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"Military Sci-Fi Oddities: VOLTRON: Defender of the Universe " Topic

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396 hits since 18 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2018 3:56 p.m. PST

"After President Reagan altered the relationship between the media and advertising around 1983 came the deregulation that was the genesis of most our of the beloved 1980's cartoons. In addition to this policy change in Washington was the trend by the American company to import Japanese cartoons and toys to feed the hungry science fiction toy market that began in the 1970s. During this time period, we got noted anime series like Space Cruiser Yamato, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Science Ninja Team Gatchaman airing on American TV sets. Two of the most unusual American-Japanese hybrid TV shows grew out of this movement were: ROBOTECH and Voltron…and the two are more related more than I originally believed. In this blogpost, we will dive deeply into the muddy waters of what Voltron is and what it turned into. It is a long strange trip, indeed.

With the success of Masters of the Universe cartoon and toyline, it opened the doors to other companies and studios looking to replicate that success. The issue was the number of shows needed for syndication, 65 episodes, took time to construct. With some exposure to some Japanese anime shows in the west, studios went looking for already made and packaged shows for import to the western market and some of these came with toylines already developed as well. Win-win for American studios. The St. Louis studio World Events Productions Limited founder saw a clip of Beast King GoLion at a local sci-fi convention (how many saw anime at the time) and he decided that this show that featured mecha could be a good vehicle for World Events Productions (WEP) to break into the production of TV shows. This super robot anime ran from 1981-1982 and was developed by the legendary Toei Animation studio that altered not only the anime industry but Japanese society. There are debates about the success or failure of Beast King GoLion, but it did get a toy release around the same time by a company called Popy….more on that later. The issue was that Beast King GoLion only ran for 52 episodes and WEP needed 65 for the American TV market for a daily cartoon…."
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Cacique Caribe Inactive Member18 May 2018 5:09 p.m. PST

Yamato? Is that the same as Stargazers? If so, I thought that had come out before 83, because I seem to remember watching it before I graduated that year.

Anyway, if that was all made possible by Reagan signing a piece of paper, then I'd say that was ink well spent.


Uparmored18 May 2018 8:30 p.m. PST

Gundam aired on TV in America in the 1980s??

Katzbalger19 May 2018 4:20 a.m. PST

Space Battleship Yamato was known in the US as Starblazers, and yes, definitely in the late '70s, since I remember seeing it on Channel 5 back when I was in High School.

Tgunner19 May 2018 7:30 p.m. PST

Yeah, late 70's. I think the author was pointing out that shows like this were leaking out during the '70's, but reached its peak after Reagan signed that little paper. Gotta love good ole Ronny!

I thought Lion Voltron was lame back in the day. The Vehicle Voltron was much better of a show with far better storylines and characters. It was a SCI-FI show on a grand scale with star empires clashing in vast battles above new worlds every week. You were always on the edge of your seat wondering if the Drule Empire was finally going to get the advantage, especially when they pulled off their Pearl Harbor like strike on Terra. It's too bad that show didn't get the airplay it deserved.

Oh well…

Uparmored20 May 2018 2:30 a.m. PST

Yeah I always liked the starship designs in Dairugger. Seeing them docked or exploring in-atmosphere in some episodes was damn cool.

GoLion had it's moments though, like when their whole base transforms into a damn super spaceship or something.

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