Form Blazing Sword! Voltron crashes Boomerang

Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Television

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Keith piloting Black Lion (TIME WARNER/BOOMERANG)
Starting Monday (Feb. 18), Boomerang will air the 1984 giant robot cartoon Voltron: Defender of the Universe in all its glory! This follows the announcement of a live-action movie in development.

If you’re unfamiliar with Voltron, it’s the complex human story of five mechanical lions that, when crammed together, form a sword-wielding robot warrior that defends Planet Arus from evil King Zarkon, the vain Prince Lotor and the wicked witch Haggar.

For many Americans who grew up in the ’80s, Voltron was an introduction to anime (though it was many years before we heard the term and recognized it as such). It was a heavily edited version of the Japanese “super Sentai” series, but I certainly never gave its origin any thought. It was just a cartoon.

Voltron is piloted by these happy shiny young people:

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The Voltron Force (TIME WARNER/BOOMERANG)

I remember trying to convince a female classmate back in second grade to watch Voltron because there was a girl in it! That would be Princess Allura, top left in the picture above. She replaced Sven as pilot of Blue Lion when he died (only he didn’t die, as he was left behind on a mission and became a prisoner of war). And try as I might to reconcile her pink flightsuit with the Blue Lion, it still gives me fits …

There are also cute mice (who had their own “Mouse Plane,” I kid you not!) and friendly ghosts. So there’s something for everyone!

Anyway, I hope this leads to the broadcast of the other two Voltron series I vaguely remember from childhood: one Voltron was composed of 15 vehicles, and the other was made up of three smaller robot gladiators. The lion Voltron was cool, but I was more interested in these variants because I was on vacation out of state when they aired and never got to see them.

ON TV: Look for the classic Voltron to air 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday on Boomerang, which is Channel 142 on Cox Digital Cable in the Valley.