Voltron: Legendary Defender – Season 2 – Review

Voltron: Legendary Defender – Season 2:

Release Date: January 20th, 2016

Even paladins cannot resist the charm of mermaids.

Synopsis: During the exploration of a frozen planet, three explorers are captured by an evil menace known as the Galra Empire. A year later, mankind is still prepping for a greater effort in space exploration. Unfortunately, their cadets leave something to be desired as Lance, Pidge and Hunk fail their rescue flight simulation test. But one night, while sneaking out of the barracks, an alien ship crashes down containing Shiro, one of the original three abducted by the Galra Empire. He brings a warning of this approaching menace. His memory is jumbled however and the only clue he remembers for combating this terrifying evil is the name “Voltron.” Lance, Pidge, Hunk, Shiro and Keith, an expelled member of the exploration cadets, must work together to discover what Voltron is, or face destruction at the hands of the mighty Galra Empire.

Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):

Tom: Visually little has changed with this second season. We’re treated to the same crisp, simple designs of the first. The only issue I noticed is that the CGI, particularly in the final battles, seems to take a frame rate hit, which I believe is intentional in an effort to add weight and impact to Voltron’s attacks.

This is why we have Anti Child Labour Laws in place.

Linny: There’s definitely nothing noticeably downgraded or upgraded for the more average viewer though older audiences may be starting to tire of seeing the complete Voltron transformation sequence every single time. It’s a signature of the super robot genre but ultimately ends up feeling like airtime filler.

Tom: What time is dedicated to the story and characters however mostly focuses on building up Allura, Shiro and Keith. Those three, to varying degrees, get the most spotlight and character development. Keith learns something about his past, Shiro his connection with the black lion, and Allura’s own arc concerning her feelings on the entire Galra race.

Linny: The show still feels aimed at 10 year olds with its juvenile humour as prominent as ever. Hunk is still all about food and fat jokes though to the season’s credit, it does have one episode, centered on a ‘space mall’ that should genuinely amuse and connect more with older viewers than with younger kids.

Well I guess there’s some advantage to being bigger than average. No kidnapping.

Tom: Indeed, Hunk is ever the foodie and it’s gotten to the point with this second season where Hunk seems to exist as little else. His other facets and abilities are gone, replaced with his pure and unfettered obsession with food. It’s disappointing to see him and other characters, like Lance, distilled down to their most basic traits without any room for nuance. As villains go, Zarkon doesn’t fair much better, nor do the traitors we begin to meet within his ranks. These individuals exist as little more than set pieces, and while we do learn something about Zarkon’s past, he rarely exist as more than the all powerful evil hunting our heroes at every turn.

Linny: There’s a fair share of developments happening this seasons with plenty of new secrets and twists revealed. What’s disappointing though is the show’s treatment of Allura and her Galra arc. Without spoiling too much, she turns out to be extremely racist and biased to the point where she completely turns against someone just because that person has a mixed lineage. It’s all the more frustrating because nobody else in the show ever stands up to defend and confront her, with the main acknowledgment being one bad joke after the other from Hunk. (At least it’s a break from his food humor) When Allura DOES finally have a change of heart, it happens out of the blue and feels anti climatic. It’s a  shame that the show doesn’t do a better job of breaking down how it’s not right to hate someone for something as fickle as the blood running through their veins.

Sure, you are.

Tom: Despite the first season’s semi-serialized nature, Season 2 begins feeling far more episodic, with, what amounts to, mostly one off story lines loosely tied together by Season 1’s cliffhanger. As if to offset the increasingly dark tone, Season 2 pulls back and injects what feels like an overabundance of comedy. It’s prevalent in the first half of the season, with much of the humor aimed squarely at a younger, more easy to please audience. It’s not till the second half of the season that the show picks up considerably.

Linny: The season ends on a HUGE cliffhanger AGAIN which is promising in that it’s evident that the show makers are clearly aiming for another season. However, there’s also the chance that it could ultimately feel frustrating to anyone who wanted a more solid ending, especially after sitting through so many one off episodes early on. Adding to possible issues is the fact that the show has a fair amount of plot holes..such as characters miraculously survive certain death scenarios. Though I guess that’s just a sign of this being a kid’s show where death is avoided as much as possible except for big story moments.

Language studies just got a whole lot deadlier.

Tom: Season 2 was initially disappointing. The first season had done a decent job of balancing its kid centric elements with material that appeals to older audiences. But this second season stumbled hard, refocusing on that core demographic to the point where I, as an adult, felt excluded. Thankfully, the kid centric focus pulls back and Voltron returns to being something both children and adults can enjoy. Overall I’m generally looking forward to a third season.

Linny: I’ve always been neutral towards Voltron. I’d never heard of it until the Netflix reboot and the strong kid’s focus has made it hard for me to take to the story and characters. While Season 2 does an impressive job with a nostalgic and funny one off episode, if you were struggling to take to the story like I was, you might still be left feeling ambivalent. Overall, Voltron does remain one of the better shows to marathon if you have kids and want to share shows with them but go in with tempered expectations.

“Recommended: Voltron: Legendary Defender’s Season 2 starts weak, but gradually returns to a quality that both children and adults can appreciate.”

“Recommended: Voltron returns as an enjoyable show for kids and adults who are kids at heart but this season suffers from a badly executed racism plot line and a handful of plot holes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voltron: Legendary Defender is available for streaming only at Netflix.com

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