During my high school days (which are further in the past than I'd care to
admit), I had a friend who was downright obsessed with the Japanese anime
Voltron. The little robots littered his bedroom and his impressions of Voltron
pilots Hunk and Princess Allura ('I want a sandwich!' 'We're all gonna die!')
were priceless. This same friend endlessly complained that all the other '80's
got revamps or new projects, but Voltron was left mostly forgotten. More than a
decade later, I hope this friend has stopped his complaining. This year saw the
release of an all-new Voltron show and Xbox/PS3 game to go with it. Seemingly in
celebration of this Voltron resurgance, a DVD called Voltron: The Legend Begins
has been released, and it features seven episodes from the original series. Does
the cartoon hold up after all these years? Is this set worth looking into? Kinda.
Let's talk about the show itself first. Fans of the '80's cartoon scene know
well that not everything they loved as a child holds up to the test of time.
Some shows, like the original Thundercats, are stubbornly unwatchable trash,
while others, like Belle and Sebastian or David the Gnome, have somehow gotten
even better over the years. Voltron falls closer to the positive side of the
spectrum. The show, which follows five warrior pilots and their giant, some
assembly required vehicle robot, Voltron. This DVD set seems to follow the
show's opening, though I can't be absolutely sure these are indeed the first
seven episodes with nothing on the cutting room floor. The origin tale is a
little simple, but it does the job well. The action sequences, especially the
forming of Voltron, are just as cool as ever and it's safe to say that this
Voltron is very close to how you might remember it.
So you should go get it, right? Not so fast. Actually, you'd better just
stop. A quick search will reveal that the entirety of the Voltron series is
already available on DVD. These slightly older releases are split into five
separate volumes, with a different piece of Voltron featured on each box. Having
owned these sets, I can say that they are the best treatment the original
Voltron will ever get on DVD, and since they've been around for a while, you can
usually find them on some kind of super sale. If you've been eyeing Voltron: The
Legend Begins, go and get the first Voltron box set instead. It's only a few
more dollars for a ton more episodes, and it serves as a building block if you
should decide to buy the whole series.
Voltron: The Legend Begins isn't a terrible DVD set. The show holds up to the
test of time and it is nice to see the original series remembered as the new
ones roll out. It is, however, an unnecessary one. These seven episodes can be
found on the higher quality box sets, and the price of admission isn't all that
much more. Still, it would warm my old friend's heart to see the original
Voltron held up next to the new one, and there is nothing wrong with that.