Voltron: Lion Force

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Voltron: Lion Force TV Poster Image
Scary villains don't overshadow '80s 'toon's decent story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.  

Positive Messages

Teamwork is essential for the five heroes since they face mounting odds against their success. Often in battle they prove that skills like quick thinking and planning are superior to having size and brawn. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The space explorers are single-minded in their efforts to restore peace to the galaxy, and their determination often puts them in dangerous situations. Villains -- especially the evil King Zarkon -- force subjects' allegiance by using fear and inflicting pain.  

Violence & Scariness

Warring sides use handheld laser blasters and those on their spacecraft to take down the enemies. There's no blood or gore, but spectacular crashes and explosions imply death in great numbers. Many of the beasts and semi-human villains are intentionally menacing, some screaming, roaring, and drooling in closeup shots. The heroes' lives are constantly in peril, but they manage to overcome impossible odds to survive.  

Sexy Stuff

This '80s series inspired a line of action figures and other merchandise back in the day. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Voltron: Lion Force is an '80s cartoon that features a fair amount of violent clashes, explosions, crashes, and laser blasts. Even so, no injuries are shown, and the heroes always manage to escape even the greatest peril. Menacing villains and beasts may be too frightening for very young kids, so this one's better for older grade-schoolers who can follow the progressive story line. One look at the show's dated animation gives away its age, but, if kids aren't bothered by that, they will find a decent good-versus-evil plot with some intriguing characters.

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What's the story?

For years peace has reigned over the universe, but the cruel King Zarkon (voiced by Jack Angel) is out to conquer Planet Arus on his way to galactic domination. Overwhelmed by the strength of Zarkon's armies and terrifying Robobeasts, the Galaxy Alliance dispatches five brave space pilots to locate Voltron, a legendary robot and defender of the universe who was cursed years ago by Zarkon's crony, Haggar (B.J. Ward). The explorers set out to locate the five lion-shaped components of Voltron in the hopes that, with its help, they can restore peace to the galaxy.

Is it any good?

If Star Wars and Transformers teamed up, the result would be something like VOLTRON: LION FORCE. The fate of galactic peace rests on the shoulders of an underdog team with an admirable never-say-die attitude, and their only hope is to reassemble a robot whose collective power dwarfs that of the sum of its parts. Though good and evil have taken many forms in action cartoons over the years, there's some originality to this one that kids may like, despite the fact that its style shows its considerable age.

But what the show's primitive animation style does to lessen the impact of the story's violence is offset by a cast of some pretty frightening villains of various shapes, so that's something to consider if your youngster wants to check it out. For older kids, though, the story's complexity works to its favor, and the fact that it evolves from one episode to the next encourages kids' attention spans more than do shows that start new plots with each episode. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the visual and content differences between vintage cartoons and those of today. Kids: Did anything in this show strike you as unusual based on how it compares to your modern favorites? Is the violence any different? Is it scarier in any way?

  • Is this cartoon attempting to teach you anything? What messages can you take away about teamwork and perseverance? Does entertainment always have to be educational? 

  • How do older shows like this one stack up against more modern offerings? Is there still a market for them? How does the Internet help their cause? 

TV details

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Themes & Topics

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