Anime Spotlight: Voltron

Voltron is an anime series the made its debut on American television in the fall of 1984. This series was made up of two super robot anime series that were brought over from Japan: Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV.

When World Events productions brought both of these series over from Japan, the company tried to edit out as much of the violence and pathos that was included as was humanly possible. Originally, World Events had planned to dub a third super robot anime series called Light Speed Electric God Albegas; however, when the ratings numbers were coming in for Lion Force Voltron and it was seen that this series was performing well, World Events decide to produce a second season of Lion Force Voltron instead. World Events also produced the Fleet of Doom special, where the two Voltrons meet and fight side by side.

Lion Force Voltron

Beast King GoLion served as the basis for the Lion Force Voltron series. In this series, five space explorers are captured and become slaves on Planet Doom. The five escape and crash land on Planet Arus. They discover the Castle of Lions and meet Princess Allura and her royal advisor, Coran. Coran and Allura share the legend of Voltron, and the space explorers are given the keys to pilot the five lions that form the mighty robot Voltron.

Early on in the series, one of the space explorers is badly hurt by one of Witch Haggar’s Robeasts and is sent to the hospital planet. This leads to Princess Allura taking his place as the pilot of the Blue Lion. The Voltron Force must battle Zarkon, the king of Planet Doom, along with his son Lotor, and his witch, Haggar whenever they launch an attack on Arus or on other planets in the galaxy. It’s stressed several times during the Lion Force Voltron series that Voltron is to be used for defense, not for offense.

Vehicle Voltron

Armored Fleet Dairugger XV served as the basis for the Vehicle Voltron series. In this series, the Galaxy Alliance’s home planets have become overcrowded and a group of space explorers have been sent to search for new planets to colonize. Unfortunately, they attract the attention of the Drule Empire, and the Drules do anything they can to interfere with the space explorers’ mission.

The Voltron used in the Vehicle Voltron series is comprised of 15 vehicles that are broken out into three teams with five members. The three teams are the Land Team, the Sea Team, and the Air Team. Each team could combine their vehicles into a bigger vehicle, and when Voltron was needed, all 15 vehicles combine to form the mighty robot.

My Thoughts on Voltron

On the special features of the Voltron DVD box sets, it was revealed that when World Events brought Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV over to America, they did not use translated versions of the original Japanese scripts to produce the English dub. Instead, the writers simply looked at the footage and wrote the scripts based on what they saw.

While this method only had a minimal impact on the Lion Force Voltron, it pretty much destroyed the storyline for Vehicle Voltron. While both of the original series had overarching storylines, Armored Fleet Dairugger XV depended more heavily on the overarching storyline. World Events’ method destroyed this overarching storyline and introduced a lot of inconsistencies to the story and to character motivations.

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to see both of the Voltron series in their original form, I have to say that I believe that Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV are vastly superior to their Voltron counterparts. While Voltron will always hold a special place in my heart due to childhood nostalgia, I’ll be more likely to watch the original Japanese series at this point in my life.

3 comments

  1. thefitzgeraldtimes · March 27, 2013

    I have volume 1 of Beast King GoLion on DVD!!!!!

    • Lesley Aeschliman · March 27, 2013

      Where’s a “Like” button when you need one? 🙂

      I’ve got all three volumes of Beast King GoLion and all three volumes of Armored Fleet Dairugger XV on DVD, as well as all of the Voltron sets. Like I said in the piece, while Voltron holds a place in my heart for the childhood nostalgia that comes with it, I’m more likely to watch GoLion and Dairugger XV now.

      I probably should have mentioned in the piece that the DVD releases for Armored Fleet Dairugger XV have become rather hard to come by now, especially Volume Three (that volume is currently being sold on Amazon for about $350 :O). Just from browsing Amazon, it looks like the GoLion sets have now become a little harder to get, too.

      • thefitzgeraldtimes · March 27, 2013

        For a lot us, Voltron: Defender of the Universe holds a special place in all our hearts.

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