voltronSince the alphabet is the building block of our language, the Powet Alphabet is the building block of what makes us geeks.

Nope, we’re not trying to put a crazy spin on “V for Vendetta” involving robot lions. It’s time for some more Powet Alphabet where we’re featuring the letter V for Voltron.

We all remember the great robot anime of the 1980’s. The original Gundam had been premiered, along with Robotech, and became legendary as the pioneers of what was much later dubbed the “Mecha” prime years. Voltron was the third component in these top-tiered series in terms of popularity and fanbase.

Debuted in 1984, Voltron was the watered-down version of Japan’s “GoLion” series, which had to be censored a decent amount in order to be suitable for American audiences – so much so that the two series are considered almost separate of one-another. The story was nothing complicated to begin with – 5 young space cadets exploring the outer regions of the galaxy and stumbling upon a forgotten planet that just so happened to have 5 large robot lions as its guardians that could become a huge robotic knight capable of whooping ass in a variety of ways. Voltron managed to take the best parts of classic mecha show, such as Transformers and Gundam, and meshed them together into its own thing. Thus began the series that spanned 5 seasons and became a cult classic amongst early anime fans along, and became synonymous with other shows debuting at the same time such as Thundercats and He-Man.

200px-DairuggerPromoSadly the show’s supposed sister-series, Vehicle Voltron, never got the same kind of recognition and popularity of Lion Voltron. This was mostly due to episodes never initially debuting on American television. (And the fact in Japan the series known as Diarugger XV, never had anything to do with GoLion) The animated crossover event, “Fleet of Doom” was the only time Vehicle Voltron was shown in the states prior to later releases. This faired better than the long-rumored Gladiator Voltron (Lightspeed ElectroGod Albegas), which was marketed to American toy distributors, but never integrated fully into the Voltron; Defenders of the Universe storyline due to how badly the small bit of Vehicle Voltron was received.

Unfortunately, as with some popular shows, fame came to bite Voltron in the ass when show licenses switched hands. Hoping to bank on past glory and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the show’s debut in the U.S.A, a new “sequel” show was created called “Voltron: The 3rd Dimension” which featured strictly computer animation as opposed to the cell-animation that made the original show what it was. Despite best efforts by the show producers, including some of the voice talent from the original show reprising roles, Voltron 3D was a flop due to poor script-writing and shoddy animation quality. It seems Voltron was not meant to grow up with its viewers from the past.

Devil's Due Voltron ComicDespite it being over 20-years since the show ended in 1989, Voltron still has a fresh presence for today’s generation. In 2005 the show finally completed its distribution license and was able to begin releasing the show seasons in box-sets, featured in decorative tins with each of the lions on the front. Vehicle Voltron finally got its due as well, being released in sets after the Lion Voltron series finished up last year. A short-lived comic series was released by Devil’s Due Publishing that attempted to modernize the story of the original show, with cameos by Vehicle Voltron, though the series was put on extended hiatus and ultimately cancelled, again due to poor distribution. An Omnibus was eventually put together of the comic series. Toys have also still been in production, with the I-Men series releasing the 5 separate Voltron lions with their respective pilots, as well as Toynami releasing a 20th anniversary Masterpiece Collection edition of Voltron in 2005.

Voltron, being as influential as it is, may still yet live on into the future, with future animated features and the ever-present rumors of a live-action film supposedly in the works. Nevertheless, Voltron was a gateway into geekdom for a good many of us, and as such will remain a concrete piece of our childhoods for the rest of our lives. One that hopefully we can pass on to our kids someday.

Get in on the Awesome!