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Series / VR Troopers

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We are! We are VR!

Troopers three! (Go!) Virtual Reality...

In the spirit of, on the heels of, and by the makers of Power Rangers, several Metal Heroes Toku series were adapted by Saban Entertainment into a new show known as VR Troopers in 1994.

The premise is basically that via Applied Phlebotinum created by Tyler Steele, Karl Ziktor, and Professor Horatio Hart, anything created in virtual reality actually exists in Another Dimension, and can be brought forth into the real world. Tyler Steele goes missing, but left behind the means for his son and friends to defend the real world from Ziktor, now a Corrupt Corporate Executive with a virtual army ready to conquer the world. Crossworld City is a weak point between dimensions and as such, the front lines in the battle with Ziktor, aka Grimlord (Ziktor's super-powered virtual world avatar), and his forces. Professor Hart, his body mortally wounded by Grimlord, exists inside the base's computers and acts as The Mentor.


The second season sees the complete overhaul of the villains' setup and one character's gear in a series where Status Quo Is God... or was.

Like Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, three Metal Heroes series were used as source materials to make one. Ryan's armor, Grimlord, and any villain ever seen in Grimlord's lair came from Choujinki Metalder. Another show, Jikuu Senshi Spielban, provided armored Kaitlin and JB, Colonel Icebot and General Ivar, the Skugs, many of the team's vehicles, and most of the villains of the week (such as Red Python and Desponda). The second season, in which Ryan's armor and Grimlord's tech are switched out, takes footage from still another show, Space Sheriff Shaider, which predates the other two shows.

Somehow, with that many sources of footage, costumes, and plots, the vast majority of second season episodes revolved around something dangerous being made in an underground lab that had eventually to be taken out with the same drill vehicle going through the same stock footage.


VRT's suits were a vast departure from those of Power Rangers and the like: instead of suiting up a human, the Troopers were actually transformed into robot forms that were created from scratch in virtual reality. If damaged in Trooper form, they had to be repaired as machines before they could return to human form.

The show has a rather interesting production history, to say the least: originally a vehicle for Jason David Frank, an unaired pilot was both shot and sold to several stations, who proceeded to buy it due to the popularity of Power Rangers, but at the last minute Saban decided to bring JDF back to MMPR, which meant that the starring role had to be recast with Brad Hawkins (who was originally set to play the White Ranger in the second season of Mighty Morphin), although the show by that point was deemed highly unsalvageable and was filmed only for contractual obligations with the TV stations who had already bought the series. To the surprise of many, the first season was actually quite successful and a second season was soon green-lighted by Saban. However, during the second season all the Metalder action footage ran out and Saban was forced to use footage from a third and drastically different (and much older) show for the Ryan Steele segments. Eventually all the remaining Spielban footage, as well most of the Shaider footage, were used up too.

Saban picked up the rights to a fourth Metal Hero series, Juukou B-Fighter, but rather than risk alienating the show's fan-base by changing the entire team's costumes and motifs like they did with Power Rangers Zeo, they decided to start fresh with a new Americanized version, Beetleborgs, resulting in the cancellation of VR Troopers.

As of June 2011, the entire series (along with Big Bad Beetleborgs and Power Rangers) is available for streaming on Netflix.


  • Ryan Steele, searching for his father Tyler Steele, who helped create the technology, is assumed to be second in command at Tao Dojo.
  • Kaitlin Starr, who works at a newspaper called the Underground Voice.
  • J.B. Reese, martial artist who works for the dojo where the Troopers train.
  • Professor Hart, friend of Tyler Steele, whose mind was placed inside the base's computers to save his life.
  • Tao Chung, martial arts teacher and mentor of the team (in a life lessons sorta way. He doesn't know they're the Troopers.)
  • Woody, the editor of the Underground Voice. Much more personable than J. Jonah Jameson. Frequently heard to say "What an ideeeeeee-a!"
  • Jeb, the dog turned sentient and made speech-capable via some of the base's Applied Phlebotinum.
  • Percy Rooney, the mayor's nephew and would-be beau of Kaitlin. Highly obnoxious. Strictly comic relief. Occasionally, his aunt and uncle show up. They're even more comic relief.
  • Karl Ziktor, a corrupt CEO who has a dual identity: in virtual reality, he's the Big Bad, Grimlord, with an army of VR cyborg creatures.

Troper Transform!

  • Adaptational Villainy: Remember Jeremy/Graybot from "The Virtual Spy"? His Metalder counterpart, Bigwayne, was previously a top warrior in the Neros Empire who retired and became a repair robot because he never lost to anyone in battle, only to come out of retirement to save his protege Gochak (Cannonbot) from being destroyed, and fell in battle against Metalder. Here, Graybot was newly-constructed, and given a human cover identity to infiltrate the Troopers and learn their secrets, and be better than them at everything.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The two alien kids from "New Kids on the Planet." Though, apparently, Dog is a lot easier to speak than English.
  • And I Must Scream: From the "Defending Dark Heart" arc: Being forced against your will to kill your only son.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: In addition to the impossible array of one-shot gadgets seen in the lab, "virtual reality" is the king of all plot devices. In this series, it basically means "whip up anything you want on the screen and have it pop out in reality."
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The few times Grimlord actually fights himself, he's shown to be pretty dang powerful.
  • Bad Boss: When Grimlord gets new tech and uses it to create the new Virtual Dark Fortress and a new cadre of minions, he self-destructs the Virtual Dungeon, killing all of his old minions except for the small handful he decided were useful enough. They probably shouldn't have been surprised given how many times he'd threatened to slaughter them all for their incompetence. On one occasion, he mentioned that he didn't care that they destroyed his monster of the week since it was just a distraction from the master plan.
  • Badass Normal: Tao is Ryan and J.B.'s sensei and explicitly a better fighter than either of them. He's more than capable of pounding a group of Skugs into the ground by himself despite having no superpowers of his own. In fact, he normally fairs better than the Troopers do in untransformed combat with them.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: In his first VR powerset, Ryan has no external weaponry; he relies on powered-up punches, kicks and a sort-of energy blade that's part of his arms. He also tends to use either his enemy's weaponry or nearby objects. This is averted when he gets his new VR powerset in season 2, where he has both a Laser Blade and a laser pistol at his disposal.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Kaitlin does this unmorphed against Doom Master once.
  • BBC Quarry: The "virtual world," when we see it, is the same quarry frequently seen in Power Rangers's Super Sentai footage. JB frequently teleports the entire battle back here with his Vortex Command so as to keep civilians from getting hurt.
  • Beware the Silly Ones:
    • Some monsters fit this trope, but an egregious example was the next-to-last monster they ever fought, Fanbot, a Jerry Lewis Expy who was clumsy on the battlefield and seemed to trip over his own feet. However, once General Ivar ordered him to use his fan, he easily sucked up Conatron (a bot constructed by Knighttime out of the fallen remains of other attack bots), and proceeded to suck up all of Knighttime's power, leaving them defenseless; once he showed up to fight JB and Kaitlyn, he nearly sucked them up too — he laughed off the VR Double Team attack, and JB nearly got shredded, only getting the upper hand by Laser Lance Commanding Fanbot at point-blank range.
    • Another example is Fiddlebot, whose main weapon is a fiddle and roses he throws and is powered by an Irish musician. However, Grimlord created him personally after being fed up with Icebot's robots failing him, and he gives Ryan a Curbstomp Battle for nearly the entire episode.
  • BFG: JB's VR Technobazooka, and Ryan's VR Shoulder Cannon; the Skybase and Ryan's unnamed airbase would transform into these. They were typically used on Grimlord's air forces only.
  • Big Bad: Grimlord.
  • Bookends: Each episode begins with Ryan remembering something his dad taught him. The episode would then have An Aesop involving what Ryan talked about. The episode would then end with Ryan summing up the Aesop.
  • Bound and Gagged: In one episode, Kaitlin was captured in a trap specifically meant of her then bound and gagged to lure the others into a Death Trap.
    • Due to the different footage sources meaning there's no Japanese footage of everyone against the same monster, capturing somebody was a common way of explaining someone's absence from the final round with the Monster of the Week.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Red Python, Dark Heart.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": A minor case; there's an abstract "M" beneath Ryan's waist in his first form (a leftover from Metalder -- hence the M). This is averted by Ryan's second form and by both JB and Kaitlyn's Trooper forms, which have no identifying lettering or symbols.
  • Butt-Monkey: Percy, courtesy of Jeb. Also, General Ivar for the bad guys, because every time he went into combat against the Troopers, his tank would get rolled off a cliff, he'd be beaten by JB in a sword fight, etc.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: "Trooper Transform! We! Are! V! R!" (Actually, the "We are VR!" is unnecessary.) The Big Bad also had one: "Forces of darkness, empower me! Take me back to my virtual reality!"
  • Calling Your Attacks: Every weapon or tool was activated by saying "[gadget name] command, now!" Even returning to human form was "Retro-form command, now!"
  • Catchphrase: Woody: "What an ideeeeee-a!", Ryan and JB: "See Ya!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: The mutant Dark Heart is only seen mainly in "The Dognapping" until his true identity as Ryan's father is revealed.
  • Christmas Episode: "Santa's Secret Trooper". And this is done without the Spielban or Shaider action footage too!
  • Cloning Blues: Kaitlin's evil clone actually does a Heel–Face Turn and is summoned to help out now and again.
  • Combat Tentacles: Grimlord's throne has these.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Marvel Comics published a five issue comic adaptation of the show, double billed with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Ninja Rangers.
  • Composite Character: Combining different Metal Heroes series, it's had its share:
    • Ryan, by virtue of his two armored forms, is a composite of Metalder and Shaider.
    • JB and Kaitlin were composites of Spielban and Diana Lady, as well as Metalder's two human friends, Hakko and Mai (despite the fact that Spielban was the hero of his own show, J.B. was more of a sidekick to Ryan like Hakko was to Ryusei, while Kaitlin was a reporter like Mai). When footage of Spielban's sister Helen Lady (who wore the same suit as Diana Lady) began to be used, she became a mirror image of Kaitlin who could be summoned in battle, essentially making Kaitlin a composite of three characters (four if you count Annie from Shaider, though she was an unarmored human who assisted Shaider; weirdly enough, Annie and Helen were played by the same actress).
    • Dark Heart is directly based on Topgunder of Choujinki Metalder, but his backstory as Ryan Steele's father, Tyler not only merges Dr. Koga from Metalder, but Dr. Bio from Jikuu Senshi Spielban.
    • Grimlord, while directly based on God Neros from Metalder, effectively supplants Queen Pandora and Kubilai as the main villain of the entire conglomerate. Slightly subverted in that counterparts for both villains did appear, but were Demoted to Extra, Kubilai (a.k.a. Oraclon) becoming Grimlord's monster-maker and Pandora (a.k.a. Desponda, Despera's sister) becoming a one-shot guest villain.
  • Compressed Adaptation: VR Troopers' was given 2 seasons of 52 episodes and 40 episodes respectively to adapt Metalder (39), Spielban (44) and Shaider (49), that's 92 episodes to 132.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Karl Ziktor. In some episodes, it's even shown that the mayor is afraid of him.
  • Covers Always Lie: Three British DVDs were released by Jetix, all containing season 1 episodes. Volume 2 has the season 2 team on the box art (i.e. the wrong version of Ryan). Volume three features the Space Sheriffs Gavan and Sharivan instead of JB and Kaitlin.
  • Crazy-Prepared: JB is this, having multiple back ups of everything in the lab and any of his personal computers, as well as having a hidden back up password for his computer just in case someone gets it and changed the password.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Ziktor has access to what amounts to a Matter Replicator and can create just about anything he wants. He could probably use it for plenty of other things than world domination schemes and be filthy rich.
  • Cut Short: Our heroes never got to defeat Grimlord or learn that he was Karl Ziktor. Although it's implied that they kind of figured out that he was Karl Ziktor (when a Skug was connected to Ziktor), but they never were able to get the proof.
  • Cyberspace: The virtual world.
  • Cyborg: When they transform, the Troopers become this and explicitly are a fusion of humans and mechanical components. This means that any damage they sustain has to be repaired before they can turn back and if the piece of tech that turns them back is damaged, they'll be stuck in their transformed state until it's repaired.
  • Darker and Edgier: Considered by fans to be much darker and more serious than Power Rangers. Some of the story arcs the show had were quite dark, especially when we discover who the villain Dark Heart really is. Then again, Metalder, Spielban and Shaider were no comedic romps either.
    • Also, the villains were allowed more gruesome deaths than there were on Power Rangers, due to the series being syndicated - decapitations, splitting in half, and impalement were not uncommon (the last of these was, in fact, how JB usually dispatched the monsters he fought, even forcing them to surrender and ignoring their surrender and finishing them off anyway, while the Power Rangers usually would accept a monster's surrender). There's also the fact that Grimlord is a Bad Boss who would make a Power Rangers Big Bad wince in horror with how little he cares about his army, not even showing a tinge of sadness about killing off most of his army (though PR has had its' own fair share of main villains who don't give a damn about their underlings, like Queen Bansheera).
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Jeb.
    • Grimlord has his share of moments, especially when berating his minions for failing.
      Ivar: We tried our best, sir.
      Grimlord: I don't give As for effort!
      Despera: *pointing to battle against the traitorous Knightime* It's not going well, sire.
      Grimlord: Thank you, I can see that!
  • Death Is Cheap: See Monster of the Week.
  • Decomposite Character: Kaitlin's clone and Red Python were the same person in Spielban. Since Diana Lady and Helen Lady both wore the same armor, the atoner plotline was converted into a power-up for Kaitlin.
    • Meanwhile, Dr. Bio was turned into Colonel Icebot, though components of Dr. Bio's backstory were given to Tyler Steele (see above); Dr. Bio's disembodied eyes and brain were turned into a separate character named "Commander Donaldson".
  • Distaff Counterpart: "Get Me to the Lab on Time" does this as a joke, where Percy's dream girl looks like him and is played by his actor in drag.
  • The Dragon: Because of the fact that three different villain factions were knocked into one, Grimlord has many different commanders, each of whom fulfill different roles in his organization and share aspects of command.
    • Present in both seasons were General Ivar and Colonel Icebot; the former was explicitly stated by Professor Hart to be Grimlord's chief military commander and led Grimlord's vehicular forces (and in general came up with many of Grimlord's strategies), while Colonel Icebot was Grimlord's top scientist and created many of the monsters sent against the Troopers.
    • Season 1 had Decimator, who (in addition to being the best fighter in Grimlord's service) was second-in-command of the Virtual Dungeon, often guarded Grimlord and acted as the field commander of the Virtual Warriors; Zelton, Toxoid and Blue Boar all acted as sub-commanders ranking beneath Decimator, leading their own quasi-factions.
    • Season 2 saw the replacement of the Virtual Dungeon with the Virtual Dark Fortress, and that included a trio of new commanders: Oraclon, a living supercomputer/repository of virtual knowledge capable of creating monsters and Ultra Skugs; Despera, the Dark Chick and advisor/strategist; and Doom Master, The Brute and field commander of the Vixens.
  • Drill Tank: Two. The VR Battlecruiser (piloted by Ryan, JB and Kaitlyn) and the VR Combat Module (Ryan's exclusive season 2 vehicle) had these available.
  • Dynamic Akimbo: Kaitlin always has her hands on her hips. Literally. She poses that way so much that it's like they're superglued there (likely a trait of Sarah Brown's that carried onto the character), only taking them off when absolutely necessary. Kaitlin even has her hands on her hips while walking and even running!
  • Enemy Mine: The penultimate episode had the Troopers teaming up with Grimlord against Knighttime's attempt to take over the world himself.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: As the first season goes on, it becomes clear Grimlord's getting more and more frustrated with his underlings' inability to beat the Troopers; this carries over into season 2 and culminates in him blowing all his old minions up. His new minions enrage him only slightly less than before.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Red Python.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Amy, the veterinarian who was Brainwashed into becoming the Red Python was suddenly a lot less popular with her patients after her change.
  • Evil Genius:
    • Icebot is this for Grimlord, building the majority of his forces and inventions.
    • Grimlord himself is one as well, as he programmed Icebot and created more or less everything Icebot didn't himself. The few times he personally creates a minion himself, it turns out far stronger than anything Icebot was able to come up with.
  • Evil Knockoff: Red Python is this to the VR Troopers, as she was made with the exact same tech. However, she's also clearly flawed compared to them, as it takes awhile for her body to accumulate to her new powers unlike the Troopers, and there's a more critical flaw: her body is imperfect and could eventually explode if pushed too far.
  • Evil Laugh: Ziktor has a pretty insane one.
  • Evil Overlord: Grimlord, ruler of the virtual world.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Knighttime isn't Grimlord's creation, but a separate villain from an an alternate universe he engaged in a Villain Team-Up with. Knighttime inevitably betrays him and turns on him, nearly taking over the world himself and forcing an Enemy Mine with the Troopers to stop his plan.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Doom Master
  • Expendable Clone: Stickland and Ziktor's secretary Skugs get destroyed several times, only to be replaced with new Skugs. Ziktor doesn't really care. This is implied to be the case with all his minions.
  • Fad Super
  • Finishing Move:
    • Ryan has several, including a flying drop kick and a flying spin move, but his most common is his Lightning Hand Command attack, a super charged karate chop. In season 2, his new armor gives him a Laser Saber, which has a slashing finisher.
    • JB has his Laser Lance, usually done by impaling the monster to stun it and then deliver powerful slashes to finish them off. The VR Technobazooka could be used as this, but was normally used for anti-aircraft purposes.
    • Kaitlin doesn't have a formal finisher, but she does take part in the VR Double Team attack with JB to weaken an enemy and set it up for JB to finish off.
  • Frankenslation: This series is initially adapted from two Metal Hero shows, Jikuu Senshi Spielban and Choujinki Metalder. By the time the second season kicks in, the show incorporates elements from Space Sheriff Shaider.
  • Gag Dub: Supposedly, when the cast got word that the series was being cancelled, some of them, including the main three and a few voice actors (mainly Mike Reynolds and Richard Epcar, Ivor and Icebot's voice actors), went out, got drunk, came back to the studio, went into the recording booth and redubbed various scenes to be more mature and... vulgar. The results are pretty funny.
  • Genre Blindness: The Troopers. Every episode, they see three people quietly walk up to them, without saying a word, and never realize that they're Skugs in disguise.
  • Genre Savvy: In episode 10, Kaitlin realizes Jeremy Gibson (secretly Grimlord's minion Graybot) has no records at all. She and J.B. quickly put two and two together that when your enemy can create minions from nowhere that can assume human form means the guy with no records is likely a virtual minion.
    • The Skugs attack Tao Dojo and Tao mops the floor with them all by himself. Did Grimlord really think the guy who trained the Troopers and can outperform them in martial arts wouldn't be able to put a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on his Skugs? Subverted in that they weren't sent to beat Tao, but retrieve a disk, double subverted in that Tao clobbered them before they could get the disk anyway.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: As with Power Rangers, Japanese footage in the background is an occupational hazard of using Stock Footage from Japan-original shows. It's most obvious in one episode where a monster kidnaps a little boy. There is a kanji sign in the hallway to his apartment. Justified on this occasion, as the boy was Japanese-American (in order to match up with the kidnapped boy from the Japanese footage), and the place might have been in a "Little Tokyo"-esque district within Crossworld City.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While never elaborated on, Ziktor calls on "forces of darkness" whenever he transforms, and when he first obtained his powers, it was by invoking them on the Box of Isis, an ancient magical artifact. What they are was never elaborated upon and they have no direct influence, but evidently are providing power to Grimlord in some way.
  • Haunted House: The episode "Grimlord's House of Fear" features one. Turns out it's just Colonel Icebot trying to break into the real world.
  • Healing Hands: Only two episodes ("Error in the System", "My Dog's Girlfriend") have Kaitlin run to JB's rescue and, seeing that he is critically injured by Skugs, she uses her healing technique/command called "Power Transfer" to restore JB's power. And the technique choreography in the former episode is amazingly longer than in the latter.
  • Henpecked Husband: Mayor Rooney. Apparently, his wife requires him to discuss any decisions he makes with her.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Averted; JB checked with the owner before chasing after the monsters.
  • Home Base: Professor Hart's lab; to a lesser extent the Skybase, Ryan's rotating base thing from season 1, and in season 2, Ryan's unnamed Skybase equivalent also served these functions.
  • Humongous Mecha: In Season 2, the Troopers gain one called the VR Troopertron, the alt form of the Skybase. While Ryan initially is the one to use it, the others gradually start using it too. Ryan's unnamed shuttlecraft was also one, but it didn't actually get used in show besides the intro and by way of editing errors (they would show the Vavilos transformation from Shaider during the VR Troopertron sequence from Spielban), possibly due to the terrible-looking suit Shaider used for Vavilos.
  • Hypocrite: Ziktor is horrified by the prospect of his pet iguana being harmed by a minion's plan...despite multiple times proving very willing to harm the pets of others without a moment's regret.
  • Insult Backfire: In the episode "Nightmares:"
    J.B.: (After a monster transforms.) "You're still ugly!"
    Monster:' "Flattery will get you nowhere!"
  • I Own This Town: Ziktor wants to literally do this, but he figuratively already does, as he has the mayor cowed into submission and is able to get away with whatever he wants.
  • It's Personal: Even though we don't see much of it after the Dark Heart story arc, it's implied that Ryan personally hated Decimator after he attempted to kill his father, who was turned into the mutant Dark Heart, usually Decimator mopped the floor with Ryan but in this instance Ryan delivered a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown which forced Decimator to retreat on his go-kart after a very brief "battle".
  • I Will Fight No More Forever: After being impaled by the laser lance, most bots immediately surrender and stop fighting (Cobrot even chose not to fire the second arrow from her bow). JB then finishes them off anyway.
  • Karma Houdini: As mentioned further down the show never had a proper finale, thus Ziktor/Grimlord is never destroyed or punished for his crimes.
  • Kiai: Ryan Steele. So much so, that he has three distinct battle cries.
  • Kryptonite Factor:
    • Skugs dissolved if they touched each other.
    • The Troopers themselves have one: strong magnetic fields, which can wreck their computer systems and make their Virtual Armor nigh impossible to actually move in. This results in Magnetbot giving them a Curbstomp Battle by exploiting it. Professor Hart is able to repair their armor and reinforce them to protect against it, but it takes time and his first attempt with Ryan's only lessens the weakness rather than eliminate it.
  • Large Ham: Grimlord is this. As Ziktor, he is clearly having a blast being a Corrupt Corporate Executive and as Grimlord he's a suitably hammy Evil Overlord.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Since Ryan's Trooper form and Kaitlyn/JB's Trooper forms came from different shows, they always managed to find an excuse to split up.
  • Lighter and Softer: Despite being noticeably Darker and Edgier than Power Rangers, it's also much more lighthearted than its source material in that none of the heroic main characters are killed, there are funny moments, and the Monster of the Week usually has some silly gimmick that makes them at least a little amusing. Jeb and Percy usually make up the lion's share of the show's silly moments. There's even a Christmas Episode involving Grimlord's plot to kidnap Santa Claus and his elves.
    • Also, the finished show is a bit Lighter and Softer than the direction the show was originally intending to go as Cybertron.
  • Lizard Folk: Grimlord's second form has traits of this, complete with a long lizard-like tail. This may explain why he has a lizard for a pet in his Ziktor form...
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: When we finally got to meet the famous Tyler Steele, we didn't know it was him at first.
  • Made of Steele: ...and in that arc, he really earns his last name. Ouch.
  • Magitek: Grimlord uses a lot of technology, but the original source of his powers is an ancient magical artifact called the Box of Isis.
  • The Man Behind the Monsters: Grimlord is stated to be a "sinister creature from a virtual dimension" in the first episode, but his true identity is Karl Ziktor, a Corrupt Corporate Executive that transforms into Grimlord like the Troopers do. The Troopers have no idea about this until halfway through season 2, and even then they still don't actually learn Grimlord's real identity, only that he has a human form to begin with.
  • Matter Replicator: Apparently the Virtual World works like this.
  • Midseason Upgrade: Kaitlin gets the ability to use VR Kaitlin Double Team midway through season 2, letting her summon her double Kaitlin Two from her reflection to fight alongside her.
  • Missing Mom: Nothing is said about Ryan's mother, leaving ambiguous as to whether or not she is divorced or deceased.
  • Monster of the Week: In the first season, the goons seen in Grimlord's court were all monsters who'd eventually get to be the monster of an episode. Since stock footage was used for some villains' base scenes, previously defeated monsters were often right there to greet Grimlord as he arrived, just like last week... and some would do battle again, with or without their past demises Handwaved. Many monsters were seen multiple times, with his personal favorites kept into the second season. (Most egregious example: Air Striker. This helicopter-based monster was sent nearly every episode, destroyed nearly every episode, and always came back for more.) Of course, given the fact that they're computer-generated creations, he can simply recreate any monster he likes.
  • Mooks:
    • The Skugs. With the ability to shapeshift, they frequently approached in the form of civilians. Karl Ziktor's female assistants were Skugs, and so was his main underling, Strickland (who acted like a Skug while looking human if no one who wasn't already in the know was around. Creepy.) As Skugs are often destroyed, there have in fact been many assistants and Stricklands. In Season 1, they're upgraded to Ultra Skugs, and female Mooks called Vixens added.
    • Skugs are destroyed by forcing two of them to collide. On at least one occasion, Grimlord managed to successfully steal an item by sending an odd number of Skugs. The last one standing after all the pairs were dealt with grabbed the item and ran.
  • Morality Pet: The only being Ziktor gives a damn about is his pet iguana Juliet.
  • Mundane Utility: While Grimlord often uses his virtual army for his attempts to Take Over the World, he also uses them in attempts to benefit his business and even makes personal assistants with it. Justified as he effectively is hedging his bets: he takes over the town as a Corrupt Corporate Executive? He wins. He takes over the entire world as Grimlord? He wins.
  • Musical Assassin: Fiddlebot, a robot Grimlord personally makes after getting fed up with Icebot's creations. He proceeds to curbstomp Ryan for most of both their battles, actually surviving the lightning hand command.
  • Never Say "Die"
  • No Ending: Due to running out of Metal Heroes footage, the show never had a proper finale. Then again, Metalder didn't have the happiest of endings...
  • No-Sell: Most monsters faltered when hit by the VR Double Team, but the penultimate monster, Fanbot, calmly responded with a sarcastic quip and continued to suck up the Troopers. JB had to resort to using his Laser Lance at point-blank range to avoid being cut to ribbons by a bot who, earlier in the episode, had quickly dispatched a powerful robot, Conatron, created by Knighttime out of Grimlord's other fallen bots, and proceeded to drain Knighttime's powers to boot.
  • Oddly Small Organization: Ziktor Industries only appears to consist of various female assistants, the scientist Strickland, and Ziktor himself, and even then, both the assistants and Strickland are really Skugs. Is the entire company run and staffed by Skugs?
  • Oh, Crap!: Several instances come to mind.
    • When Ryan finds out Dark Heart is his father.
    • Subverted with JB's battle against Diskbot. When JB pulls out his laser lance, the bot tells him it won't help him now and continually knocks back JB's laser lance swipes with projectile disks. He eventually runs out/has to reload and JB seizes the opportunity to use the laser lance. Still, it takes a lot more than with most bots, he doesn't surrender when impaled, just says "ow" and seems to have heartburn and intends to continue attacking, requiring more laser lance slashing than usual.
    • When Ryan realizes that Kaitlin's cousin Keith is inside Fiddlebot, realizing he could have killed Keith (despite the bot mopping the floor with Ryan)
    • When Tyler Steele's knowledge is used to boost Wolfbot, he overpowers Ryan.
    • The mutant army when realizing Grimlord wasn't just speaking in the heat of the moment about turning them into scrap.
    • When Mechanoid laughed off the VR Double team.
    • The Millennium Saber.
  • One-Winged Angel: Oraclon's android body, and the way Ultra Skugs tended to look like normal Skugs initially and then transform midway through a fight.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Grimlord in the first season. To be fair, he's more than capable of kicking butt without getting off it. Justified as Ziktor is running a massive company and many of his ideas for evil plans come from troubles he's having in his dayjob (when he isn't spying on the Troopers and basing his plans off their troubles), so he generally only sticks around the virtual world long enough to make a plan, then goes back to his office.
  • People in Rubber Suits
  • Phantom Zone: With the Shaider footage, Grimlord in season 2 would often command that the monster "escalate to the Indigo Sector", or in some cases the "Fractal Zone".
    • The Spielban footage twists it around, with JB being able to activate the "Vortex Command" when necessary to pull whoever he's battling (typically the Monster of the Week and/or Skugs), as well as any of Grimlord's air fighters, Quantum Cruisers or tanks out of the real world and into virtual reality (specifically the BBC Quarry) to protect the city.
  • Politically Correct Villain: Grimlord, surprisingly, despite being a ruthless villain who cares little for his army, never displays racist or sexist tendencies. For example, when Colonel Icebot tells him about the Red Python, he's excited and eager to deploy her against the Troopers and his season two dragon is a woman named Despera and he's impressed with Oraclon's girl army of The Vixens.
    • His civilian form, Karl Ziktor, appears to avert this. Given the way his secretaries are dressed, it is implied that he may be a chauvinist, making this ultimately a Downplayed Trope.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: "Time Out" forces Grimlord into this. He'd love to somehow take advantage of Earth being frozen in time, but Ryan reminds him there'd be no point or satisfaction to ruling over the world like this. Grimlord hates that Ryan is right... and that they have to work together to fix this.
    • This is also a reason for why he tolerated General Ivar's attempt to pull a coup against him — either Ivar would succeed in destroying the VR Troopers for him (before presumably squashing Ivar's effort himself), or else the Troopers destroy Ivar, allowing Grimlord to rebuild him with more loyalty towards him; either way, Grimlord won. (As you'd expect, the latter result happened.)
  • Product Displacement: They had to edit around JB's Fighterbike/Skycycle being Suzuki-branded.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: One episode has Kaitlin and Percy make a bet over which football team will win in an upcoming game. Surprise to no one who's watched the show this far, Percy loses, and his punishment is having to repaint the Underground Voice's walls pink, despite him being allergic. We later see him having an allergic reaction due to the paint, but everyone just laughs it off.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Sort of. Ryan had an extended battle with Grimlord's third-in-command, Zelton. Ryan just barely won the battle. Zelton told Ryan that his father was still alive... and promptly got remotely self-destructed by Decimator. His final act was pushing Ryan out of reach of the explosion. It's a "sort of" only in that, like all the monsters, he could be recloned. In fact, he was, and he could be seen in the pit with Grimlord's other monsters in every other episode.
  • Rich Bitch: The Mayor's wife, who considers herself above everyone else. Fortunately for everyone (and unfortunately for her), karma strikes back in the form of Jeb.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Ziktor's iguana Juliet takes this role.
  • Samus Is a Girl: In "Who's King of the Mountain," J.B. comes into real world contact with his South American email pal, Jose. While the first Jose is revealed to be a Skug in disguise, the real one shows up near the end—- revealing herself as a girl named Josephina (Jose is her nickname).
  • Secret Identity: Unlike the heroes, Ziktor keeps his identity as Grimlord very under wraps and by the time the series ended, he still had his identity intact. It's to the point the Troopers don't even know he has a Secret Identity until halfway through season 2 — until then, they believe Grimlord is merely an extradimensional invader.
  • Secret Public Identity: Only the bad Trooper bothered with a codename.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: If a part of their transformed forms is damaged, the Troopers will be stuck in their transformed states until it's fixed.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Despera's Japanese counterpart, Priest Poe, is actually a transgender man.
  • Show Within a Show: In one episode, Jeb is watching Samurai Pizza Cats on the base monitor.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Ziktor is able to monitor the heroes most anywhere except their base without them knowing; it's never explained how.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Percy.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Kaitlin is the only female VR Trooper.
  • So Last Season: Ryan's new armor and Grimlord's revamped forces. Oddly enough, Shaider (the show that was used for Ryan's second season suit) is a much older show than Metalder (the source of his original suit). The Skybase is a better example, as it quickly gets demolished by Grimlord's new fighters and has to be rebuilt stronger than before. Kaitlin and JB's powers are both too weak compared to Grimlord's new forces, so Ryan's father makes an upgrade program to give them both a permanent boost.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Kenner toyline called Decimator "The Decimator"; this wasn't the case in the show, where he was always just Decimator.
  • Stock Footage: Both footage from its Metal Heroes forebears and internally-reused footage.
  • Strictly Formula: This is usually how episodes go.
    • Ryan talks about his dad
    • The Troopers are having a normal day
    • Jeb does something to Percy
    • Ziktor talks to his secretaries or his iguana, then transforms into Grimlord
    • Grimlord hatches a plan
    • Grimlord consults General Ivar and Colonel Icebot for a new Monster of the Week
    • The Troopers fight Skugs, and then go to deal with the Monster of the Week
    • One of them fights Grimlord's air force in the Skybase.
    • Ryan is separated from the others due to footage constraints
    • Monster kicks ass for 90% of the battle
    • Ryan uses his Lightning Hand Command or Laser Fist Command
    • JB uses his Laser Lance, impales the monster, forces it to surrender, then finishes it off anyway
    • Monster(s) killed
    • Grimlord declares vengeance and shakes his fist
    • Jeb does something to Percy
    • Ryan sums up the episode.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Grimlord feels this way about his minions on many occasions. It's not all that surprising that the moment he could upgrade to a set of shiny new minions, he kills them off except for a handful of his favorites.
    Grimlord: I am surrounded by incompetence!
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Skugs can assume human form and generally look just like normal everyday people until they reveal their true forms. This makes them extremely useful for Grimlord's plans. Doom Master and Despera have this power as well; they rarely used it since Despera looks like a normal human woman in a weird headdress and Doom Master looks like he's dressed as a British Royal Guard.
  • Thinly-Veiled Dub Country Change: This is also done, up to the point where a kanji sign was visible in one episode when a monster kidnaps a Japanese boy. The story justifies it due to the presence of a Japanese-American community in Crossworld City similar to Little Tokyo.
  • Token Trio: The three protagonists, duh.
  • Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: Percy. Granted, it's mostly due to an overconfidence in his own abilities, but given the sheer spectacle that comes from each of his failures...
    • He's also proven himself to be Too Dumb to Live when he goes after a scoop in virtual reality (he ends up in the hallways of Grimlord's dungeon at one point). Had Jeb not been there to save him from the Skugs, he would have been in one of Grimlord's prison cells for certain.
  • Transforming Mecha: The Skybase is upgraded when rebuilt in season 2 and gains the ability to transform into the VR Troopertron, a Humongous Mecha.
  • Transformation Sequence: Unique among Saban's shows of the era that the Big Bad got one along with the heroes.
  • Transformation Trinket: The Virtualizer pendants worn by the Troopers. Grimlord also has his orb in Season 1, but he has it destroyed when he gets his more powerful prism in season 2.
  • True Companions: When he gets his chain yanked in Season 1 about being reunited with his dad, Ryan acknowledges how the team is all the family he has these days.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Percy's gigantic ego causes so much trouble around the Underground Voice, including at one point frying one of their computers in a stupid stunt (as well as an important story), but never gets fired. Likely due to the fact that if he was, he'd complain to his aunt and uncle, who would then probably make things tough for the Underground Voice...
  • Upgrade Artifact: Rare example of a villain getting one of these. Grimlord's prism filled with Ryan's father's VR knowledge allows him to upgrade to a new form, create stronger minions, create a new evil lair, and power up his Skugs into much stronger Ultra Skugs.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Ziktor/Grimlord has a slow one as season 1 goes on, and in later episodes is shown seething with rage over his minions' inability to win, in contrast to his more jovial and confident demeanor earlier in the series. This carries over into the second season with him being noticeably more angry, even if his new minions enrage him less than his last set.
    • A Monster of the Week has one. Gunslinger, a cowboy robot who spoke like Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, is winning against JB thanks to his shield until Kaitlin shows up. Gunslinger makes short work of Kaitlin but then JB retaliates with a supercharged kick that shorts out Gunslinger's shield. The previously calm and cocky monster responds with "GRRR!! YOU SHORTED MY SHIELD!!! GRRR!!! GRRR!!! GRRR!!!" as he spends the rest of the battle frustratedly stomping around trying to get his shield to work again. This allows JB to finish him off fairly easily with his trusty laser lance.
    • A Made of Iron Monster of the Week has a subtle one. As the leader of a fleet of Colonel Icebot's "newer, superior robots", he had Suicidal Overconfidence. While standing on a cliff to fry JB with electricity, he was astonished that the Trooper after summoning his laser lance managed to shake off the electricity. JB then impaled him long range which seemed to do nothing, he managed to No-Sell the impalement, laughing mockingly as it tickled him, but grabbing the Villain Ball, he didn't move out of the way, eventually he laughed so hard he lost his balance and fell down. His calm, cool demeanor was gone as he got up angrily and started to attack again, but JB's laser lance had enough juice to finish him off.
    • Knighttime had one when Fanbot drained his powers after destroying Conatron, his own robot, and squashed his rebellion against Grimlord. Fanbot would eventually prove himself to be unstoppable with the VR Double Team attack, and JB nearly got shredded — he only won by impaling Fanbot with the Laser Lance at point-blank range.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Most mutants impaled by JB's Laser Lance immediately surrender.
  • Villain Team-Up: Knighttime isn't one of Grimlord's creations, but instead a separate villain he met with from an alternate universe and teamed up with. He turns on him and becomes the main villain of the penultimate episode in an attempt to take over the world himself.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Ziktor. Good enough to keep people from suspecting he's Grimlord, at least. He's still disliked for his polluting ways.
  • Villain World: "Dream Battle" sees Knighttime trap the Troopers in a nightmare where Grimlord already won. The entire city is filled with posters of him, the Underground Voice is a propaganda machine for him, the Dojo is an abandoned due to Tao being evicted and in ruins, as is the lab, and the world is crawling with Skugs and Grimlord's minions.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Skugs are defeated by knocking one to collide with another.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: The few times it's explained how Grimlord's minions returned, it's normally that this was done.
  • Wham Episode: The entire Quest For Power saga, which sees multiple changes to the status quo, including a new suit for Ryan and a new base and underlings from Grimlord (all taken from Shaider), as well as Tyler Steele's rescue from Grimlord's captivity (though not before Grimlord drains Tyler of his virtual reality knowledge, which enables Grimlord to create his new army and base).
  • Where the Hell Is Crossworld City?
  • You Have Failed Me: Grimlord threatens his minions with this nearly every episode, and on occasion does have his minions dragged off for punishment, but makes it clear he's sorely tempted to just slaughter them wholesale for their failures. Once he gets the means to upgrade to a set of shiny new minions, he makes good on his word and blows the old ones to kingdom come.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Grimlord blows his old Virtual Dungeon and most of his remaining old minions to smithereens once he gets his prism and can upgrade to a new, better base and army. Crossed over with You Have Failed Me, as he'd threatened for the entire season to do just that for their failures. He then does it to his orb so he can replace it with the prism.
  • Zeerust: The show was made when Virtual Reality was the "Wave of the Future." Now, at least in the form it's seen in the show, it's more of an artifact that anything else.