Voltron

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Voltron: Defender of the Universe
Genreadventure, science fiction, super robot
Created byWorld Events Productions
Toei Animation
Based on
Starring
Narrated byPeter Cullen
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes124, plus one-hour Fleet of Doom special (List of episodes)
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channelFirst-run syndication
Original runSeptember 10, 1984 – November 18, 1985
External links
Website
 
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For other uses, see Voltron (disambiguation).
Voltron: Defender of the Universe
Genreadventure, science fiction, super robot
Created byWorld Events Productions
Toei Animation
Based on
Starring
Narrated byPeter Cullen
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes124, plus one-hour Fleet of Doom special (List of episodes)
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channelFirst-run syndication
Original runSeptember 10, 1984 – November 18, 1985
External links
Website

Voltron: Defender of the Universe is an animated television series that features a team of space explorers that pilot a giant super robot known as "Voltron". Initially produced as a joint venture between World Events Productions and Toei Animation, the original television series aired in syndication from September 10, 1984 to November 18, 1985. The first season of Voltron, featuring the "Lion Force Voltron", was adapted from the Japanese anime television series Beast King GoLion. The second season, featuring the "Vehicle Voltron", was adapted from the unrelated anime series Armored Fleet Dairugger XV.

Voltron was extremely popular during its original run,[1] and spawned a follow-up series, several comic books, and a 1-hour special.

Development[edit]

The original series was created by Peter Keefe and John Teichmann in 1984 using material that they had licensed from the Japanese animated series Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. The producers had no means of translating the Japanese series into English, thus they surmised the plots, created all-new dialogue, edited out the more violent scenes and remixed the audio into stereo format. The series was an immediate hit in the United States, topping the syndication market for children's programs in the mid-1980s.[1]

The Japanese Mirai Robo Daltanious series was originally planned to be adapted by World Events Productions as part of Voltron. When requesting master tapes from Toei Animation for translation purposes, the World Events Productions producers requested "[the] ones with the lion." Mistakenly, Toei then proceeded to ship World Events copies of Beast King GoLion, another "combining-robot" cartoon featuring lion-shaped fighters. Because the World Events producers greatly preferred GoLion to Daltanious, the GoLion episodes were adapted instead, going on to become the most popular portion of the original Voltron run. A third version/series of Voltron based on yet another Japanese series, Lightspeed Electroid Albegas, was also in progress, but dropped when World Event Productions joined with Toei to make new GoLion-based shows, due to that series' popularity over the Dairugger run.

Voltron variations[edit]

Lion Force Voltron (Voltron of the Far Universe)[edit]

The first season was edited primarily from Beast King GoLion (Hyakujû-ô Goraion), and featured a team of five young pilots commanding five robot lions which could be combined to form Voltron. In this undefined future era, the Voltron Force was in charge of protecting the planet Arus (ruled by Princess Allura) from the evil King Zarkon (from planet Doom), his son Lotor, and the witch Haggar, who would create huge Robeasts to terrorize the people of Arus.[2] Despite being the first of the two robots to appear on American television, the "GoLion" version of Voltron was regarded as "Voltron III" within the storyline because, within the original planned "three-Voltron" continuity, Arus was the furthest setting from Earth's side of the universe ("Voltron I" being intended for the Near Universe, and "Voltron II" for the Middle Universe).[3]

Vehicle Voltron (Voltron of the Near Universe)[edit]

The second season was edited primarily from Armored Fleet Dairugger XV (Kikô Kantai Dairugger XV), with the storyline considerably changed. In this iteration of Voltron, the Galaxy Alliance's home planets have become overcrowded, and a fleet of explorers has been sent to search for new planets to colonize. Along the way, they attract the attention of the evil Drule Empire, long engaged in an ongoing war against the Alliance, and the Drules proceed to interfere in the mission of the explorers and the colonists. Since the Voltron of Planet Arus is too far away to help the explorers, a totally new Voltron is constructed to battle the Drule threat.[4]

This Voltron team consists of fifteen members, divided into three teams of five, known respectively as the Land, Sea, and Air Teams.[5] Each team is specialized in gathering data or fighting in their area of expertise. Each team can combine their vehicles into a bigger machine, with each combined vehicle differing among the three teams. These fighters are:

When necessary, all fifteen vehicles combine to form the mighty Voltron.[6] This Voltron in the toyline was referred to as Voltron I as it was set closest to Earth.[7]

Gladiator Voltron (Voltron of the Middle Universe)[edit]

The proposed "Voltron II" episodes (so called because they took place in the "Middle Universe") were to have been based on Lightspeed Electroid Albegas (Kosoku Denjin Albegas).[citation needed] Although Albegas toys were marketed in the United States under the "Voltron II" name, the series never actually aired there. Due to the extreme popularity of the Lion Voltron and lack of popularity of the Vehicle Voltron series, World Events Productions eventually elected against another alternate Voltron, and plans to adapt Albegas were aborted.[citation needed]

However, Matchbox did produce and market toy versions of the three robots (Black Alpha, Red Gamma, Blue Beta) under the Voltron name.[8]

Subsequent projects[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Characters[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

In Australia, DVDs of all episodes of Voltron were released by Madman Entertainment as the 20th Anniversary Edition, Lion Force Voltron Collection. The original series was released in five volumes between August 2004 and July 2005, under the name "Voltron: Defender of the Universe". Each box is in the color and style of one of the lions with a metallic glossy inner DVD-case. Another three volumes of "Vehicle Force Voltron" were released between August and December 2005. Additionally a "Best of" 2-DVD set was released in November 2006 featuring five episodes from each series.[18] Finally, a 24-disc boxset subtitled The Lion and Vehicle Force Complete Collection was released on June 24, 2009.[19] Madman Entertainment has since relinquished the rights to the Voltron series and has since been re-released by Beyond Home Entertainment. Previous licensees of Voltron in Australia have been CBS/Fox Video and Manga Entertainment.

Prior to the release of the boxed sets, a promotional DVD was released for Voltron. It is packed in a threefold glossy cardboard folder. The folder features full-color artwork and text about the then-upcoming release of Voltron on DVD. The disk has an image of Voltron, and is labeled for promotional use only.[citation needed] It features the first episode ("Space Explorers Captured"), and several promos for other series.

In Region 1, Voltron was released on DVD in its original broadcast form and remastered by New York–based distributor Media Blasters in five volumes between September 2006 and December 2007. The volumes contain approximately fifteen episodes each, along with special features such as interviews with producer and director Franklin Cofod, and various others involved in the original and current productions. The first volume of Vehicle Force Voltron was released as "Volume 6" on December 23, 2008, with Volume 7 following in March 2009 and Volume 8 in July of 2009.[citation needed]

The Fleet of Doom special was released on DVD early in 2007, as an online Voltron.com exclusive. Fleet of Doom was a special crossover film where the Vehicle and Lion Voltrons joined forces to defeat the "Fleet of Doom" (Doom and Drule Empires). The special was originally released in 1986, but was never released in Japan. Media Blasters released Fleet of Doom on July 28, 2009 as a full retail release.[20] A Blu-ray version was planned, delayed many times and is now officially canceled.

The first volume of the original series was released in the UK in 2007 by Manga Entertainment.

According to TVShowsOnDVD.com, Voltron: The Third Dimension was to be released on DVD at some point, but no release date has been announced currently.[citation needed]

Media Blasters also released the two Japanese shows that made up VoltronBeast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV — each in their original, unedited Japanese form, with English subtitles.[citation needed] Volume 1 of GoLion was released on May 27, 2008,[21] Volume 2 on August 12, 2008, and Volume 3 on November 25, 2008. GoLion was re-released as a complete chronology set with all 52 episodes on April 13, 2010. The first Dairugger XV DVD collection was released on February 23, 2010, the second Dairugger XV collection was released on May 25, 2010.[22] The third and final collection was originally scheduled to be released in September 2010, but was repeatedly delayed and finally released on January 4, 2011.

As of mid-2011, Classic Media (DreamWorks Classics) now owns the rights to Voltron on DVD.

Digital releases[edit]

Minisodes of the first twenty episodes of the first season can be streamed for free online on Crackle.[23] As of July 2011 all Lion Force episodes have been released on Hulu. Netflix also has both Lion Force and Vehicle Force available for instant streaming.

ReleaseAustralia
(Region 4)
North America
(Region 1)
Lion Force Voltron Collection 1September 22, 2004Black LionSeptember 26, 2006Blue Lion
Lion Force Voltron Collection 2November 19, 2004Red LionDecember 19, 2006Yellow Lion
Lion Force Voltron Collection 3February 23, 2005Green LionMay 8, 2007Green Lion
Lion Force Voltron Collection 4April 13, 2005Blue LionSeptember 25, 2007Red Lion
Lion Force Voltron Collection 5July 20, 2005Yellow LionDecember 11, 2007Black Lion
Vehicle Force Voltron Collection 1August 31, 2005Air TeamDecember 23, 2008Air Team
Vehicle Force Voltron Collection 2October 19, 2005Land TeamMarch 24, 2009[24]Land Team
Vehicle Force Voltron Collection 3December 7, 2005Sea TeamJuly 21, 2009[25]Sea Team
Fleet of DoomJuly 28, 2009Team-Up

Comic books[edit]

Main article: Voltron (comics)

1980s[edit]

In 1985, Modern Comics, an imprint of Charlton Comics, produced a three-issue mini-series based on the Lion Voltron television show.[26]

2000s[edit]

Voltron comics creators Brian Smith and Jacob Chabot signing Voltron posters at the Viz Media booth at the 2011 New York Comic Con.

In 2002, comic book publisher Devil's Due announced that it had acquired the rights to publish Voltron comic books.[27][28] Devil's Due, through Image Comics, published a five issue mini-series (preceded by a #0 issue from Dreamwave) which featured the Lion Voltron incarnation of the character and rebooted the property. This was then followed by an ongoing series self-published by Devil's Due, which was placed on hiatus in 2005 after the eleventh issue, due to poor sales.[citation needed]

Devil's Due announced in January 2008 that the five-issue mini-series, the eleven issues of the ongoing series, and the #0 issue would be collected into a Voltron Omnibus trade paperback that would also include the unpublished twelfth issue of the ongoing series that would wrap up all the storylines.[29][30]

In July 2008, a new five issue mini-series was released by Devil's Due, which picked up where the ongoing series left off. This series further explored the origins of Lion Voltron's creation, from 12,000 years in the past to the present day.[31] The mini-series showed Voltron existing as a single construct created by sorcerers and scientists, resembling a knight. During its battle with the first Drule Empire, Voltron was tricked by Haggar into landing on a black comet with the gravitational attraction of a singularity. Voltron was then attacked by Haggar, and blown into five pieces. However, the intervention of a sorcerer resulted in the five pieces becoming the five lions as they descended onto Arus.[citation needed]

The original five issue mini-series was adapted as the 2007 motion comic Voltron: Defenders of the Universe - Revelations.[32] Its sequel, Voltron: Defenders of the Universe - Paradise Lost, adapted the first story arc of the ongoing series, introducing the V-15 and its pilots. The Devil's Due run is now collected digitally exclusively through Devil's Due Digital.

In 2011, Dynamite Entertainment announced plans to publish Voltron comics,[33] while Viz Media's young readers imprint, Viz Kids, announced plans to publish a series of graphic novels called Voltron Force, on which Bian Smith would serve as head writer, and Jacob Chabot and Dario Brizuela would serve as lead artists.[33][34][35]

Toys[edit]

Matchbox[edit]

Matchbox imported the Lion Force Voltron[36] and Vehicle Force Voltron[37] diecast toys from Popy of Japan in 1984. The company also released 6-inch figures of the Voltron robots (including the lesser-known Gladiator Voltron) that were more affordable, but lacked the detail level of their larger counterparts and could not separate into their component forms.[38]

Panosh Place[edit]

At the peak of the series' popularity, Panosh Place released new Voltron toys, including action figures of the characters and a larger Voltron toy that could fit them.[39]

Trendmasters[edit]

To coincide with the 1998 broadcast of Voltron: The Third Dimension, the now-defunct Trendmasters reissued the Matchbox diecast Lion Force Voltron, with a few changes to the mold and a total of 17 weapons in comparison to the original's sword and shield.[40] Trendmasters also released the newer Stealth Voltron variant, as well as character action figures and the robots Voltrex and Dracotron.[39]

Toynami[edit]

Shortly after the demise of Trendmasters, Toynami acquired the Voltron license and released their Masterpiece Voltron toy in 2005. Boasting more detail and articulation than the previous toys, the Masterpiece Voltron sold for US$139 to US$149.99 at the time of its release. In 2007, Toynami sold an all-plastic version of the Masterpiece Voltron for up to one-third of the first release's price (ranging from US$49 to US$60). For the 25th anniversary of the cartoon franchise in 2009, the plastic Masterpiece Voltron was reissued in a metallic repaint.[41]

Mattel[edit]

Starting in late-2011, Mattel will release toys for the new Voltron Force series, while its online collectors' site MattyCollector.com will sell brand new toys for the classic series[42] - including a 23-inch Voltron that fits 4-inch pilot figures in each lion.[43]

Other merchandise[edit]

Privateer Press released a Voltron: Defender of the Universe expansion set for their Monsterpocalypse battle miniatures game series in 2010.[44]

Video games[edit]

In December 2009, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced the first ever Voltron video game would be released on mobile phones in the US, including the iPhone. The game would have 30 levels and 6 acts, isometric gameplay and gamers will command robot lions to traverse the galaxy and take on King Zarkon’s evil droid armies.[45]

In 2011, "Voltron: Defender of the Universe", produced by THQ and Behaviour Interactive, was developed for home console play. A 1-5 player co-op game, it was released on November 29, 2011 for the PlayStation Network and November 30, 2011 for the Xbox Live Arcade.[46] The First Trailer has been announced on IGN.com and tentatively priced at $10. Players will be able fight as the individual lions in an overhead shooter style gameplay to then form Voltron to take on Robeasts in a fighter style combat.

Changes from the Japanese version[edit]

Though airing in syndication, which offered other anime shows such as Robotech greater freedom to deal with subject matter such as death that were off-limits in most network children's programming, WEP's adaptation of Voltron was heavily edited to conform to the more strict standards of American television, as well as the standard name change of characters and concepts in GoLion and Dairugger.

Plot changes[edit]

GoLion[edit]

Dairugger XV[edit]

Animation staff[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Koppel, Niko (10 June 2010). "Peter Keefe, Creator of Cartoon ‘Voltron,’ Dies at 57". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "Voltron - Defender of the Universe - Collection One". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2011-12-06. 
  3. ^ "Voltron: Lion Force". Voltron.com. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  4. ^ "Confused About The 'Voltron' Movie? We've Got Your Answers!". MTV Movie Blog. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  5. ^ "Vehicle Team Voltron / The Fleet of Doom". Otaku USA. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  6. ^ "Voltron: Defender of the Universe Set 6". Mania.com. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  7. ^ "Voltron: Vehicle Force". Voltron.com. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  8. ^ "Collection DX's photos of the toys". Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  9. ^ "Voltron: The Third Dimension". Voltron.com. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  10. ^ Stax (2005-07-26). "Voltron Targets Hollywood". IGN. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  11. ^ a b Marc Graser (2007-08-09). "'Voltron' gets bigscreen go". Variety. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  12. ^ Pamela McClintock; Nicole Laporte (2006-10-29). "'Street Fighter' packs Hyde Park punch". Variety. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  13. ^ Title Revealed
  14. ^ "Lawsuit Launched over Proposed Live-Action Voltron Film". Anime News Network. 2008-11-18. Retrieved 2008-11-20. 
  15. ^ Brodesser, Claude (2014-08-19). "A Bidding War Breaks Out to Finally Make a Big-Budget Voltron - Vulture". Nymag.com. Retrieved 2014-08-23. 
  16. ^ Relativity Media (2011-07-21). "Relativity Media and Atlas Entertainment to Bring Voltron to Big Screen" (Press release). Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  17. ^ "Voltron Panthera Force (2010)". PRnewswire.com. 2010-03-11. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  18. ^ "Voltron: Defender of the Universe". Madman Entertainment. 
  19. ^ "Voltron: Defender of the Universe". EzyDVD. 10-08-2010. Retrieved 10-08-2010. 
  20. ^ "Voltron: Defender of the Universe - DVD news: Announcement for Voltron - Fleet of Doom:Limited Edition". TVShowsOnDVD.com. 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  21. ^ "Listing of Vol. 1 at rareflix.com". 
  22. ^ "Media Blasters & Kitty Media February Solicitations". Mania.com. 2009-11-04. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  23. ^ [1][dead link]
  24. ^ "Voltron: Defender of the Universe - Collection 7: Land Team (Vehicle Force)". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  25. ^ "Voltron: Defender of the Universe - Collection 8: Sea Team (Vehicle Force)". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2008-10-04. 
  26. ^ "Voltron: Defender of the Universe". Grand Comics Database. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  27. ^ "Voltron: Defender of the Universe Comic #0-1". 2010-03-01. 
  28. ^ "Interview: Dan Jolley". 2010-03-01. 
  29. ^ "DEVIL'S DUE TO TELL THE ORIGIN OF VOLTRON". Wizard Entertainment. 2008-04-08. Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  30. ^ "Interview: Josh Blaylock on 'Voltron: A Legend Forged'". comicmix.com. 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  31. ^ "Devil's Due Publishing - Voltron: A Legend Forged #1". 2008-07-03. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  32. ^ "Eagle One Media to Produce Set of Voltron DVD Based on Comics". Anime News Network. 2010-03-11. 
  33. ^ a b "LET’S GO, VOLTRON FORCE! FIRST-EVER APPEARANCE AT NEW YORK COMIC CON". Dynamic Forces. October 12, 2011
  34. ^ Williams, Scott. "Viz Media at NYCC 2011 ". Project Fanboy. October 5, 2011
  35. ^ "VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES FOR 2011 NEW YORK COMIC CON". Viz Media. October 15, 2011
  36. ^ Matchbox Lion Voltron III Review
  37. ^ Matchbox Vehicle Force Voltron I Review
  38. ^ Miniature Lion Voltron III Review
  39. ^ a b Virtual Toy Chest - Voltron
  40. ^ Voltron III (Trendmasters Version) Review
  41. ^ Masterpiece Lion Voltron III Review
  42. ^ Shockblast Media - Mattel Unveils Video of Subscription Voltron Toys in Action, and They Are Full of Fail
  43. ^ CollectionDX - New Voltron Classic Image Shows 23" Voltron Scale!
  44. ^ "Voltron Lands This Summer" (Press release). Privateer Press, Inc. 2010-01-28. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  45. ^ "Voltron Never Had a Video Game, Until Now". 2009-012-07. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 
  46. ^ "Voltron: Defender of the Universe". THQ. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  47. ^ a b "Voltron / Go Lion Origin Story". YouTube. 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  48. ^ a b c d e "Voltron". Anime News Network. 2002-03-14. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  49. ^ "Go Lion / Voltron: Phantom Flowers". YouTube. 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2009-11-08. 

External links[edit]