Yes, I marathoned this one the day it debuted. Stayed up until 1:00 a.m. because I had to know if the creators would finally do justice to a show I loved. Voltron: Defender of the Universe will always hold a special place in my heart. I loved every cheesy aspect of it and still do. I have seen the original Japanese GoLion version, but even that can’t eclipse my love for the American one.
Spoiler alert because there is no way I can talk about this show without comparisons to the original.
Overall, I really liked Voltron: Legendary Defender. If I had to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a 7 (which is far above what I’d have given the more recent Voltron Force). It wasn’t perfect, but it had a strong story, likeable characters, and good animation . I don’t ask for much when it comes to guilty pleasures, but I’m relieved that Legendary Defender wasn’t a complete embarrassment.
Shiro: He has a mechanical arm and amnesia issues. I guess this makes him the Winter Soldier of the Voltron team. I have a huge girly crush on Winter Soldier, so I’m a-okay with this. I’m also very grateful his disappearing act happens before the show starts and not during episode six. His personality is more aligned with the original Keith and his confrontation with Haggar was a nice callback to Sven’s confrontation in the original show. I really hope they keep him around. Exploring his PTSD issues would give the show a depth beyond flying the Lions around the galaxy.
Keith: It’s going to take some getting used to having Keith flying red lion and being the hot head/lone wolf of the team. If the writers ever do disappear Shiro, I hope they promote this Keith to Black Lion. What makes Keith’s hotheadedness more tolerable than some of the later Lance incarnations is that Keith is more of a slow burn. He doesn’t get pissed just out frustration. He needs a damn good reason. Maybe this is because he got kicked out of the academy? I want to know more about the situation surrounding his time there. Not sure how I feel about him still having a mullet though, but at least it’s not halfway down his back.
Lance: Who would have thought Keith would be the hothead and Lance the voice of reason? Never saw that coming. I don’t dislike this, because the teenage hijinks of the pilot episode got really old, really fast. I hope they’re setting up a good cop/bad cop team-up between Keith and Lance because the role reversal would be interesting to explore. I don’t mind the flirting as much as I thought I would, but I do hope the encounter with Rolo and Nyma kills the worst of his impulses. At least it’s not as constant as Hunk’s trope of always looking for food.
Pidge: Whoa! Pidge is a girl? What a pleasant surprise. It fits nicely because it explains her size without making it look like Galaxy Garrison is sending a child into battle. I only wished they made it more clear if Pidge is a girl who cross-dresses for the sole purpose of her finding her family or if she’s truly transgendered. The fact that she doesn’t change her clothing to look more feminine, and the artist didn’t suddenly give her a female figure, makes me think Pidge might be transgendered. I like her story arc and hope she continues to clash with the rest of her team, maybe get her own episode down the line.
Hunk: Biggest disappointment. The one thing Voltron Force got right was making Hunk a huge guy, but still battle ready. Here we have the fat guy who’s obsessed with food and a flight mechanic who’s afraid to fly. The first is insulting, the second doesn’t make sense. He gets better about not puking while flying, but I hope they ditch the the whole “he’s fat and therefore must always be on the lookout for food” if they have a season 2. I was glad to see he got his own story arc with the Balmarans.
Allura: One good thing about Allura flying the castle is the writers are under less pressure to have her fly one of the Lions. She still might at some point, but at least she’s not going to become a member of the team for lack of anything better to do with her. Flying the castle is pretty damn impressive. As for her hulking out – well, it was pretty cool watching her drop throw Shiro into the escape pod. The corrupted castle episode was also a nice callback to the original white lion episode, where the lion pretends to be the spirit of her father and lures her away.
Coran – Kill him, please. Even when he’s not overacting, he’s overacting. Just have him catch a laser to the chest and be done with him. I much preferred the British butler of the original.
Zarkon – Another surprise. He’s the original Black Paladin. This is a story worth exploring. I want to know how and why. Who did he fly with? What happened to them? Finally, a break from the mustache twirling. He’s a hands on Emperor who does more than sit on his throne all day long. We’ve got the meat, let’s add the gravy.
Haggar – eh, nothing’s changed here. She’s still does Zarkon’s bidding, but I don’t see her following her own agenda yet. At least she’s lost the cat.
Sendek – A more serious and deadly version of Yurak, not that the name change changes his outcome. I’m a little surprised they killed him the way they did instead of having him fight his way free to torment the team in the future.
The Space Mice – Hated them in the original. Hate them now. My headcannon has feral cats wandering the hallways of the castle keeping the rodent population under control.
The music – The main theme sounds like the generic muzak you hear while waiting in line for a ride at EPCOT. Not inspiring at all. Even “Let’s Voltron” from Voltron Force had some zip and dash to it. This is just bland and boring.
Nanny – oh, wait – no Nanny. Yay! May she never return. Also no Lotor or Rommel. I wonder if Pollox will play a part in this universe at all? It would be kind of cool to have twin badass cousins flying castles around the Galaxy.
I guess this means I’m looking forward to season two.