Japanese spider-man Spider-Verse 2, Hajimemashite, Supaida-Man.
The internet went understandably bananas over the announcement that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2’s release date has been confirmed as April 8, 2020.
Apart from the date, there wasn’t much else in the announcement. However, fans have been parsing the gif that accompanied the tweet for any clues. It features the logos from many different Spider-Man iterations flickering at Spidey-quick speed.
One logo in particular caught fans’ eyes for its throwback to an obscure, 1970s Spider-Man. But who is he, we hear you asking. His name is Takuya Yamashiro.
One of the things that made Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse so enjoyable was its ability to thread in the most loveable Spider-People with the strangest ones. Spider-Ham, for example, a spider who was bitten by a radioactive pig.
So a 22-year-old motorcycle racer-turned-super-hero doesn’t seem like that much of a leap, does it? Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was even supposed to feature a cameo from Tom Holland, so anything is possible.
But how did Takuya even come into existence? Ownership of Marvel intellectual property has been the cause of a lot of furrowed brows over the years.
In the 1970s, Marvel and Japanese production company Toei entered into a three-year licensing agreement. This allowed the pair to use each other’s properties in any way they wanted. Toei took Spider-Man, initially as a supporting character in a show that was never made.
Instead, he got his own Tokusatsu series. Tokusatsu are live-action films or series, usually a sci-fi, action, fantasy or horror story, that make hefty use of special effects. Takuya Yamashiro was played by Shinji Todo (who now stars in a detective series called AIBOU: Tokyo Detective Duo).
Takuya, unlike Marvel’s version of Spider-Man, got his powers from an alien blood transfusion. Here’s how it happens:
Takuya witnesses a UFO crash. His father Hiroshi, who is a space archaeologist (yep!) investigates the crash, but soon after he finds the UFO he is killed.