Voltron: Defender of the Universe was an animated sci-fi series that originated where most amazing things do (Japan) and brought overseas to become beloved in the hearts of 80’s American kids everywhere. Airing in September of 1984, the instant classic followed five space explorers who come together to form Voltron, an enormous robotic lion that destroys evil in the galaxy. The premise of the show is loosely based on Beast King Go Lion, created by Toei Animation. After being shown clips at a programming convention in France, Ted Koplar of World Events Productions recognized the potential success and decided to strike a collabo for an American variation. Due to some graphic nature, as the Japanese do have a tendency to ‘take it there’, the show was severely chopped and screwed making it more accessible to an adolescent audience. Death was disguised and any religious symbols, sex scenes, or gratuitous violence, aka all the good stuff, was scrapped. Traces of Japanese culture and influences, including the use of chopsticks and anime style facial expressions, were cut out of the US series. The resulting watered down version is slightly lost in translation, including some interesting dialogue choices and bizarre-o moments. Surprisingly, the show featured a SAG voice cast, totally atypical for any children’s series of the era and one of the first to be produced in 2-channel stereo.
Planet Arus is under attack by sadistic villain Zarkon, his aptly named wench of a sister, Haggar, and her evil pussy. “Obedience is imperative if they wish to avoid the sting of my whip!” bellows Zarkon to his slaves. It’s up to Voltron and the gang to step their game up, defeat the savage robeast, and restore order to the wrecked planet. Voltron lll of The Far Universe aired for one year in over half of American households. Due to the surprising success, Voltron l of The Near Universe was subsequently released. These segments featured a completely different vehicular approach that wasn’t as well received. Spawned from Armored Fleet Dairugger XV, fifteen space explorers search for new land to colonize outside their overpopulated planet. The explorers are separated into groups of five that represent the Land, Sea, and Air teams. Uniting forces, the Land team combines vehicles to create the Turbo fighter, the Sea team forms the Aqua Fighter, and the Air team becomes a Strato Fighter. Plans for a third installment were canned after poor reception to Vehicle Force episodes. Nonetheless, a TV special Fleet of Doom was released in 1986 and with over 120 episodes, the show has remained in heavy rotation since its debut. Now fully compiled and restored with violence, the show has given way to a multitude of releases, computer generated series, video game, live action movie, and extensive, highly sought after figurine collection.