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How Voltron: Legendary Defender Transported the Magic of Avatar



You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you can certainly do so with a series about transforming robots and an intergalactic battle against fascism—as long as you put the right people in charge. That’s what eight briskly-released seasons of Netflix’s Voltron: Legendary Defender taught animation fans with its relentlessly fresh take, which always felt more like a lively reincarnation than a defibrillated cash-grab.

Instead of background filler, these characters have enough personality that when they take over the camera, the entire filmmaking style is altered along with the subject they prioritize. When, at the end of the episode, a B-plot about successfully baking a specific alien diaspora’s dessert in order to build trust becomes the most narratively impactful moment in the episode, the dots elegantly connect: Empathy is Voltron’s quintessence, its driving fuel and its prime directive. And now that it’s over, those moving on can list the series alongside Korra and Avatar as one of the most impressive of its time.