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kadybat

Voltron: Legendary Defender (2016)

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After discussion of Studio Mir's work appeared in the "Would Sonic make a good anime?" thread in Green Hill Zone, I figured some folks might want to discuss the excellent Netflix-exclusive Voltron series they're producing with DreamWorks Animation. 

I just finished up Episode 6 and I am all in with this. I'm very much looking forward to seeing where this series goes, and knowing DWA signed a 4-series deal with Studio Mir makes me really excited. Anyone else been watching this? What are your thoughts so far?

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I finished the first season within 2 days and I have to say this show is freaken awesome. It got a good writing, great characters and I can't wait for season 2. I want more. I never cared about the series but man this show is quickly becoming one of my favorite shows ever. 

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In case anyone wants to be sold on the show, here's the sizzle reel that worked on me:

http://assets2.ign.com/videos/zencoder/2016/06/02/960/848fd14724115142b34abcbeed80dfa8-1500000-1464892831-w.mp4

 

 


Finished the first season a short bit ago, and I am definitely anticipating more. However, I think it's more in terms of what the show could be, rather than what it is?


The first episode of the show was a good hour long and sold me pretty well on the story and some of the characters, but as soon as I carried on to the the shorter, 20 minute format later episodes... it never really clicked with me for the most part, tbh. It might be my comparison to TLA that is my problem by default, but the plots remain pretty mundane, (as is the action), in the typical "character building" set up, but with a pretty big lack thereof, imo.

Lance, for example, is basically still a poor-man's Sokka for the sake of it by the end of the season, with little character motivation, background, or any real difference from the other two "hot-head" or "competent" pilots, down to his very abilities... which makes him an incredibly weak character, especially when compared to his predecessor. 

That's not to say there isn't any character building in the show. There's Shiro's forgotten time captured that makes his leader role interesting, Pidge's character arc still ongoing, Hunk getting a backbone, and Allura getting some focus in episodes, which helped her become my favorite of the lot automatically. (Crystal Venom ;~;) But it seems pretty bare minimum for a cast that has 1/3rd of it's teammates blend into one another as being the "competent guy" on the team, and a season as short and slow to start as this one is. And overall other niggles keep it from being perfect, even when it is done. (Pidge's arc and its mid-way resolution, dropping it off the face of the earth, for example)

So, I'm not quite into this cast just yet. If it were given another 11 episodes or were made in a more condensed and filler-less format, (per the norm for the good Netflix shows) I'm sure it would have been fine, but as-is it made the season feel pretty sparse, rushed, and yet slow due to the lack of satisfying results for a character building season. Made the season feel very Korra-esque imo. I liked it a lot more than Korra's later seasons, I'll give it that, but it has yet to reach the "fantastic" crowd that TLA so easily reached even in its first season, imo.
 

Action was pretty good when it happened though, animation, while not as high-level as Korra or TLA and had some shortcuts, had so many fantastic moments it's hard to let those small niggles get in the way of the enjoyment of it, the comedy was pretty enjoyable in this one, (while it's no match for TLA's humorous moments, it's faaaar more tolerable and enjoyable than Korra's cast and humor right from the get-go) and overall it's a pretty good show to watch. Again, my disappointment probably comes from my insistence of comparing it to their other works, because otherwise it's a pretty great show from the looks of it. I just don't find myself entirely satisfied with it just yet.

 

 

However...

 

 

While it didn't have the benefit of the buildup from a fantastic first season, making it feel more like a midway point rather than a finale, the final episode of this batch of episodes was fantastic. While it may be the finale, so of course it has to be action-packed, the action in this was what I was wanting from the season all along, constant and not held back by "toy" moments and limitations or plot pacing. If they keep this up as a standard for the higher-stakes episodes, I'll definitely be enjoying the show a lot more, as as long as there's a good action storyline going on, the lack of character stuff doesn't bug me.


But what really made the finale make up for the past episodes in my eyes, is that it broke down a lot of barriers and opened up new possibilities that I wasn't even paying attention to.

The switch from clear "we activate this, and now we have it!" power "upgrades" (that's not as bad as, say, the older cartoon would be with it, but still feels a lot more like a toy-selling moment and finite power upgrade rather than a gradual rise of power) to actual "heat-of-the-moment, unexplained but accepted in a heartbeat" power upgrades, actually gives the characters and their mechs some tension and anticipation rather than being fixed "win or lose" toys, and the action moments absolutely awesome when they're revealed. 

The "Villain-tier" plotline showing through at last, giving the lackeys and commanders their own agendas and more context makes them a whole lot more interesting, even if they haven't been expanded upon just yet, and are moreso being revealed just now. Maybe even hinting at larger plans and threats? Regardless it could be cool as all get out and reminds me of the enemy factions in TLA, which were great and half of the appeal of the show's plot.

And overall the characters were at their top form throughout the episode, with their unique struggles, traits, and the like showing through a lot more this time around. Humor was good, pacing was good. Top form. Again, yeah, it's the finale, and it's not the best they've done in terms of finales, but it's a degree of pacing and quality the team have worked on for episodes outside of finales constantly before, which makes me hopeful that the show isn't held back by anything like budget or time and can come back to this level a whole lot more later on.
 

It also shows how "anime-esque" the show could be, which is awesome. Stuff like visibly rising stakes, power levels, and abilities as the characters go and threats grow/show are my absolute favorite aspects of the action side of anime, (like Gurren Lagann or the like) and the thought that the Korra team could be working on a show that ends up being like that in the long run makes me absolutely giddy. Sure, TLA had some aspects of this with its buildup, but a space-focused character action show is a lot more versatile than that show could have ever been to threats and different plots, so the show could be a very unique thing compared to it, which would be absolutely fantastic.

 

So, yeah. If the finale is anything to go by, I'm definitely anticipating a continuation of the show for now, mostly to see where it goes from here. The fact that Netflix hasn't even renewed the show for a second season yet irks me, since that means we'll likely have to wait a year or so until the next one, but I'm sure it'll happen regardless.

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Voltron got a Wondercon panel today. The season 3 trailer is out: https://fonbella.tumblr.com/post/159093815745/prince-lotors-voice-source

The back of Lotor's head has been revealed (his face was Kaltenecker the cow, as an April's Fools joke): IMG_3405.thumb.PNG.e815088961d54b9d209062974ad7a1ef.PNG

The writers claim this season is gonna be full of character development for Keith. "He will unlock new powers and find out who he is." I'm guessing that has to do with his 

Spoiler

being a Galra and all that #LetKeithBePurple2K17

The trailer notably does not have Shiro in it - but, it's short, and it could be a fake out. A fan asked what happens to Black if Shiro isn't there. Lauren Montgomery responded with, "someone has to step up". Lions choose their Paladins, but 

Spoiler

we know Shiro is MIA at the end of season 2, and we know he asks Keith to lead Voltron, so who even knows?

 Some have noticed that Lotor looks a bit familiar. 

Spoiler

 Note his outfit's similarity to the one worn by the anonymous Galra that Keith saved from the space worm.

Overall, season 3 is probably going to put me in a healing pod, and I can't wait. Here's a blessed image of the boys while we wait. 

IMG_3393.thumb.PNG.3e4ab8129ece076babc59bf40473a6bc.PNG

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