27Jul 05It's been quite a long time since the giant robot genres of yesteryear (by my guesstimation 1970s) came on our doorstep and with such names as Mazinger Z and Reideen the Great, it was often that during the ultra conservative years when mothers worried about their impressionable children getting into violent cartoons, that we decided to rename many of these series. Macross became Robotech and the confusion although very slight, still left us scratching our heads when we were older. But one particular series Golion (or Go! Lions!) as the series might be named, caught public attention with not only characters and story, but a giant robot with a sword. But this robot had a problem: It was cursed.
Forever to be dismembered into 5 lions, it was thought that it would be impossible to bring back a legend. 5 Space explorers who'd heard the legend and simply out of curiousity came to visit. They'd arrived at what seemed like a decrepit old castle filled with nothing but memories of an ancient past. Mice skittered across the floor and went into their holes and hiding places. But little did these five men know: even Mice have secrets.
Figuratively speaking, these mice would pull the thorns out of the Lions' Paws (or rather the thorn to start up the Lions, in this case the Thorn was a Key). 5 Explorers became 5 defenders who went off in search of 4 Lions while the 5th remained to be found. A great Robeast would be attacking the planet, and most likely had reduced it to cinders had they not discovered the 5th Lion was the Courtyard Statue that stood guard to the very Castle it would soon be defending once again.
But even in the form of 5 Beastly Lions it would not be enough to defeat a single powerful Robeast. It was time to re-awaken the Legend...
Position Keys! Launch Lions!
Ready to form Voltron! Activate Interlock! Dynatherms Connected! Infracells Up! Megathrusters are GO!
All Form Voltron!
Form Feet And Legs! Form Arms And Body! And I'll Form The HEAD!
...And even when Voltron was formed, the battles that seemed bleak and endless would end when Voltron would:
Form Blazing Sword!
It's been at least 15 years since I've seen that old series on Television. To this day I've never had more respect for a giant robot (even Transformers and Gundam have taken a backseat this one). When 5 men (or, later on in the series 4 Men and 1 Woman) can set aside their argumentative differences and work as a team, anything can be accomplished. Voltron was also what you might call a mark of marketing genius when it first came out as a toy. In fact it came in the form of 5 separate Lions in separate packages, I remember fondly how my family and friends went all over town trying to track down the different lions for my birthday, the Black Lion being rarest of all. To collectors, it might very well have been the most posable Gestalt (Gestalt meaning a group of robots that form into a super robot: Stacked) Robot ever concieved of for it's time. Colorful, inventive, fun in both forms, it was truly a work of art. So much so that it would later be mimicked by the likes of Power Rangers and even Transformers. Not to say Voltron was the first Gestalt, but it is one of the best known. I hope at some point Banpresto will give Voltron (and it's older brother Vehicle Voltron) a place in the Super Robot Wars community.
Super Robot Wars for those of you who do not know is a Videogame series in Japan dedicated to the Honoring and Preserving of what made Robots great, titles like Gundam, Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, Big O, Escaflowne, Gaogaigar, Voltes V, and the like are in what you may call a "war to end all wars" with machines and mecha fighting in a Tactical Strategy RPG, it's quite fun if you have a penchant for destruction and using certain types of machines in battle for your team of elite mechas. The graphics are top notch. But I'm getting off track.
Voltron, to this day is a representation of my youth, and perhaps the youths of many others as well. It represents the hardships of being separated and divided, but when people work together, it shows how things can turn out brighter, now, I know that sounds corny but bear with me, this world can use a little cheeziness once in a while with all it's grim reality.
Should the DVD Box set arrive, I would surely buy it, Cut or Uncut, even with Japanese/English Subtitles. Although rumor has it (www.voltronforce.com) a new series is coming in the fall of 2005, not to mention the comic series by Devil's Due is worth reading.
I'm still watching the skies however, waiting for Voltron to return.