Spider-Man Episode 23- “A School of Love for Children without Homes”
Aired October 18, 1978
When a former resident at a school for orphans returns from rags with riches, Spider-Man must head into the dark world of casino gambling to find what is going with an old friend.
The Yamashiros are at the Big Sky Academy today, visiting the children and Takuya sumo wrestles with one of the boys. The narrator indicates that the family has a history with the school, as Shinko is the headmistress’s friends. All of the festivities are buzz-killed when a man drives up in a rather fancy car. It is a former resident, Goro, with a lot of presents for the kids in tow. The kids get excited, grateful for the many presents he bought for them from toy cars to dolls. Even Misao gets one, in the form of a very fancy ring. Goro then promises everyone that he’ll spend even more to make the school an even bigger building.
Misao holds some suspicion, as only a month ago, the shop he worked in got bankrupt and he was cast out penniless. Today, he somehow has a big wad of cash. Just what is going on with him?
Later, while the Yamashiros are home, Hitomi comes by with a chap in a fancy American sports car. Inside, she presents the family with a wide array of jewelry from the guy, who is said to be a former classmate from her photography school. Takuya starts to get suspicious, as the guy also suffered from the same luck as Goro, instead of getting jealous that somebody is going after his girlfriend. He heads outside to check on Goro.
That night, Goro heads to a pub chain called “the House of the Sorceress.” Spider-Man is close by, watching what is going on, especially since this chain has popped up all around Japan. The rich guy drops a slip of paper into a mailbox and he is allowed access inside. As expected the House of the Sorceress is none other than a wretched hive of scum and villainy, a casino. Inside patrons can bet on chick races, rabbit races, craps, anything. BTW, most forms of gambling in Japan are illegal, especially racing animals except horses and probably dogs. If this is an opportunity to call the cops, this is it! But Spider-Man decides to watch anyway.
As Goro tours the grounds, he meets up with the guy in the sports car, and it is clear that they’ve been gambling and had a ridiculously lucky streak. They should quit while they’re ahead, but the promises of wealth are just too much for their greedy minds. The Machine Bem of the episode, the blonde eye-patched Sorceress Beast, walks around encouraging gamblers to spend more money. They even have a Spider Battle Royale! Seriously Spider-Man, call the cops!
Spider-Man quickly figures out that the casino staff are Ninders, and as he tries to escape, he has to contend with the guards. The thick fog that permeates the area is wrecking havoc on his Spider-Sense and he has to escape from the battle through some underground tunnels.
At the Iron Cross Army base, Amazoness remarks that the House of the Sorceress has reached over 500 branches in the country. The goal is just to bilk people out of their money and then drive them to suicide.
The next day, Spider-Man finds Goro reeking of desperation. He tells the loser to stop gambling, but Goro promises that if he gets some more money, he’ll win it all back! He leaves, and Spider-Man vows to destroy the House of the Sorceress, instead of calling the cops last night. He visits a location and finds it completely empty. Meanwhile, Goro breaks into the Big Sky Academy and takes the deed to the land to pay for his bets.
That night, Goro and his friend go to a new location where they bet all their money on a red chick. Sorceress Beast rigs the race by making a blue one win instead. They lose everything, and Goro is definitely screwed and so is the school.
The next day, suited thugs raid the orphanage taking everything of value and throwing everything else away. Misao has to learn from one of the thugs that Goro gambled everything away. The Yamashiros arrive to find the place in disarray, and Takuya can’t do anything to fight them, as the thugs are modified humans. Everybody’s disappointed in him once again. For a six foot guy, you’d think he’d have a little more strength.
While the kids and Takuya clean up the place, Goro stands in the shadows apologizing for what happened. Takuya and a boy chase after him right into the city. Spider-Man continues the chase, going through alleys and avoiding detection for some reason. Goro runs back to where the casino was and finds it empty once again, walking away in defeat. He goes back to his friend and begs him to tell him where the next location is. During the desperate search, he gets shot by an Iron Cross gangster. Spider-Man runs to his side, and listens to Goro’s regrets about how he screwed over the orphans.
Spider-Man realizes how the Iron Cross Army moved undetected was by using the sewer’s underground passageways. He follows his Spider-Sense, and the man who shed tears for the children without homes is sent into battle, after a few shots of him posing. He begins beating up the knife wielding Ninders, while Sorceress Beast runs away and straight into a stadium, where the battle continues. The Machine Bem returns in giant form and Marveller blows her up using only its cannons and that is that.
Spider-Man returns to the orphanage to see the fruits of his efforts as the kids happily wrestle each other and such. But how the hell did they get the deed back? Did the bank draft a new one? And why the hell didn’t Spidey call the cops?!