voltron: defender of the archives

I was at the store tonight and decided to buy the complete series of Voltron, one of the few cartoons of my childhood… that I didn’t like. There weren’t a lot of cartoons growing up I didn’t like. Snorks was another one I couldn’t really get into, if I remember correctly.

Voltron came out in ’84 which would have made me 8 years old at the time. I remember not liking it because I’d get really confused by the story. It’s dubbed as well and so the lip sync was off. I imagine that driving little old me crazy as well. I tried to find explanation and continuity in many things or I would get upset. I was a philosopher already at such a young age.

Such frustrations pretty much left me with a distaste of anime that exists to this day. There’s additional stuff that I don’t like about it, but going back this far is where it all originated. It’s the reason I can’t watch series like Avatar: the Airbender, despite many people’s repeated attempts over the years to get me to check it out.

I decided to get it tonight to add it to my collection for one simple reason – it’d be a part of my childhood that I’d also have archived. I have already bought a lot of the cartoons I grew up watching on Saturday mornings. Like I said, I liked just about all of them.

I added the series to my DVDs database and started watching one of the episodes while I was waiting for some of the discs to import. I’m proud to say that I successfully sat through one entire episode. Even doing that sometimes is a chore, especially for something I was not that into.

I did some reading up on the series as well. It turns out that the original cartoon was modified to remove certain scenes and episodes where the content would have been too edgy for a young American audience. That made me think that perhaps in porting it, there was a few things lost in translation. I’m wondering if the script writers had to wing it some times to make the story have some plausible sense. That being the case, it contributes to my original take of not understanding the storylines so well.

I noticed something else while watching it so far, that it’s not quite like I remember it. The characters seem a bit different. I don’t remember them looking the way they are in the cartoon. There’s still the giant robot that assembles into one big awesome sword-wielding monster, so I got that right. But so far, something’s just off. I’m wondering if it’s possible there were two anime-type cartoons growing up I watched, and I got them mixed up. Not sure. I don’t remember any, but it’s got me thinking enough right now.

Anyway, the reason for this post was kind of to go over my selection process when it comes to adding new series to my collection. What’s most interesting, is that my reasons for picking something up changes over time. I never really expected that to happen. I’ve had series in the past that I’d buy and archive, rip, etc. but then at some point later decide I wasn’t that interested in it. This would happen on an individual basis, though, and not all at once. I’d remove the episodes on my media server, delete the entry in a database, and move on.

One day though I decided it’d be interesting if I had stats on how many series I’d bought and never actually ended up keeping. Since they were deleted from my database, I’d have to go through and find all of them. So I searched my memory and also my Amazon orders list over the past 20 years to see which ones I’d gotten. I also looked through old photos I had of my collections from way back when. I managed to find a lot of stuff. Stuff I had completely forgotten about. It was pretty cool.

My collection from 2003. I miss those computer cases.

Like I said, though, my reasons for not collecting stuff changes over time. In this last revisit of my methods, though, I basically came to the conclusion if that it’s something new that I hadn’t seen while growing up, and the chances of me starting to watch it were nil, to go ahead and remove it. A lot of these I still have the DVDs from, but that’s only because I don’t really have the energy or drive to get rid of them.

So, the grand total right now of cartoons that I’ve decided to not keep in my archives: 57. That’s pretty high. Especially considering that the total # of cartoon series that I do keep is 51. That’s a lot of mind-changing. With each revision though, I find that I get more closely defined to what it is I really want in my collection. Or at least, it weeds out what I’ve been holding onto for reasons that aren’t sustainable over time.

I decided to get this one just because it’d be interesting to see if I really can get everything I watched growing up, and to some degree liked it. I mean, I must have watched the show at least some if I could remember after all these years why I didn’t like it. I’m already finding too that the way I remember it is off, so that’s pretty interesting.

I don’t know if it’ll pass the test of time, having it, but so far I don’t see why not. It is in a genre of its own though, “cartoons I was unsure about.” There’s not many of those. Actually, the only one I can think of is the original Ghostbusters cartoon.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012 version) has a total rip on Voltron called Super Robo Mecha Force Five! They generally have some old cartoon they’re doing a parody of that they watch on VCR. Their version is how I will always totally see anime.

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