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Fala (Go Lion)

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This Princess likes to play with Lions...

Princess Fala is the female lead character in the 1981 Toei anime series, Go Lion. She is the surviving member of the royal family of the war-ravaged planet Altea. It is she who gives her blessing to allow five space explorers from the doomed planet Earth to revive the ancient super-robot Go Lion from its resting place on her world. After the early tragic loss of Shirogane Takashi, she becomes the pilot of the Blue Lion, and eventually, trains to become the pliot for Black Lion, in the event of something happening to team leader Kogane Akira.

Fala was the youngest of many children born to King Raimon and his wife, and as such likely was not considered a candidate for the throne upon her birth. This brutally changed about twenty years prior to the start of the series, when the Galran invasion under Emperor Daibazaal led to the organized execution of the entire royal family by Supreme Commander Sadak. Smuggled away by Minister Raible, the infant Fala was raised in secret, her very existence hidden from most. Fala led a lonely, sheltered existence in the ruins of Castle Gradam, this despite the best efforts of Raible, even befriending a group of intelligent mice whose speech she learned to understand. Keenly aware of her people's plight and how many had died to save her, Fala jumped at the chance to aid the space explorers in reviving Go Lion, did not hesitate to take up a gunnery position at Castle Altea, and, when Shirogane Takashi was killed by Sorceress Honerva, she defied the protective males in her circle to become pilot of Blue Lion. If she had a fault early on, it was her feeling that she was living in the shadow of the heroic Shirogane and that she was not measuring up. Refusing to go easy on her, the remaining four team members found Fala was more than capable of stepping up when needed. As each member of the team has a nickname (Chief, Quiet, Moody, Hothead, Shorty), Fala logically became Princess. It might almost be fair to say she became one of the boys - but her teammates are painfully aware that the beautiful princess is not a boy. While she seems aware of the light to heavy crushes they have on her, it is ironically Kogane, the least expressive in this regard, that most has her interest.

In a life as eventful and at times traumatic as hers, it is hard to see how any change could make things worse or more tense. Yet the return to Galran space of Prince Imperial Sincline was just such a thing for Fala, if not for the entire team. Savvier and more cunning than the late Commander Sadak, whom the team killed as a giant Beastman, Sincline tried repeatedly to not only destroy Go Lion and conquer Altea, but to take the Princess for his own. Unknown to most, Sincline had mysterious dreams of a woman who greatly resembled Fala, and whose identity he himself never learned till very late in the series. But whether driven by lust or psychology or even the odd romantic dream, Sincline stopped at nothing to have the Princess. Scheme upon scheme were predicated on her capture or forced surrender. Emperor Daibazaal and Sorceress Honerva tolerated these schemes for a long while, since the Princess was the key to the defeat of both Go Lion and Altea. But eventually, some of his actions to take Fala worked at cross-purposes to the larger goals of his father's empire. His obsession reached such depths that Sincline kept as a long-term captive Princess Amue of Heracles, a distant relative of Fala's and very nearly her identical twin. Given that Amue's treatment at times reached the absolutely barbaric and monstrous, it seems likely Fala would not have faced much better, even as Sincline's bride. On the few occasions where she was briefly his captive, Sincline's words and actions towards Fala brought the lessons of his vile nature home once again. Fala never once held back in making Sincline aware of her low opinion of him, a trait the brutal prince swore he would break her of.

As the only surviving royal on Altea, the question of her willing marriage was inevitable. While none of the Go Lion team made active suggestions in this area, they and Fala were thrown off when even their joking on the subject of escorting the Princess to a ceremony was brutally and rudely shot down by Minister Raible and by the returned Lady Hys, once nanny to the royal offspring. Fala often had to fight the pair, who she loved as parents and who she knew only had her best interests at heart. But she was often forced to rebel against a mindset that said that not only were none of her teammates suitable even for consideration, but that she herself should be locked up, always studying and nowhere near Blue Lion and any sort of combat role. Though the realities of the war forced Raible and Hys to mostly back off, they would on occasion reassert themselves, forever trying to find suitable candidates to replace her in Blue Lion, even humiliating her in an effort to enforce their well-intentioned efforts. To make matters worse, her teammates would not always support her in these arguments--not because of any contempt, but because she was in fact a symbol of hope that was too valuable to die in combat. On some level, though, they probably knew she would win out over her over-protective guardians, for they never once questioned her many returns to combat after one of these bouts. While all four of her teammates sported crushes on her, the two most pronounced were Kurogane, who made no bones about his attraction, and Kogane, who probably made himself more of interest by his attempts at aloof detachment. Kurogane sometimes resented Kogane for this.

Many times, Fala was contacted by the spirit of her dead father, King Raimon, with advice on the secrets of Go Lion. Her emotions were also manipulated by the Galrans under spells from Honerva, using her powers to impersonate relatives living and dead. Fala inherited the leadership of her father and the diplomacy of Raible, a skill she ably demonstrated when she finally arranged an alliance of free planets to bring down Galra once and for all. This was also made awkward when this same group demanded she replace Kogane as leader of the Go Lion team, a technical arrangement that Kogane agreed to for the sake of the treaty. The Princess herself was highly resistant to this idea, an indication of both her confidence in Kogane's leadership and her probable desire to take a break from being leader of an entire world. In any event, Galra was brought down not long after this, so the ramifications of the arrangement are moot. The strong-willed princess, who had seen further losses as events drew to a close, was likely in a position to marry whomever she wanted - and whomever wanted her.

While Fala can be seen as being very much the same character as Voltron's Princess Allura, the brutality of the original series leaves its mark. Allura was an only child; so for all intents was Fala, but Fala knew she once had siblings, now all dead. Allura was heir to the throne and may have known her parents; to Fala, they are not even really a memory. Allura also remembers her Nanny; Fala only knows of Lady Hys' role in her family's past. While Allura seems to have been a bit more successful in opening up with Keith, their battles in various formats are still ongoing (as of 2011 and two new series, Planet Doom has never been beaten forever in Voltron). If Fala really is interested in Kogane, the universal lasting peace the two won will give them the time they need.

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