Franchise / Metal Heroes
The first six Metal Heroes: Gavan, Shaider, Sharivan (L-R, top), Spielban, Juspion and Metalder (L-R, bottom).

Metal Heroes is a franchise of Japanese live-action Action/Adventure programs produced by Toei.

The series aired from 1982 (with Space Sheriff Gavan) to 1998 (with Tetsuwan Tantei Robotack), but was revived in 2012 for a crossover with Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and the popularity of the film resulted in a standalone movie. They are tokusatsu-based shows, in the same vein as Kamen Rider and Super Sentai.

In the US, footage from these series was adapted by Saban during the late-1990's in the same way they did with Super Sentai for Power Rangers, producing two shows, VR Troopers (1994-1995) and Big Bad Beetleborgs (1996-1997). The programs are popular in Japan, France, Brazil and Southeast Asia. It also gave us the wonderful acid trip Uchuu Keiji Shaider. Compared to even Kamen Rider, it was perhaps the darkest franchise of all tokusatsu shows in general and more adults liked it than the kids.

The NES game Shatterhand was produced by Japanese company Natsume and released for both the NES and Famicom. Unlike in most instances, the American version Shatterhand was actually the original version of the game (although it was released later). Angel (a subsidiary of Bandai) agreed to publish the game in Japan for Natsume under the condition that they could modify it into a licensed game promoting one of their properties. Thus the game was re-worked to function as a Tokkyuu Shirei Solbrain video game.

The following shows were produced in the Metal Heroes franchise:

It should be noted that there are a few distinct trilogies within the franchise:
  • The first three shows (Gavan, Sharivan, and Shaider) form the Space Sheriff trilogy (Uchuu Keiji in Japanese).
  • Winspector, Solbrain, and Exceedraft form the Rescue Mission trilogy.

Other continuations include:
  • Juukou B-Fighter and B-Fighter Kabuto are a continuation from one another as the Beetle Fighter series.
  • B-Robo Kabutack and Tetsuwan Tantei Robotack are also considered sharing the same universe, having a crossover of the two while having similar themes.
  • A crossover episode also denotes that Jiban and Jiraya also share the same universe, despite having distinct themes.

Tropes commonly associated with Metal Heroes

  • Badass: As a prerequisite for all tokus.
  • Cool Bike: Yep!
  • Cool Car: If they don't have a bike, they will have an awesome car. Sometimes both, actually.
  • Cool Sidecar: The Cool Bike often has one of these even when there is only one hero. Sometimes the sidecar can be deployed to attack on its own, or sometimes the Victim of the Week occupies it while the hero delivers him or her to safety.
  • Crossover: Several series will have someone from one or more past series return, though it wasn't a staple like Sentai's Vs. movies. Also, lately, the Super Sentai series likes to team up with Space Sheriff Gavan and Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya.
  • Franchise Killer: Kabutack and Robotack were aimed at far younger audiences than the rest of the franchisenote  and caused ratings to plummet with Toei pulling the plug on the franchise.
  • Henshin Hero: With the exception of both Jiraiya and Blue SWAT who put on their armor manually and Janperson who is a robot without a human form.
  • Powered Armor: If they're not Cyborg or Ridiculously Human Robot, they're human beings wearing a special suit of armor.
  • Transforming Mecha: Even though these series don't often go in for Make My Monster Grow, the flying fortress can often turn into a robot and/or a cannon to deal with the enemy's Mook-piloted air force.