Uchuu Keiji Gavan (宇宙刑事ギャバン Uchū Keiji Gyaban?), or Uchyu Keiji Gaban, translated in English as Space Sheriff Gavan, is the first of the Metal Hero Series. It aired on TV Asahi from Friday March 5, 1982 through February 25,1983 at 7:30 pm.
For distribution purposes, Toei refers to this television series as Space Cop Gabin.
By September of 1981, the end of Tsuburaya Production’s latest installment to the Ultra Series (Ultraman 80) and Kamen Rider Super-1 were finished. Toei Company were in the works of the next Super Sentai project (Dai Sentai Goggle-V), but they also wanted to have a solo superhero show for 1982, but not another Kamen Rider season. They wanted to have a brand new show that children could instantly jump into without having to know anything about the concept.
Producer Susumu Yoshikawa was in charge of the new series, and Katsushi Murakami was the head designer, which he came up with a drawing of a warrior who was wielding a sword with the universe behind him.
The 1st initial title for the project was “Space Detective Z”, which would be scrapped. Other titles pitched around were Gingjiro and Ginbird. But the decision was finally settled on “Space Sheriff Gavan” based on the famous french actor Jean Gabin who was immensely popular in Japan. It was also easy to trademark the name since of its non-Japanese background.
As for actors, it was decided to cast Keiji Oba from already acclaimed shows Battle Fever J (1979) & Denzi Sentai Denziman (1980) to play the main role of Retsu Ichijouji/Space Sheriff Gavan. Producer Susumu Yoshikawa informed Keiji Oba that “If the show drops to single digits in ratings, its getting the cut.” So Oba made sure his portrayal was likeable for audience members so they could come back to watch more. The average ratings for Space Sheriff Gavan was 18.6%, making it a very successful show.
Space Sheriff Gavan (宇宙刑事ギャバン, Uchū Keiji Gyaban), known also as Space Cop Gabin, is a Japanese Tokusatsu series produced by Toei Company. It is the first installment of the Metal Hero Series franchise and the first installment in the Space Sheriff series. It aired on TV Asahi from March 5, 1982 to February 25, 1983.
Earth is invaded by the criminal organization known as Makuu, led by Don Horror, who had first destroyed a space colony near Earth. Don Horror wants to dominate the whole universe, and the Earth represents an obstacle that he has to overcome by turning it into a domain for all evil. In response to Makuu’s attack, Space Sheriff Gavan of the Galactic Union Police (銀河連邦警察, Ginga Renpō Keisatsu) is deployed to Earth to defend his mother’s home world.
Gavan is helped by Mimi, the daughter of Commander Qom, and is given information by Qom, assisted by Marin on his home planet. Gavan goes to Earth to defend it against Don Horror and his devilish schemes. He settles on Earth incognito as Retsu Ichijouji, taking a job at the Avalon Youth Club in Japan to track Makuu’s forces down.