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Golion

 One!... Plus one!... Plus one!... Plus one!... Plus one!... GoLion!!

Combining Mecha from Toei that aired in 1981. Since shows like this were a dime a dozen in Japan, it unfortunately got overlooked. But elsewhere, including America, where Humongous Mecha shows were still practically unheard of, it got recognition as the lion robot of Voltron.

The show takes place in the then-future year of 1999, and Earth has just been hit by World War III, and all the cities are nuked. Five space academy students (Akira Kogane, Takashi Shirogane, Isamu Kurogane, Tsuyoshi Seidou and Hiroshi Suzuichi) come across the ruins, and before they even have time to grieve, they are taken as slaves by ships of the Galra Empire. They manage to escape, are nearly shot down, but are pulled in by a mysterious force from the planet Altea.

Stumbling across a ruined castle, they meet Princess Fala, the last survivor of the planet's royal family after the Galra empire ravaged the planet, and her advisor Raible. They determine that the explorers are there to pilot Golion, a robot that was unrivaled in battle thousands of years ago, but split into five lions after he tried to take on a goddess. So the pilots form Golion, become the protectors of Altea (including Fala herself after one of the pilots is killed), and eventually overthrow the Galra empire.

Even though the series never took off in Japan as well as Voltron elsewhere, it does have a cult following, and GoLion appeared in Super Robot Wars W. And finally, its popularity led to more than one revival attempt in the West, culminating in the 2016-2018 series Voltron: Legendary Defender.

See also Dairugger XV, Super Dimension Fortress Macross, and Super Sentai.

Tropes used in GoLion include:
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Amue goes from her long-skirted blue princess gown to a pink Mini-Dress of Power
  • Alien Invasion
  • Always Chaotic Evil: There doesn't seem to be a single decent member of the alien species that makes up the Galra Empire.
  • All Your Colors Combined
  • Animal Mecha: The series is called Beast King GoLion. What'd you expect?
  • Animal Motifs: Guess.
  • Anyone Can Die
  • Asskicking Pose
  • Backup Twin: Ryo Shirogane. It's never explicitly said whether he and his big brother Takashi were twins, but they look near identical anyway.
  • Beta Couple: Later, Amue and Ryo's deals run parallel to the light Ship Tease between Fala and the cadets AND Sincline's creepy obsession with Fala. Ryou and Amue become Star-Crossed Lovers, however. And nothing is really resolved between Fala and the other boys. (Including Sincline, who dies at the end at Ryou's hands)
  • Break the Cutie: The cadets, Fala and Amue are subjected to quite the doses of this.
  • Big Bad
  • Bishounen: Akira, Takashi, Ryou and especially Sincline. In the case of the last one, it's a big plot point: his looks come from his beautiful Missing Mom
  • The Big Guy: Tsuyoshi.
  • By the Power of Greyskull" "Let's GoLion!"
  • Calling Your Attacks
  • Cats Are Mean: Honerva's Right-Hand-Cat.
  • Chest Insignia
  • Combining Mecha
  • Darker and Edgier: It never quite matches the works of Go Nagai or Yoshiyuki Tomino, but it's still a fair bit more brutal than most kid-friendly Super Robot shows of its day and downright shocking to anybody who's only familiar with Voltron. It's particularly notable the way the director seems to take perverse delight in causing secondary or unnamed characters to drop like flies, most notably the entire population of Earth in the first episode. And then there's the implication that Sincline not only physically abused Fallen Princess Amue during her days as his prisoner (he's shown onscreen slapping her, tying her up in Unwilling Suspension, pulling her by the hair, etc.), but raped her as well. Also? One of the main characters dies six episodes in, and they make no bones about showing how it emotionally destroys the others. Sure, they soldier on by the next episode, but only because they can't afford the time to sit and cry over their dead friend, and they never forget him either..
  • Death Faked for You: Happens in episode 30, when when Princess Fala is apparently struck dead with a poisoned blade - in reality she's in a poison-induced coma, as a part of Sincline's plan to abduct her without the GL team's opposition so he can force her marry him. Even more, it almost works.
  • Downer Beginning: Earth is ravaged by war and then conquered, the protagonists are enslaved, etc...
    • Episode 21 shows exactly how hard Amue has it as a prisoner.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Takashi. Also Amue and Alor's father and older brother, rather unceremoniously killed at the end of their first and only episode.
  • The Empire: The Galra
  • Ermine Cape Effect: Even when not fancied up, even in uniform, Fala still wears her tiara.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Fala and Amue.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Fala does sparkle sometimes.
  • Eye Beams: GoLion's Eye Flash.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: A dress made for Fala to wear on her possible future wedding.
  • Fallen Princess: Fala begins as this, having been raised in hiding.
    • Amue goes through a rather bad streak of this as well when she's captured by Sincline after her planet's conquered, but manages to escape and join GoLion's cause with Ryou's help.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Why the censoring on Voltron isn't considered outright Bowdlerization. The Earth itself even blows up in one episode; something WEP really couldn't show.
  • Faux Action Girl: Fala is more or less this when she isn't piloting the blue lion, but this is because Raible didn't have her trained in self-defense since he didn't want her to be on the battlefield to start with.
    • Aimee, an archer girl that Isamu met at some point, was this throughly.
  • Fighter Launching Sequence
  • First Church of Mecha: Golion is just worshiped as one on Altea. When he went up against an actual Goddess, he got a major lesson in humility.
  • Five-Man Band: With Akira as The Hero, Takashi and later Isamu as The Lancer, Tsuyoshi as The Big Guy, Hiroshi as The Smart Guy, and Fala as The Chick. (Plus Raible and Hys as The Mentor, the Mice as Team Pets, Alor initially as the Tagalong Kid and both Amue and Ryou as Sixth Rangers)
  • For Great Justice: The opening song.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Fala and the mice. She even knows their language.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Setting the blood aside...
    • Fala has some Innocent Fanservice Girl moments in a series made before Fanservice was "in" for Robots series. i.e. she once shows up in a bikini, and said bikini... malfunctions when she's swimming.
    • Sincline's predatory behavior to Fala and Amue was quite more blatant than people would expect from a kids' show. Especially in episode 21, where the plot did its "best" to imply that Sincline forced Amue to be his concubine without using the word "rape". The fact that he canonically has a Paid Harem doesn't help.
    • Speaking of Sincline, he once was supposed to be engaged to a princess whose planet was an ally of the Galras, and he even kissed her on the mouth in front of Daibazaal. Said lady, Princess Sahlia, was wearing a... quite Stripperiffic outfit.
    • Again speaking of Sincline, a talk he has with Honerva all but shouts states that polygamy is legal in Galra - or at least allowed among nobles. When he leaves to yet again try capturing Fala, Honerva asks him what he'll do about Sahlia, and he openly says "who says I cannot marry both Sahlia and Fala?"; Honerva chuckles at that and then says "Like Father, Like Son"..."
    • This shot is... telling. Quite telling, yeah.
  • Genre Savvy: The first Monster of the Week was actually smart enough to attack the lion robots when they were trying to combine.
    • A later Beastman tried the same trick, only to discover that the Lions now had a force field during their combination to prevent this. Which in itself, is Genre Savvy on the part of the Lions.
  • Gratuitous Greek: The Mecha Beastmen were named for Greek letters.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: World War III, when the US and USSR launch their missiles at each other, happens eight years after the USSR fell.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Prince Sincline had an entire troupe of cute-looking slave girls whose purpose was to dance for his pleasure. Since he wants Fala to be his Trophy Wife AND sees Amue as a Replacement Goldfish...
  • Hair of Gold: Princess Fala and Princess Amue.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ryou, who stabs Prince Sincline in the heart before tackling him off the top of his exploding fortress.
  • High-Pressure Blood: The episode with the Red Beret fighters from Galra/Doom. While GoLion in general has a harder edge than Voltron, this episode rivals even the infamous first ten minutes of Elfen Lied. This is one instance where the edits made perfect sense for a syndie kids cartoon.
  • Homage: It could be unintentional, but Fala's grand dress bears a resemblance to Princess Aurora's.
    • Right after the title card in the first episode, a Galran ship flies past the screen in a way reminiscent of the Star Destroyer at the beginning of A New Hope.
  • Humongous Mecha: But of course.
  • Kick the Dog: Sincline has many. i.e., one of his servant girls spilled wine on him... and he killed her on the spot.
  • Killed Off for Real: Many, many, MANY characters. Starting with Takashi, one of the mains.
  • King of Beasts
  • Lady and Knight: Ryou and Princess Amue relationship, even when Ryou denies being her Knight. Subverted by the cadets and Fala, as they begin like this but after Takashi's death she joins their Five-Man Band.
  • The Lancer: Isamu becomes this after Takashi's murder.
  • Latex Space Suit: All of the pilot suits.
  • Leitmotif
  • Limited Wardrobe: Everyone else has exactly two outfits - his uniform, and one set of civvies, save for Fala, who also has a dress.
  • Meditating Under a Waterfall: Fala does this once.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Averted with Raible, who survived the series.. But played straight with Hys who died at the very end to save Raible.
  • Mini-Dress of Power: Amue, after she gets rescued and gets involved in the final battle.
  • Modest Royalty: Once Fala is a pilot, she usually wears her pink jumpsuit instead of her fancy dress.
  • Monster of the Week
  • Oedipus Complex: The half-Galran, half-Altean Sincline has a lot of daddy and mommy issues, especially with Fala resembling his long dead mother.
  • Off-Model: Everywhere, bit some of the most egregious cases are the following:
    • Prince Alor has Youthful Freckles that seem to appear and disappear depending on the scene.
    • Sincline is supposed to be a teenager in Galra terms, but at times he looks notoriously older.
    • At least once, Akira was shown entering the Green Lion instead of his own one.
  • One, Two, Three, Four, Go
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The original five Golion pilots usually called each other by nickname: "Chief", "Quiet", "Moody", "Hothead", and "Shorty". They were otherwise only known by their last names. (The "Princess" manages to fit into the scheme later.)
  • Outliving One's Offspring: A female Beastman, Gorgon, lost her baby few before being transformed. Then she transfers her maternal instinct to Hiroshi...
    • Explored again towards the end, via the subplot that reveals how Raible's wife and son disappeared in the Altea invasion and later has a teenager who might be Raible's son. . .
    • And even further at the end, Honerva outlives her son... who's none other than Daibazaal.
  • Overlord, Jr.: Sincline, the "even worse" then his dad variety.
  • Parental Abandonment: Fala's parents and sibilings were killed when she was still a baby. Raible hid her away and raised her since then.
    • Many, MANY of Prince Sincline's issues come from his mother's disappearance when he was a little boy.
    • Amue and Alor's father is killed (and so's their eldest brother) when Heracles is invaded, and their mother is never seen or mentioned.
    • Hiroshi's parents are shown in a flashback, and it's almost a sure thing that they died in the nuclear war or the destruction of Earth.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Fala's princess dress.
    • Amue's princess dress isn't that fancy, but when she wears her battle mini dress, it fits this trope better.
    • The wedding dress Hys made for Fala to wear for her eventual wedding.
  • Pride: As mentioned, GoLion was originally a single robot who thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread; when he tried to fight a space goddess, she split him into the five lions to teach him some humility.
  • Princess Classic: Even as a pilot, Fala is like this.
  • Princess Curls: Fala, although they way they are drawn makes them easy to mistake for sideburns.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Fala wears pink with nearly everything, even her uniform. Amue at first favors blue tones (with tiny splashes of pink), but her Mini-Dress of Power is fully pink.
  • Rape as Drama: It's widely believed that Sincline sexually abused Amue when she was his captive. Considering how she looks like Fala (whom he has quite the creepy Villainous Crush on), how he and his father have sex slaves (and Sincline's mother is all but stated to have been one) and the VERY rapey undertones of episode 21's Downer Beginning, it's not out of the question.
  • Robeast: The Deathblack Beastmen. A group of more powerful, robot monsters called the Mechablack Beastmen were introduced later on.
  • Rocket Punch: GoLion's Four Lion Attack has it launch the lion heads on its four limbs at the enemy.
  • Rock Theme Naming: The original five pilots have the old Japanese names of metals as their surnames: Kogane means "gold", Shirogane means "silver", Kurogane means "iron", etc.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something -- Fala as one of the pilots.
    • Sincline is an example, though in most cases it would have been better for Daibazaal and Galra if he was a Royal Who Did Not Do Anything.
    • Alor and Amue manage to evolve into this.
  • Spanner in the Works: Honerva's plan to take down Altea by killing Shirogane and therefore leaving the Lions unable to combine into GoLion falls victim to two spanners- one was Kurogane in Red Lion coming up with the idea to push the Deathblack Beastman Galcia into some magma and therefore win without needing to combine, and when Galra attacks again before Altea could train a replacement, Fala takes Blue Lion as its definitive pilot..
    • Had Amue been killed rather than abducted by Sincline, she wouldn't have been rescued by Ryou Shirogane, and therefore the two wouldn't have formed a resistance cell that would be quite useful later for the heroes...
    • The Space Mice are EXPERTS at this, from foiling Lissa's attempt to blow up Gradam Castle to distracting Sincline enough to let Ryou pull his Taking You with Me.
    • Jaga trashed through the King of Heracles' plan to double-cross the Galras via sneaking inside the council room and letting Honerva and Sincline see and hear what he sees/hears of their plans.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Before Media Blassters' official spelling, "Fala" was usually romanized as "Farla".
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: Hiroshi.
  • Slippery Swimsuit: Happens once to Princess Fala. A high dive while wearing a bikini leads to her top surfacing before she does.
  • Spoiler Opening: The ending spoils a big, BIG plot point from the very start... While Takashi Shirogane shows up in the OP... he is not featured in said ED, foreshadowing how he's the Sacrificial Lion. Instead, the one who stands up with the team is his future replacement at the helm of the Blue Lion - Princess Fala.
  • Standardized Leader: Akira.
  • The Starscream: Prince Sincline.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: The way Fala's guardians treat her some of the time. It's more understandable when one considers that she's the Last of Their Kind, but still grating.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Sincline, to Fala (and to a smaller degree, Amue).
  • Stock Footage
  • Super Robot
  • Theme Song: See here.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Subverted oh so many times, that's what happens when you get Dangerously Genre Savvy villains.
  • Transforming Mecha: Mecha Beastman Delta went from robot to Drill Tank.
  • True-Blue Femininity: Amue's main dress.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Poor Amue gets once used like this by Sincline, in an attempt to force her remaining brother Alcor to surrender to Galra.
  • Vampire Tropes: The Galra seem to have been modeled after vampires.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Sincline goes crazy and kills Honerva (his grandmother) when he found out that his mother was Altean.
  • Was Once a Man: The Robeast are originally aliens who are transformed into this. Again, this was toned down in Voltron.
  • Warrior Princess: Fala, and even Amue near the end.
  • Wicked Witch: Honerva.
  • The Worf Effect: Every encounter the titular robot has with a beastman who is a physical threat to Golion is an example of this.
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