Voltron (1984 TV series)

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Voltron: Defender of the Universe
GenreScience fiction, Action Adventure, Mecha, Superhero
Anime television series
Lion Force Voltron
(Based on Beast King GoLion)
Directed byFranklin Cofod
Produced byTed Koplar, Peter Keefe
Written byJameson Brewer
Music byJohn Petersen
StudioWorld Events Productions
Toei Animation (epis. 1–52)
Licensed byNBCUniversal Television Distribution (on behalf of DreamWorks Classics)
Original networkFirst-run syndication
Original run Part I:
September 10, 1984

November 27, 1984
Part II:
October 21, 1985 –
November 18, 1985
Episodes72 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Vehicle Team Voltron
(Based on Armored Fleet Dairugger XV)
Directed byFranklin Cofod
Produced byTed Koplar, Peter Keefe
Written byJameson Brewer
Music byJohn Petersen
StudioWorld Events Productions
Toei Animation
Original networkFirst-run syndication
Original run December 14, 1984 February 18, 1985
Episodes52 (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Voltron: Defender of the Universe is a Japanese-American animated television series produced by World Events Productions for a total of 124 episodes.[1]

Premise[edit]

From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend, the legend of Voltron, Defender of the Universe. A mighty robot, loved by good, feared by evil. As Voltron’s legend grew, peace settled across the galaxy. On planet Earth, a galaxy alliance was formed. Together with the good planets of the solar system, they maintained peace throughout the universe. Until a new horrible menace threaten the galaxy. Voltron was needed once more. This is the story of the super force of space explorers, specially trained, and sent by the alliance, to bring back Voltron: Defender of the Universe.

— Narrator during the opening sequence

The first season is about five pilots who command 5 robot lions which combine to form Voltron.[2] These pilots use these machines to protect the planet Arus from the evil Warlord King Zarkon and witch Haggar who creates Robeasts to terrorize the planet ruled by Princess Allura.[3]

Vehicle Voltron[edit]

From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend, the legend of Voltron, Defender of the Universe. A mighty robot, loved by good, feared by evil. As Voltron’s legend grew peace settled across the galaxy. On planet Earth, a galaxy alliance was formed. Together with the good planets of the solar system, they maintained peace throughout the universe. Until a new horrible menace threatened the galaxy. Voltron was needed needed once more. This is the story of a super force of space explorers, entrusted by the alliance with the ancient secret on how to assemble Voltron: Defender of the Universe.

— Narrator during the opening sequence

The second season of the show was called Vehicle Voltron based on Armored Fleet Dairugger XV which spawned also a television special called Voltron: Fleet of Doom.[4] The premise of season two is the Galaxy Alliance's home worlds have become overcrowded and search for new planets to colonise. This puts the Alliance in conflict with the Drule empire.[5]

Each team is specialized in gathering data or fighting in their area of expertise.[6] Each squad combines their vehicles into a bigger machine, with each vehicle differing among the three teams. These fighters are:

  • The Aqua Fighter (Sea Team)
  • The Turbo Terrain Fighter (Land Team)
  • The Strato Fighter (Air Team)

Voice cast[edit]

Production and development[edit]

Ted Koplar assembled a team in Los Angeles to transform Golion into what would become Voltron.[7] Peter Keefe was brought aboard as Executive Producer, with Franklin Cofod as the Director. Since they had no means of translating the Japanese series into English, Keefe and Cofod surmised the plots, commissioned writer Jameson Brewer to write all-new dialogue, edited out the more violent scenes, and remixed the audio into stereo format. The series was an immediate hit in the United States, topping the syndication market for children's programs in the mid-1980s.[1]

The Japanese Future Robot Daltanious series was originally planned to be adapted by World Events Productions as part of Voltron. When requesting master tapes from Toei Animation for translation purposes, the World Events Productions producers requested "[the] ones with the lion." Mistakenly, Toei then proceeded to ship World Events copies of Beast King GoLion, another "combining-robot" cartoon which featured lion-shaped fighting robot starships. Because the World Events producers greatly preferred GoLion to Daltanious, the GoLion episodes were adapted instead, going on to become the most popular portion of the original Voltron run.[7] A third version/series of Voltron based on yet another Japanese series, Lightspeed Electroid Albegas, was also in progress, but it was dropped when World Events Productions joined with Toei to make new GoLion-based shows, due to that show's popularity over the Dairugger run.[8][9]

Changes from the Japanese version[edit]

Though airing in syndication, which offered other anime shows such as Robotech greater freedom to deal with subject matter such as death that were off-limits in most US network children's programming, WEP's adaptation of Voltron was heavily edited to conform to the more conservative standards of children's television in the United States, as well as the standard name change of characters and concepts in GoLion and Dairugger.[10][11]

Plot changes[edit]

GoLion[edit]

  • In Voltron, the show begins with the five pilots sent by the Galaxy Alliance, whose space-exploration mission takes them to a planet devastated by war. In Voltron, the pilots arrive on Arus and are captured and taken to Planet Doom. They then escape, return to Arus, and become the pilots of the robot lions and Voltron. In GoLion, the initial scenes are actually of Earth; the pilots have returned from their mission (in the then-futuristic year of 1999) to find that the entire population of Earth has been killed in a nuclear war. They are then captured and taken to Planet Galra, where the plot proceeds similarly, only the planet they find the lions on is called Altea.[12] In the Voltron version, some footage of the pilots' arrival on Arus was taken from Armored Fleet Dairugger XV.[12]
  • Scenes of torture and atrocities inflicted by the alien conquerors on their slaves (such as a "contest" where alien soldiers would be rewarded according to how many prisoners they managed to decapitate in a given time) and some shots of corpses were removed.[13]
  • In GoLion, Takashi 'Shiro' Shirogane (Sven in Voltron), the original pilot of Blue Lion, is killed in a battle with Haggar, and his similar-looking younger brother Ryou appears later in the series to join in the fight against Emperor Daibazaal. In Voltron, dialog was inserted to indicate that Sven is merely injured and has been sent away to a hospital planet to recover, and the character of Ryou was rewritten entirely into Sven being enslaved after said planet was taken over, then escaping and managing to reunite with his friends.
  • In GoLion, Hys (Nanny) is fatally shot in the heart while protecting Raible (Coran). This scene was completely removed from Voltron, and later episodes used stock footage from earlier in the series to insert the character into scenes that took place after her original death.[14]
  • In GoLion, a slave girl named Lisa was a survivor of the nuclear war. Near the end of her debut episode, Tsuyoshi 'Hothead' Seidou (Hunk in Voltron) urges her to wake up and join in the fight against Emperor Daibazaal (King Zarkon in Voltron), however she is too crushed by her despair to trust even a fellow human (that race being responsible for the destruction of her homeworld) and chooses to step off a cliff the two were standing on, rather than live without her brother. In Voltron, this sequence was removed, and it was explained to the audience that this girl, now named Twyla, had been allowed to go home to her own planet (a planet other than Earth).
  • In episode 21 of GoLion, there are implications that Prince Sincline (Prince Lotor in Voltron) sexually enslaved Princess Amue (Romelle in Voltron) when she was his prisoner, due to her physical similarities to Princess Fala. The Voltron dialogues imply that he tortured her instead.[15]

Episodes[edit]

Home media[edit]

The show was released on DVD by the likes of Media Blasters and Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment,[16][17][18][19] and will be released on a Complete Series DVD set by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment with their distribution deal with DreamWorks Animation on September 10, 2019.

Reception[edit]

The show was ranked the 76th best cartoon by IGN.[20]

Video game[edit]

A 2011 PlayStation game based on the 1984 show was developed.[21][22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Koppel, Niko (10 June 2010). "Peter Keefe, Creator of Cartoon 'Voltron,' Dies at 57". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  2. ^ Ladd, Fred; Deneroff, Harvey (10 January 2014). "Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas: An Insider's View of the Birth of a Pop Culture Phenomenon". McFarland. Retrieved 22 January 2019 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "VOLTRON: The Third Dimension". web.archive.org. 12 May 2006. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Vehicle Team Voltron / The Fleet of Doom". Otaku USA Magazine. 15 February 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Vehicle Voltron: The Good and Bad About the Forgotten Series". Den of Geek. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  6. ^ "VEHICLE VOLTRON". web.archive.org. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  7. ^ a b Phillips, Nicholas. "Voltron prepares to recapture the universe from a small office in St. Louis". Riverfront Times. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  8. ^ Mtvmovies. "Confused About The 'Voltron' Movie? We've Got Your Answers!". MTV News. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  9. ^ Kamen, Matt (7 October 2016). "Voltron: Legendary Defender season two lands on Netflix in January". Retrieved 7 February 2019 – via www.wired.co.uk.
  10. ^ "The 15 Darkest Secrets About Voltron". CBR. 18 March 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Voltron: 10 Hilarious Ways the Original Show Censored Death". Den of Geek. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Voltron / Go Lion Origin Story". YouTube. 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  13. ^ "Go Lion / Voltron: Phantom Flowers". YouTube. 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2009-11-08.
  14. ^ "Voltron". Anime News Network. 2002-03-14. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  15. ^ https://voltronfandomhag.tumblr.com/post/170446803468/getting-your-facts-straight-classic-lotor
  16. ^ McCutcheon, David (28 June 2006). "New Voltron DVD Details". Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Madman Releases Vehicle Force Voltron on DVD". Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Voltron - Defender of the Universe - Collection Three". DVD Talk. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  19. ^ Staff, I. G. N. (3 November 2011). "Voltron: The Final Battle DVD Review". Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Top 100 Animated Series - IGN.com". Retrieved 15 January 2019 – via www.ign.com.
  21. ^ Goldstein, Hilary (14 February 2011). "Voltron Forms to Create New Video Game". Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  22. ^ Staff, Gamespot (7 December 2011). "Voltron: Defender of the Universe Review". Retrieved 29 January 2019.

External links[edit]