Spider-Who Part 139: Spider-Man of Earth-51778, Takuya Yamashiro, The Emissary of Hell!

Possibly one of the best Spider-Men to be included in Spider-Verse was Takuya Yamashiro, the Spider-Man from the live-action Toei TV series. The series first aired in 1978, had 41 episodes and a movie, and was the precursor to the Super Sentai series, otherwise known in North America as Power Rangers.

Takuya Yamashiro’s origin is quite different to that of other Spider-Men. When Takuya finds a crashed spaceship, he investigates and finds a dying alien inside. The alien says him name is Garia, and that he is from Planet Spider. He was on a mission to hunt down the villain Professor Monster who had destroyed Planet Spider. This makes Garia the last surviving member of his race. To make sure his mission will be completed, he injects some of his own blood into Takuya which gives him spider powers. Garia also gives Takuya several pieces of technology to help him defeat Professor Monster, who is now here on Earth.

Takuya receives the Spider Bracelet from Garia which does several things for him. First, it stores the “Spider Protector” which is his Spider-Man costume. Whenever Takuya wants to become Spider-Man, the costume instantly comes out of the bracelet and covers his body. Second, the Spider Bracelet can shoot webbing lines and nets made from “Spider Fluid” which is created indefinitely inside the bracelet. Last, the Spider Bracelet allows Spider-Man to control Garia’s spaceship, the Marveller, and summon a car, which can fly, called the Spider Machine GP7. Maybe the best thing about all of these things is that the Marveller spaceship can transform into a giant robot called the Leopardon!

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Spider-Who Part 117: Spider-Man, Yu Komori

yu_kimoroYu Komori is the Spider-Man of Earth-70019, and the star of the series Spider-Man: The Manga. Living in Tokyo, Yu Komori is a brilliant student specializing in radiation. During one of his own experiments, a spider is exposed to radiation and then bites him, giving him his powers.

He fights several villains, the first being cyborg version of Electro. When Yu fights Electro as Spider-Man the second time after being defeated, he punches Electro in anger and frustration, accidentally killing him as he is not aware of his full spider strength. It turns out Electro was the older brother of his childhood friend, and also the girl he has a crush on, Rumi. While Rumi doesn’t blame Spider-Man for the death of her bother, Yu still feels a lot of guilt about it.

As Spider-Man, Yu fight several villains such as a version of The Lizard, The Kangaroo, a ghost of a woman who throws herself off a bridge, psychics, and a street racer known as the Mad Racer, who kills Rumi. Yu also gets into trouble with gangs, drug dealers, crazy teachers, the Yakuza, an invisible tiger, and even a person named Mitsuo who temporarily gets spider powers after receiving a blood transfusion from Yu. Drama, drama, drama!

While Yu Komori wasn’t seen in Spider-Verse, he is mentioned by name in Spider-Verse issue #2. In the scene two non-specific Spider-Men take a break from the final battle with the Inheritors to refill their webbing cartridges. They talk about all the various Spider-Men they’ve met or seen, one mentioning Komori, and attempt to determine what small variation is what sets them apart other than their costumes. During their brief break from fighting, they are unable to determine a difference, but neither notices that one wears a wedding band on his finger while the other does not.

13 Assassins (2010)

13 Assassins (2010)

Last week I was on vacation at a beautiful cottage with a bunch of friends. I got to get away from most forms of technology for nearly a week and just relax lake-side with a few comics. There was one night, though, where we all gathered together to watch 13 Assassins. I had been wanting to see this period piece for ages, and tried to get my hands on it several times last year for my previous blog. I finally had my chance and I’m making a point to write about it now that I have internet access once again.

The basic plot of the film is that the Shogun (leader of all Japan) has allowed his step brother to join him in ruling the country. This man, Lord Naritsugu, is basically a complete psychopath who takes pleasure in torturing and killing innocent people and getting away with it due to his close relation to the Shogun.  The father of one of Naritsugu’s victims comes to the samurai Shinzaemon for help. Of course, by “help” he means “kill that murderous madman for the good of Japan”. After being shown an unfortunate survivor of another of Naritsugu’s attacks, Shinzaemon agrees to put together a group to get the job done. It becomes very clear that if this man gets to the capitol and into a place of real power, the future of Japan’s people would be at risk.

I believe most who watch many subtitled films will recognize the name of the 13 Assassins director: Takashi Miike. He has primarily done horror and shock films in the past, but while this movie is quite violent and has plenty of blood, it doesn’t nearly approach the levels of grossness of his other films. 13 Assassins is pretty much just an action movie set in ancient Japan.  The story seemed to be heavily inspired by another great samurai film, Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa. I wouldn’t say it’s a copy, so much as an homage. The first clue is already in the structure of the title. Both are about a contract job being taken on by samurai, both take some time in gathering and recruiting the team, and both even have a strange “wild man” unexpectedly join the group (or expected if you’d seen Seven Samurai). I don’t think this is a bad thing at all, and I think it worked very well for 13 Assassins to have such strong roots, yet twist it just enough by making our group become assassins, which has its own negative connotations.

13 Assassins, Ready for Battle

Anyone watching this should be going into it for the action. While there are a few short action scenes in the first half of the film during the recruitment stages, action fanatics will be pleased to hear that nearly the ENTIRE second half of the movie is one gigantic sword-slashing, blood-spraying, head-loping fight to the death. The choreography is fantastic, the action is frenetic, and generally the movie is just great fun. The only problem I had was that many of the assassin’s aren’t given deep characters, or really ever introduced much at all, and so I had a hard time keep up with who was who during the bloody final battle, with a few key exceptions.

While 13 Assassins has a pretty basic plot, it has all it needs to set up some really great action, and a villain who truly feels villainous. You’re really cheering on for the team of samurai-turned-assassins to come out on top and successfully complete their mission. If you haven’t seen this film, and you like either action movies, Japanese culture, or just general badassery, 13 Assassins is a MUST WATCH.