|Voltron: Defender of the Universe|
Lions combined to form Voltron
|Format||Adventure, Science Fiction|
|Created by||World Events Productions
Kevin Michael Richardson
|Country of origin|| United States
|No. of episodes||124, plus one-hour Fleet of Doom special (List of episodes)|
|Original channel|| TV Tokyo
ABC, 7, Nine Network, Foxtel
|Original run||September 10. 1984 – November 18, 1985|
Voltron is an American animated television series adaptation of two different Japanese anime television series, (Beast King Go-Lion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV). The series, which aired in syndication from September 10, 1984 to November 18, 1985, was originally titled Voltron: Defender of the Universe.
There have been two remakes of the original series. Voltron: The Third Dimension, was made in the 1990s using CGI techniques. The series was dubbed into English and edited by the North American television production and distribution company World Events Productions. Distribution rights to all shows are now under ownership of Sony Pictures Television.
The first season was based on the 1981 series Beast King Go Lion (百獣王ゴライオン Hyakujūō Goraion ), and they 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. 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 toyline 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).
The second season was based on Armored Fleet Dairugger XV (機甲艦隊 ダイラガーXV Kikō Kantai Dairagā Fifutīn ), 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 was too far away to help the explorers, a totally new Voltron is constructed to battle the Drule threat.
This Voltron team consisted of fifteen members, who were divided into three teams of five, known respectively as the Land, Sea, and Air Teams. Each team was specialized in gathering data or fighting in their area of expertise. Each team could also combine their vehicles into a bigger machine, with each combined vehicle differing amongst the three teams. These fighters were:
When necessary, all fifteen vehicles combine to form the mighty Voltron. This Voltron in the toyline was referred to as Voltron I (also called the Vehicle Team), possibly due to it being closer to Earth than the more popular Voltron III (or Lion Force Voltron).
According to the backstory provided by World Events Productions, Vehicle Voltron was constructed after consultations by the Galaxy Alliance with Planet Arus's King Alfor before his death, with the new Voltron's designs retrofitted in part from the original, much older, Lion Voltron schematics.
In the continuity of the Image and Devil's Due comic series, Vehicle Voltron came about through the Galaxy Garrison reverse engineering the original Voltron after abducting it from Arus under orders from a Drule spy. The machine was renamed "V-15" within the comics, and was first deployed after Voltron to recapture until they receive new orders to support it. Unlike the animated series, which only had two crossovers with the Lion Force (once at the end of the Lion Force run, and the other in the "Fleet of Doom" special, which brought both Voltrons together), and which depicted the two Voltron Forces as being longstanding friends, the Devil's Due comics showed Keith and Jeff as having an antagonistic relationship with one another, particularly with regard to Voltron's accidental "sneak attack" on Vehicle Voltron during the robots' first battle together.
The proposed "Voltron II" episodes (so called because they took place in the "Middle Universe") were to have been based on Lightspeed Electro God Albegas (光速電神アルベガス Kōsoku Denjin Arubegasu ). Although Albegas toys were marketed in the United States under the Voltron II name, the series were never 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.
In Australia, DVDs of all episodes of Voltron have been released by Madman Entertainment. 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. 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.
Prior to the release of the boxed sets, a promotional DVD was released for Voltron. It is packed in a three fold glossy cardboard folder. The folder features full color artwork and text about the upcoming release of Voltron on DVD. The disk has an image of Voltron and is labeled for promotional use only. It features the first episode ("Castle of Lions - Part 1") and several promos for other series.
In Region 1, Voltron is being released on DVD in its original broadcast form by New York–based distributor Media Blasters. Lion Force Voltron was released in five volumes between September 2006 and December 2007. The volumes contain about 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 scheduled for release on September 30, 2008 as Volume 6.
World Events Productions Ltc. has confirmed that many copies of Voltron Volume 6 in Region 1 suffer from a manufacturing defect. The defect causes the disks to "grind", shake or freeze when played in DVD players. The manufacturer, Media Blasters, has been shipping replacements, but many of the replacements suffer from the same problem. The defect can be seen on many of the disks as a "water mark" on the back side of the disk.
Additionally, 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" (Galra and Drule Empires). The special was originally released in 1986, but was never released in Japan. Media Blasters released Fleet of Doom on May 26 2009 as a full retail release.
Media Blasters also plans to release the two Japanese shows that made up Voltron — Hundred Beast King FiveLion (GoLion), and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV — each in their original, unedited Japanese form, with English subtitles. Volume 1 of Golion was released on May 27, 2008, Volume 2 on August 12, 2008, and Volume 3 on November 25, 2008. The first Dairugger XV DVD collection was released on February 23, 2010.
Minisodes of the first twenty episodes of the first season can be streamed for free online on Crackle. As of January 2010, 45 episodes of Voltron: Defender of the Universe have been released on Hulu as part of a fan appreciation promotion.
|Lion Force Voltron Collection 1||September 22, 2004||Black Lion||September 26, 2006||Blue Lion|
|Lion Force Voltron Collection 2||November 19, 2004||Red Lion||December 19, 2006||Yellow Lion|
|Lion Force Voltron Collection 3||February 23, 2005||Green Lion||May 8, 2007||Green Lion|
|Lion Force Voltron Collection 4||April 13, 2005||Blue Lion||September 25, 2007||Red Lion|
|Lion Force Voltron Collection 5||July 20, 2005||Yellow Lion||December 11, 2007||Black Lion|
|Vehicle Force Voltron Collection 1||August 31, 2005||December 23, 2008||Air Team|
|Vehicle Force Voltron Collection 2||October 19, 2005||March 24, 2009||Land Team|
|Vehicle Force Voltron Collection 3||December 7, 2005||July 21, 2009||Sea Team|
|Fleet Of Doom||July 28, 2009||Team-Up|
In 2002, comic book publisher Devil's Due announced it had acquired the rights to publish Voltron comic books. 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.
Devil' 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.
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. Currently, a motion comic version of the comic is being aired on Syfy'sAni-Monday.
The comic was adapted as the 2007 Motion Comic "Voltron: Defenders of the Universe - REVELATIONS".The primary difference from this version and the original is that the space pilots are all largely convicted criminals or misfits who are all considered expendable on a non government sanctioned mission to retrieve the Voltron. Its sequel is "Voltron: Defenders of the Universe - PARADISE LOST", introducing the V-15 and its pilots.
The comic series has Voltron to be originally a single construct created by sorcerers and scientists, resembling more like a knight without the lion influence of its current incarnation. During its battle with the first Drule Empire, Voltron was tricked by Haggar into landing on a black comet with nearly the gravitational attraction of a singularity. Voltron was then attacked by Haggar, and somehow blown into five pieces. But the actions of a sorcerer to save Voltron result with the five pieces becoming the five "lions" as they descend into planet Arus.
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.
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.