80s TV cartoons brought us many wonders - He-Man versus Skeletor, GI Joe versus Cobra, Jem versus the Misfits. But there was one show that stood out among all others thanks to its outlandish premise, its disturbing villains, and its ability to be rendered into diecast-and-plastic-combining toys.

Yes, it's Voltron, Defender Of The Universe! An American version of Toei's "King Of Beasts Golion", Voltron came from the same super robot cartoon world that was birthed with Mazinger Z and would bring us hundreds of technologically advanced monster-destroying adventure cartoons involving stalwart youths burning with the fires of justice as they pilot their machine robots against aliens and horrors from the depths of the Earth. Voltron was a bona fide hit in the United States, inspiring children everywhere to round up three friends and a girl and wave sticks around the playground, as well as a treasure trove of ancillary merchandise involving toys, action figures, and comic books like this one!

The basic plot of Voltron? Peaceful planet Arus is under severe attack from Planet Doom, led by the evil Emperor Zarkon, his evil son Prince Lotor, and their scheming witch/science advisor Witch Haggar. Their attack plan involves sending giant bio-mechanical monsters across space in Space Coffins to land on Arus and wreak havoc.

Yes, "space coffins". Voltron was a tad creepier than most super robot cartoons.

Luckily Arus is defended by the combining-lion super robot Voltron, piloted by Hero, Sullen Antihero, Fat Guy, Kid, and Girl. All super robots are piloted by this combination - even when the robot is actually only crewed by one or two, as in, say, Raideen or Gakeen, you can find these archtypes lurking in the background, with the occasional subsitution of "smart guy" with "kid". Here we see our team enjoying the Arus State Fair. Tonight the Oak Ridge Boys are playing!

Our sullen antihero Lance has no use for parties. In fact it seems he has deeply rooted psychological party-related issues, issues that can only be resolved by putting on his robot pilot suit and tooling around in the Red Lion.

Apparently King Zarkon is responsible for things previously thought to be natural processes, like erosion. Damn you King Zarkon!

There were something like 70 episodes of the lion team Voltron series, and in each one, a space coffin from Planet Doom opened a can of Ro-Beast whup-ass on Voltron. But Lance here has no idea what this space-coffin-like object is? Can't be bothered to call somebody on the radio and find out? Oh Lance.

Uh oh it's a Ro-Beast, which in this instance, means a yellow muscular fish-headed thing with giant ears. Came out of a space coffin, too. Happy dreams, kids!

Even though it's piloted by our anti-hero, the Red Lion is no match for Yellow Fish-Head Thing.

Whew! Lance made it back to Castle Of Lions safely! But his lion is damaged, which means that if the team needed to, god forbid, form Voltron, they would be unable to do so! Luckily they almost NEVER need to form Voltron. And by 'almost never' I mean 'all the damn time'. Nobody's watching this show to see them NOT form Voltron!

Your lesson for today is, never try to investigate objects on your own. Independent action can only result in the inability to form Voltron.

Aieeee! The ro-beast is threatening to destroy the village! The villagers run in fear, never asking why it is that the Voltron Team gets to live in a high-tech castle with indoor plumbing and TV, while the peasants live in medieval thatched-roof hovels! I say let the Ro-Beast destroy it, let's get some urban renewal happening here. I want plumbing, dammit!

Just wanted to highlight this panel here where the Ro-Beast starts to resemble some kind of 1940s cartoon gremlin. And caption? It's obvious to FIVE YEAR OLDS that the lions alone can't defeat Ro-Beasts. The name of the show ain't "Colored Robot Lions".

Back at Castle Lion, Lance and Edgar Allan Poe here are either going to fix the Red Lion, or blow it and themselves to kingdom come. This is more or less the attitude I take whenever I have to work on my car.

And in his space fortress, Prince Lotor and Science Advisor Witch Haggar watch the battle on their big-screen TV. Hey, it's the Red Lion, but don't worry, THIS Ro-Beast is certain to defeat Voltron! I know the last sixty-five Ro-Beasts have been defeated, but I have a good feeling about this one.


HEY KIDS!! Did you know that LAZON is the substance that powers Ro-Beasts? It's true! We couldn't print it if it wasn't true!


Leaving the Ro-Beast weeping uncontrollably, the lions zoom into the sky and animators take a break, knowing that the next few minutes of the show will be the same transformation sequence that is recycled in every single episode of Voltron.

Say it with me kids. "And I'll form the head!"

I don't know if I ever saw this sort of specific ass-biting sequence on the TV show. Mechanical lion biting the ass of a Ro-Beast. You know there's fanfic for this somewhere.

And what kind of Voltron story would it be if they didn't Form Blazing Sword and dispatch the Ro-Beast with such ease that the reader is left wondering why they didn't just Form Blazing Sword in the first place? Not this Voltron story, that's for sure!

Kid team member Pidge congratulates Lance on actually showing up to do his job. But let's not forget the part VOLTRON played in this! Namely, doing whatever we tell him to do, since he's a robot that we control! Tune into the next exciting episode of VOLTRON for more Ro-Beast ass-biting action!!!


Don't forget to buy the entire line of VOLTRON toys and accessories, lose them in the sandbox or have Mom throw them away when you reach puberty, and then one drunken night your junior year of college remember how happy you were playing with your Voltron toys, and spend ridiculous amounts of cash buying them all back from toy dealers. Voltron! From Panosh Place.