Voltron: Defender of the Universe Set 2 (of 8) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, November 20, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2006
What They Say
The evil Prince Lotor of Planet Doom has come to destroy Planet Arus and take Princess Allura to be his slave. The Voltron Force, Keith, Lance, Pidge and Hunk pilot the Black, Red, Green and Yellow Lions to defend the peacful planet. With Princess Allura in the Blue Lion, they form Voltron and destroy Lotor's robeasts.
Frusturated, Lotor targets Planet Pollux, and Allura's cousin Romelle. Can Voltron defend two entire planets at once? And what will happen to the Voltron Force after a poisened blade leads to Princess Allura's funeral?
Contains episodes 16-30.
Form feet, and legs!, the yellow lion takes its position in the second series of Voltron DVD's.
For this viewing session, we listened to the English only dub of Voltron. The stereo mix for this series is nicely expansive as it makes good use of directionality throughout the program both for action and dialogue effects. The sound effects may be a bit dated, but the sound quality is excellent. The transfer to Dolby 5.1 sounds great due to the fact that Voltron was the first American TV program to ever be recorded in stereo. The dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback on either language track.
Originally airing back in 1982, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. With this show being nearly 24 years old, the transfer for it looks great. The digital remastering of the video footage closely resembles the care taken in the Robotech Remastered: Extended Editions and the newly released Gatchaman Collector's Editions. However, there is some graininess to the video that causes some of the solid color areas to look a distorted. This is only noticeable when sitting about three feet away on my 62" widescreen LCD screen and is often the case with older animated TV series. When viewing from a nine foot distance, the video footage looks pretty smooth. There are some minor areas of print deterioration and scratches, but are minor. As in the first collection, it was noticed that some video sequences would appear where a character's clothing, vehicle, or the background did not match or stay consistent, which is typical for many older anime series.
The packaging was not available at the time of this review, but the images of the Yellow Lion case look impressive and make a neat collector's keepsake.
Clean and simple, the main menus for each of the three discs are based on the Yellow Lion. The disc menu has a newly drawn image of the Yellow Lion and screen capture of some of the main characters. The Voltron theme music loops in the background while the main menu is displayed. The menu options are along the bottom left side of the screen and there were no transition delays switching between menus. The submenus contain a modern rendition of on the left side of the screen Voltron with screen caps of the chapters vertically arranged on the right. As with the main menu, a looping musical theme plays while the submenus are displayed.
This collection is not as impressive as the Blue Lion collection. As with the Blue Lion collection, disc three contains only three full episodes as opposed to the six episodes on the previous discs. First on the extras list is a music video of Viva Voltron by Buckethead. This was hard to review as I'm not sure if this is really that cool. Anyone who plays guitar and swings nun chucks on stage is sort-of cool in my book. However, the video is pretty bizarre in that it mixes in original music and shots of BucketHead doing the Robot in front of Voltron footage. Another half hour segment with the producers and creators of Voltron is provided here, which build upon the previous collection's interviews. Probably the best extra in this collection has to be the toy commercials. The commercials feature some of those fan favorite Matchbox commercials where the kids are transforming the lions into Voltron. Oh, the memories... (Can you remember how expensive it was to own all five Voltron lions was back then??) Best of all, is the Japanese toy ads that use stop-motion animation of the lions forming. It's almost as cool as watching the animated formation of Voltron. To round things out for the extras is a video clip featuring the Voltron transformation sequence spoken in different languages.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The writers of Voltron did a nice job in mixing "stand-alone" episodes that deal with character development while continuing to push the overall story arc. We get to see a bit more character development of Lance, Pidge, and Hunk in this collection. We also get some of those fun, yet campy Space Mice scenes as well. The crux of the episodes in this collection primarily deal with Prince Lotor's obsession with Princess Allura, further development of the Voltron Force's fighting abilities, and Prince Bandor and Princess Romelle from the planet Pollux.
The Lion Voltron saga continues with Keith, Princess, Lance, Hunk, and Pidge protecting Planet Arus from the evil ploys of King Zarkon and Prince Lotor. The Voltron Force is now a force to be reckoned with. The first episode of the collection kicks off with a celebration of a bridge that was destroyed by Zarkon's forces when Arus was besieged by Planet Doom. Prince Lotor devises a plan to capture Princess Allura during the celebration festivities. As expected, Lotor's plan is thwarted and he reluctantly retreats vowing to return.
The most interesting story arc in this collection is that involving Prince Bandor and Princess Romelle from the planet Pollux. And as expected, planet Doom is involved in the unexpected alliance that develops between Arus and Pollux. Prince Lotor is one of those villains that you love to hate. His undying pursuit of Princess Allura is his greatest weakness. Many of his endeavors to please King Zarkon are blundered by his zeal to capture the princess. This is exhibited in his handling of the planet Pollux, Arus' sister planet. For some reason there is bad blood between the two worlds. The prince of Pollux, Avok, agrees to become a Robeast in attempt to conquer planet Arus by laying a trap for Voltron. The Voltron Force responds to the threat imposed by Avok and Lotor. The Voltron Force is forced to defeat Avok while attempting convince his brother and sister, Princess Romelle and Bandor, that Plant Doom is the common enemy and not each other. Romelle and Bandor join the Voltron Force in attempt to defeat Lotor. Again, Lotor tries to capture Allura, but ends up capturing Romelle, who looks very much like Allura, apparently to become Lotor's play thing. Prince Bandor vows to help Voltron defeat planet doom and free his sister.
The recently captured Romelle is imprisoned on planet Doom. Lotor's lust of Allura gets the best of him as he tries to snag a smooch from her. Of course, he is seriously denied when she backhands him in the face. Romelle even tries to stab him with a sharp rock. Poor Lotor - he gets no respect. Having been brutally mistreated by Lotor, Romelle resolves to stealing a ship along with her cellmates. Lotor has her shot down on the icy planet of Neve. During her crash landing, she attempts to send a distress signal. Of course, the Voltron Force responds by mounting a rescue mission along with Bandor, Romelle's little brother. Haggar is already lying in wait for them by assuming Romelle's identity. However, her cover is blown because she can't hide her gnarly looking hand. A brief fight ensues, ending with both Romelle and Bandor being captured. As expected, Lotor demands that Allura give herself up to save the lives of Bandor and Romelle. Willingly, Allura makes the trek to surrender herself by walking up the side of mountain slope. Keith plays a tick on Lotor by switching places with Allura as a huge blizzard whips up. Covered with snow, Keith reaches the top of the slope. When he reaches Lotor, all heck breaks loose and Bandor is able to free himself. After a skirmish, Keith gets back to Black Lion so Voltron can take care of a Robeast that's now on the loose. (You can't have a Voltron episode without a good Robeast fight) It's not a total victory for Voltron though, as Lotor runs away with Romelle as his prisoner yet again.
On a final note, a new twist in the story is slowly begining to formulate as King Zarkon becomes ever more critical of his son's military failures and how he cannot defeat Voltron. Zarkon continuously pokes fun at his son's infatuation with Allura. Resentment towards King Zarkon slowly develops in Lotor's mind. Lotor even begins to thirst for throne of planet Doom with thoughts of overthrowing King Zarkon. Hagar sees this welling up in Lotor and makes a personal vow to help Lotor eventually become king of planet Doom, of course, when the time is right.
The Yellow Lion volume of the Voltron Collection continues to build on the foundation laid by the Blue Lion Collection. With everyone's favorite Voltron villain, Prince Lotor, on the loose one can't help but be caught up in the nostalgia of the old story. If you liked the first collection, then you gotta get this one. Let's Go Voltron Force!!!
English Language,English Subtitles
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, XBOX 360 DVD player, XBOX 360 Component HDAV Cable with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 3 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Media Blasters
Running time: 350
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Voltron: Defender of the Universe