‘Voltron: Legendary Defender’ returns to Netflix for season 3

Voltron: Legendary Defender” which started its third season on Netflix, has its roots in both the Japanese anime series “Beast King GoLion” and the original Voltron franchise that aired on American television in the 1980s. The new series, which has a 78-episode commitment, follows traditional anime conventions in its animation style.

The backstory of the series features the Gaira Empire, which has been busily conquering the universe, destroying every civilization in its path. The only weapon that stood in Gaira’s way was Voltron, a 100-meter-tall robot consisting of five mechas in the shape of lions that are piloted by “Paladins.” After a crucial battle that destroyed a planet called Altea, King Alfor separated the lion mechas to different parts of the universe to keep them out of the hands of the Gairan Emperor. He bonded the energies of the lion mechas with the life force of his daughter, Princess Allura.

Fast forward sometime later, when the attention of the Gaira Empire has become directed toward Earth’s solar system. Five human space pilots discover one of the lion mechas., make contact with Allura, and reform Voltran as the new paladins to do battle with Gaira.

According to the Washington Post, season 2 ended with a fight with the Gaira Emperor Zarkon that resulted in the death of one of the paladins. This makes the situation starting in season 3 very grave. Lacking one of the paladins, the remaining four cannot fully form Voltron. They are reduced to running rescue mission in their separate lion mechas. However, the ability of the four remaining paladins to fight the Gaira Empire is limited, and hopes are fading that it can ever be defeated. The Empire is now being led by Prince Lotor, Zarkon’s manipulative son.

The problem is, a new paladin has to be located and bonded with the lion mecha. However, not just anyone will do. The lion mecha will bond only with the person that it chooses to. Finding a new paladin and getting Voltron back on line and fully functional will be just one of the tasks the team has to accomplish. The paladins are going to have to deal with the loss of one of their own and become fully functional again if they are going to be an effective counter to the Gaira threat.

The new series is not following the plot lines of the 1980s version to the letter. “Voltron: Legendary Defender” is at once familiar and brand new.