Go Lion (Hyakujūō GoLion) is a classic 1981 anime of the super-robot genre. It is best known for being one of two inspirations for the American animated series, Voltron, Defender Of The Universe. Despite this, the series stands on its own, and can be quite a shock to those used to the edited version. In many respects, it tells a completely different story using the same source material as the Lion Force Voltron.
In the year 1999, five young space explorers return to Earth, and find to their horror that World War Three has destroyed all life on the planet and rendered it uninhabitable. Caught up in a salvage sweep of the brutal Galra Empire, they are reduced to fighting in its arenas as spectator sport, a harsh, unforgiving existence that can only end in their deaths and then consumption by the guards as food.
Making their escape on a Galra vessel, they are shot down over Planet Altea, a world largely ruined by Galra's invasion two decades before. They encounter a weakened people unable and unwilling to fight back, reduced to barbarism and even cannibalism, save for a former government minster named Raible and the last heir to the throne, the Princess Fala, whom Raible saved from the fate of her parents and older siblings, all executed on the orders of Galran Emperor Daibazaal. Fala reveals that, prior to his death, her father had found the resting places of the five pieces of the legendary super robot Go Lion, a creature said by some to be as old as the universe itself.
The five pilots struggle alongside Fala and Raible and bring Go Lion back to life, dealing some harsh setbacks to Galra but also taking several harsh blows. The Galrans resume their assault on the planet, which they once thought all but dead, causing mounting civilian casualties and leading to the death of one of the five pilots at the hands of the Galran sorceress Honerva. In addition to persuading the Alteans to come out of hiding in the midst of all this, the Go Lion Team must train a new addition. To the shock of Raible and her returning childhood mentor Lady Hys, this new pilot is Princess Fala herself, determined to share in the risks her people endure everyday. Their initial wave of victories proves to be less than what they hoped when a tough but incompetent Galran commander is executed by being transformed into a Death-Black Mecha-Beastman, leaving Daibazaal's loathsome son and heir Prince Sincline in charge of Galran forces. To make matters worse, Sincline develops an obsession with Fala. Go Lion's triumphs are always damped down by the losses incurred by ordinary Alteans. The former Earthmen later return home to witness their world's final death, and vow to not let their new home go in this way.
Go Lion TeamEdit
Kogane Akira, aka Chief - The leader of the space explorers and of the Go Lion Team, even commanding Princess Fala, the ruler of planet Altea. He takes his job very seriously and spares no one's feelings to get it right, and will even yell at the Princess to spare her the fate of Shirogane, the dead pilot she replaced. He is a master of all forms of combat, and is the personal archenemy of Galra's Prince Sincline. He pilots Black Lion.
Shirogane Takashi, aka Quiet - The loyal and intense second-in-command of the team. Tragically, he is not able to remain among them for very long. He is killed in an ambush set up by Galran sorceress Honerva, and given a hero's burial. He is replaced as Blue Lion's pilot by Princess Fala, who tries her best to live up to his memory.
Kurogane Isamu, aka Moody - The happy-go-lucky, sarcastic and at times even mutinous second-in-command (following the loss of Shirogane). Kogane tolerates this because of his skill as a pilot and his function as a safety valve for times the team may question him. He is also known to be a bit jealous of Fala's feelings for Kogane. He pilots Red Lion.
Seido Tsuyoshi, aka Hothead - The proverbial big lug with a heart of gold, and quite a bit of muscle where many assume fat is. He does have an appetite, but he is utterly loyal to his friends and reacts with great rage at the attacks the Altean people have suffered. He pilots Yellow Lion.
Suzuishi Hiroshi, aka Shorty - Descended from a clan of ninjas, at twelve he is the youngest member of the team and quite easy to underestimate. Has a friendly rivalry with Fala's space mice. His bravery is never in question. He pilots Green Lion.
Fala of Altea, aka Princess - The ruler of the shattered world where the team finds the resting super-robot, and the second pilot for the Blue Lion after Shirogane falls. She sees no conflict in actively defending her people from the Galran siege or in taking orders from another as a member of the Go Lion team. Though this is probably helped by the feelings she has for Kogane, who shows occasional signs of returning them. Her main obstacles include her inexperience as a pilot and the cultural brick wall Minister Raible and Lady Hys form to try and stop the only heir to the throne from risking her life in what they see as an unseemly manner.
Go Lion, King Of Beasts - In ancient times, Go Lion was an independent, self-aware being, and literally did defend the universe against gigantic beastmen that stalked the stars. Its unbroken string of victories caused it to grow haughty and attack the one thing older than itself - the goddess who embodied Creation. The goddess humbled Go Lion easily and broke it into five lions who came to rest on Planet Altea, to await the day it was needed once more. Whether the reformed Go Lion still has traces of that original personality is unclear. But the unity of purpose the team brings to it Go Lion also seems to return in kind, and its secrets seems to be infinite. It seems that, late in the series, Go Lion again encounters the goddess and is not only forgiven by her, but is granted great power that helps to end the conflict with Galra once and for all.
Minister Raible - Perhaps the sole surviving representative of Altea's original government. Preserving some semblance of their lost culture is his sacred duty, and part of that is protecting the heir to the throne, Princess Fala, whom he loves like a daughter. So sworn is he to her protection that Raible saw to it above the life and safety of his own wife and son, who vanished during the war. He deeply resists her efforts to become part of the Go Lion Team, even resorting to sexist and some might say insubordinate maneuvers to keep her out of combat. This is all done out of love and neccessity. Raible is extremely grateful and admiring towards the space explorers, but clashes from time to time with them over tactics, strategies and the role of Fala in their team.
Lady Hys - Just as her Voltron counterpart's name indicates, she was once the royal court's nanny, charged with the raising of royal heirs for a few generations at least. If Raible is willing to consider the practical security needs of the planet regarding Princess Fala's combat service, Lady Hys is not. Utterly horrified that a proper princess would ever consider endangering herself, let along hang out with five rough-hewn men, Hys attempts on several occasions to shut this down, only for the realities of war and the Princess' determination to override her. Hys is often dismissive of the space explorers, calling them barely fit to be an honor guard at Fala's future wedding, and at one point calling them 'drifters from Earth'. Over time, Hys comes to hold these boys in the same motherly light as she holds Fala, all the while never giving them a break. Fala loves her for herself, and for the connection to her past and lost family.
The Space Mice - Platt, Chuchule & their children - Highly intelligent, playful, mischievous rodents who were the childhood playmates of Princess Fala, who can understand their speech. They and Shorty have a love-hate relationship, but they have proven their worth against saboteurs and infiltrators, and are eventually even given their own Mouse-Mecha! Needless to say, they hate and are hated by Jaga, the cat familiar of the sorceress Honerva, whose pride and tail they have wounded more than once.
Amue of Heracles - The planets Altea and Heracles have a common origin between their royal families and perhaps all their people, but theirs is a history of war, one strong enough that King Heracles and his elder heir Prince Samson moved to ally themselves with Galra and King Daibazaal during a time when Altea and Heracles moved close to one anothers' orbits. Prince Samson volunteered to become a Mecha DeathBlack BeastMan, a process they were assured would be reversed once Samson had defeated Go Lion. But the Heracleans learned quickly of the contempt and treachery the Galrans reserved for those foolish enough to ally with them. Samson's monstrous transformation was not reversible, and his mind was gone, causing the King in turn to go mad and then be killed by Sincline. Princess Amue, his daughter, met and befriended her counterpart and identical twin, Fala, their resemblance proving that they were in fact distantly related. Sincline, obsessed with Fala but unable to capture her, settled instead for Amue, who was his prisoner for many months before her ultimate rescue.
Alor of Heracles - The younger son of King Heracles, he goes from being an admirer of Sincline and the Galrans to being their sworn enemy and a stalwart ally to Go Lion once his family is devastated by Galran treachery. He plays a vital role in several close battles, and shows promise of being a great ruler one day, though the series never mentions whether succession to the throne passes first by gender or by age, in which case Amue would be queen one day.
Shirogane Ryou - The younger brother of the tragic Go Lion pilot. Rounded up in a Galra sweep of war survivors on Earth, he goes insane in a Galra prison, till seeing Princess Amue awakes visions of his older brother. Awakened from his stupor, he rescues Princess Amue, returning her to her home and making contact with the Go Lion team. While developing feelings for each other, he and the Princess conduct covert missions against Galra forces, and aid in the final battle.
Emperor Daibazaal Of Galra - Ruler of the Galran Empire, encompassing many enslaved worlds. A cowardly monster, he is nonetheless personally powerful and very cunning. He has no sense of honor, and can only put up the pretense of caring about anyone, including members of his own family, and even then only when it serves his purposes. His own survival and power is first and last in his mind; revenge on those who would dare get in his way isn't far behind. There is literally no limit to the suffering Emperor Daibazaal is willing to inflict on the resistant planet Altea, its inhabitants, and its brave defenders, and no depths to which he will not sink in bringing this. Would-be allies frequently learn that Galran promises end when their own usefulness does.
Prince Imperial Sincline Of Galra - Prince Imperial and heir to Daibazaal, he serves his father proudly, and with skill and determination, and even some personal honor. That said, he has little use for what most would term a fair fight, will kill his own soldiers at the drop of a hat, and plots on occasion to be more than heir, only to find there is a reason his father has survived as long as he has. Haunted by dreams involving a woman who looks like Princess Fala, he is obsessed with her, and many of his plots involve her being surrendered to him. He is warned against this distraction by his father, but he continues it, even capturing and abusing Princess Amue of Planet Heracles, who is Fala's distant cousing and identical twin. He is frequently bested in personal combat by Go Lion team leader Kogane.
Sorceress Honerva - Honerva is a deadly combination of sorceress, mad scientist, trickster and assassin, and early on, costs the Go Lion team one of its original members when she personally kills Shirogane Takashi. She is the creator of the DeathBlack BeastMen, the ultimate warriors in Galra's twisted and vicious arsenal. Able to shape-shift, hypnotize, drug and otherwise defeat an opponent in any number of ways, she is perhaps the chief reason why Galra is the level of threat it is. A powerful hand-to-hand opponent, she prefers the shadows but will fight hard when cornered and has personally attacked Altea more times than any other enemy in Go Lion. She also possesses two secrets that could devastate the Galran royal family.
Jaga - A deadly operative on its own and rarely too far from Honerva's side is Jaga, her blue cat familiar and sworn enemy of the clever Space Mice, who sometimes functions as a spy, since Honerva can see and hear through its eyes and ears.
Supreme Commander Sadak - A decent and probably even a skilled war commander for Galra, his string of successes ended when he faced an enemy who could fight back - Go Lion. After over ten defeats at the hands of the super-robot, Sadak was shocked to find that his life was now forefeit. He was technically spared by Sincline, recently returned from far-off conquests in his father's name, though his ultimate fate was unchanged. Altered into a DeathBlack MechaBeastMan by Honerva, he met his final defeat when Go Lion's King's Cross Sword cut him in two. His death was the first real indication that the Galrans had no more regard for their own soldiers than they did for anyone else.
Soldiers - Regular Galran Forces, it is worth noting that they were organic, not robotic, as depicted in Voltron. They were often as monstrous as their masters, playing sick sadistic games with the lives of prisoners.
DeathBlack MechaBeastMen - Somewhat specialized and if anything more monstrous than regular forces. They are recruited from the worst of the soldiers, altered into Beastmen, fed on a cannibalistic diet of meat from fallen prisoners, and made to fight it out in the Galran arena. Besides serving as spectator sport, the champions from these events are altered still further by Honerva, becoming the gigantic, semi-mechanical DeathBlack MechaBeastmen, some of whom came very close to destroying Go Lion. Some do not survive the enhancement process, and some are destroyed by Honerva and Sincline as they seek to make deadlier models. Sometimes, these are piloted like Mechas. On occasion, a non-Galran will volunteer or be subjected to the process, which is irreversible, drives them insane, and would likely result in their deaths in any event. Sometimes, some bare essence of the original subject comes through, but Galran control is otherwise near-total.