By Jason Reilley
If you haven’t seen the newest incarnation of Voltron, RUN, don’t walk, to your nearest smart device and go to Netflix to watch Dreamworks’ Voltron: Legendary Defender. You can binge watch all 11 episodes like I did or you could have some self control and savor each episode.
Voltron was one of my absolute favorite cartoons in the 80s. It had robot lions, big monsters and a kick-ass giant robot to destroy said big monsters. The formulaic approach to the cartoon was soothing and never let me down. You KNEW that when the team couldn‘t take down the big bad in their respective lions, they’d combine to form Voltron (OMG the formation scene). When even Voltron was up against the wall and things looked grim, out came the Blazing Sword and Voltron saved the day!
There have been numerous reboots in the past 30 years. Some weren’t too bad while some missed the mark completely. An honorable mention to 2011’s Voltron Force that ALMOST got it right with the revamping and story but alas, the animation was just OK and it didn’t last too long (more importantly, no toys were made).
Voltron: Legendary Defender on the other hand…I think this one has legs. This may be the reboot that sticks. There is a quirky writing style that has equal parts comedy and drama, the animation is AMAZING (the mix of CGI and traditional animation is not disconcerting in the least. No easy feat). The revamping of the Lions and the addition of a new Character, Shiro, make this iteration of Voltron fresh while having elements from the classic series with a modern edge (Princess Allura, while not a pilot yet, is in command and she even has her trusty Space Mice to help her out). One of the biggest changes is…
-SPOILER BELOW –
…Wait for it…Pidge is a girl! It is handled so well and effortlessly. It makes sense while giving a much needed shot of estrogen to the cast. I’m reserving judgment about Shiro. I have a feeling that he may go the way of Sven, thereby opening up a spot for Allura to pilot the Blue Lion. With the changes to the cast and the design of the Lions and Voltron, the toy is hopefully inevitable. The formation scene is great (I do miss the Dynotherms but there is a nice homage to it in one episode) and if a toy IS made, it could easily reflect the new transformation without the disappearing lion legs that vexed me for so long.
Go watch the show now and let me know what you think of it. Is it everything you wanted in a Voltron reboot? Would you buy a Voltron Toy? Dolls? Let me know in the comments section.
From Top Left: Voltron: Legendary Defender, Keith, Shiro, Pidge, Lance and Hunk in uniform, Hunk, Coran, Allura, Lance, Pidge, Shiro and Keith without helmets, Classic Allura, Keith, Hunk, Pidge and Lance in uniform, Toynami’s Ultimate Voltron EX, Panosh Place’s Voltron toys from the 80s and Mattel’s 23” Voltron figure with Club Lion Force exclusive Sven figure.