Space Sheriff Gavan (Uchū Keiji Gavan) is the first installment of the Metal Heroes franchise, as well as the first part of the Space Sheriff trilogy. It aired from 1982-1983.
Sometime in the not so distant future, Earth is invaded by the evil Don Horror and his intergalactic criminal organization known as "Makuu".note Rather than cause the End of the World as We Know It, Don Horror plans to cause fear and panic amongst the populace and steal every valuable his minions can get their hands on. To help him achieve his ends, he can command his minions to use an "Axial Divertor" to suck victims into a frightening otherworld called "Makuu Space", where the Makuu gain 3x their ordinary power.
To thwart their plans, Retsu Ichijoji of the Galactic Union Patrol arrives on Earth with his partner Mimi to protect the planet. Donning a futuristic suit of Powered Armor, Retsu fights the never-ending battle against evil as Space Sheriff Gavan.
In 2012, a film revival/sequel called Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie was released following Gavan's appearance in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie.
Space Sheriff Gavan provides examples of:
- Another Dimension: Don Horror can send Gavan to an alternate dimension, Makuu Space, in which the Monster of the Week's strength and powers are increased threefold.
- Ball of Light Transformation: Gavan can transform into a blue ball of light to fly around at his enemies. He once met an opponent with a similar power, and they tussled for a while in the air as blue and red balls of light, respectively.
- By the Power of Grayskull!: "JOUCHAKU!", which is the Japanese word for electroplating.
- Chekhov's Gunman: A minor victim of the week comes back in the final episode as his successor Sharivan!
- Cool Bike: The Cyberian, a cherry-red four-wheeled superbike that can fly. Gavan uses it to chase the Monster of the Week into Makuu Space in order to finish it off at the end of each episode. Gavan Type-G has his own, but it's blue instead of red.
- Dub Name Change: Gavan is known as X-Or in France.
- Finishing Move: "GAVAN DYNAMIC!" A powerful Laser Blade slash that can either split the monster in half vertically or just straight up cause it to explode.
- Guest Fighter: Served as one for Street Fighter Online: Mouse Generation in probably Capcom's weirdest Capcom vs. Whatever crossovers ever.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Gavan is the son of a human woman and a Human Alien man.
- Hand Blast: "LASER Z-BEAM!" Arrow-shaped bolts of energy that fire forth from Gavan's index and ring fingers.
- Instant Armor: Gavan can materialize his combat armor in .05 seconds. Every time this happens, the narrator informs the audience of this fact, then shows a slowed-down version of the Jouchaku/electroplating process where we can actually see the Gavan suit being beamed down from Gavan's ship.
- Laser Blade: Trope Namer!
- Last Episode, New Character: Space Sheriff Sharivan appears in the last episode when Gavan's on the ropes.
- Monster of the Week: BEM Monsters and Double Monsters. With a rare few exceptions, Gavan kills the monster at the end of every episode, and faces off against a new one the following week.
- Mooks: Don Horror systematically sends a bunch of disposable foot soldiers called Crushers to try and soften up Gavan before deploying the Monster of the Week.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The former Space Sheriff who betrayed Gavan's father in the past is named Hunter Killer. Gee, with a name like that, you'd think his FaceHeel Turn wouldn't have surprised anyone. Not to mention Don Horror...
- Nice Guy: Outside battle, Retsu/Gavan is a pretty nice and friendly guy.
- Original Generation:
- Gavan's Evil Counterpart Gavan Bootleg, who appears in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie.
- Also in the video game Space Sheriff Spirits with the seemingly evil Variozecter who turns out to be the Combat Suit of the revived Hunter Killer.
- Production Foreshadowing: Space Sheriff Gavan is referenced in Episode 45 of Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan. The episode introduces a space pirate named Inazuma Ginga, who was once caught in a trap by the Galactic Police, fleeing to Earth from them. Former Super Sentai writer Shozo Uehara was already working on Gavan by the time Sun Vulcan was ending and Gavan began airing on the same month Sun Vulcan concluded.
- Dol, the bottom half of the Dolgiran in attack mode, qualifies as one, measuring 200 meters in length and weighing a whopping 2000 tons.
- Sometimes the Monster of the Week becomes kaiju-sized.
- Space Police: It's in the title.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
- Marin becomes this to Mimi when the latter is Put on a Bus for a few episodes.
- Geki (Gavan Type-G) is one for Retsu (the original Gavan), though they both appear in the movie.
- Transformation Is a Free Action: Justified, due to the whole transformation sequence taking 0.05 seconds.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Retsu, towards Geki in Super Hero Taisen Z.
- Transformation Sequence: Naturally! The pose is quite well known as well. Ohba Kenji doing it in 2009 or so.
- Transforming Mecha: The bottom part of Gavan's spaceship, Dolgiran, can separate and transform into the Chinese dragon-styled Denshi Seijuu (Electronic Starbeast) Dol, which is armed with eye lasers, fire breath, and a nasty tail whip attack.
- Unrealistic Black Hole:
- Makuu Space is entered via a black hole that causes Earth to change its axis instead and enter the space of sucking up the entire solar system. To make it crazier, Gavan's Cyberian somehow minimizes harmful effects on the planet once entered.
- The video game Space Sheriff Spirits and the Gokaiger crossover movie take it to another extreme where it implies that Makuu Space has breathable oxygen with the latter establishing that the dimension had its own prison tower (which never appeared or even mentioned in the series).
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Mimi, with her "Laser Vision" pendant.
- Wrestler in All of Us: Gavan shows shades of this with his Dimension Bomber attack.