So as I was watching the first few episodes of Voltron Force I felt like doing something a bit different than what I usually do. So today I’m going to try and write down some of my initial thoughts on the series and then when the series ends or when we get to certain major points I’ll revisit it and see how my view on it has changed. Now again I want to stress that this is just my initial view of the show and not my over all opinion of the show. Naturally I’m aware that things can change over the course of a series but right now this is simply dealing with the opening episodes. Also, remember that this is my opinion on the show so I’m certainly going to gripe a bit. My negatives though may not be your negatives, I’m not trying to say that this is the be all end all view on the show it’s just my personal view on it so differences in opinions are bound to occur.
So let’s start with the opening. I really don’t like this. I don’t have anything against rap as long as it’s done right but this opening just sounds dull and lazy. “Let’s Voltron” So, Voltron is now a verb as well as a noun? This is just nonsensical and honestly sucks me out of the mood to even watch the show.
Ok, the first thing you will definitely notice is the animation. It’s terrible, seriously it no where near meets some of the standards set now a days and the odd mix of 2D and 3D is more jarring than it is interesting. I wanted to say that at least the 3D is good but it isn’t, just like the 2D it’s pretty inconsistent and and the proportions on Voltron himself are a bit odd. There is something off about them, I can accept wanting to make Voltron a little less blocky than he used to be but this design isn’t really enough of a step forward. I wouldn’t be so hard on the show for it’s animation if I didn’t know that better could be done. When you take the traditional animation in comparison to fellow 80’s relaunch Thundercats it’s obvious who has the edge as there is a severe difference in detail and smoothness of animation. On the other side of it when you compare the 3D animation to another show of that style such as Transformers Prime you can see that Prime is capable of having smooth running 3D graphics that are not only well defined but very expressive as well. Even taking Voltron Force in comparison to other shows like Regular Show, Adventure Time, or any of the others where detail isn’t necessarily needed it’s clear that those shows handle their styles in a way that benefits them were as Voltron Force does not. Overall I was just really disappointed in the animation department of this show.
Past bare bones of the series we get into the story and characters. Now as apposed to the animation I have some good things to say here, but I also have some bad things so just be ready in that regard. We’ll start with the story and I’m going to sort of split this into two, I’ll start with the original Voltron cast’s side of the story and their characters here and then move on to some of the new guys we get to see. So to start this series takes place after the original Lion Voltron series, which is pretty cool I can commend them for trying to continue the story and further the continuity rather than being a straight relaunch. That being said the original Voltron is old, people who dig 80’s cartoons or lived during that time will obviously know the back story a bit better, but going into it without that knowledge may be a bit off putting at first. Still the story manages to throw in quite a few things that should please some of the older fans, they also do some confusing things but I’ll touch upon that later. Even though I did say that lack of knowledge about Voltron could be confusing they do make up for it with some back story explanation and the newer characters do help to establish a link to help new viewers become acquainted with the show better.
So how is the old cast? Well, it’s pretty give and take. The one that gets the most screen time is Lance, and he’s pretty annoying. Still, that’s his character and I may be wrong on this but they didn’t really change his character at all, aside from the hair color change but whatever. I know that his character is supposed to be a wise cracking douche but he doesn’t really come off as funny to me and his overall character isn’t too likable.
Lets get this straight right now actually, only Lance got a fairly decent showing as a character and the other four, while shown plenty, didn’t have much going on in the personality department. Since they didn’t have much going on I won’t touch too much on them right now and I’ll just quickly go through them.
Allura is pretty bland to be honest. There wasn’t a lot going on with her character in these episodes so there really wasn’t much to grasp of her personality. She didn’t really stand out at all and what little she said was easily forgettable.
Keith was shown a lot but he didn’t have much to say and didn’t have enough interaction with the other characters to be prominent yet. That being said the small glimpse into the tension between him and Lance was nice to see. Also Keith has obviously been alone for quite a while, this isn’t a big deal in the show and I’m really stretching here when I say this but this guy definitely has some social depravity and has gone as far as to make friends with a robotic mouse. Yeah, a bit of a castaway syndrome going on there.
Next we have Pidge and Hunk which are easily the dumbest names to give these characters. I like them, again they didn’t have much display in terms of character but they’re likable characters and pretty fun ones at that.
Each of the five obviously follows a specific character type even if most of them weren’t touched upon, which is ok I suppose. I’m not a big fan of the stereotype characters and to be honest those kinds of characters become really grating in the beginning until some development can be made.
I should say that the main villain is back, he’s a villain and he does mean things. Honestly he got even less demonstration of character than the main protagonists and just seems like your stereotypical 80’s villain. Even the new villains which I’ll mention here are boring, they don’t do much of anything really. Hopefully this becomes more interesting in the future but right now they’re just there as canon fodder.
Ok so the new things that we get to see, well it’s explained that what happened after the previous series was that the Lions were sabotaged to attack citizens causing them to be put into confinement. I kind of like this, only kind of though. I like the idea of them being turned on after being framed but the sudden shift in the populous’s viewpoints on the Lions was too abrupt. That and they were framed by Sky Marshall Wade who is not a very well executed villain in my opinion. There really wasn’t enough establishing for him and while I like the idea of having a villain within the community that Voltron is trying to save Wade still comes across as being evil for the sake of evil. His motive was very bland and his overall impact as of now wasn’t very interesting at all.
The cadets are ridiculous. These three kids have been chosen to join the Voltron Force because… because. Really, that’s the best explanation I can give. Yeah Daniel spoke out against the Lions being imprisoned and Vince is a capable pilot but seriously that doesn’t really justify letting these random children learn this closely guarded secret about the Voltron Force and to be trained in piloting the Lions. The reasoning is just really flimsy and while I did say that these characters help integrate new viewers their reason for being there isn’t very well thought out beyond “Hey this kid likes us and he’s an idiot, let’s tell him all of our secrets and let him pilot our giant robot.”
Which brings me to Daniel. I hate this kid, he has the mindset of a ten year old(though I’m unsure of his age anyway). He’s impulsive and arrogant and his whole focus in life is taken right out of Ricky Bobby’s book of wanting to go fast. He creates mischief simply for the sake of creating mischief and he comes off as pretty much useless in anything that isn’t piloting skill and even there Vince is still shown to be better.
Vince, the one good thing about the three kids. Vince actually has a pretty well established and layered character and has a bit of mystery shown to be centered around him. If any one of the three deserves to be the break out character for this series it’s Vince. Even if he is a very Deus Ex Machina type of character.
Larmina is there. She’s the stuck up, obnoxious and tough female that would even make ten year old Gwen Tennyson blush. She has probably the least amount of reason to be there simply being Allura’s “niece”. Yeah, this is the confusing thing I mentioned earlier as Allura doesn’t have siblings, so having a niece doesn’t really make a lot of sense, meaning that the one background characteristic for Larmina isn’t even real.
Then we reach Voltron’s actual battle. When they started with it and started the whole formation and combining with all of the classic series lines, I smiled. I liked it I really did and even the cheesy part with Daniel finishing the “and I’ll form the head!” line was alright with me. After that the fight wasn’t much to really mention mostly a fault of the animation again.
Overall, it was interesting but was pretty lacking in a lot of areas. There where several throwbacks that were nice but everything else was handled in such a lackluster fashion that I really can’t see myself watching more, at least willingly. Still with everything negative that I’ve said it’s not without its charm and I’m not negative enough to wonder why people enjoy it. That being said even with the charm it’s still just ok and if you liked the old Voltron you might get a kick out of it. For now, I might move on with this series to see how it develops and maybe do a follow up to this. Next though I wouldn’t mind tackling another series, maybe something a bit more heroic.