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Anime / GoLion

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Let's GoLion!

"One!... Plus one!... Plus one!... Plus one!... Plus one!... GoLion!!"

Beast King GoLion (百獣王ゴライオン, Hyaku Jūō Goraion) is a Combining Mecha from Toeinote  that aired in 1981-82. The show aired Wednesdays at 6pm on TV Tokyo note  and was syndicated to other stations across Japan. Since shows like this were a dime a dozen in Japan (TV Tokyo actually devoted the weekday 6pm time slot to robot anime at this time, with a different show airing each day), it unfortunately got overlooked. But elsewhere, including the US, where Humongous Mecha shows were still practically unheard of, it got recognition as the lion robot of Voltron.

The show takes place in the then-future year of 1999, and Earth has just been hit by World War III, and all the cities are nuked. Five space academy students come across the ruins, and before they even have time to grieve, they are taken as slaves by ships of the Galra Empire. They manage to escape, are nearly shot down, but are pulled in by a mysterious force from the planet Altea.

Stumbling across a ruined castle, they meet Princess Fala, the last survivor of the planet's royal family after the Galra empire ravaged the planet, and her advisor Raible. They determine that the explorers are there to pilot Golion, a robot that was unrivaled in battle thousands of years ago, but split into five lions after he tried to take on a goddess.

So the pilots form Golion, and become the protectors of Altea (including Fala herself after one of the pilots is killed), and eventually overthrow the Galra empire.

Even though the series never took off in Japan as well as Voltron elsewhere, it does have a cult following. In Italy, where the first 26 episodes aired dubbed in 1982 - two years before Voltron even existed - GoLion is arguably more popular than Voltron, although Voltron was also released in Italy in 1986, creating a Dueling Dubs situation. Also, GoLion appeared in Super Robot Wars W.

See also Dairugger XV.

GoLion provides examples of:

  • After the End: The series is set after a nuclear war in 1999 between "the East and the West" wiped out most humans on Earth.
  • Alien Invasion: Done by the Galra empire to just about everywhere else.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: There doesn't seem to be a single decent member of the alien species that makes up the Galra Empire. They're smart enough to know when to give up though.
  • All Your Colors Combined: The mechanical lions who combine to make GoLion are red, blue, black, yellow, and green.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The 1982 Italian dub of Golion (not to be confused with the Italian dub of Voltron; see above and Trivia page) featured a new theme song.
  • Animal Mecha: The series is called Beast King GoLion. What'd you expect?
  • Animal Motifs: Guess.
  • Anyone Can Die: Lots of characters die, often in quite gruesome ways. World Events Productions had its work cut out for it when it adapted the show to the more kid-friendly Voltron.
  • Ass Kicking Pose: GoLion does several of these when he transforms.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: There are times when Sincline and his father appear to genuinely care for each other, especially in the beginning when Sincline was introduced when they hug, and his father calls him his beloved son and Sincline tries to restore his father's honor. It seems as Sincline's obsession with Golion and Fala grows, so does his hatred for his father.
  • Backup Twin: Ryoh Shirogane for his elder brother.
  • Big Bad: Daibazaal. That is, until Sincline ends up usurping him.
  • The Big Guy: Tsuyoshi.
  • By the Power of Grayskull! "Let's GoLion!"
  • Calling Your Attacks: Naturally. King's Sword Jyuokennote  (the "Blazing Sword" in the Voltron adaptation) is the most famous.
  • Cats Are Mean: Honerva's Right-Hand Cat, Jaga.
  • Chest Insignia: The Altean royal family's crest appears on GoLion itself, as well as on the pilots' suits.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Averted. The pilots' uniform color doesn't correspond to their respective lions, a pilot wearing red might own a black lion for example. In fact, only Shorty and Hothead wear uniforms that match their lion's color.
  • Conveniently Close Planet: When our heroes escape their initial captivity on the Galra capital world, and their space ship gets shot and damaged by their pursuers, they "fall" onto the planet Altea within what must be 10 minutes of launching. Luckily for them there's a castle and 5 lion robots there.
  • Combining Mecha: One of many in Japan, but the quintessential example in other countries.
  • Darker and Edgier: It never quite matches the works of Go Nagai or Yoshiyuki Tomino, but it's still a fair bit more brutal than most kid-friendly Super Robot shows of its day and downright shocking to anybody who's more familiar with Voltron. It's particularly notable the way the director seems to take perverse delight in causing secondary or unnamed characters to drop like flies, most notably most of the entire population of Earth in the first episode (one episode indicates that there were at least a few survivors who later became prisoners as a human girl with psychic powers agrees to be a saboteur in order to win freedom for the other prisoners and her older brother volunteers to become a half-beastman for the same reason.) The Galra Empire also stood out as one of the most brutal galaxy-wide enemies, playing Always Chaotic Evil straight and showcases just exactly what happens when they have enough power: Successful invasions, images of death and slavery always follow wherever Galra goes throughout the galaxy (Though notably, the destruction of Earth wasn't Galra's fault in the first place). They also have harem scenes if the violence was not enough (though they do not show 'action'.). The series would likely get a R-17 rating even in cartoon/animated form in the US if rated.
  • Death of a Child: Raible's toddler son gets shot to death in episode 49.
  • Deus ex Machina:
    • At the end of a two-parter where GoLion is trapped by a hyper-gravity planetoid, the space goddess shows up out of nowhere to free him.
    • King Raimon appears out of nowhere several times to help the GoLion team.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Takashi Shirogane is quickly killed by Honerva, her cat, and a Beastman.
  • Ear Fins: Emperor Daibazaal is an alien who has purple ear fins.
  • The Empire: The Galran empire is even called the enemy of the universe.
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Even when not fancied up, even in uniform, Fala still wears her tiara.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The team are introduced returning to Earth only to find the rest of humanity has nuked itself into oblivion. Naturally this part was edited away for Voltron...
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Fala does sparkle sometimes.
  • Evolving Credits: Afternote  she replaces Shirogane, Fala also takes his place in the opening. However, she's always there in the end credits, while Shirogane isn't.
  • Eye Beams: GoLion's Eye Flash. It also shows up as a monster attack from time to time.
  • Failed Future Forecast: World War III, when the US and USSR launch their missiles at each other, happens eight years after the USSR fell.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: A dress made for Fala to wear on her possible future wedding.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Why the censoring on Voltron isn't considered outright Bowdlerization. Indeed. The Earth itself even blows up in one episode; something WEP really couldn't show.
  • Faux Action Girl: Fala when she isn't piloting the blue lion.
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence: There's Stock Footage of the team getting in their Lions.
  • First Church of Mecha: Golion is worshiped as a god on Altea, but isn't actually one. When he went up against an actual Goddess, he got a major lesson in humility.
  • For Great Justice: The opening song implores the heroes to "Defeat them in the name of justice!"
  • Friend to All Living Things: Fala and the mice. She even knows their language.
  • Gratuitous Greek: The Mecha Beastmen were named for Greek letters.
  • Gratuitous English: It's in the opening theme, both in Japanese ("One... plus one... plus one..." etc.) and in Italian ("Go, go, it's time to go!").
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ryou, who stabs Prince Sincline in the heart before tackling him off the top of his exploding fortress.
  • Hidden Backup Princess: Princess Fala, who is the only survivor of her family - Galra hadn't realized that the queen had just had a baby when they attacked.
  • High-Pressure Blood: The episode with the Red Beret fighters from Galra/Doom. While GoLion in general has a harder edge than Voltron, this episode rivals even the infamous first ten minutes of Elfen Lied. This is one instance where the edits made perfect sense for a syndie kids cartoon.
  • Homage:
    • It could be unintentional, but Fala's grand dress bears a resemblance to Princess Aurora's.
    • Right after the title card in the first episode, a Galran ship flies past the screen in a way reminiscent of the Star Destroyer at the beginning of A New Hope.
  • Hot-Blooded: Tsuyoshi is called "Hothead" for a reason.
  • Humongous Mecha: Next to the original Megazord, it's one of the first things people think of when they picture "humongous mecha" - except in Japan, when it was neither the first nor the most memorable.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Princess Fala receives this from the Earth pilots when pledging to fight for Altea, except for one guy who gets interrupted by an alarm.
  • Kick the Dog: Sincline has many.
  • King of Beasts: Golion is called a King at several points, fitting this trope.
  • The Lancer: Isamu. Which the renaming of his character "Lance" for Voltron quite apropos.
  • Latex Space Suit: All of the pilot suits.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Everyone has exactly two outfits - a uniform, and one set of civvies, save for Fala, who also has a dress.
  • Meditating Under a Waterfall: Mentioned as a possibility in episode 10, when Fala is lured out to a waterfall by a Beastman (pretending to be the reincarnation of her mother as a lion), and Fala thinks she's going to be trained to be a better fighter.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard:
    • Averted with Raible, who survived the series.
    • Played straight with Hys
  • Mini Dress Of Power: Amue, after she gets rescued and gets involved in the final battle.
  • Modest Royalty: Once Fala is a pilot, she usually wears her pink jumpsuit instead of her fancy dress.
  • Monster of the Week: GoLion's gotta fight something, doesn't he?
  • Obviously Evil: The people of Galran Empire royalties are purple-skinned humanoid that looked rather vicious, its advisor is a witch shrouded in black and does satanic ritual from time to time, its Mook are clad in black steel and has vicious eyes, and its normal people looked beastly. There's no need to know for what they're actually capable of (which is even worse) to recognize them as a bunch of evil people.
  • Ojou Ringlets: Fala, although the way they are drawn makes them easy to mistake for sideburns.
  • One, Two, Three, Four, Go!: Hence the name; "Go-Lion."
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The original five Golion pilots usually called each other by nickname: "Chief", "Quiet", "Moody", "Hothead", and "Shorty". They were otherwise only known by their last names. (The "princess" manages to fit into the scheme later.)
  • Overlord Jr.: Sincline, he's very much his father's son, perhaps even worse!
  • Parental Abandonment: Fala's parents and siblings were killed when she was still a baby. Raible raised her since then.
  • Pimped-Out Dress:
    • Fala's princess dress.
    • Amue's princess dress isn't that fancy, but when she wears her battle mini dress, it fits this trope better.
    • The wedding dress Hys made for Fala to wear for her eventual wedding.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Castle Gradam rises, Fala shoots down the Battle Beast fighting GoLion with a turret while yelling something very un-Princess-like, somewhere along the line of "Son of a bitch!". It's not clear when she's apologizing, it's for accidentally doing a friendly fire on GoLion or just realizing she gave an F-Strike unbefitting of a princess.
  • Pride: As mentioned, GoLion was originally a single robot who thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread; when he tried to fight a space goddess, she split him into the five lions to teach him some humility.
  • Princess Classic: Even as a pilot, Fala is like this.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Fala wears pink with nearly everything, even her uniform.
  • Robeast: The Deathblack Beastmen which have various origins: pre-existing creatures, enhanced animals, or captured prisoners. A group of more powerful, robot monsters called the Mechablack Beastmen were introduced later on.
  • Rocket Punch: GoLion's Four Lion Attack has it launch the lion heads on its four limbs at the enemy.
  • Rock Theme Naming: The original five pilots have the names of metals as their surnames.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Fala as one of the pilots.
    • Sincline is an example, though in most cases it would have been better for Daibazaal and Galra if he was a Royal Who Did Not Do Anything.
  • Spanner in the Works: Honerva's plan to take down Altea by killing Shirogane falls victim to two spanners- one was Kurogane in Red Lion coming up with the idea to push the Deathblack Beastman Galcia into some magma, and when Galra attacks again before Altea could train a replacement, Fala takes Blue Lion.
  • Spoiler Title: Episode 6 is titled "Death of Shirogane the Hero".
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: Hiroshi.
  • Slippery Swimsuit: Happens once to Princess Fala. A high dive while wearing a bikini leads to her top surfacing before she does.
  • Standardized Leader: Akira.
  • The Starscream: Prince Sincline wants his father's throne.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: The way Fala's guardians, Raible, and Hys treat her some of the time.
  • Stock Footage: The footage of the Golion team entering their vehicles, as well as Golion being formed.
  • Super Robot: Again, just another one of many at the time in Japan, although GoLion would receive worldwide fame when adapted into Voltron.
  • Theme Naming: The original team all have metals for their names: Kogane (Gold), Shirogane (Silver), Kurogane (Steel), Seidou (Bronze), and Suzuishi (Tin).
  • Theme Song: See here.
  • To Serve Man: Alien example. Members of various alien races who are brought to Galra as slaves are split into two groups; Those who are capable of fighting are kept for entertainment in gladiatorial combat against Beastmen, or get turned into them. Those who are too weak to be of any use are cooked into a stew that is used as food for Beastmen and other slaves. Same fate befalls those slaves who die in gladiatorial combat.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Subverted oh so many times, that's what happens when you get clever villains.
  • Transforming Mecha: Mecha Beastman Delta went from robot to Drill Tank.
  • True Blue Femininity: Amue's main dress.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Amue.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Sincline goes crazy and kills Honerva when he finds out that his mother was Altean.
  • Villainous Crush: Sincline has it bad for Fala.
  • Warrior Prince: Sincline is a very powerful, and skilled fighter who spent years conquering planets. Fala is a Warrior Princess after she becomes the Blue Lion's pilot, and even Amue becomes this near the end.
  • Was Once a Man: Several of the beastmen were prisoners transformed into monsters. They're sometimes called ''half beast men.''
  • Wicked Witch: Honerva wouldn't be out of place in a Disney film.
  • The Worf Effect: Every encounter the titular robot has with a beastman who is a physical threat to GoLion is an example of this.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Beast King Go Lion


GoLion/Voltron - Shiro's Death

This video by WEP themselves show the differences between a crucial scene in Voltron compared to the original GoLion. In the original version, Shirogane dies from his wounds after his fight against Honerva, but in Voltron, "Sven" is only injured and taken to a hospital planet.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / Bowdlerise

Media sources: