Most of us have a favorite Saturday morning cartoon we watched religiously as a child. I had several, but my all-time favorite was Inspector Gadget. Saturday morning cartoons used to be the big thing; eating a bowl of Lucky Charms in your PJs while wrapped in a blanket and staring at the TV was a great way to start the weekend.
One of those cartoons premiered in 1984 and was an instant hit with audiences: Voltron: Defender of the Universe. For the uninitiated, Voltron is a giant robot comprised of five robot lions powered by different elements. When these five robot lions come together, they have the power to defeat some of the universe’s biggest baddies.
Piloted by a team of five space adventurers – named the Voltron Force – their mission is to help stamp out the evil presence of King Zarkon and his son, Prince Lotor as they try to take over the planet Arus…and the rest of the galaxy as well. Oh, and there’s a crazy witch named Haggar who also causes problems for the team.
For those who love trivia (and I do), Voltron was actually two different Japanese anime series (Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV), which were edited together to create the original Voltron that aired for American audiences in 1984. The producers felt that the two series were too violent, plus they wanted to utilize the anime footage for their own purposes since they had no way to translate Japanese into English. And so, Voltron was spliced from two and made into one.
Another interesting trivia tidbit is who voices the Narrator of the series. If you hear his voice and have no clue what other robot character he plays then you’ve probably never seen ANY Transformers TV series, movies, or video games. Peter Cullen lends his voice to this robot-centric series as well as being the voice of Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots. And, yes, he was on both series at the same time.
Voltron: Defender of the Universe tells the origins of Voltron and those who pilot him. There have been several other Voltron series, and the latest incarnation can be found on Nicktoons. Voltron Force continues the story with some new characters, some cool animation, and a hip new look. There’s also talk of a Voltron feature, and with Transformers doing so well at the box office it may be only a matter of time before we see Voltron kicking butt on the big screen.
The Legend Begins seven-episode DVD includes the following special features:
A quick overview of Voltron, it’s main heroes, villains, and other pertinent info.
The Art of Voltron
A slideshow are artwork from the series.
Voltron Force Preview
A quick look at the NickToons series based on the classic 1980s cartoon.
Get ready for some thrilling intergalactic action with Voltron: Defender of the Universe on DVD August 16, 2011!
Transformers or Voltron? Which is the better robot series? Leave a comment and let us know!