Monday, April 2, 2012

Daytime Heroes: Voltron, Defender of the Universe (1984)

As Battle of the Planets faded into memory in the early 80's, Japan provided American audiences with brand new anime adventures. On the one hand, you had Star Blazers, which we'll review somewhere down the road. On the other, a relatively new name in American cartoons, World Events Productions, entered the fray by acquiring a license to import to America Voltron, Defender of the Universe.

Voltron made its American debut in 1984, and its serial format gave kids something of an alternative to the soap operas their mothers were watching at the time. Granted, the success of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" prompted one soap, General Hospital, to venture into action-adventure territory around this time, which might have drawn teenagers, not just girls but boys, mind you, away from toons. Diesalbboy uploaded the first season open, featuring the Voltron that most of us are very familiar with:

After the first story arc ended, a 2nd Voltron emerged, this time using vehicles instead of robot lions, and I think eventually the two teams would meet and team up.

Currently, there is a new incarnation of the franchise, but it airs on Nicktoons, which is not as readily available as its sister networks, Nickelodeon or TeenNick.

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

I remember this one and it wasn't bad.

It was one of the first cartoons I'd seen in which there were cast changes (Sven, one of the lion pilots left to be with his love and was replaced by Princess Allura).

I had heard that the original Japanese version had more death and mayhem (Sven actually died, not merely left the team), which was cut out of the US version, but the show was still entertaining.

I have seen the current series and I must say: good idea, bad execution. It started with some promise and went downhill steadily ever since.

But that's another column.

hobbyfan said...

I'm going to have to check that out. Too bad I don't get Nicktoons here. Time Warner is adding everything but.

There was another series in the late 90's, and as soon as I can find a clip it'll be up.