The Roar of the Hundred Beast King Golion
Many children may have grown up with the show known as Lion Voltron. However do we really know the origins behind the shows? Now it's time for me to first discuss about Hundred Beast King Golion.
Golion was a Super Robot series that was aired on March 4, 1981 and ended up February 24, 1982. Unlike Combattler V and Voltes V, Golion wasn't popular but when it was franchised in the United States under the name Voltron: Defender of the Universe, Toei Animation managed to earn from royalties. The original creator was only known as Saburo Yatsude. Now I'll talk about this lesser known Anime series, the very source of the popular Lion Voltron series.
Just a bit of deviation, I would also say that the two Voltron series are not related to each other. Vehicle Voltron was based on Dairugger XV which takes place in the year 2022. In Golion, the story is pretty much standalone from its predecessors like Voltes V and Combattler V just like how Super Sentai tends to be standalone for each and every season. It's time to talk about Golion first, maybe some other time I'll write on Dairugger XV but first let's discuss Golion's plot.
Golion takes place in the Year 1999 when the Earth was destroyed by a nuclear war. The five space explorers were not merely sent by the Galaxy Garrison which in Japan, was only for Dairugger XV. They were captured into Planet Galra's forces (Planet Doom in Voltron) where they are forced to fight in the arena of the wicked Emperor Daibazaal who is assisted by the State Sorceress Honerva. If you want to know their names, Daibazaal is Zarkon and Honerva is Hagar.
Golion's backstory differs from Voltron. Nope, Honerva had nothing to do with the splitting of the lions. Golion's backstory is very brutal indeed. He can be seen attacking a group of evil forces but he got so arrogant. One day while he tried to attack a space goddess, he was split into five so he can be taught humility. Apparently, his origins are from Altea. During that time, Golion was destined to awaken when Altea is in its danger and five pilots are needed to revive the legendary mecha of destruction to become the defender of the universe.
If you are familiar with how your typical Super Robot Anime goes like Combattler V, Voltes V and Daimos (all part of the Romance Trilogy) then don't be too shocked with what happens in Golion. This show is filled with violent scenes, character deaths and just everything cliche. What may be more obvious is that Sven's counterpart here Shirogane does not just get sent away, he really dies after Honerva fatally wounded him. Just a bit of spoiler, the "Sven" we see in later episodes is his younger brother, how he got into Galra is never explained. This event made more sense to why Princess Farla (Allura) plans to join the Golion team, in spite of her lack of training. The Japanese names for the Golion team are Akira (Keith), Isamu (Lance), Tyuyoshi (Hunk) and Hiroshi (Pidge, and no he's got no brother).
The Galran Empire in Golion is what I'd call, pretty much not very civilized either. You may have thought that their foot soldiers were robots but they were pretty much not robots so deaths are really, involving real people and this empire has some very weird practices. For instance, why in the world do the nobles eat their enemies or feed them to their Deathblack Beastmen. I always thought something was pretty wrong with the Galra themselves especially with Emperor Daibazaal himself. While more ruthless and cruel than his Voltron counterpart King Zarkon, he's pretty much more or less what you could expect from any Super Robot tyrant like Emperor Zanbazil from Voltes V except he was a very crude person. I don't see him as any dignified dictator as Zanbazil was considering he won't hesitate to kill you on the spot when he's really that angry. Plus, he's mostly overreliant to the witch Honerva who holds a very dark secret.
Prince Sincline is Prince Lotor but here, he's far more cruel and manipulative but still an idiot like his father Emperor Daibazaal. I always thought it's unusual to why he develops a crush on Princess Farla when he's got a whole harem of blondes. What didn't surprise me was that his dreams were never about Farla but about his mother, a beautiful blonde woman that Emperor Daibazaal had an infatuation with. The result of that forced relationship and presumably he may have married her against her will, was the birth of Sincline. Unlike most super robot princes like Prince Garuda in Combattler V or Prince Heinel in Voltes V, he's more or less a dirtier cheat but at times, he prefers to beat his enemies by himself especially his rival Akira, a rivalry that somewhat mirrors a commander vs. evil prince type of rivalry.
Now I did some very minor spoilers at least to help you understand the details. Now for major spoilers which I think may not be that easy to stomach. Later on, we do learn a lot about some things about Raible's (Coran's family) that his family really died, that the person pretending to be his son was a Galra spy and impostor. There's a lot more you may think had been quite sick - Hys (Nanny) does not survive the gun shot but she really dies. Nope, it can't just be a stun gun but it was really a gun. Voltron in spite of its popularity was too watered down for my taste.
I always felt like that Golion's finale does have some issues. First, it tries to mimic Voltes V's typical way. Emperor Daibazaal decides to get his own son Sincline executed which backfires at the former. For those who watched Lion Voltron, you may remember the Robeast that looks like Zarkon. In this series, Emperor Daibazaal does not magically escape but instead, he really dies. I mean, the Mecha Beastman robots are bonded to their pilots to bring it to life. The very result was that after Emperor Daibazaal (now piloting Mecha Beastman Galra) gets defeated after a power boost. The very secret behind Golion's sword and the Seal of Altea is revealed, which allows Golion to defeat the Mecha Beastman Galra. Yes, Emperor Daibazaal really dies like every other Super Robot evil ruler though I didn't feel that much impact in his death. I felt like it was too honorable to get torn by Golion compared to how Zanbazil died a coward's death in Voltes V.
Later on, many imperial secrets are revealed towards the finale which were edited away for Voltron. What shocked me or what may shock you as well is that Honerva was secretly Emperor Daibazaal's mother all along! She was the mistress of the previous emperor and that Daibazaal was an illegitiamte child (his ascension was never explained and I guess he wasn't aware of his maternity either), that would make her Sincline's grandmother, something that might shock a lot of people since Hagar was not Zarkon's mother at all in Voltron. But in Golion, this really made me puke to realize that Honerva of all people was the mistress of the previous emperor, and that Emperor Daibazaal was an illegitimate child all along. Now where do we get that?
I always thought this was a very last minute plot. In Voltes V, Emperor Zanbazil's illegimate birth was revealed with very proper pacing. If you remember Voltes V episode 28 which revealed the secret origins of Dr. Kentaro Gou to be a hornless Boazanian named Prince Lagour, Emperor Zanbazil was revealed to be the child of the previous emperor via an adulterous affair. I thought why after so long did this plot that Emperor Daibazaal is an illegitimate child, worse, Honerva's son suggesting that the previous emperor had an affair with the state sorceress. Given, I think Emperor Zanbazil deserves more points for masterminding his illegitimate ascent to the throne, in contrast to Emperor Daibazaal who might have had to receive help from Honerva. Honerva dies revealing to Sincline the truth about his maternity that he was half-Altean, something he didn't accept which I think was stupid considering he always saw visions of his mom as a blonde woman, so why can't he accept he was half-Altean? He kills her anyway but he is haunted by her last words.
What's not surprising is that Sincline does and so does Shirogane's brother Takashi. I always thought that the finale was brutal that aside from humans encased in an explosive wrap, Sincline trying to take advantage of the last battle, the officers he killed aren't robots, is the death of Sincline. Sincline does not fall into water but he falls on to hard ground. The Golion team later celebrate their victory in Altea, with the huge robot Golion standing as a reminder of peace. Now the four remaining Earthlings have Altea as their new home.
While it's not really as great as Voltes V or Combattler V both real classics, Golion is for me still pretty much an entertaining show. Next stop, I might write about Armored Fleet Dairugger XV which was used for Vehicle Voltron. So you might as well be ready for that post.
All images and videos here are property of their respective owners and used for reference purpose only. We claim no rights to it unless otherwise stated.