Voltron: Legendary Defender – Season 4 – Anime Review
Synopsis: In an all-new series, five unlikely heroes and their flying robot lions unite to form the megapowerful Voltron and defend the universe from evil. (Official Netflix Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Season 3 had started strong, but quickly suffered a number of compounding issues. Sudden developments that needed more time to breath, a villain with tons of unrealized and underutilized potential, a finale that ended not with a bang, but a whimper. Season 4 doesn’t immediately address any of those issues. It’s first episode continues to suffer from the same rushed pacing as the previous season. We rush through character development for not only Keith, but Shiro, and quickly sideline Season 3’s through line about Keith becoming leader of the team. It’s a messy, rushed beginning, but one that ultimately pays off.
With the turmoil of the team’s situation concluded, and a new status quo set, this leaves room for the show to focus on new narratives that feel stronger and more engaging. The series spends time answering some long running questions, crafting wonderfully paced episodes that are perhaps the series’ best yet. Where as Season 3 lacked some of the comedic focus Voltron: Legendary Defender had become known for, Season 4 brings it back, with two stellar comedy episodes that, again, stand out as some of the series’ best.
Even though the season is the shortest yet, with just 6 episodes for fans to indulge in, it manages to pack in an exciting conclusion that features an incredible battle campaign where Voltron and the Rebels go toe to toe with Zarkon’s innumerable forces. Five stunning episodes doesn’t mean the series is perfect however.
Outside of a rushed opening, seemingly designed to abandon near everything that made Season 3 what it was, there’s a few other flaws that carry over no matter the effort put into cutting off most everything that fell flat with the previous season. Like with Season 3, Season 4’s cliffhanger is a little ho-hum. Where as Season 3 really didn’t offer up one, Season 4 attempts to tease audiences with a character’s surprise flip in allegiance that’s telegraphed from miles away.
Another aspect that never works is Prince Lotor. Teased as the new big bad throughout Season 3, Season 4 works to undo Prince Lotor in near every possible way. This villain with so much potential quickly finds the rug pulled out from under him, making Season 4’s usage of him feel like a very strange continuation of his character. His posse of baddies are quickly abandoned, and never once explored. In fact, his usage is so jarring between these two seasons it’s hard to guess where he might go as a character.
Overall though, these lingering flaws aren’t enough to hold down an otherwise strong season. It surprisingly rights many of the wrongs from Season 3, and again has me excited to see where Season 5 will take us. With a 78 episode order on the table, and now 39 episodes in, it’ll be interesting to see where the last half of the series goes and how well that holds up with the new 6-7 episode season blocks.
Voltron: Legendary Defender is available for streaming only at Netflix.com