Keith Palmer (krpalmer) wrote,
Keith Palmer

Nostalgia Strikes: "Voltron '84"

The episodes of "Star Trek: The Animated Series" were engaging enough to watch while exercising on weekend mornings; I'd been thinking a bit, more or less from the start, that they somehow somewhat dodged the sense of "familiarity" and even "set consensus" that can settle over all of the live-action series, along with "if you are convinced Star Trek 'has' to involve its original characters..." They came to an end, though (with an episode I'd read Alan Dean Foster's novelization, considerable expansion upon, and rationalization many years ago), and I did get to wondering how I'd keep myself occupied on my ski machine from then on.

Right then, however, I saw an announcement the people working on the new Voltron Legendary Defender had selected some of the original Voltron episodes to be streamed on Netflix as an adjunct to their own series. That did get my attention, although I was quite ready to remember that when the original Voltron had had its "nostalgia release" on DVD a decade ago, I'd held out for the anime series it had been made from instead. The thought's occasionally come to me, though, that I just might be dismissive of Voltron because of the accident of having had "the other Voltron" stick in my mind a bit more, and just perhaps that "other" science fiction action had been more vulnerable than the space fantasy it seems just about everyone else remembers better to having all that careful "this is a cartoon; nobody ever dies in a cartoon" redubbing stand out. I went ahead and took a chance on "Voltron '84."

The episodes did seem ordered "from most to least important personage's introduction," but the first one having an introduction, with co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery talking about an episode that had stuck in her mind for Princess Allura hanging in the balance for at least a moment, did get my attention. From there, it was on to the original Voltron theme, something I can still miss during both the Golion anime and Voltron Legendary Defender. It then caught my attention that this first episode selected featured the diabolical Prince Lotor, a character I haven't seen in Voltron Legendary Defender yet, but with that I at once started getting a sense of peculiarities to the animation as opposed to what the dialogue was claiming...

The heroes sorting out almost instantly that Allura "wasn't dead," but resolving to "act that way" to keep the villains off guard, also got my attention. By the end of the episode, though, I'd at least got past suspicions about the dialogue to wondering if it had been selected for the top of the playlist in part because it doesn't escalate to the formula of "Voltron is formed and uses the Blazing Sword to chop up a Robeast" (although we do get the stock footage of three of its robot lions launching). I was rather intent all the same to see how things had worked in Golion, but found a Voltron site I'd bookmarked has been reduced to an "under maintenance" placeholder. By going through the episode descriptions on Crunchyroll, which continues to stream Golion, I was able to turn to my DVDs of the series instead, a somewhat more involved way of satisfying my curiosity but an interesting one all the same. If this is going to be the case for every episode save for possible selections from those made after the series proved a success, though, it may get to be more time-consuming than time-filling. I am contemplating all over again the bitter juxtaposition of it being possible to argue Robotech is more satisfying with the post-Robotech career of the man who made the most of being associated with it and the tangles of a long-running contract making it the target of more people. In any case, "Voltron '84" does at least have a tangential yet absurd resonance with the black-humour jokes about a resemblance between our current year and "Nineteen Eighty-Four"...

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Tags: animation

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