As a kid, I was a big fan of the Voltron series. Like most kids, I was most interested in the Lion Force Voltron. Whatever you do, don’t watch the old episodes as an adult – they were truly terrible, and it will ruin your childhood memories of the series.
However, what most folks don’t know is that the Lion Force was not supposed to be Voltron at all!
Voltron was conceived of by World Events Productions as combining three different anime series into a single series for syndication (if this sounds familiar, it’s because Harmony Gold did the same thing in creating Robotech). This was mostly done to meet syndication needs – a series had to have at least 65 episodes for the syndication market – 13 weeks of 5 episodes each.
WEP had bought the rights to Armored Fleet Dairugger XV, which would become known as the “Space Voltron” and also Lightspeed Electroid Albegas, which was to become “Gladiator Voltron” (never released as such, but they did release the toys). The third series was supposed to be Mirai Robo Daltanious, which looked like this:
Pretty awesome, right? Like the other Voltrons, this is a giant robot made up of smaller units, in this case three parts – a humanoid robot, a lion robot, and a spaceship. It also has a giant sword and fights giant space kaiju. It’s actually a pretty popular anime for its time.
So what went wrong? Basically a big misunderstanding. WEP asked Toei Animation for “the one with the lion”, and instead of sending Daltanious, they sent GoLion. Simple mistake to make, especially considering the translations that had to occur. When the producers at WEP realized they had the wrong anime, instead of sending it back, they watched it and decided they liked it better, and thus Lion Force Voltron was born!
And that’s the story of the Voltron that wasn’t, and how a simple miscommunication can lead to a beloved cartoon. Also how one series got completely screwed over and never presented to the American public…