Spider-Man Episode 39 -“The Greatest Martial Arts Tournament in the World”
Originally Aired February 21, 1979
With only three episodes left in the series, what does Professor Monster have planned to conquer the world in one fell swoop? Actually nothing we know of, as it’s a Game of Death with the maniacal cyborg mastermind gathering the world’s best martial artists to compete against each other. Will our web-stringing hero Enter the Spider or let his friends in the police force get brutally massacred by the Iron Cross’s evil creations?
Accompanied by a very desperado tune, everyone’s favorite narcotics detective with a cowboy complex walks back to his jeep to find his son hiding in the back under a blanket. Tachibana reprimands his son for following him on such a dangerous assignment, but the boy still refuses to stay at home because of his thirst for adventure and excitement.
Elsewhere, Takuya is doing one of his daily training runs and spies a big honkin’ arachnid who falls off his net. Takuya picks his ally up and places it back on the web, but it seems the spider had an ulterior motive. By contacting the young man, it points him to the direction he needs to go…
At an abandoned factory, two detectives follow and attempt to arrest Killer Nelson, a notorious drug dealer with international connections. As they apprehend the ski-masked criminal, he puts up a fight and easily dispatches them both. Amazoness, back in her first costume but still with that wavy wig and tiara, is impressed by this show and has a wrestler cyborg start fighting Nelson. A turn of the thumb indicates death and so Nelson gets his back cracked and dies.
One of the detectives gets back up and foolishly tries to arrest the wrestler, but is surrounded by a bunch of Ninders. Surprisingly, he puts up a damn good fight, flipping the duck=billed grunts to and fro, knocking the other about like an action star. He’s played by Tetsuya Nakayashiki, a rather well-known actor for his many roles as a stuntsperson and actor from the first Kamen Rider and beyond. Shimamoto picks up a pipe and uses like a master swordsman, finishing off the rest. He attempts to fight the wrestler, but the cyborg’s armor is impervious to his assault. Before anything gets too bad for him, Tachibana arrives.
Telling Shimamoto to take his partner Nakayama away, Tachibana attempts to take all of them on with his rifle. However, he’s clearly surrounded by by gun-toting Ninders and has to surrender… until Spider-Man arrives. Amazoness gives the withdrawl orders and the good guys unite to talk about the victim. They wonder what the Iron Cross Army wants with a drug dealer.
Around the country, the Iron Cross Army has been targeting various martial artists for their abilities using their cyborg warriors, Great Wrestler and Superhuman Fighter (who looks like a Garuda). Anybody that survives their vicious assault will be deemed worthy of being added to the Iron Cross ranks. The final martial artist they choose is none other than Detective Shimamoto, who is indeed a skilled swordsman.
At the Yamashiro household, Takuya invites Detective Tachibana and his son to stay for the day, though Takuji seems a little miffed by the newest guest. Why he chose this household? I have no idea except Spider-Man freakin’ told him his secret identity. The gumshoe leaves to search for Shimamoto.
Professor Monster demands to know where Spider-Man is, as preparations are indeed complete. Amazoness knows of a surefire way of getting their most hated nemesis out into the open, by throwing flying specifically at Hitomi. The papers advertise an important World Martial Arts tournament to be taking place in Kaganjima, with Spider-Man being the main attraction. Takuya’s girlfriend looks up and sees the episode’s two cyborg warriors and runs all the way to the Yamashiros.
Takuya verifies this information with Interpol, and learns why Tachibana left the kid with them, as Shimamoto was kidnapped. Spider-Man arrives at the port to stop the narcotics detective from doing some so rash, but Tachibana tells him that Shimamoto was a junior of his from high school. He helped train the younger schoolmate to be a great detective, and it’s only fair that he should go rescue him. Spider-Man stops him with a well aimed punch to the gut and boards a speedboat for the island.
The web-slinger enters the island, looking for Shimamoto. He finds him locked in a cell and the detective leads him to a quarry, where Professor Monster and his crew await him. Monster’s minions ambush Spider-Man, and Shimamoto is mind controlled with a device. The big baddie declares it’s time to hold the World’s Greatest Martial Arts Tournament. If Spider-Man doesn’t fight, the Iron Cross Army will have to kill Detective Shimamoto. He refuses, but he will soon have to.
The first match begins with the baddest brawler in Brazil, Black Iron, and Great Wrestler. B.I. puts up a nice fight in the beginning, throwing the G.W. around and punching him with heavy fists. However, the Great Wrestler shrugs off this assault, and with a thumbs up from his creator, cracks Black Iron’s neck. “You can never know one’s true ability unless one is fighting for his life,” Professor Monster decrees at a shocked Spider-Man.
The next match is the level five kendo warrior, Detective Shimamoto, and the Garuda wannabe, Superhuman Fighter. Spider-Man decides to fight, as if this tournament continues, he would fail Tachibana and endanger Shimamoto’s life. A change in the program forces Spider-Man to fight the two cyborg warriors. They overwhelm our hero, with Fighter’s quick strikes and Wrestler’s powerful throws. He tries to call for the Spider-Machine GP-7, but Monster came prepared, with a electromagnetic device that blocks all communication. Just when Shimamoto is order to do the final strike, Tachibana arrives.
Tachibana shoots the machine, allowing the world’s greatest martial artist to take the hypnotic device and call upon the services of the GP-7. The episode’s fight scene begins, but the Ninder fighting footage is rather short. Tachibana provides cover fire, and I guess kills the Wrestler. Superhuman Fighter grows to tremendous size and is easily killed by Leopardon’s Sword Vigor.
The three head back to the mainland, and find Tachibana’s son waiting for them. Wow, that boy must’ve sneaked out and wandered pretty damn far.
This was a rather exciting episode for this series, as Spider-Man is forced to participate in as deadly a martial arts tournament a tv budget can provide. I can’t help but worry how they’re going to end this series, since they’ve just procrastinated all this time, with middling schemes and such. If you keep your standards low it seems, you won’t be as disappointed?
With only two episodes left, will the Iron Cross Army enact its most lethal plan? No! Because we need one more episode where Spider-Man helps a kid!