Voltron: Defender of the Universe is an American animated television series that features a team of astronauts who 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.
Voltron was created by Peter Keefe and John Teichmann, founding partners of World Events Productions, in 1984 using material that they had licensed from the Japanese animated series Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. But since they had no means of translating the Japanese series into English, Keefe and Teichman surmised the plots, commissioned writer Jameson Brewer to write 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.
The Japanese Future Robot Daltanious series from 1979-1980 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 which featured lion-shaped fighting robot starships. 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 (1983-1984), was also in progress, but dropped when World Events Productions joined with Toei to make new GoLion-based shows, due to that show's popularity over the Dairugger run.
Lion Force Voltron (Season 1)
Lion Force Voltron is an edited adaptation of Beast King GoLion (機甲艦隊百獣王ゴライオン Hyaku Jūō Goraion) from 1981-1982, as the first generation of the Voltron series.
|Image||Character||Original Name||Seiyū||Voice Actor|
|Keith Kogane||Akira Kogane||Kazuhiko Inoue||Neil Ross|
|Lance||Isamu Kurogane||Yū Mizushima||Michael Bell|
|Pidge||Hiroshi Suzuishi||Masako Nozawa||Neil Ross|
|Sven||Takashi Shirogane||Ryūsei Nakao||Michael Bell|
|Hunk||Tsuyoshi Seidō||Tesshō Genda||Lennie Weinrib|
|Princess Allura||Princess Fala||Rumiko Ukai||B.J. Ward|
|Coran||Raible||Yūji Fujishiro||Peter Cullen|
|King Alfor||King Raimon||Mahito Tsujimura|
|Nanny||Hys||Kazuyo Aoki||B.J. Ward|
|Princess Romelle||Princess Amue|
|Prince Bandor||Prince Alor||Mari Shimizu||Neil Ross|
|King Zarkon||Emperor Daibazaal||Kōsei Tomita||Jack Angel|
|Witch Haggar||Honerva||Masako Nozawa||B.J. Ward|
|Prince Lotor||Prince Sincline||Akira Kamiya||Lennie Weinrib|
|Queen Merla||Tress MacNeille|
|Commander Yurak||Commander Sadak||Kenichi Ogata||Jack Angel|
|Narration||Kōsei Tomita||Peter Cullen|
- In addition to the original 52 episodes of Beast King GoLion, 20 additional episodes were commissioned by World Event Productions featuring original animation by Toei Animation. These new episodes featured the new villain Queen Merla.
- Several instances of violence and character deaths are written out:
- In GoLion, the initial scenes are actually of Earth; the pilots have returned from their mission (in the then-futuristic year of 1999) to find that the entire population of Earth has been killed in a nuclear war. They are then captured and taken to Planet Galra, where the plot proceeds similarly. In the Voltron version, some footage of the pilots' arrival on Arus was taken from Armored Fleet Dairugger XV.
- Scenes of torture and atrocities inflicted by the alien conquerors on their slaves (such as a "contest" where alien soldiers would be rewarded according to how many prisoners they managed to decapitate in a given time) and some shots of corpses were removed.
- Sven's GoLion counterpart is actually made out of two characters; Takashi Shirogane and his identical twin Ryō Shirogane. Takashi dies in the sixth episode, while Sven is just critically injured. Due to negative fan reception to the character's death, Takashi is replaced with Ryō, his identical twin (played by the same voice actor). In Voltron, the characters are just treated as the same.
- Nanny's GoLion counterpart (Hys) is fatally shot in the heart while protecting Raible (Coran) toward the end of the series. This scene was completely removed from Voltron, and later episodes used stock footage from earlier in the series to insert the character into scenes that took place after her original death.
Vehicle Team Voltron (Season 2)
Vehicle Team Voltron is an edited adaptation of Armored Fleet Dairugger XV (機甲艦隊ダイラガーXV Kikō Kantai Dairagā Fifutīn) from 1982-1983, as the second generation of the Voltron series.
|Image||Character||Original Name||Seiyū||Voice Actor|
|Jeff Dukane||Aki Manabu||Toshio Furukawa||Neil Ross|
|Rocky||Kai Shinobu||Ryōma Yamamoto||Lennie Weinrib|
|Wolo||Shota Kreutz||Kōzō Shioya|
|Chip Stoker||Yasuo Mutsu||Satomi Majima||Neil Ross|
|Ginger||Patty Ellington||Keiko Han||B.J. Ward|
|Cric||Miranda Keats||Hideyuki Hori||Michael Bell|
|Lisa||Haruka Kaga||Harumi Iizuka||B.J. Ward|
|Tangor||Salta Katz||Masaharu Satō|
|Shannon||Tatsuo Izumo||Shō Hayami||Michael Bell|
|Zandee||Barros Carateja||Ken Yamaguchi|
|Cliff||Walter Jack||Katsuji Mori||Lennie Weinrib|
|Cinda||Moya Qiligasz||Nana Yamaguchi||B.J. Ward|
|Modoch||Mack Chacker||Banjō Ginga||Michael Bell|
|Marvin||Tasque Izu||Shingo Hiromori|
|Hutch||Casto Nagato||Hiroshi Ōtake||Peter Cullen|
|Space Marshal Graham||High Commander Wakasa||Masaharu Satō||Jack Angel|
|Hiroshi Ōtake||Neil Ross|
|Captain Newley||Dick Asimov||Kōji Yada||Lennie Weinrib|
|Professor Page||Doctor Search||Kōji Totani||Jack Angel|
|Dorma||Sirk||Satomi Majima||B.J. Ward|
|Captain Nerok||Laffite||Ikuya Sawaki||Michael Bell|
|Mariscal Keezor||Luciano||Masaharu Satō|
|Banjō Ginga||Lennie Weinrib|
|Viceroy Throk||Al Caponero||Peter Cullen|
|Kazuhiko Kishino||Michael Bell|
- Various differences between Vehicle Team Voltron and Armored Dairugger XV:
- Many allied and enemy soldiers and commanding officers die in Dairugger, as opposed to disappearing without any explanation in the Voltron series. The finale of Dairugger XV was different in its Voltron form — the U.S. footage had no depiction of Emperor Corsair's (Zeppo's) true fate, which left a lot of questions for U.S. viewers (although one shot of Corsair dead on the throne remained intact). The scene of Emperor Corsair's death, perishing in an assassination attempt by Teles (Hazar) and the resistance, who want freedom for their people, was cut due to violence.
- In Dairugger, Teles (Hazar) dies a martyr, and there is a sad scene where his body is left to die on Galveston at his request. In Voltron, he becomes the new leader of his people.
- Sirk (Dorma) is Teles's adjutant, not his sister as in Voltron.
- Aki (Jeff) and Haruka (Lisa) have a closer relationship, which is not clearly shown in Voltron. The lucky charm that Haruka gives to Aki is left with Teles (Hazar) after his death on Galveston.
- Dick Asimov (Captain Newley) was Shinji Ise's (Commander Hawkins) superior officer in the original series. The dialogue was rewritten in Voltron to suggest that Hawkins was Newley's superior. There were inconsistencies, however that reveal the original ranks of the two officers.
- Voltron was one of the first television programs to be produced and broadcast in stereophonic sound. Around the time of the show's production, the Federal Communications Commission was in the process of approving stereo broadcasting, yet most programs and cartoons back then were still being broadcast in monaural sound. World Events Productions took notice of this and decided to make the stereo sound of the series a big selling point: almost every store selling stereo television sets in the mid 80's used Voltron as a highlight of what stereo sound could deliver versus mono.
|Madman Entertainment||2004-2005||The Complete Series||4
|Media Blasters||2006-2009||The Complete Series||1
|Manga Entertainment||2008||Episodes 1-15||2
|Madman Entertainment||2009||The Complete Series||4
|Beyond Home Entertainment||2011-2013||The Complete Series|
|Universal Pictures Home Entertainment||2019||The Complete Series||1