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Five days from now, I’ll be settling down with a delicious snack and a fizzy beverage, ready to binge season 3 of Voltron: Legendary Defender. What is Voltron, you say? Oh, honey. *deep breath* It’s this super cool show where five teens are drawn into a space battle to fight the evil lord Zarkon from taking over the universe using magical robot space cats that combine into one awesome robot named Voltron!
If you’re an 80’s kid like me, you probably watched or at least know of the US version that aired back in 84. Fun fact about me: my little brother had a Voltron bed spread and I was jealous because I wanted it instead of the Strawberry Shortcake one I was stuck with.
This current version of Voltron is produced by DreamWorks Animation and broadcast on Netflix. I started watching it last summer, not expecting to care much about it. Mostly because I tried to watch the 2011 version and was not impressed.
With Legendary Defender, showrunners Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim do Santos have helped create a series that’s easy to fall in love with. Before I realized it, I’d watched the whole series. As soon as I was done I sent off for my Voltron Fangirl Badge. Okay, there isn’t really a badge. But if there was one I’d own it.
Since I love the show so much, I want to talk about it. So I figure, why not start a blog series where I nerd-girl out over all my favorite shows, movies and fandoms? I think it’ll be cool. But before I dive into the complexities of the show, I’ll give a little background. This week I give you: TOP SIX REASONS TO WATCH VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER.
1. The animation is done by Studio Mir, the same folks who worked on Legend of Korra. I haven’t watched LOK yet, but I have seen how beautiful the show is. Voltron is just as gorgeous. The Black Paladin (S1.11) is one of my favorite episodes. In my opinion, it has some of the most gorgeously animated scenes from any of the shows I watch.
My artist friend Sam (check out her amazing work HERE) pointed out the CGI effects on some of Voltron’s battle scenes when I convinced her to watch a few episodes with me. They’re pretty dope too.
2. The voice actors are amazing. Neil Kaplan is absolutely stellar as Lord Zarkon. I’ll never understand how he gets his voice that low and controlled. Cree Summers kills it as Haggar. She’s so eeeeeevil. And her scream as she cast a spell at the end of season one is one of my favorite sounds. I didn’t even know I had favorite sounds until I heard that scream.
Josh Keaton – absolute sweetheart of a human – voices Takashi Shirogane. I love the strength he gives to Shiro’s voice and crack up at his dry tone when he’s on the verge of losing his patience. And Steven Yeun has done such a wonderful job as Keith that I don’t know who I love more, the character or Steven. Like, I think if I were ever allowed to sit in on Steven voicing Keith I would just look at him like this the whole time:
*Voice Actor side note. Norman Reedus does a guest appearance as one of the aliens in S1. So you get a fun little moment of Daryl and Glenn battling each other in space. I like to imagine that Steven and Norman hugged it out once they were finished recording. Then they both cried because they miss Glenn.
3. Strong female characters! Princess Allura is basically the general of the team. What I like about her are the many facets to her personality. She’s vulnerable and unsure of herself. She also steps up and does the damn thing when it’s time to be the leader.
She playfully allows the mice to do her hair in crazy styles then fearlessly takes on the enemy in ship-to-ship or even hand-to-hand combat. It is wonderful seeing a character who is unashamedly feminine yet also tough and in charge.
We also have evil genius Haggar. She’s a powerful force in the Galra Empire. And – cover your eyes if you don’t want to be spoiled – Pidge/Katie Holt rocks it as a paladin. She’s smart in both technology and strategy. Even more awesome, none of the paladins treat her any differently because she’s a she. And teensy spoiler: LOTOR'S GENERALS.
4. Do you ship? Well if you do, this show has a multitude of shipping choices for you. You can go old school and ship Keith and Allura. You can go best friends to lovers with Lance and Hunk or enemies to lovers with Keith and Lance.
Or you can join me, Shiro and Keith on Team Sheith (the best ship ?) if you love angst and hidden backstories. (I’ll talk more about shipping, fandom wars and age discourse in a later post). Or go wild and multi-ship. There’s lots of choices and loads of gorgeous fanart and amazing fanfics to suit whatever floats your boat.
5. It’s very well-written. Voltron isn’t your standard monster of the week cartoon. There is a long-game story arc to the show. The characters have backstories and motivations. There’s struggle and loss, humor and fun. The show even does a great job in depicting a character with PTSD who is still able to step up and lead the team.
6. People of Color representation! Not only is Allura a strong female character, she’s also a Brown Girl! She’s an alien race so we can’t assign any particular ethnicity to her but it is lovely to see someone with a darker skin tone taking charge. In addition, you have Lance who is Cuban and Hunk who is Samoan. These ethnicities aren’t technically canon as I believe they were only confirmed by the voice actors. But they do have markedly tan skin tones so I’ll take it.
Keith is racially ambiguous. He has black hair and pale skin which doesn’t tell us much. But he was Korean in prior versions of the show, so maybe that will carry over to this version. And of course, there’s Takashi Shirogane. His name and facial features identify him as Japanese. More on him next week.
So, there you have it! A lovely list of reasons to convince you to give Voltron a try. Give it a watch then stay tuned to chat with me about the show in future blog posts. Seasons 1 and 2 are currently up on Netflix. Season 3 drops August 4th. (You can’t hear it, but I’m making squealy fan girl noises of excitement). If you have any comments or questions about the show, things you want me to discuss, or suggestions for S3 binge snacks let me know in the comments. ?
Thanks for reading!
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My rambling and not at all edited thoughts on romance novels, writing, and pop culture.