Spider-Man Episode 37- “The Secret Emissary from Hell, the Enma Devil”
第37話 地獄からの密使 えん魔大王
Originally Aired: February 7, 1979
It’s story of diabolic proportions when the real emissary from hell pays a visit to Earth to kill Spider-Man. Can our Iron Cross-smiting hero stop the King of Hell’s reign of terror, while helping a boy’s father regain consciousness?
As I said last year, and if you noticed these past 10-plus odd reviews, this show takes a different tone by featuring children as the protagonists of each episode, all wanting to be helped by Spider-Man. They’ve done this because of the batstuff insane plots and gratuitous violence that is commonly seen in superhero shows earlier in the decade. This episode however, all of a sudden, decides to kick those rules in the face and give some pretty messed up. I mean, the KING OF HELL vs. Spider-Man? Only in a 1970s Japanese TV show can this happen. Will this trend continue? With only a few episodes left, let’s hope so.
Enma is the Asian analogue of Hades, who decides which souls are damned, which get reincarnated, and which gets to go to heaven. He is normally called Yama in other tongues, and is a prominent figure in Buddhist and Hindu culture. If you’ve watched Dragon Ball Z and Yu Yu Hakusho, you could get a basic idea of who he is.
A bespectacled middle aged man plays around with Tarot cards with such intensity, you’d think stuff on his desk would start floating around. His son comes in, and asks what’s the matter. The father tells him something is going to happen, and in a matter of seconds, a thunderstorm happens. The Yamishiro kids run into Takuya’s room, scared like a bunch of twits at this strange phenomenon, especially in the middle of Winter.
The father picks out a card, Death, and realizes that the Enma Devil has come to the Earth all the way from Hell. Masao runs out the house, not to contact the police, but to call Spider-Man. He gets to a high rise building and starts shouting for Tokyo’s webslinger. The boy goes all the way up to the roof, still calling for him. Down on the street, passersby start being worried for him, especially since he’s climbed on to some pretty tricky railing, and even the wire fence! The police rush to the roof, thinking the kid’s suicidal and pull him down. Hitomi arrives on the scene, trying to snap some photos, and is miffed by the boy’s cry for Spidey.
Meanwhile, Takuya calls Interpol for any information regarding the thunderstorm from earlier, but he gets nothing. Damn Juzou, whaddya doin’. Downstairs, the girls chat about Masao and why he needs to talk to the superhero so badly. Takuya decides to go check it out.
At the police station, Masao tells the officers that King Enma has returned from Hell. His father is apparently a professor who studies the occult, not some Satanic knob who decided to flit around with summon spells. Spider-Man meets up with the kid later, and has a hard time believing something so whacked out could happen, especially since all of his enemies usually come from a laboratory.
Right before the two arrive, the Enma Devil terminates Masao’s father. The boy returns shortly later and finds his dad’s body stained with blood, even though he was shot with a needle. Spider-Man arrives, and sees the word Enma written in katakana instead of the Kanji spelling. He starts to feel guilty for not believing the boy and tries to apologize. Masao yells at him for his lack of faith and cries that his father is gone forever…
Enma Devil arrives at the Iron Cross Base, telling Professor Monster of all the Machine Bems destroyed in the past episodes. He tells our big baddie that even from Hell, their cries can be heard. Every time a Bem dies, their energy(?) is extracted from their souls to create a very potent tonic, strong enough to bring the dead back to life. It is because of this potion that King Enma can walk the Earth. He praises Professor Monster for his work on these spiritually powerful cyborgs. For a demonstration, Enma kills one of the Ninders with a poison dart, only to revive him in a matter of seconds by pouring a bit of his gourd down the grunt’s throat. The devil promises the professor that he will reveal the recipe to him later, but first he has some business to take care of, Masao and Spider-Man. The Amazonian duo are dispatched to deal with this instead.
Back at Masao’s house, Spider-Man tries to comfort the kid, but Bella and Rita arrive. Creating a diversion, he taunts the two to chase up up to the roof of an apartment building. The two reach the top, and begin searching for the wall crawler, who is busy sneaking around for an ambush. He tricks the two into shooting a Spider-Dummy, and a particularly vicious fight scene begins. As payback for what happened two episodes ago, ie shooting him in the leg, he goes to town on the two, beating the holy crap out of them, causing both to plummet to their deaths(!) Enma approaches the two and pours his extract on them, reviving the two. The villain promises to use this potion to revive each and every Machine Bem Spider-Man has killed.
Spider-Man goes back to the kid and promises him that he will get that potion to revive his father, one way or another. It’s time to head to the battlefield in Jigokugahara, which is found near a mountain. In Japan, lots of places near geothermal spots are referred to as “Jigoku-something,” obviously due to the heat.
Rushing through the fields, and walking a fair distance, Spider-Man arrives and easily detects the landmines placed in the area, not by the Americans, but by his buddies at the Iron Cross Army. He carefully treads, digging a little dirt out at a time to expose them for the cleanup crews. Ninders suddenly attack from their subterranean bed, swiping at him with their swords. Why they don’t’ use machine guns is beyond me, especially their gungho nature.
Enma Devil makes his appearance, taunting our hero with declarations that this shall be his final resting place. Spider-Man it off and tricks the devil into showing off the gourd carrying the potion. With a Spider-Sting, he yanks it away from Enma. Surprised, Hades begins his assault, but not before the man who fights for a lonely boy poses for the episode. Enma shoots his needles and fires his cannon cane to no avail, as his opponent easily dodges them. Spider-Man tries to escape in the GP-7, but is forced to summon Leopardon instead.
In a matter of seconds, Leopardon annihilates the King of Hell with Sword Vigor. Yes, even a robot is stronger than a god! Maybe Professor Monster now has a new standard of building robots, but that damn Marveller is just too strong!
At Masao’s household, the potion is used on his father and he is revived! Spider-Man looks on with approval, while I try to figure out what the hell just happened.
This was a pretty nice episode, in terms of this series’, but they should’ve done more like this instead of focusing only on piddling schemes.
…wait a minute. Did Enma tell Monster his secret, and doesn’t it mean that the Iron Cross Army has access to Lazarus potions? Probably not, since plot threads like this are dumped as much as Bond girls.