So a couple of disclaimers and things to take care of before really getting into the meat of this review:
-I know that by some definitions this isn’t technically anime. By putting this into the category of Animesque, a western television series heavily inspired by anime, I fully realize this, but I really wanted to write about this series. I have some interesting and complex thoughts that I just had to get out of my head. This also opens up a new avenue of blog posts. I would like to put more support into shows like Wakfu, which is a French animated series that not many people have heard about. Also, I could get some thoughts about Legend of Korra and Batman Beyond on here too. Yes, I am a huge nerd that likes watching animated shows, but by reading this you already know that.
-This show is in no way like the original Voltron and some people who have some kind of nostalgic connection to the series may not like this series. I fully understand that because I feel the same way toward the new Star Trek movies because I’ve been a Star Trek fan for a long time and I don’t like how some of the characters are being represented. For me though, I think I missed part where the original Voltron would be influential in my life. I’ve tried watching it recently, but I was extremely bored by it. At this moment, this is the version of Voltron that I prefer.
The series starts off with a set of three astronauts taking ice samples from a distant planet. They share some tender, family moments and then the plot starts with their abduction from aliens. Skipping ahead from there, we meet three of the soon to be Paladins of Voltron failing a simulator test in what they call the Garrison, which is the place where teenagers go to school to be trained in at least one job for space exploration. Meeting up with the other two members of the soon to be Voltron force, they find an ancient lion that immediately takes them to the castle of the original Voltron defenders. This is where Voltron takes off with the team learning how to handle each of their robotic lions, free some races from the hand of the Galra, and forming a united front against the main villain, Zarkon.
From a main character stand point, the characters are pretty well fleshed out, except for Keith. Everybody has some decent characterization along with some motivations that are driving them, except for Keith. The only things you really learn about him are he is a great pilot, he has that whole red oni and blue oni thing going on with Lance, and he has some lone wolf tendencies. That’s about it. The people who really suffer are the villains. We see the enemy sub commanders get motivated about trying to take the Lions to Voltron and some even are selfish enough to go for their own greed and glory. That’s about it for them, but they are sub commanders so that’s alright. The main villains, Zarkon and his side witch, Hagger, don’t receive a glimpse of what drives them until the last episode. I didn’t even remember Hagger’s name until the last episode until it was said out loud and blatantly.
From an animation and art stand point, I have no complaints at all. Each setting and planet have their own distinctive style and go from very vibrant to incredibly dark. This may not sound like much, but how many series do you watch revolve around using the same locations all the time and not much creativity goes into them? From this smart part alone, it shows that the team behind this Voltron really care about what they are doing. Even the cgi fits incredibly good in the setting and you really have to look for it, even though the things it’s used on are incredibly obvious. The animation is just as fluid and pure as most productions from Studio Bones. That is one of the highest compliments that I can give it because Studio Bones is incredibly consistent with its action scenes. All in all, Studio Mir did a incredibly stand up just with this series.
Putting some final thoughts in about this first season, I really did like what they were doing and where they were going. My main problem is that the finale felt like one that should have happened in the middle of a season instead of the finale. Still, it was extremely solid. If I had to give Voltron a grade, it would be somewhere around a B+. Some solid space adventure super robot kind of fun. I’m also glad that most of the people behind Legend of Korra got some good work after being treated terribly from Nickelodeon. They deserve so much more respect and it looks like they got it here.