Beating Zarkon's Arse in Amazing Animated Shows Since 2016 - Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 2 Review

Monday, February 20, 2017
Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 2 Review

All 13 episodes of Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 2, were released simultaneously, as is the practice with all Netflix originals, this, of course, resulted in copious binging on my part. I watched all 5 hours of the new season in two sittings, cause what social life, am I right?

Synopsis & Details:

For millennia, the evil Galra empire has plagued the universe by destroying other civilizations and enslaving various races. The only known threat strong enough against the empire's power and plans is the legendary "Defender of the Universe" Voltron, a 100 meter tall robot warrior read more... composed of five lion mechas whose pilots are known as the Paladins.

At the crux of the war that ended with the destruction of planet Altea, Voltron was separated by King Alfor of Altea in order to protect Voltron from falling into the Galran Emperor Zarkon's possession. King Alfor bonded the five lion's energies to his daughter Allura's life force and sent them across the universe to different locations until the time for the next generation of Paladins to appear and pilot Voltron arrived. Princess Allura, her retainer Coran, and the Altean Castle of Lions were hidden on planet Arus along with the Black Lion.

In the present, the Galra Empire's path of conquest and search for Voltron has led them to Earth's solar system. A group of space pilots – Shiro, Keith, Lance, Pidge, and Hunk – discover the Blue Lion and immediately get swept up into the Galran War. They meet Princess Allura, become the next Paladins, and reunite the five lions to form Voltron and combat Emperor Zarkon's nefarious schemes, with the hopes of ultimately defeating the entire Galra Empire

Title: Voltron: Legendary Defender
Season: #2
Director(s): Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren Montgomery
Studio: Dreamworks
Release Date: January 20th 2017
Genres: Sci-fi, Fantasy

If you follow me on Twitter (or perhaps even on my elusive, fandom devoted, Tumblr), then you've no doubt seen me yakking on about Voltron.

It's quite safe to say, I am completely obsessed with this show....

If you aren't currently suffering through recollections of my clambering fangirlyness, and still have no clue what Voltron is, or *gasp* haven't seen the first season, then check out my post on 4 Beautifully Addictive TV Shows for Every Lover of Animation, as it includes a mini review of Voltron Season 1.

Man, I thought the first season was brilliant, but Season 2 really blew it out of the water.

The animation was, once again, absolutely breathtaking, I mean just look at some of these screencaps:

Pidge in the trash nebula The Teleduv postioned above Zarkon's Command Ship Planet Olkarion Xanthorium clusters near the Blade of Marmora Communications Base Thaldycon Ice covered planet inhabited by mermaid-like aliens

Studio Mir, the company that animates Voltron, should be rather familiar to a lot of animation fans, as they also handled most episodes of The Legend of Korra. Though, that isn't the only similarity these two shows share. The executive producers, Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, along with many other members of the Voltron production crew, have previously worked on Korra, and it's predecessor, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

To have either of these shows on your resume is impressive, as they are both considered to be among the best animated works of the 21st century. So, basically, you can expect a great show from these guys.

As with the first season, the plot is heavily serialized, in fact, it's even more evident this time around.

Season 2 also moves at a much brisker pace, a lot happens, many crucial elements are introduced, and we see some serious development with both the characters and the world.

At times it almost felt like too much was happening, there were so many new details, new reveals, that my head got a bit muddled.

However, this is mostly my fault, for, you know, binging the entire thing (a quick rewatch should fix everything). Honestly, this isn't really a bad thing to be complaining about anyways, I'd even venture to say that it's sort of a good thing? After all, I've always been that person begging for stronger plots in these types of shows.

Season 1 focused on introducing the main characters, establishing the villain, and building the world, the usual stuff.

This time, the story mostly centers around Keith and Shiro, their connection, and their pasts.

As a result, some of the other main characters are neglected a bit, but not in a way that was particularly noticeable or detrimental to my enjoyment of the show.

The world, which was nicely set up in the previous season, is greatly expanded on in Season 2. (How many times can one girl use the word season? So far 13 times and counting.) We learn more about the Galra, the main baddy, Zarkon, and a little bit about the backstory of everyone's favorite five-cat robot, Voltron.

Many more planets are introduced, and with them, intriguing new cultures and characters.

I took quite a liking to most of the new species/races/peoples (I don't know what to call them???). One of my favorites is the mermaids (I mean they're mermaids, what else could you ask for?). I would love to delve further into their amazingness, but that'd be encroaching on spoiler territory, unfortunately. While some of these new species were a bit subpar, the majority were fresh, unique, and utterly awesome. The universe of Voltron has never felt vaster.

The Blue Lion and a mermaid

The second season's story takes a much darker turn than I was expecting,

but the rather serious storylines are always accompanied by a more light-hearted counterpart, so it never gets "too dark" (don't worry it's still suitable for children). The balance between serious and comedic is generally well handled, but, at times, the switching of tone did feel a bit jarring.

Speaking of comedic, I utterly adore the humor in this season.

There are so many gloriously funny quotes, that can really only be truly enjoyed in context. Though, I'm still gonna share some with y'all (my Texan's showing), cause what type of cruel person would I be if I kept these gems to myself.

Here's my favorite, cause, you know, snarky and nerdy Shiro is the best:

"It takes more than a glowing alien wound, a fall from the upper atmosphere, and crashing into a hard pan surface, at what I'm guessing is about 25 meters per second squared, to get rid of me."Shiro (2.1)

Some Hunk of course (he got so many great lines this time! I would share more, but *spoilers*):

"Quit back lion Driving!" Hunk (2.11)

And we can never leave out some good ol' Klance Keith and Lance banter:

"You know I hate to agree with Keith, but it's a big fat ditto for me."Lance (2.3)

Personally, I don't feel like any characters really got any serious development this season.

Sure, we found out more about Shiro, and especially Keith (with him being the "mystery child" and all), but I don't think either of them were necessarily fleshed out anymore. As for the rest of the crew, no character development really came their way either, much to my dismay.

Honestly, in my opinion, Season 2 was mostly about further expanding the world and setting up the political climate of the universe (is that the right word???), so hopefully we'll see more character development in future episodes.

There's one last thing I'd like to hit, and that is the music, seriously, someone give me that soundtrack already....

(At the time of me writing this post, there hasn't been any news on a Season 2 soundtrack release, though, hopefully, that's changed.) Voltron's music isn't particularly flashy, but I adore it, it's so beautiful, and fits the show/mood perfectly, plus it has just the right amount of spacey, sci-fiy, giant roboty, vibes (adjectives have abandoned me). My absolute favorite song so far is Suppose to Be My Lion, which plays when Pidge first finds the Green Lion in the first season. If there's one song you need in your life, it's that one.

All in all, Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 2 really helped strengthen the franchise.

It had a captivating and well written story, and while there were a couple faults, they are more than a little forgivable. If you've seen the first season, than Season 2 is a must see, and if you haven't seen any Voltron, what are you wait for??? Here's a link to the show on Netflix to help you begin your descent into the hell hole that is obsession get started....

A lot of the time, fan theories are a bit... well... absurd, and consequently, I typically don't give them that much weight, though, I still find some of them to be quite enjoyable.

So, when the fandom started with the whole "Keith is Galra" business, I didn't really think too hard about it.

I mean, I liked the theory, it was interesting and offered a lot of neat possibilities, but, at the same time, a lot of other similar theories were going around, such as Altean!Lance, that, in my opinion, aren't even in the plausible ball park (but hey you never know, I could be very wrong). I ended up just lumping them all, along with Galra!Keith, into the fandom crack category, and thereby not giving any of them much mind.

After rewatching the first season, I did start to pay a bit more attention to the theory,

as there was some stuff that pointed to the possibility of Keith being Galra, but I still wasn't entirely convinced, as I could've just as easily been grasping at straws.

But then the show hit us with this:

The only way this is possible is if Galra blood runs through your veins.

Keith is Galra, Keith is part Galra, I repeat, Galra!Keith is canon. As you can see, I totally didn't overreact to this information *distant screaming*.

Looking back, the hints were definitely there.

First off, there's Keith's ability to operate Galra tech (none of the other non-Galrans were shown to have that ability), then there's Zarkon telling Keith "You fight like a Galra soldier," and of course, the infamous, purple-hand-burning, scene in Collection and Extraction, which was probably the most convincing piece of evidence. Either way, I'm definitely gonna be paying more heed to fan theories in the future.

As for how the huge character reveal was handled, I have some mixed feelings.

The dynamic between Keith and Allura after the reveal was really interesting, it explored racism (speciesism?) and whether, perhaps, it's justified to a certain extent sometimes. I understood Allura's reaction, after all the Galra did kill her family, decimate her entire race, and destroy her planet, but, at the same time, it's completely unfair to judge some simply based off their race and/or ancestry.

Allura's reaction could've been handled a bit better.

Her outright ignoring Keith once she discovered he was Galra, just made me feel extremely uncomfortable, though maybe that was the intention? There's also the matter of Hunk's possibly casual racism, in case you're interested, here's a great video by ShippersGuideToTheGalaxy tackling the topic.

Apparently the Voltron staff likes keeping Shiro in perpetual possible death mode.

They had the entire fandom in turmoil with the little "Keith, if I don't make it out of here I want you to lead Voltron" line in the trailer, and now Shiro's gone off and disappeared. Though, I will admit that I'm a bit curious and excited with the possibility of Keith piloting the Black Lion. Also, Lotor is a-coming, a fact which caused the entire fandom to descend into chaos, with people already shipping Lance and Lotor or as the fandom has already dubbed the ship, Lancelot (no comment).

The Olkari are by far my favorite species of all the ones that have been introduced so far.

Their civilization, their engineering abilities, their connection to nature *sparkly eyes* so coollll... (I suppose I am a bit of a Pidge after all). I couldn't figure out how to fit these into the post, but I still want to share them, so I'll leave them here:

The first appearance of the Olkari The Olkarion City in the Woods

Before I go, I'm just gonna share some new (very exciting) information....

According to this photo, from this Toyark post, we're getting Season 3 in September of this year (start the countdown!!!), and at least 54 more episodes, which is 78 episodes in total, meaning 6 seasons of Voltron!!! *cue loud fangirling* Please feel more than free to come scream with me about Voltron on my Twitter, Instagram, or in the comments below.

Anyways, I'm off to re-binge Season 2:

Rating: 5/5 Stars

That was probably the longest post I've ever written.... (My hands are so tired.) Anyways, have you seen Voltron? What Lion would you pilot?