When I say "Voltron", what do you think of? Do you think of 5 robot lions defending a princess and her planet, or do you think of 15 different ships exploring space?
Well, both are right. There are actually 2 different series that got brought over from Japan and made into "Voltron" by World Events Productions. Between the two of us, my brother and I got the full set of the vehicles for VV, the full set of Matchbox Lions, and the action figures for LV, all in one Christmas. Talk about happy campers. *grin*
Originally, LV (Lion Voltron) was Hyaku Ju Oh Go-Raion (One Hundred Beast King Go-Lion) and VV (Vehicle Voltron) was Kikou Kantai Dairugger XV (Armored Squadron Dairugger XV). Both were animated by Toei Animation. Of course, LV was the version that really caught on in the US, so much so that Toei created a second season specifically for the US market, as Go-Lion never had a sequel. (I find this unfortunate for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I l iked VV just as much as LV, dang it!)
Y'all probably know the story of LV, but I'll start with it anyway. Earth is part of a Galaxy Alliance. Galaxy Garrison sends 5 young space explorers to aid the planet Arus, also a part of the Alliance, as they are being attacked by the power- and slave-hungry planet Doom. The space explorers (Keith, Sven, Lance, Pidge and Hunk) manage to revive the mighty robot Voltron to defend Arus from further Doom invasions.
Once the writers conveniently get rid of Sven, this show falls comfortably into the "team" genre of anime, as immortalized by Gatchaman. Keith is the able commander, Lance his best friend and hot-headed second in command, Allura the token female, Pidge the kid or mascot and Hunk the big guy. (I've read somewhere that Sven was actually the second in command before being injured. I'm not sure if this is fanon1 or canon.)
A lot like Gatch2, isn't it? *grin*
Now, we get into the realm of fuzzy memories, because I've seen LV a heck of a lot more recently than VV. I believe the premise for VV was that the Voltron on Arus was so successful that Galaxy Garrison decided to build their own. They chose to make 15 "ships" that could combine in various ways. The individual ships not only form Voltron, but can also become 3 different composite vehicles, one specifically for underwater exploration, one for terrain and one for aerial. Hence, the three teams of this Voltron: the Air Team, led by Jeff, the Land Team, led by Cliff and the Sea Team, led by Crick.
Galaxy Garrison sent the pieces parts of this Voltron out on the ship "Explorer" to find new planets and defend against Drule attacks. The Drules are the bad guys in this version; they've got white hair and eyes with red sclera. However, I think that they're trying to find a place to live, as their homeworld is dying. In any case, Hazar, the supreme commander, eventually comes around to wanting to make peace with the Alliance, though the rest of his government wants to keep fighting.
Of course, it's a lot more difficult to get to know 15 pilots, their commander, his assistants and the 8 or so prominent Drules than it is to get to know 5 pilots, 2 princesses, their 3 supporters and the 3 head Doomites (Zarkon, Lotor and Haggar). I was an avid watcher, and I still couldn't get the names of 2 of the members of the Sea Team until I found them somewhere on the Web, and fairly recently at that.
It was a lot harder for this version to fall into the "team" genre, being that there were 15 pilots. However, each team did have a token female, the Air team had the kid and the big guy, Jeff was the charismatic leader (I always thought his lisp was cute!), and his best friend is Cliff. (All right, so I made that last part up. If you look hard enough, you can find anything you want to see. *grin*)
All the Voltron images on these pages were blatantly stolen from either the Voltron Image Archive or Zejan's Voltron Lair (and some were resized by me, very primitively, I know). Both are listed on my Links page under Voltron.
Anime FanGirl Page
1"Fanon" is a term that, in a nutshell, means something that may not have been specified in "canon" (meaning the original show/series/books/whatever), but is generally accepted by fans as being true. As such, it is often incorporated into fanfiction and assumed by many to be canon.
2Yes, like Gatchman when it was made into Battle of the Planets, most of the "real" violence was cut out when it was dubbed, in accordance with censorship for children's TV. In the original, the Earth was devastated by nuclear war, the Doom "robots" were real live soldiers, and while Sven was injured and sent away, Takashi was killed. The guy Romelle finds on Doom was actually Takashi's younger brother Sho, though he looked enough like Takashi that WEP was able to pass him off as Sven. Convenient, that.