A Combining Mecha cartoon, created in 1984 by combining the Toei anime shows GoLion and Dairugger XV (this was necessary to meet the minimum 65 episodes for syndication). This is still considered the combining mecha anime in areas of pop culture that don't have much crossover with anime fandom (for instance, hip-hop), but even anime fans still love it.There was even supposed to be a third series from a Toei anime, Albegas, but it was never used. The two Voltron series, Voltron: Defender of the Far Universe (aka Lion Voltron) and Voltron: Defender of the Near Universe (aka Vehicle Voltron), occupied completely different storylines.While not as severe as the editing of Robotech, changes were made to fit the two series together, such as Zarkon (Lion Voltron's main villain) being sort of a vassal of the Drule Empire (the bad guys of Vehicle Voltron), the two short kids being brothers, and the Galaxy Garrison of Dairugger having scenes cut into Lion Voltron, where they would talk about the situation, but never do anything (since there was no "fight footage" available that featured the conversing characters).Eventually, additional episodes of Lion Voltron were made with all new footage from Toei Animation, which were not based on anything from GoLion. A special called "Fleet of Doom", which featured both Voltrons, was also produced in this way.Lion Voltron is better remembered, probably because it aired first; this is the same reason the Macross part of Robotech is often remembered more than the latter parts. (It should be noted that the other series of both shows still have their fans.)Vehicle Voltron had a whopping 15 characters (essentially three five-man bands who all joined up in the end); the target audience (children) could barely keep them sorted out then, much less remember them fondly as adults. Some fans, however prefer "Vehicle Voltron" for its more realistic and somewhat harder sci-fi premise, involving people settling new planets when the old are dying or have become over populated.In both versions, the Monster of the Week was always a Robeast. Some Robeasts were huge Mecha, and others were apparently non-robot aliens that grew to gigantic size when hit with a special energy beam (a plot device that would be heavily reused later in the first season of Power Rangers). Both species of Robeasts were always killed by being sliced in half with the Blazing Sword, upon which they would explode. The explosion footage (like much of the rest of the fight scenes) was recycled for all episodes, so all Robeasts die the same (to censor out some of the quite violent deaths in the actual series).In the United States toy market, Lion Voltron was sold under the name "Voltron III", while Vehicle Voltron was sold as "Voltron I". A third Voltron, "Voltron II", was also available. This "Gladiator" Voltron was based on Albegas, which was scheduled to be released as another in the US Voltron saga (but, as pointed out above, never materialized).According to Word of God, World Events Productions originally intended to use Mirai Robo Daltanious to make Voltron, but they asked Toei for "the show with the lion" and were sent GoLion instead, then ended up deciding that they liked it better. Ironically, Daltanious is made up of one of each of the types of robots used in the Voltron series: a lion, a vehicle, and a humanoid "gladiator".In the early 21st century, Voltron was revived in the form of Voltron: The Third Dimension, a completely CGI animated continuation of the Lion Voltron storyline, set a few years into the future relative to the original, as there are important changes to the setting, but the character cast stay mainly the same. This sub-series tends to have a slightly darker, more mature take on its plots. In its second season, Voltron was redesigned as a "Cyber Stealth" model. How exactly a robot that big could qualify as "stealth" even when painted black is anyone's guess.Sometimes there is talk of a movie, but the rights are disputed, so expect it to sit in Development Hell for a good long while. There have also been several comic book series based on Lion Voltron, including a series that basically retells the origins of the "Voltron Force" and their discovery of Voltron. In addition, Privateer Press will be releasing a Voltron tabletop miniature game based on its Monsterpocalypse ruleset. The show was also used in a series of "Sprite" commercials in the early 2000's (it's very rap-related though you can tell the love for the series is there).Finally, there's Nickelodeon/Nicktoons' Voltron Force a Sequel Series that premiered in spring of 2011. It picks up seven years after the original; After an incident the lions went crazy and were decommissioned by the Galactic Military, but when Lotor comes Back from the Dead, it's up to the old team and the lions, as well as three new trainees to stop his evil plans.
This show provides examples of:
Adaptation Dye-Job: The series' protagonists have gone through several of these in the series' various incarnations and sequels:
Second season: Allura's hair color is changed from honey blonde to strawberry blonde and Romelle's eye color is changed from indigo to dark brown. One color change that *did* make an iota of sense was making Sven's skin considerably paler, as would generally befit someone of Nordic ancestry.
Devil's Due Comic: Keith went back to having dark hair and dark eyes, and Pidge and Sven's eyes were colored green and blue to match their lions respectively. Allura's hair was a conspicuously paler shade of blonde than in the original anime.
This isn't counting fan art, which usually shows Sven with the traditional Nordic blue eyes and Pidge with green eyes, and had for years before the Devil's Due comic came out.
Voltron: Third Dimension: Keith's signature black curls and dark eyes were changed to brown hair and blue eyes, much to the chagrin of many of his fans.
Badass Normal: Sven. He survives being nailed in personal combat by a robeast, and survived a plunge from the heights of Castle Doom. Even after that, he was in good enough condition to fly Blue Lion again.
Chickification: While Allura was a really girly girl to begin with, she learned quickly; she was able to pilot Lance's lion (Red Lion) and hold the Blazing Sword with no problems at all by Episode 23, and Keith later teaches her judo. Unfortunately, her character's progress plateaued in the American-written second season, which had her father's ghost continually solving problems for her.
Except in the first few episodes, where it was the first.
Also Voltron himself. When the Voltron team first arrives on planet Aeris, the planet has only just been ripped to shreds by Zarkon - despite the fact that the leadership knew where the lions were and had already built a complicated transit network to get to them, and someone must have surely known the keys were buried with the King - yet no one handed the keys over to their best pilots and told them to form Voltron.
Not so much with Voltron as with the lions. Remember,the mice took one of the keys
Also, in the ep where Lotor and Haggar faked Allura's death, the team members caught on to the trick and readied themselves for when they tried to steal her body. This was in the American dub/cut. In the original Go Lion, the team actually fell for the trick!
To defeat a Robeast who was programmed to attack the exact shape of Voltron, Hunk detaches the Yellow Lion, throwing the monster off.
A later robeast demonstrates the same genre savviness as the first robeast, by attacking the lions as they were forming Voltron. The lions themselves demonstrated genre savviness by erecting a protective force field to thwart the attack.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Episode 21, It'll Be A Cold Day. Watch Allura put the mouse down her collar. Look closely at her expression.
Well, before that was the time she entered the control room wearing nothing but fuzzy slippers and a towel, and the time she sorta lost her bikini top...Allura's a master of Innocent Fanservice, isn't she?
Oh, and memo to the erstwhile pilot of the Blue Lion: We female fans salute you for this, erm, framing of your first meeting with Romelle.
Just Eat Gilligan: Why didn't Yorak or whoever, I don't know, devote all or most of their firepower to destroying their worst enemy? Or at least attacking various parts of the planet, rather than the capital city right next to the freaking lions? Either you do some damage and avoid Voltron for a while, or better yet split the Voltron Force's numbers and prevent them from even forming him? And supposedly they have massive numbers of robot warriors, so why not use them to tire out the Voltron force with a small but constant barrage? Or sneak in and gas the damn palace?
Large Ham: Prince Lotor. Is there any time he doesn't shout his lines?
Allura has three outfits: her uniform and two sets of civvies. It is revealed in "The Witch Gets a Facelift" (Episode 13), that Allura has a WHOLE CLOSET of clothing, which, for some reason we never see her wear.
Voltron: The Third Dimension took it to its logical conclusion; everyone EXCEPT Allura wore only their Voltron Force uniforms. Allura was given some dresses to wear on state functions.
Love Triangle: Hinted at as early as Episode 6, in which Allura physically comes between Keith and Lance during an argument, and again in the final episode of the first season in which Allura, lying down in a field among the Voltron force, is reclining between Keith and Lance. It's a Love Tetrahedron once Lotor is brought into the picture. Alas, the Love Triangle collapses in the Post Script Season, in which not only are Keith and Allura kissing, embracing, and holding hands, but Allura's father gives them his blessing.
Mr. Fanservice: Ladies, you get your selection of four different flavors of Bishounen: Knight-in-white-armor Keith, ladies' man Lance with the leather jacket and tight pants, quiet and thoughtful Sven, and Lotor, who MIGHT have a heart of...*something* underneath all those impulses of conquest. And pick two male characters from Voltron, ANY two male characters from Voltron—at least the ones of legal age—and you WILL find a female-written Slash Fic pairing them.
Name Tron: Especially since GoLion didn't have that kind of name.
In the final episode of Lion Voltron, Allura considers all the people Prince Lotor has "hurt", accompanied by a montage of various characters that appeared throughout the series. Made all the more poingiant by the fact that in Go Lion, their equivalents were in fact not merely "hurt" but killed off.
Off Model: A decidedly downhill decline in Episodes 53-72, as well as "The Fleet of Doom" special, which were commissioned by a no-name Korean company. The color range of these episodes is more limited than that of the originals, and some of the characters are colored differently. Notable in the latter is Pidge's uniform and the Green Lion being drawn so dark a green it appears black, Romelle's dress having a brighter color, and the aforementioned examples in Adaptation Dye-Job.
Ojou Ringlets: Allura/Fala, although the way they are drawn makes them easy to mistake for sideburns.
Opera Gloves: The wedding dress Nanny made for Allura. Also part of Romelle's mini-dress of power.
We also don't see Romelle and Bandor's mother when they are introduced, so we assume they've been motherless for some time, and even through the cut-and-paste editing, you can see that their father died in battle.
Pidge is also a war orphan who eventually was adopted.
Pimped-Out Dress: Allura's dress. Romelle's dress isn't that fancy, but when she wears a battle jumpsuit it fits this trope better.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Lance is the Red Oni- impulsive, confrontational, outspoken, rebellious, even a little aggressive- and pilots the Red Lion...but wears blue uniform and civvies. Keith is the Blue Oni- rational, calm, level-headed, prudent, reasonable- but wears red uniform and civvies, and pilots the Black Lion. Curiously, Keith is the Hero and Standardized Leader and very idealistic; while Lance is the Lancer and much more realistic. Further playing with this trope is that Allura has an even mix of both Red Oni and Blue Oni traits, wears pink outfits, and pilots the Blue Lion—and has a crush on one of these guys.
Refusing Paradise: In one episode an angelic being offers eternal paradise to our heroes, who all-but immediately refuse. Internal monologues then confirm their unending devotion to the people of Arus.
Stock Footage: Including stock audio. The line "And I'll form the head!" seems weird in Lion Voltron since the Black Lion forms both the head and entire body... but both shows used the same narration for the combining sequence. Thankfully, the Go Lion Transformation Sequence has the head transforming on its own, so the whole thing works.
The Worf Effect: Every encounter the titular robot has with a robeast who is a physical threat to Voltron is an example of this.
Wrong Insult Offence: Happens when Allura insults the evil Prince Lotor and Lotor does feel insulted...but for the wrong reasons.
Allura: You're a monster, just like your father!
Lotor: That old fool?! Why I'm twice the monster he is!
The Battlestar: The Explorer, the space carrier from which the vehicles launched before combining
Bloodless Carnage: Although Dairugger XV had its fair share of military death, the American dub took pains to tell the audience that the things being shot up were "robot attack ships" and "android stormtroopers." The next-to-last episode even had a violent Drule lynch mob chanting, "Capture the president! Capture the president!"
Combining Mecha: Two ways! 15 small vehicles could combine into three larger ones, and then if that didn't get the job done, they could re-combine into the titular Humongous Mecha.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In the first episodes, it is explained that Haggar took the form of a "Space Angel" and "defeated" Voltron by breaking him into five lions. Considering that the lions are pretty formidable individually, this is a pretty heavy "huh?"
Old School Dog Fight: the air team vehicles got to do a bit of this before the need to form Voltron arose.
The Other Darrin: Drule Commander Zabbar. After the original's final appearance (in Dairugger, he would have been killed off), another commander is called Zabbar and has the same voice. They don't really look much like each other, however.
Rule of Cool: In the original Japanese version, Captain Newley (an admiral in the original) was the senior officer to Commander Hawkins. In the US version, their ranks were reversed and Newley was taking orders from Hawkins. Since Hawkins was more active of the two, the dubbers must have assumed he was The Captain. Also, he was voiced by the always awesome Peter Cullen using his Optimus Prime voice. Which means, he's got to be the man in charge!
Bit of a subversion here. Several Drules were genre savvy enough to actually attack Voltron mid-combination sequence, and it worked, sorta. While not fully combined, and therefore not at full power, Vehicle Voltron has fought without a head, and without a leg, just for examples.