite heroes -- in this case, Spider-Man -- to the massive improvements the production company Toei made to the concept when it was transplanted to Japan in the 1970s.

Peter Parker, Spider-Man of New York - a perpetually broke freelance photographer who has been exposed to irradiated toxins and cursed with freakishly weird powers, Peter is shunned by the public and smeared by the press, all while fighting a seemingly never-ending parade of losers, creeps and two-bit dingbats like Stilt-Man and Rocket Racer. Poor shlub.

Takuya Yamashiro, Supaidaman of Tokyo - a Motocross Champion granted amazing powers and equipment by a UFO, Takuya can do all the things Peter can -- but can also alter his size at will, is kept healthy by a powerful healing factor, commands a Battle Vehicle known as the Spider Machine GP-7, and -- as if all that weren't enough! -- Supaidaman is the pilot of the transforming giant robot/starship called Leopardon. Takuya uses all of these amazing resources in his battle to keep the entire planet safe from the intergalactic menace of Doctor Monster and the Steel Cross Squad, a powerful alien militia determined to conquer Earth! Holy Toledo!

Well, I think that's pretty clear -- but if there's any doubt in your mind, check out the 1970s Japanese Spider-Man TV show for yourself. Marvel Comics is thoughtfully offering episodes of the classic Tokusatsu Supaidaman for viewing on their website, with a new show added to the library every week. Watch a few episodes and I'm pretty confident you will soon be seeing things my way.

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