Voltron: Defender of the Universe Set 3 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 39.95
  • Running time: 375
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Voltron: Defender of the Universe

Voltron: Defender of the Universe Set 3

By Bryce Coulter     May 31, 2007
Release Date: May 08, 2007

Voltron: Defender of the Universe Set 3
© Media Blasters

What They Say
Keith, Lance, Hunk, Pidge and Princess Allura have successfully awakened the legendary robot guardian, Voltron. After countless battles, they've pushed back the forces of evil King Zarkon, freeing the Princess's home, planet Arus, as well as their sister planet, Pollux. But they couldn't save the princess of Pollux, Romelle, from the clutches of Prince Lotor. The Voltron Force is dedicated to defense, and are unable to launch a full scale assault on Planet Doom to rescue Romelle from Lotor's Pit of Skulls. Then, a batch of slaves arrives on planet Doom, and with them Romelle's last hope. It's a former member of the Voltron force, now a dedicated revolutionary bent on toppling King Zarkon: Sven!

Contains episodes 31-45.

The Review!
Form arms, and body!! The Green Lion takes its position in the third series of Voltron DVD's.

For this viewing session, we only listened to the English 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 three discs that accompany this collection are contained in a green tin with the face of Pidge's Green Lion. A folded cardboard disc holder is used to keep the discs secure in the tin (atypical packaging of most multi-volume anime collections). An episode guide is also provided that gives a short synopsis of each episode along with its original air dates. A brief summary of how Voltron was remastered is also included in the episode guide. It is apparent that packaging design was a priority in this release in how it follows the theme of Pidge, the Green Lion, along with Princess Romelle and Prince Bandor from the planet Pollux. Again, as with the blue and yellow lion cases, this is one of the most impressive DVD packages that this reviewer has had the privileged of reviewing. It is an impressively designed tin; the images are sharp and the metallic background immediately draws the eye to it.

Clean and simple, the main menus for each of the three discs are based on the Green 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.

The Green Lion's content falls short compared to that of the Blue Lion collection. As with the previous collections, disc three contains only three full episodes as opposed to the six episodes on the previous discs. First on the extras list is an interview with John Peterson, composer of the Voltron music. If you're like me, the Voltron theme music is one of those scores that you can't get out of your head or easily forget (like Robotech, and Battle of the Planets). The interview with John Peterson is interesting as he shares how he developed the score. A music video that illustrates the Voltron musical score is also included. There is also a collection of Voltron fan videos, featuring V-Man, for the fan boy and fan girl. Video footage from the Voltron remastered premiere in St. Louis is available for your viewing pleasure where you can see a lot of 20 " 30 somethings along with a new generation of younger Voltron fans in attendance. There's nothing like feeling akin to those who share the same Voltron geekness as one's self. It's that same kind of feeling you get when lions form Voltron or when the blazing sword is formed. Last but, not least is the 1984 reels and promo footage of Voltron, which is more of an addendum to what was in the Blue Lion collection's extras.

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. This collection definitely has more meat to the overall story arc than the previous collections. We get to see a bit more character development in Pidge, Hunk, Princess Romelle, Prince Bandor, and the return of a missing Voltron Force team member in this collection. The crux of the episodes in this collection primarily deal with Zarkon's obsession with ruling the galaxy, Prince Lotor's obsession with both Princesses and rule over planet Doom, and further exposure of the Voltron Force's fighting abilities and weaknesses.

The first two episodes of the Green Lion collection kick off with another classic Lotor v/s King Zarkon as they argue and eventually spar over who should rule planet Doom. Zarkon narrowly defeats Lotor yet again. While persuading Lotor to beg for mercy from King Zarkon, Haggar reveals that she has developed a robeast that equally matches Voltron's strength. Prince Lotor's fleet and the robeast are immediately dispatched to Arus where we see the Voltron Force get their first real spanking. It's pretty obvious the lions are no match for this robeast, so Voltron is formed. During the transformation sequence the robeast attempts to prevent Voltron's formation but is driven back by all the energy surrounding the lions. However, the robeast proceeds to unleash its fury on Voltron as it inadvertently exposes a new weakness. Apparently, the Blue Lion is the primary power source for Voltron. With Haggar's advice Lotor has the robeast concentrate all of its fire power onto the Blue Lion. Spinning out of control, Voltron crashes into a crowded village where the robeast follows to continue the fight. The Blue Lion continues to receive more damage before Voltron finally gets the upper hand with the ultimate weapon, the blazing sword. But the drama's not over yet.

Blue Lion is severely damaged and disassembles out of formation with Voltron. Lotor orders its attacked, so the team quickly separates to protect the princess. Luckily, Coran is able to drive off Lotor with a little help from the Castle of Lions' defenses. Afterwards, the Princess' injuries are tended and the Blue Lion undergoes extensive repairs along with the other lions. The bad guys may have lost again, but they have exposed a new weakness that will be come a useful tactic.

Knowing that the Blue Lion is out of commission, Lotor and Zarkon relish in the crippling of Voltron and quickly begin to devise a new plan. Things don't look good for our heroes as the team discusses how to deal with the newly exposed weak spot in Voltron. The extensive repairs on the lions, especially the Blue Lion, doesn't look good. Suddenly, the ghost of King Alfor appears on the Castle monitor to reveal that the lions are like five parts of a stream flowing into a river that create a mighty force. Keith believes that this means the team must be better prepared and train harder to have more "zip and polish". The part where Keith and Lance almost come to blows is amusing as Lance always has to be such a smart-ass by telling Keith "Count me out. You're going to polish us off to a dull finish". Keith replies with a quick counterpoint and tells Lance "Let's see if your reflexes work as good as your mouth". But before they go out to train, Coran asks them to warn the townspeople they're at risk for another attack and that they should come to the Castle for protection. When they arrive, things become tense as the team appears to be held at gunpoint or pitchfork-point. But all is well - it's merely the townspeople's rally for showing they're not going to hide from Lotor anymore and that they've decided to stay and fight for their town. Nothing like being held a gunpoint to prove your resolve against the baddies!!!

Just when hope seems to be restored, the Doomies launch a new attack with a robeast that is very similar to the last. Haggar reveals that it has the power of ten robeasts. During her triumphant announcement she asks Lotor for a little reward when her robeast wins Arus. Lotor generously replies with "Of course. I'll get you a new crystal ball and a dozen brooms." Lotor is such a classy guy!!

Keith pushes the team hard in training, and poor Allura takes a beating from the live fire drills. Nanny is freaking out, and Coran reassures her that the training is vital due to the revelation of Voltron's weak points. So, when Keith orders Coran to have the Castle fire on Voltron without mercy, he doesn't question it. They do well at first, but when Keith has everyone strictly stick to evasive maneuvers, Hunk takes a hit and the Yellow Lion detaches. Hunk quickly reattaches, but messes up again. This time he spirals out of control and crashes to the ground. Poor Hunk, it's tough seeing the big guy cry as he gets quite upset with himself for messing up twice. Lance makes another classic smart-ass comment, at Hunk's expense, by announcing that "Maybe we can make it with a one-legged Voltron if we don't do a lot of walking". Lance definitely knows how to kick a guy when he's down.

Lotor's fleet shows up leaving little time for the team to lick their wounds. Anxious to redeem himself, Hunk attempts to lead the attack on the new robeast. Of course, Hunk gets pounded by the robeast as does everyone else pitching to help him. Temporarily knocking the lions out of the game, the robeast turns its attention to destroying the town. Unexpectedly, the lions regroup and perform one their practice maneuvers, a power dive, that decapitates the robeast. The team quickly assembles Voltron, but it is immediately caught in the grip of the Robeast's powerful beams. King Alfor's ghost appears to remind Keith of the stream/river analogy. This inspires Keith to concentrate each the lion's power to execute the second most awesome Voltron finish move next to that of the blazing sword. Detach Lion Heads!!! This move is as much fun as watching Voltron slice and dice robeasts with the blazing sword. There's nothing like watching four lion heads fire from Voltron's extremities to impale a robeast. This clears the way for the blazing sword to mop up. Poor Lotor, he just can't win for losing.

The remaining quasi-filler episodes deal with a plague of biblical proportions when a bunch of frogs are sent from planet Doom to destroy Voltron by exploiting his weakness of not being able to fight under water. Another attempt to separate the Voltron Force is made by Lotor when he lures Pidge away from the rest of the team while a robeast runs amok. In a Nazi Germany-esque episode planet Doom boycotts the intergalactic space Olympics by trying to destroy the Olympic arena on Arus. If one Lotor isn't enough, try two Lotor's. Haggar creates a clone of Lotor to do his bidding on Arus while the real Lotor get's all the glory without the embarrassment of failure.

The second disc kicks off with yet a couple more quasi-filler episodes that deal with Lotor and Zarkon's attempts to defeat Voltron without getting their hands dirty or better yet, without cowering in defeat and embarrassment. A new hitman is hired to pilot a super fast robeast, and a band of red berets are dispatched to terrorize the village people on Arus. However, it is apparent that Zarkon, Haggar, and Lotor are on to Voltron as they continually exploit its weak points, because Voltron gets pounded on quite a bit. Definitely some great mecha action!!

The primary story arc of the Voltron series resumes in a span of three episodes entitled "The Captive Comet", "The Little Prince", and "There Will Be a Royal Wedding". These fan favorites thrust Voltron into one of the first near death experiences for the team. Haggar comes up with yet another evil plan to destroy Voltron by using a force that Voltron once vanquished. The Omega Comet, a mysterious object that behaves like a black hole, sucks everything it passes up with its massive gravitational pull. Voltron at one time had stashed the comet away, using a secret maneuver, into a far corner of the universe where it could not be found. Lotor's newly claimed prize, Princess Romelle, witnesses the plan to send the comet on a crash-course for Arus. The Voltron Force immediately responds to the Omega Comet threat when they receive a message from Romelle. Deliberately turning a blind eye, Lotor is on to Romelle's intervention.

Coran believes that there is no hope to stop the comet as it previously took Voltron 10 years to discover and develop the plan to stop it. The plan used to dispose of the comet was lost when Voltron was split into the five lions. To stop the comet, the Voltron Force has to quickly rediscover the secret plan. The lions make a futile attempt to blast the Omega Comet off course while Lotor and Haggar discuss a fake secret attack plan in front of Romelle. Desperately, she relays the misinformation to the team unwittingly sealing their doom as Lotor and Haggar laugh about the success of their foil.

Voltron immediately becomes trapped on the comet's surface due to the misinformation from Romelle while Arus begins to experience the destructive effects of the comet's gravitational pull. Coran contacts the Galaxy Alliance for help. The Galaxy Alliance is unable to assist them because the only available fleet, Prince Bandor's fleet, is guarding the main power supply. Haggar deploys a device that begins chewing Voltron to bits. Ignoring orders, Bandor sends his fleet to save Voltron from the ripper. In a final desperate attempt to knock the comet off course, Keith orders Bandor to fire at the comet and on Voltron. This knocks the comet off course, unfortunately taking Voltron along for a ride, trapped on its surface. The episode ends with Lotor basking in the delight of Voltron's doomed fate.

Prince Bandor, confident that the Voltron Force is still alive, continues to try to free Voltron even though the Galaxy Alliance's main power supply is undefended. Using grip beams, he orders his fleet to engage in freeing Voltron from the comet's surface. The ships' grip beams are no match for the comet's gravitational field. And to make things worse, a Doomite fleet shows up picking off each of Bandor's ships. Coran attempts to help Bandor by remotely activating Voltron, but the Doomite fleet proves to be too much as all of Bandor's ships are destroyed. As a result, the Omega Comet hurtles off towards the end of the universe while Prince Bandor's ship spins helplessly out of control. Assuming total victory, Lotor deploys a robeast to destroy Arus. Everything seems hopeless.

Fear not, for an angel appears when the Omega Comet arrives at the end of the universe. Here, the angel offers the Voltron Force a choice to follow her into the realm of eternal happiness or be healed and return to Arus. Of course, our heroes can't abandon their call to protect the universe. Unaware of the miracle that has taken place, Prince Bandor somehow manages to land on Arus to challenge Lotor in a desperate attempt to free his sister. All seems hopeless as Coran and Bandor prepare to surrender as Lotor positions a robeast at the Castle of Lions' front gate. Now revived, Voltron shows up in the nick of time while a dumbfounded Lotor watches him slice n' dice his robeast with the blazing sword. Though Voltron saves Arus, Romelle is still Lotor's prisoner. The episode closes with Lotor, once again, offering Romelle a chance to be his bride on Planet Doom. Romelle claims that she'd rather die right before a firing squad knocks her down into the pit of skulls.

The third part of the three part continuation recaps Romelle falling into the pit of skulls where a ragged looking man emerges to save her. Upon losing the guards, the mystery man reveals himself to be none other than...Sven! Sven urges Romelle to flee on her own, but she won't go without him. Sven reveals how he ended up on Planet Doom after being taken captive and recovering from his near fatal injuries that were inflicted by Haggar. Romelle helps Sven work through the guilt he feels for letting the Voltron Force down, and Sven decides to help Romelle escape Planet Doom. Aware of their escape from the pit of skulls, Haggar attempts to flush the pair out by having a Robeast slaughter some slaves in the arena. Romelle nearly reveals herself in an attempt to stop the madness, but Sven convinces her she can do more good by surviving in the hopes of returning another day to free all slaves on Doom. Tearfully, Romelle agrees with Sven and they steal a ship. The Doomies are in hot pursuit of the pair until they cross paths with Prince Bandor and the Voltron Force, who had come out to escort their fleeing friends. Haggar's robeast, the Iron Maiden, busts up the game and goes after Voltron. The crown on the maiden paralyzes Voltron and it looks like his fate is sealed, yet again. But, Sven and Romelle somehow destroy the crown which clears the way for Voltron to use the blazing sword to finish off the robeast. Thwarting yet another attempt to destroy Voltron, The Voltron Force gets a joyful reunion with Sven and then returns home to Arus while Romelle returns home to Pollux. Sven decides to remain on Pollux with Romelle instead of taking back his place on the team.

The remaining episodes in the collection primarily deal with a new found hope in the people that are oppressed under the rule of King Zarkon. Voltron's success has inspired many slaves and citizens to begin resisting the tyranny, which will eventually become a common underlying theme that will lead to the ruin of King Zarkon's reign. Another attempt to match Voltron's power is created when Haggar creates a duplicate of Voltron, which is incapable of defending itself from the awesomeness of Voltron's Blazing Sword finishing move along with the help from some young boys who help thwart the plans of Prince Lotor.

Finishing off the collection, we get one a taste of what is yet to come as the forces of planet Pollux and planet Arus unite to free the galaxy of King Zarkon's rule. The final episode begins with Prince Bandor receiving news about King Zarkon's plans to fuel some 500 robeasts on a satellite called Nuklon. Sven and Romelle (dressed in a 60's go-go girl outfit and cape " yeah baby!) proceed to do a little covert ops in attempt to stop this threat by conducting a spy mission on planet Doom.

Sven and Romelle improvise a way to infiltrate the Nuklon satellite by intercepting a ship being sent to Nuklon. On board, Sven disguises himself as a robeast while Romelle sends word to the Voltron Force. Sven's main purpose is to prevent the robeast shipment from reaching Nuklon. His sabotaging attempts are rewarded as he sets off a series of explosions that destroy the ship. Sven narrowly escapes in a Doomite fighter and informs the Voltron Force that something needs to be done about the Nuklon satellite. The Voltron Force shows up and Lotor sends out his own spider-like robeast. As expected, Voltron takes out the robeast and the Nuklon satellite is annihilated. It's pretty cool watching Voltron plow through the satellite moon with his blazing sword. On planet Doom, Romelle is concerned about the fate of Sven as nobody has heard from him since his escape. While she ponders his fate, Sven sneaks up on her. A funny, yet playful scene ensues as a great episode for Sven/Romelle fans comes to a close.

In Summary:
The Green Lion volume of the Voltron Collection continues to build on the foundation laid by the previous Blue and Yellow Lion Collections. There's more campy plotting, back biting, and blundering with Doomies this time around. However, there is a bit more of a serious tone in that the plots to destroy Voltron becomes evermore desperate. The Voltron Force has been dealt some heavy blows, but Sven is back on the scene to help do a little espionage and spy work. Lotor's continued impatience and lust for Allura and Romelle continues to blind his resolve to destroy Voltron while Zarkon's zeal for galactic domination reveals a weakness that can only soon be discovered. Haggar has to have something up her sleeve or in her crystal ball as she is almost too cooperative in helping Lotor and Zarkon. The oppressed worlds, slaves, and prisoners are finding something to believe in. It's only a matter of time before it all comes to a head as the Voltron Force pursues to free the galaxy from the tyranny of planet Doom. A must get for any fan of the 80's cult classic. Let's Go Voltron Force!!!

Japanese 2.0 Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, XBOX 360 DVD player, XBOX 360 Component HDAV Cable with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.


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