Jikuu Senshi Spielban ("Time-Space Warrior Spielban"), premiering in 1986, was Toei's fifth entry in the Metal Heroes franchise of Toku shows.
Klin is a beautiful planet blessed with an abundance of fresh water. And it is because of this wealth that Waller, a warring empire, invades the planet and ravages it for its liquid wealth.
Two years later, with nearly no water or natural resources left on their planet, the survivors pin their last hopes on two children and send them to Earth, a planet with similar environment to Klin. These two children are Spielban & Diana.
12 years after their arrival, they finally wake up from their sleep. Receiving the knowledge of the history and culture of Earth, they continue their growth as soldiers.
Then, the Waller Empire approaches Earth, with the intent of raiding Japan for its water. To stop them and to protect the planet, Spielban & Diana stand up to them, but deceptions, lies, heartache, and the painful truth awaits the two of them...
This is one of the series used as source footage to create VR Troopers.
Recurring Metal Hero tropes include:
- Action Girl: Diana and Helen. Unlike their predecessors, they can transform into metal heroines just like their male counterpart.
- Big Bad: Guardian Deity Waller Or is it?
- Cool Airship: The Gran Nazca, which can transform into Combat Formation and the Big Bang Cannon. The villains have the Skulljaws, which can drop missiles and bombs (which can in turn deploy tanks).
- Cool Bike: The Hoverian.
- Cool Plane: Jet Gaios and Skulldon Jet.
- Drill Tank: Drill Gaios
- Finishing Move: Arc Impulse, a series of slashes with the Twin Blade usually preceded with a thrust that elongates one of the blades and impales the opponent.
- Phantom Zone: Given a twist this time around — instead of the villains doing it to give their Monster of the Week a boost, here it's Spielban who can do it — with his Bypass Slip (triggered by a button above his belt buckle), he can suck all the Waller forces away to protect the city, typically emerging in the typical Toei quarry.
- Supervillain Lair: The Gamedeath, a flying fortress resembling a turtle for some reason. The Skulljaws emerge as needed, as do the various jet fighters.
- Tank Goodness: The Gaios for Spielban, and the Skulldon, piloted by General Deathzero (who also commands a fleet of lesser tanks). Both of these can split into two components — a jet, and a ground vehicle with a damaging tool (a drill for Spielban and a spinning sawblade for Deathzero).
Jikuu Senshi Spielban provides examples of the following tropes:
- Amplified Animal Aptitude: Guillotine has a talking gerbil named Poss.
- Apocalypse How: Waller wiped out planet Clin for its water, forcing the inhabitants to leave.
- But Not Too Foreign: Diana's mom is white but she is Japanese...
- Combination Attack: Spielban and Diana have one, the "Double Sniper"; when Helen joins them, this leads to the "Triple Bomber".
- Conqueror from the Future: Subverted with Young Emperor Zero. He’s more of a case of How the Mighty Have Fallen.
- Cosmic Retcon/Reset Button: Defeating Waller completely negates the events of the series.
- Darker and Edgier: Spielban managed to become much darker in tone than its light-hearted predecessor.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Spielban's dad sings most of the songs for the series.
- Double Weapon: Twin Blade.
- The Dragon: General Deathzero and Emperor Guillotine share the role.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Early episodes would have the last scene with Waller debuting the next Monster of the Week. This was dropped quickly.
- Also in early episodes, prior to performing his Arc Impulse, Spielban would flashback to his Dark and Troubled Past to trigger his own Berserk Button. This faded out around halfway through the series.
- Earth All Along: In the Twist Ending, Klin turns out to be Earth in the future, and Spielban and Diana were really sent through time rather than space.
- Filler Villain: Episodes 36-37 focus on Waller’s newest member Youki, who uses brainwashing and dirty tactics to fight Spielban. After sitting episode 38 out, episode 39 unceremoniously has him become The Starscream, get killed of and then devotes the rest of the episode to a tougher-than-usual Monster of the Week.
- Fling a Light into the Future: At first seems to be of the spatial variant. Turns out to be a temporal variant.
- Heel–Face Turn: Helen, though she wasn’t really evil to begin with.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Dr. Bio is Spielban's dad.
- The Man Behind the Curtain: Pandora made up Waller to keep her minion’s loyalty
- Market-Based Title: In Brazil, the series was released as Jaspion 2: Spielvan, pretending to be a sequel to a fellow Metal Hero who was a huge success in the country. But the character was still called Spielban (or rather, "Spielvan") there.
- Meaningful Name: Waller=pun on water.
- Spielban's name is a reference to Steven Spielberg, continuing the pattern of naming Metal Heroes shows after film personalities.
- Jet Gaios is identical to the X-Wing fighters.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Diana’s theme is a lot more upbeat than the rest of the soundtrack.
- Taken for Granite: The fate of The Dark Chick Rikki, courtesy of Youki needing a throne.