Anime / Voltron

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/voltron_2914.jpg
Loved by good, feared by evil. Narrated by Optimus Prime.

"Form feet and legs! Form arms and torso!note  And I'll form the head!"

Voltron is a Combining Mecha cartoon, created by World Events Productions in 1984 with recycled clips from the Toei anime series GoLion and Dairugger XV. Voltron is still considered ''the'' combining mecha anime in mainstream American pop culture,note  but anime fans love it too. While changes to the anime were not as severe as those made to Robotech, alterations were made to fit GoLion and Dairugger together.note 

Two series were made, each with individual storylines: Voltron: Defender of the Far Universe (a.k.a. Lion Voltron) and Voltron: Defender of the Near Universe (a.k.a. Vehicle Voltron). Lion Voltron is the original and best-remembered, though Vehicle Voltron has its fans for its somewhat harder sci-fi premise. Later, additional episodes of Lion Voltron were made with all-new animation from Toei, including a special called "Fleet of Doom" featuring both Voltrons.

Episodes revolved around fighting Robeasts in a Monster of the Week format. Some Robeasts were huge Mecha, and others were apparently non-robot aliens that grew to gigantic size when hit with a special energy beam. Both species of Robeasts were always killed by being sliced in half with the Blazing Sword, prompting the same explosion footage episode after episode, as a censored alternative to the sometimes violent deaths in the anime.

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 as mentioned above, was intended to be used for the third season that never materialized.

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 and the aforementioned Robotech/Voltron crossover. In addition, Privateer Press released a Voltron tabletop miniature game based on its Monsterpocalypse ruleset.

In The New Tens, Nickelodeon/Nicktoons brought us Voltron Force, another CGI Lion Voltron Sequel Series that premiered in spring of 2011. It picks up seven years after the original where, after an incident, the lions went crazy and were decommissioned by the Galactic Military. 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.

In 2016, Voltron: Legendary Defender, a "reimagined" series, was released by Netflix and Dreamworks Animation, rebooting the franchise. Meanwhile, select episodes from Lion Voltron, GoLion, Vehicle Voltron, The Third Dimension, Voltron Force, are available to stream from WEP's YouTube channel. Voltron Force and Legendary Defender can be streamed in their entirety on Netflix.


This show provides examples of:

Lion Voltron
  • 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: The 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.
  • Adapted Out: In GoLion, Allura's counterpart had older siblings who were killed along with her parents. In Voltron, Allura appears to be an only child. Yet someone had to have given birth to her niece Larmina.
  • Alien Invasion: The forces of Doom are invading Arus.
  • All Your Colors Combined
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: Earth, when shown in its Establishing Shot, has at least five moons around it.
  • Ass Kicking Pose
  • Avengers Assemble
  • A Villain Named Zrg: Zarkon
  • 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.
  • Beta Couple: Romelle and Sven.
  • BFS
  • Big Bad: King Zarkon
  • Bishounen: Lotor is a very pretty man.
  • Blood Bath: The evil witch Haggar bathes her cat in blood (although it's called a "lava bath" the English version).
  • Bowdlerise: A lot of character deaths and gory bits were edited or written out of the Japanese source material.
  • Captain Obvious: Keith, every time they form Voltron - telling them what they do every time.
  • Caramelldansen Vid
  • Cats Are Mean: Haggar's Right-Hand Cat
  • 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.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The Voltron Force and Lions.
    • Keith pilots the Black Lion and wears a red costume.
    • Lance pilots the Red Lion and wears a blue costume.
    • Sven then Allura pilots the Blue Lion and wear black and pink costumes respectively.
    • Pidge pilots the Green Lion and wears a green costume.
    • Hunk pilots the Yellow Lion and wears a orange-ish yellow costume.
    • In The Third Dimension, the colors of the characters' costumes matched their respective lion.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Averted, if the above trope is of any indication. Most of the heroes' costume color doesn't correspond to their respective lions. Played straight in The Third Dimension.
  • Combining Mecha: The trope codifier. Whenever something involves smaller vehicles or creatures combining to form a larger whole, chances are good that people will compare it to Voltron.
  • Cool Sword
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Wonderfully averted when Lance doesn't trust a potential new pilot. Although it was for the wrong reason, Lance was right because the new guy was the Monster of the Week.
  • The Dragon: Prince Lotor
  • Dub Name Change: Most of the characters, and location.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Even when not fancied up, even in uniform, Allura still wears her tiara.
    • King Zarkon is a straight case, always sitting on his throne, wearing his cape and heavy-looking crown.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Allura and her cousin Romelle.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Allura does sparkle sometimes.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: A dress made for Allura to wear on her possible future wedding.
  • Fanfare: Notable in that Voltron's score has one, while GoLion does not.
  • Faux Action Girl: Allura, especially when she isn't piloting the blue lion. There's a reason she was the picture of the trope.
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence
  • Five-Man Band: Of course the characters weren't limited to their positions.note 
  • Forgotten Superweapon: The Blazing Sword, always the last thing pulled out in a battle.
    • Except in the first few episodes, where it was the first.
    • Also Voltron himself. When the Voltron team first arrives on planet Arus, 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
  • For Great Justice: When Keith spouts about Voltron's role.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Allura and the mice. She even knows their language. Pidge would also fall into this category.
  • Genre Savvy: The first Monster of the Week was actually smart enough to attack the lion robots when they were trying to combine.
    • 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 GoLion, 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: A lot of things happen to Allura that weren't censored from the original version.
    • Episode 21, It'll Be A Cold Day. Watch Allura put the mouse down her collar. Look closely at her expression.
    • One time she entered the control room wearing nothing but fuzzy slippers and a towel
    • In one episode the group is swimming in the castle pond and she sorta lost her bikini top.
    • 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.
  • Gladiator Games: Zarkon has a Robeast Arena, with the strongest Robeast usually getting to fight Voltron. At several points, Lotor fights in it, and at one point, Zarkon himself gets in the arena to fight Lotor, and wins.
  • Homage: It could be unintentional, but Allura's grand dress dress bears a resemblance to Princess Aurora's.
    • Speaking of clothing homages, Lance looks like Lupin III's kid brother made off with James Dean's leather jacket.
    • In a more obscure example, Pidge looks a great deal like Soldier Blue would if he had normal hair and eye coloring.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Voltron Mecha
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Why didn't Yurak 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?
  • Larynx Dissonance: In the dub, a lot of the female extras voices were done by a guy.
  • Leader Forms the Head: The Transformation Sequence (played, of course, Once an Episode) comes with a voice-over of the team leader ordering each step of the process, ending with "...AND I'LL FORM THE HEAD!"
  • Leit Motif: And it is AWESOME.
  • Lighter and Softer: The most violent scenes from Golion were removed in Voltron.
    • Another notable example is that Sven just barely survives the attack in episode 6, whereas Takashi Shirogane (his name in the original series) in GoLion is clearly Killed Off for Real.
  • Limited Social Circle: The Voltron team does pretty much everything together.
  • Limited Wardrobe: With the exception of Allura, and Sven, a Composite Character everyone else has exactly two outfits - a uniform and a set of civvies.
    • 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.
  • Mini Dress Of Power: Romelle, after she gets rescued and gets involved in the final battle.
  • Modest Royalty: Once Allura is a pilot, she usually wears her pink jumpsuit instead of her fancy dress.
  • Mooks
  • Mordor: Planet Doom appears to be a black wasteland with skeletons everywhere.
  • 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.
  • NameTron: Especially since GoLion didn't have that kind of name.
  • Never Say "Die": The word destroy was always used instead. However there were a few exceptions, Yurak died after being turned into a monster, a Gory Discretion Shot was pulled on a merchant who attempted to extort Lotor, and Mogor died in a Bloodless Carnage.
    • 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 GoLion, their equivalents were in fact not merely "hurt" but killed off.
  • Notable Original Music
  • Official Cosplay Gear: You can get official Voltron costumes of the titular robot, but if you want a costume that isn't Halloween costume quality, you're better off making it yourself.
  • 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.
  • Overlord Jr.: Lotor.
  • Panty Shot: Episode 19. From a trio of five-year-olds.
  • Parental Abandonment: Both of Allura's parents died years before the events of the show.
    • 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.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Galaxy Garrison's job is pretty much Mr. Exposition. Despite supposed huge amounts of resources at their control, all they do is sit around and talk about what Voltron is doing.
  • Post-Script Season: How much more popular was Lion Voltron than GoLion? It was so much more popular that World Events Productions actually hired Toei Animation to make 20 new Voltron episodes. Not 20 new GoLion episodes, 20 new Lion Voltron episodes. That just doesn't happen very often.
  • Princess Classic: Even as a pilot, Allura is like this.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Allura wears pink with everything, even her uniform.
  • 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.
  • Robeast: The Trope Namer.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Allura as one of the pilots.
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: Pidge.
  • Simple Yet Opulent: Allura's and Romelle's princess dresses have just a few frills, so they are both this trope and pimped dresses.
  • Slippery Swimsuit: Happens once to Princess Allura. A high dive while wearing a bikini leads to her top surfacing before she does.
  • The Something Force: The Voltron Force
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: The Space Mice.
  • Standardized Leader: Keith.
  • The Starscream: Lotor desires to overthrow Zarkon and rule himself. At the end of season 1, he accomplishes this.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: The way Allura's guardians treat her some of the time.
  • 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.
  • Storm of Blades: In the second episode, after the team crash-landed on Arus, they're suddenly bombarded with a storm of spears, thrown by the scared natives believing them to be Zarkon's men. Keith tries to tell them they're friends, but they continue to throw at them. Until Hunk had enough and chase them deep into the cave.
  • Super Robot
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Sven, especially when it comes to the Ro Beasts and the Drules.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Subverted oh so many times, but that's what happens when you get Combat Pragmatist villains.
  • True Blue Femininity: Romelle's main dress.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Romelle.
  • Warrior Princess: Allura.
  • Villainous Crush: Lotor's infatuation with Allura appears to be his motivation for much of the series, and his hatred of Keith.
  • White Hair, Black Heart : Prince Bokar of Sennec from very early on in the series (villain of the week).
  • Wicked Witch
  • 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!

Vehicle Voltron
  • 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.
  • Dub Name Change
  • The Emperor: Zeppo, who is technically the Big Bad, but rarely shows up, relying on Throk, and Hazar.
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence: Most of the time but not always.
  • Forgotten Superweapon: The Blazing Sword... so similar to the Lion version, but both shows were Toei productions anyway.
  • Humongous Mecha: Not only Voltron, but the Robeasts as well (they tended to be piloted vehicles in this version).
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Voltron itself is afFifteen person team.
  • 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?"
  • Nobody Can Die: In the American dub, the only character confirmed to die was Captain Keyo.
    • Enemy troopers who were obviously getting killed were said to be "android stormtroopers."
    • Space fighters that blew up were dubbed "robot attack ships."
    • When a Sea Team member has a flashback to his brother dying a tragic death, the American dub ends with him saying "Oh, brother, I'm so glad you're all right!"
    • An angry, bloodthirsty mob storming the Presidential base on Planet Drule were heard screaming "Capture the president! Capture the president!"
    • Villains of the week were said to be exiled.
    • Quark claimed he'd return, right before his ship exploded.
  • Old School Dog Fight: The air team vehicles got to do a bit of this before the need to form Voltron arose.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Drules
  • Puppet King: Emperor Zeppo is pretty much a pawn of Viceroy Throk. Also counts as a Sheltered Aristocrat.
  • 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!
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: Chip.
  • The Something Force: Vehicle Voltron Force.
  • Stock Footage: The transformation
  • Super Robot: Vehicle Voltron
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: See above.
    • 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.
  • Thou Shall Not Kill: Notable in one of the last episodes where Throk, and his comrades try to escape Planet Drule. In the original Dairugger, the heroes chased down the fleeing Mecha, and destroyed it, killing Capronero(Throk), and his followers. In Vehicle Voltron, the heroes let it get away because there were people in it, and they were fleeing. Reasoning that Voltron is a defender.
  • Wagon Train to the Stars: Vehicle Voltron is composed of several flying Vans.

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