"Voltron: The Final Battle": Form Season One Finale!
Nostalgia is a funny thing. You look back on something you vaguely remember enjoying years ago, and it makes you smile because you vaguely remember enjoying it. Nostalgia is also a fragile thing because when you go back and take a real look at the thing you like when you’re old and have taste, it may seem less appealing. Even so, you can never really kill nostalgic feelings.
Children of the 80’s remember Voltron. That’s a fact. Multi-colored lions join together to create a giant robot while an awesome action theme plays. People may not remember much beyond that, but whenever someone says “Yo, you remember Voltron?” the response is almost certainly “Yeah, Voltron was so cool back in the day!” Sure, Voltron’s experienced a recent resurgence, what with the NickToons show Voltron Force, comic book, toys, and whatnot, but to a lot of people, “Voltron” means the old 80’s cartoon, Voltron: Defender of the Universe. I’m no exception. I may not be able to recite the opening narration, but I remember loving the show. Voltron was certainly memorable, but how many details are easy to forget?
The thing about many 80’s cartoons is that they stayed away from heavy continuities so that viewers wouldn’t have to follow every single episode in order not to get lost. I didn’t even remember Voltron having big, important episodes, but apparently, the last few episodes of season one were major. Voltron: The Final Battle collects 8 episodes of season one, including the last few episodes of the season, and they’re pretty good—even intense at times.
The set kicks off with “The Captive Comet” and “The Little Prince”, two episodes that bring the Voltron Force to the brink of death and actually showing how the team reacts when they think their time is up. “There Will Be A Royal Wedding” focuses on Allura’s cousin Princess Romelle and brings back Sven, the former Blue Lion pilot, setting up their story for the finale. “Return of Coran’s Son” and “Coran’s Son Runs Amuck” gives some backstory on Voltron’s advisor Coran, and he gets a good emotional story. “Zarkon Becomes a Robeast”, “Lotor the King”, and “Final Victory” are the final three episodes of the season. Zarkon calls out Lotor for all his failures, splitting the loyalties of the conquered planets, and Voltron Force ends up taking the battle to Planet Doom, reuniting with Romelle and Sven for an awesome climax. A good selection all around.
The episodes look horribly dated, of course. The colors and special effects are very much a product of its time, the dialogue is either really simple or over the top, and Lance’s deadeye expressions are just plain creepy. Despite all that, though, the show is still fun to watch. Maybe it’s because I only remember the lions coming together to form Voltron and fight a giant robeast, but I was pleasantly surprised at the twists and turns in these episodes. I also forgot how many cool tricks Voltron can pull out of his roaring lion sleeves.
I was also impressed by the side characters. Voltron Force have sort of stock personalities: Keith’s the leader guy, Hunk’s the big guy, etc. However, when they combine into Voltron, it seems like their personalities have merged as well. That’s probably why characters like Coran and Romelle are a breath of fresh air at times. Sven in particular gets a few shining moments of awesome.
Also included in the DVD is “Top 5 New Powers of Voltron Force”, which is basically an ad for the new Voltron series on NickToons, with clips of the various things the new Voltron Force can do. The “Blazing Sword Voltron” is another ad, this one for the most posable Voltron figure ever.
This DVD has some things going for it. It’s not a complete season or anything, but it’s a good selection. Watching it, you kind of have to accept that animation and storytelling have advanced twenty-five years since these episodes were produced. However, factoring in the possible disappointment of the nostalgia filter, checking this out may make you remember what was so cool about the show in the first place.