Remember Voltron? He’s the “Defender of the Universe,” a giant robot who fights evil forces to maintain peace all throughout the galaxy.
Voltron: Defender of the Universe was a joint-project of Toei Animation and World Events Productions. It is an adaptation of two early Japanese mecha animé series: Beast King Go-Lion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. It was originally run from September 1984 to November 1985.
Voltron was one cartoon series that I really enjoyed as a kid. I still remember the local TV time slot: 8:30AM every Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately, I forgot what TV network it aired on.
In case you forgot, there are three versions/seasons of Voltron. The first was the Voltron Lion Force found in the Far Universe (far from Earth). Five big mechanical lions from the planet Arus were controlled by five space explorers. These mech lions combined to form one giant robot.
The second version was the Voltron Vehicle Force found in the Near Universe (near Earth). Unlike in the Lion Force, the Vehicle Force was composed of 15 “vehicles,” sub-divided into three teams of five: Air, Land, and Sea Teams. These sub-teams could form larger vehicles aptly named: Strato Fighter (Air Team), Turbo Terrain (Land Team), and Aqua Fighter (Sea Team). Of course, these vehicles also combined to form one large fighter robot.
The last version was the Gladiator Voltron of the Middle Universe (sic). You may not be familiar with this series because actually, this project never aired. Apparently, the lack of enthusiasm for the Voltron Vehicle Force series, as compared to that of the Lion Force, forced World Events Productions to cease production on the third series.
From days of long ago from uncharted regions of the universe
Comes a legend.
The legend of Voltron, defender of the universe.
A mighty robot loved by good, feared by evil.
As Voltron’s legend grew, peace settled across the galaxy.
On planet Earth, a Galaxy Allinace was formed.
Together with the good planets of the solar system,
They maintained peace throughout the universe.
Until a new horrible menace threatened the galaxy.
Voltron was needed once more.
This is the story of the super force of space explorers
Specially trained and sent by the Alliance to bring back
Voltron, defender of the universe.
(mechanical voice): Voltron, defender of the universe.
—Episode opening lines of the first Voltron series, as narrated by Peter Cullen
I knew beforehand that this series had a one-episode TV special—sort of like a movie—that featured the Lion and Vehicle Force fighting King Zarkon and Prince Lotor of the Drule Empire side-by-side. I never got to see this special so I really wanted to watch this now—you know, for ol’ childhood’s sake—but didn’t know where to start looking. I went to record stores hoping to see DVD copies of old mecha series. Nada. I also went to “pirated DVD stalls” and searched feverishly. Negative. I was about to call it quits but then it dawned on me that I had a very effective tool on hand. I was too busy looking somewhere else when the obvious resource was right in front of me.
All thanks to YouTube, I have now been able to revisit a part of my childhood. I suppose you could call it luck that this series has remained on the video-sharing site with all the copyright and distribution policies. Nevertheless, I hastily downloaded the videos on YouTube so I could have a copy—albeit, not with a great resolution but still good enough for viewing. Hurray for freebies! 😀
Fact: Voice actor Peter Cullen who does the introductory line at the beginning of every Voltron episode is also the speaking voice of the modern Transformers movies. I guess you could call his voice “robot-friendly.”
Note: If you would like to view the rest of the TV-special (six parts) uploaded on YouTube, just click over any of the two embedded video players above to watch them on the YouTube site. There, you will be able to access the other parts on the right-sidebar.