Metal Hero Series

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Metal Hero Series
Created by Toei Company
Original work Space Sheriff Gavan
Films and television
Film(s) Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie
Space Sheriff Sharivan: Next Generation
Space Sheriff Shaider: Next Generation
Television series See below
Traditional Rangers Strike
Video game(s) The Space Sheriff Spirits

The Metal Hero Series (メタルヒーローシリーズ, Metaru Hīrō Shirīzu) is a franchise of tokusatsu superhero TV series produced by Toei for Japanese television. The protagonists of the franchise are androids, cyborgs or humans who wear metallic suits and are known as "Henshin (transforming) Heroes." The genre usually revolves around the theme that technology, in the right hands, can be used for the greater good.

The shows were produced by Toei from 1982 through 1999 in conjunction with their other Tokusatsu superhero shows, Kamen Rider and Super Sentai. In addition to Japan, they are also popular in France, Brazil, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. During the 1990s, Saban Entertainment used some of the shows to produce programs similar to their Power Rangers series. Some of the Metal Hero Series spawned sequels, with the genre developing sub-categories based on space- and police-related characters.

List of Metal Hero Series[edit]

  • Space Sheriff Gavan (宇宙刑事ギャバン, Uchū Keiji Gyaban): 1982
    • First of the Space Sheriff Series (宇宙刑事シリーズ, Uchū Keiji Shirīzu)
  • Space Sheriff Sharivan (宇宙刑事シャリバン, Uchū Keiji Shariban): 1983
  • Space Sheriff Shaider (宇宙刑事シャイダー, Uchū Keiji Shaidā): 1984
    • One of three series used in the American series VR Troopers
  • Kyojuu Tokusou Juspion (巨獣特捜ジャスピオン, Kyojū Tokusō Jasupion, Special Megabeast Investigator Juspion): 1985
  • Jikuu Senshi Spielban (時空戦士スピルバン, Jikū Senshi Supiruban, Dimensional Warrior Spielban): 1986
    • One of three series used in the American series VR Troopers
  • Choujinki Metalder (超人機メタルダー, Chōjinki Metarudā, Superhuman Machine Metalder): 1987
    • One of three series used in the American series VR Troopers
  • Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya (世界忍者戦ジライヤ, Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya, World Ninja War Jiraiya): 1988
  • The Mobile Cop Jiban (機動刑事ジバン, Kidō Keiji Jiban): 1989
  • Special Rescue Police Winspector (特警ウインスペクター, Tokkei Uinsupekutā): 1990
    • First of the Rescue Police Series (レスキューポリスシリーズ, Resukyū Porisu Shirīzu)
  • Super Rescue Solbrain (特救指令ソルブレイン, Tokkyū Shirei Soruburein, Special Rescue Command Solbrain): 1991
  • Special Rescue Exceedraft (特捜エクシードラフト, Tokusō Ekushīdorafuto, Special Rescue Exceedraft): 1992
  • Tokusou Robo Janperson (特捜ロボ ジャンパーソン, Tokusou Robo Janpāson, Special Investigations Robo Janperson): 1993
  • Blue SWAT (ブルースワット, Burū Suwatto): 1994
  • Juukou B-Fighter (重甲ビーファイター, Jūkō Bī Faitā, Heavyshell Beetle Fighter): 1995
    • First of the B-Fighter Series (ビーファイターシリーズ, Bī Faitā Shirīzu)
    • Later used for America's Big Bad Beetleborgs
  • B-Fighter Kabuto (ビーファイターカブト, Bī Faitā Kabuto, Beetle Fighter Kabuto): 1996
    • Later used for Beetleborgs Metallix
  • B-Robo Kabutack (ビーロボカブタック, Bī Robo Kabutakku, Beetle Robo Kabutack): 1997
  • Tetsuwan Tantei Robotack (テツワン探偵ロボタック, Tetsuwan Tantei Robotakku, Iron Bark Detective Robotack): 1998

Theatrical releases[edit]

V-Cinema releases[edit]

  • 1998: B-Robo Kabutack: The Epic Christmas Battle
  • 1999: Tetsuwan Tantei Robotack and Kabutack: The Great Strange Country Adventure
  • 2014: Space Sheriff Sharivan : The Next Generation
  • 2014: Space Sheriff Shaider : The Next Generation
Televi Magazine Super Video/Special DVD
  • Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters vs. Beet Buster vs. J
  • Space Sheriff Gavan Special DVD

Current status[edit]

Similar series, such as Seiun Kamen Machineman, Kyodai Ken Byclosser, Choukou Senshi Changéríon and Seven Star Fighting God Guyferd appeared concurrently with the Metal Hero Series but were not included. Machineman and Byclosser were created by Shotaro Ishinomori as standalone henshin heroes, and Changéríon aired on TV Tokyo. Guyferd was produced by Toho. In 1987 an OVA, Campus Special Investigator Hikaruon, was released as an homage to the Space Sheriff series.[citation needed]

In 2004 a Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger stage show had an appearance by Gavan, who assisted Hurricane Red from Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger and AbaRed from Bakuryū Sentai Abaranger in fighting Alienizer monsters from Dekaranger.

In 2005, Toei released Space Sheriff trilogy merchandise. Later that year Bandai released a "Souchaku Henshin" figure of Gavan, followed by "Souchaku Henshin" figures of Sharivan and Shaider in early 2006. In May 2006 a PlayStation 2 video game, The Space Sheriff Spirits, was released. It featured Gavan, Sharivan and Shaider teaming up to battle past enemies from their series.

In January 2012, Toei released Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger vs. Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie, the first crossover between the Super Sentai and Metal Hero series, commemorates the 30th anniversary of Space Sheriff Gavan. In the October 2012 film Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie, Retsu Ichijouji (Kenji Ohba) passed the torch to a new generation of Space Sheriffs led by Geki Jumonji (Yuma Ishigaki). The following year, the cast of Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie appeared in Kamen Rider × Super Sentai × Space Sheriff: Super Hero Taisen Z.

International adaptations[edit]

United States[edit]

During the 1990s, Saban adapted Metal Hero Series shows for American audiences; stock footage from Metalder, Spielvan and Shaider was used in VR Troopers (1994–1996), and footage from both B-Fighter series was later used in Big Bad Beetleborgs. Both shows ran for two seasons.


In the Philippines (where several series aired and were dubbed into local languages) Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan was greenlighted by Toei as a sequel to Shaider, with characters who are descendents of those in the original series.[1] Toei later halted production, instead authorizing a spin-off series set 20 years after the end of Shaider.[2]


The Metal Hero series were successful in Brazil. In 1988, Juspion (as Jaspion) was broadcast by TV Manchete. Manchete followed with Jiraiya in 1989, Jiban in 1990, Spielvan (renamed Jaspion 2) in 1991, Winspector in 1994 and Solbrain in 1995. Other networks also bought shows, with TV Bandeirantes broadcasting Metalder and Sharivan in 1990 and two networks (Rede Globo and TV Gazeta) airing Sheider and Gavan (renamed Gyaban) in 1991. Jaspion, Jiraiya and Jiban were later released on DVD in the country.

Until 2016, most of the series that were released in Brazilian television in 80's and 90's are going to Netflix in Brazil. The distribution company Sato Company acquired many of those series and negotiated with Netflix. Also, some new products like Garo series are in these negotiations too.[3]