Living alone can leave one experiencing copious amounts of boredom, unhealthy eating habits and napping. At least that’s how it was for me. So what does one do when watching too many angsty documentaries loses its touch? Well, in my case I decided to watch Voltron: Legendary Defender, a Netflix Original derived from an ’80s cartoon, Voltron: Defender of the Universe. I’ve seen people on my Tumblr feed go crazy for this show since it aired last year and working with kids also bought out a lot of nostalgia within me which drew me towards it. Who remembers getting up early to watch SMTV: Live on a Saturday morning to witness Ant and Dec dress as G-G-Gary and Mistayyyyyy from Pokemon then go on to watch an action packed episode that saw “Team Rocket blasting off again”? I do. In fact, it’s one of my most cherished memories as a kid, sitting on the sofa with my sister, brother and dad which is something I really miss. A lot of the kids today often talk about Adventure Time, Teen Titans, Yo-Kai Watch and Miraculous Ladybug which I’ve grown to become aware of from this new generation and actually really like them. I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to be a child to watch cartoons. I mean look at me, I’m 26 and I get a kick out of seeing Ladybug and Cat Noir taking down an Akumatized person. It’s something I cherish and so when I started Voltron: Legendary Defender, it gained my immediate respect.

    I honestly expected Voltron: Legendary Defender to have a bit of an edge to it like some violence or bad language but it doesn’t and I like it just how it is. The way it’s been designed is with everyone in mind which is great. Everyone from kids to adults can enjoy this. It starts off with an hour long episode in order to lay the foundations of the story which focuses on five characters: Lance, Hunk, Pidge, Shiro and Keith who find themselves accidentally thrown together and caught up in an intergalactic war with the Galra Empire who is desperately searching for the five lions which combine to make Voltron, the only thing which is capable of destroying Lord Zarkon and his evil doings for good. With the help of Princess Allura and her loyal companion, Coran, the team merge together in order to aid other races throughout the Galaxy and defeat Zarkon once and for all. The plot is solid and well paced. you won’t find loads of filler episodes and those that are will touch on other things such as character development or additional information on what’s going on in the story.

    The story is extremely well written and easy to follow. It’s not just all about defeating Zarkon but also about other characters trying to discover dark secrets like the whereabouts of Pidge’s brother and father, Keith’s true roots and Shiro’s muddled memories of The Kerberos mission. It’s fresh, exciting and action packed. The fight scenes are really special with some CGI peppered in to make it look polished and professional. A highlight for me with regards to the animation was watching Keith fight hand to hand near the end of season two. The style isn’t quite distinguishable, it lies somewhere in between that of a typical western cartoon with a touch of anime mixed in. That said Studio Mir have done a wonderful job and the animation alone has encouraged me to try other works of theirs such as The Legend of Korra which has also gained a respectful amount of recognition over the period of its release.

     The characters are without a doubt the highlight of the entire thing, at least for me anyway. They’re all very diverse and different but when the time comes for Voltron to be formed in all his robotic glory (which is pretty epic by the way) they make an excellent team who work well as a unit with the added knowledge of Allura and Coran. There’s always some humour added into the mix too whether it’s a simple fart joke or my personal favourite scene which was in season two when Pidge lost it after buying an expensive retro console only to take it back to the main ship and discover it came with AV cables too outdated to use on Altean technology. It’s small things like this that appeal to the entire audience and in case I didn’t make that clear enough, I really love that. I genuinely had a difficult time trying to pick favourites. Lance and Pidge were the two that stood out to me simply because of how human they are. Lance offers comic relief but there is also a side to him that’s seemingly fragile with how he openly speaks about how he misses Earth and his loved ones. On the other hand, Pidge isn’t as much of an open book, often taking things into her own hands. That paired with her quirky, strong and nerdy personality is what made me fall in love with her. As for the acting, it’s pretty damn good. Everyone fits the characters perfectly and there’s even some familiar voices in there too such as Steven Yune (The Walking Dead) and Jeremy Shada (Adventure Time).

    The soundtrack is well composed. There’s a good mix of orchestral music which adds to the epic fight scenes and there’s the occasional electronic element added to keep the futuristic theme at the forefront. The opening isn’t as well put together as that from a typical Japanese Anime that I’m used to but has a more understated approach that gives you a basis of what to expect without it lasting a minute and a half. With Netflix said to be making a minimum of six seasons, Voltron: Legendary Defender does not look set to be leaving us anytime soon which honestly makes me want to cry with sheer happiness. I didn’t expect much from this series but it’s seriously impressed me and will continue to do so judging by the teaser for season 3 which was recently released. While I can’t say anything about its predecessor, what I can say is that Voltron: Legendary Defender is fun, dynamic and a serious contender in today’s animation industry that leaves me wired to see what the quiznack will happen in the galactic adventures to come.

    Kirstie Mckeen

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