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Series / Metal Heroes

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

The Metal Heroes were a franchise of toku TV series produced by Toei, the same company behind Kamen Rider and Super Sentai. Unlike its brother franchises where teams of warriors in color coded suits fight evil or a cyborg fights against the evil organization that made him one, the Metal Heroes focused on solo heroes or much smaller teams than a Sentai who either wore metal armors or were in fact robots fighting evil. Many were Space Police, Super Soldiers or robotic armored Rescue workers. The Metal Heroes shows were on Japanese television from 1982 to 1998, more or less coinciding with the 80s and 90s hiatus of Kamen Rider on Japanese television.note  The Metal Heroes are relatively darker in tone than either Sentai or KR, and it had a larger adult audience that the other shows did at the time.


Outside of Japan, the Metal Heroes were insanely popular in France, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines where the failed Zaido spinoff was produced in 2006. In the United States, Saban Entertainment applied the Power Rangers formula to several Metal Heroes shows, resulting in VR Troopers (1994-1995) which was cobbled together from three different shows and Beetleborgs (1996-1997) which was made from at least taking two relatively related shows in the franchise. In 2020, the Toei Tokusatsu is airing most of the shows via the official World Youtube page with English subs to promote show outside Japan.

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 Jiraiya also share the same universe, despite having distinct themes.
  • Finally, the ending of Gavan vs Dekaranger depicts a random pick of past Sentai and nearly all the other Metal Heroes as a MCU-style Shared Universe.

Metal Heroes provides examples of:

  • Beast Man: Accounts for a great many villains in this franchise.
  • Big Good:
  • Canon Discontinuity: How Toei has treated B-Robo Kabutack and Tetsuwan Tantei Robotack as of late - while the series were listed in one of the Super Hero Taihen specials, said list also included Moerro!! Robocon, which is definitely NOT a Metal Heroes series, so it was likely referring to series that had come out during the period of time that Kamen Rider was on hiatusnote ; later, Super Hero Taisen Z showed a list of the Metal Heroes series, with Kabutack and Robotack both being absent from said list; additionally, these 2 are the only series that have not received DVD re-releases. Although this isn't entirely without reason.
  • 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.
  • Cool Ship: Many of the earlier heroes had access to a massive aerial fortress which served as their base, housed their gear and other vehicles, and often could transform somehow.
  • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: Especially compared to both Super Sentai and even Kamen Rider.
  • Foreign Remake
    • As acknowledged above, Saban Entertainment adapted several Metal Heroes series for American television in the vein of Power Rangers. Originally conceived as Cybertron, a straight adaptation of Metalder, VR Troopers ran for two series and was an Adaptation Amalgamation of Metalder and Spielban, adding Shaider to the mix for season 2. Beetleborgs also ran for two seasons, adapting Juukou B-Fighter for season 1 and B-Fighter Kabuto for season 2. Beetleborgs also incorporated B-Fighter's crossover arc, thus incorporating the characters from Janperson and a villain from Blue SWAT.
    • In a similar vein to Beetleborgs, recent Power Rangers series have incorporated Sentai crossovers with Metal Heroes. Through his guest appearance in Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, Jiraiya became Space Sheriff Skyfire in Power Rangers Ninja Steel, while the new incarnation of Gavan who was introduced in Go-Busters becomes Captain Chaku in ''Power Rangers: Beast Morphers.
  • 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.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Though not as common as Super Sentai, some Metal Heroes call their names before going into battle. Of course, they're obligated to do so whenever there is a crossover with Sentai.
    • At the end of Shaider, the three Space Sheriffs call their full titles in reverse order.
    • In Gokaiger vs. Gavan, Gavan adds himself to the end of the Gokaigers' team roll call.
    • For his guest appearance in Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, the new Gavan adds himself to the start of the Go-Busters' team roll call.
    • For his guest appearance in Series/Shuriken Senai Ninninger, Jiraiya adds himself to the end of the Ninningers' team roll call.
    • In the Space Squad episode of Uchu Sentai Kyuranger, new Gavan has a roll call with Deka Red, Hebitsukai Silver and Shishi Red.
  • Oddball in the Series: Metalder was much darker than the previous shows, and departed from the staples of the franchise (such as fighting aliens and having a massive aerial fortress for the hero). Subsequent series waffled back and forth on these and other elements.
  • Powered Armor: If they're not Cyborg or Ridiculously Human Robot, they're human beings wearing a special suit of armor.
  • The Present Day: Most Metal Hero series take place in the year they air. Exceptions include Winspector (1990), which takes place in 1999 and is followed by Solbrain (1991) and Exceedraft (1992). The Juukou B-Fighter (1995) is followed by B-Fighter Kabuto (1996), which takes place ten years after the first series' conclusion.
  • Shared Universe: Numerous crossovers, both in the TV run and the revivals of the 2010s, establish that not only do all 17 Metal Hero series take place in the same world, but that they share that world with the overwhelming majority of Super Sentai (Super Hero Taisen Z adds Kamen Rider to the mix), with Uchu Sentai Kyuranger taking place in a seperate universe.
  • Shout-Out / Named After Somebody Famous: Early shows had a tendency to name their protagonists after film personalities:
  • Tank Goodness: Another frequent sight; sometimes it can split into a Drill Tank and a Cool Plane.
  • 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.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: A tokusatsu staple. Generally, the villains send forth the MOTW with an Evil Plan Once an Episode, with our heroes then arriving on the scene to stop them.


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