“From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend.”
The moment that I opened the box that contained our review copy of Voltron: From Days of Long Ago – A Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration, that famous monologue and the memorable theme song burst into my brain. As I pulled out the book, it seemed like Voltron himself was rising from the ashes of a great battle, ready to take on all foes. I was half expecting the lights to flicker and a supernova to explode in the sky above my home.
That’s where I’m at with Voltron. I grew up with him, and the masterful marketing behind him, and cannot paint my childhood memories any better about one subject. With the anniversary book hitting store shelves, all of those memories, all of that wonder, is vivid yet again.
Voltron was synonymous with cartoons in the Eighties. It stoked the flames of SciFi that Star Wars had lit in kids’ hearts. I don’t need to tell you what Voltron is; that’s why you’re reading this review. VIZ media’s anniversary book was designed especially for people like you and me, and yet it manages to be a great primer on the space robot phenomenon for the uninitiated.
First of all, the book oozes an Eighties aura. From the font choices to the layout of the pages, to the drop shadow on some of the images, it looks like it was designed in 1989, right when Transformers took the robot crown from our hero. Inside are scans of photographs of that era, many containing that strange muted beige hue that we’ve all come to love from our parents’ photo albums. It fits well, as the initial chapters deal with how the Voltron phenomenon made its way to the US out of Japan. There is a lot of history shown here, and peppered with fan letters and “did you know” style factoids that make it easy to read.
It feels like a book that was written for the kid that’s still in me, not the adult I’ve become. This is the kind of book I would have found in my grade school library and probably checked it out every week. It’s a little on the
A complete set of Voltron toys was something that my parents could never afford for us, and so my brother and I had to settle on having one leg and one arm. From Days of Long Ago reminds me of that fact, and thanks to some big, beautiful photographs of the many Voltron toys inside of it my finger hovers over the “Add to Cart” button on Amazon each night. I was hoping for more images of the toys, especially close up shots of the individual pieces, which is a slight miss on the Editor’s part. The toys contributed a big portion to the popularity of the series, and there doesn’t seem to be enough pages to gawk at photos of them.
The entire second section of the book is devoted to a pseudo history of the robot, written in an almost high-quality fanfic style. There’s a complete retelling of how Voltron was disassembled the first time, the details of many of the major characters in the series, and even notes about some of the planets. My favorite, though, has to be the detailed look at Voltron from an almost blue-print standpoint. The book even covers the vehicle and “guardian” Voltrons, though we all know those couldn’t hold a candle to the Five Lions.
A recap of the many Voltron TV series (from animated to CGI) is included, and it’s interesting to see how art styles have changed over the years, as well as Voltron’s proportions and enemies. One of the neat sections of the book has baseball card-style biographies of each Robeast that Voltron encountered, complete with origins and specifications. I would have loved to see an episode guide, or a script or two thrown in to really flush out the experience.
The book was clearly designed to appeal to a wide range of audiences, from kids to adults, but I still often found myself thinking “Oh! I remember that!” as I read through. Voltron: From Days of Long Ago – A Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration is a fun book to pour over, painted with a broad enough brush that will make any fan of the series happy, and potentially bring a smile to the face of anyone who even remotely remembers the cartoon. There may not be a ton of behind the curtain expose, but Voltron is big enough that there doesn’t need to be.
Voltron: From Days of Long Ago – A Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration is available now at most book retailers with an MSRP of $29.99.
And, any book that reminds me that the following Sprite commercial exists can only be a positive in my mind.
This review is based on a copy of the book sent to SideQuesting by the publisher.