The last time a "giant squid" popped up on the web, it turned out to be Megalocranchia, one of the largest species of glass squid. It was an impressive find, but the star of that show wasn't actually a giant squid. Footage of the real deal – genus Architeuthis – is hard to come by, largely because these deep-diving cephalopods rarely surface. But this clip, captured recently in Japan's Toyama Bay, really does show the infamous "Archie".

Smithsonian invertebrate zoologist Dr Michael Vecchione confirmed the ID after watching the video: it is without a doubt one of the clearest ever recorded. Interestingly, this isn't the first time a giant squid has made an appearance in Toyama bay – it's the sixteenth!

According to Uozu Aquarium curator Yuki Ikushi, it's very likely that we'll see more of Architeuthis during the coming fishing season, as the large animals are often accidentally caught as bycatch in trawl nets. However, it's extremely rare to see one cruise this close to boats and moorings of its own accord.

At 3.7 metres (about 12 feet) long, the Toyama giant squid is relatively small the largest one ever caught was an impressive 11.96 metres (39.27 feet) leading scientists to believe that this squid is just a juvenile. Exactly what Archie was doing in the bay, and so close to the surface, remains a mystery. Toyama is home to numerous fish and squid species, including the dazzling firefly squid (seen glowing in the video below), so it's possible the behemoth came up for an easy meal. 

Although scientists have yet to actually witness a giant squid feeding, past dissections of their stomach contents have revealed a prey smorgasbord, including deep-sea fishes, small squid and even other giant squid.

The hundreds of serrated suckers you see in the video are used to wrangle the squid's victims, which are then dragged towards the animal's softball-sized beak. And it only gets stranger from there: food is ground up by the radula, a tongue-like organ covered in rows of teeth, before heading down the oesophagus (which goes through the squid's brain, by the way).

Hunting in the deep ocean isn't easy, but these cephalopods are perfectly adapted to their environment. Their foot-wide eyes allow them to absorb enough light in the murky depths – so it’s pretty unlikely that this specimen would have been hunting in these bright, shallow waters (and during the day, no less). The most probable explanation is that this animal was sick or injured, but in light of reports that it’s now disappeared, we’ll likely never know for certain.

It's worth noting that should you find yourself in a similar situation, the best course of action is to give the animal a wide berth. Getting this close to marine life is not a good idea. 

Not enough supersized squid for you? Check out this colossal squid dissection: