It was 1984, the generation of humans piloting robots or mechs were taking over the cartoon and comic industry. Transformers and Robotech series were topping the charts in popularity. And then there was Voltron: Defender of the Universe. Based off the Japanese cartoon Beast King GoLion, Voltron was syndicated and popularized by TOEI Animation of Japan and World Events Productions.
There were 3 versions of Voltron. The Near Universe (vehicle Voltron), Middle Universe (Gladiator Voltron), and Far Universe (Lion Force Voltron). Both the Vehicle Voltron and Lion Force Voltron were my favorites as they were more true to robot/mechs and were popularized by the television series. Voltron 2 (Gladiator) never really made it into translation in North America.
My favorite of all 3 was the Lion Force Voltron. 5 Lions forming one huge robot to save the universe from King Zarkon and his Robeasts.
Favorite Lion? It would have to be the Black Lion. Piloted by Keith.
Red and Green Lion, piloted by Lance and Pidge
Blue and Yellow Lion, piloted by Sven and Hunk…until later after a tradgic incident, Princess Allura pilots the Blue.
The Voltron Lion toys were quite expensive at the time. Rivaling the Transformers and Robotech toys. I was fortunate to have one variation that did not include the pilots. These were the “pull back” zip version of the Voltron Lion Force. You can pull back the lions and watch them zip across the floor like they do in the cartoon. In the end, you can combine them to form Voltron: Defender of the Universe. (complete with the Blazing Sword!!!)
This face doesn’t joke around when fighting King Zarkon’s Robeasts….
With the concept art and announcement that a live action movie is in the works, hopefully they don’t go the route of Michael Bay’s Transformers where they lose what makes this franchise work and last this long in the first place.