02 February 2020

The Purple Prince Project begins with Voltron: Legendary Defender

Over at Speculative Chic I've started my 2020 Resolution Project, and I'll be knocking through reviewing all eight seasons of Voltron: Legendary Defender as well as The Dragon Prince (currently airing with three seasons, though the fourth should drop right before the Resolution Project wraps).

Each contributor at the site has their own identity, tastes, and topics they lean toward...and if I'm not talking about costumes, I'm Speculative Chic's connoisseur of cartoons, frequently covering anime and animation (although in Japan, they're one and the same). I mentioned casually (and through some trolling featured images for Weekly Roundup posts) that I noticed I had a trend of crushing on two-dimensional white-haired purple elf men...


That's how the Purple Prince Project was born. I mentioned offhand that I was going to rewatch The Dragon Prince since season three had just dropped, and then it became, "Would you like to write about this?" And then I thought I couldn't give Runaan from TDP all the love and leave Lotor from VLD behind -- plus, we're expected to write monthly. Voltron LD has eight seasons; right now TDP has three but the fourth will drop before the year ends, so, voilà! That's twelve posts, one for every month. Perfect.

Of course we are not calling it the Purple Prince Project over at Speculative Chic, because that's my cheesy bonkers name for it (I was delighted to see it referenced this way on our Trello calendars, though). I'm taking this project seriously and writing detailed reviews season-by-season for each of these Netflix animated series.

I'm starting with Voltron: Legendary Defender first as it's already completed. And...I have a bit of a personal mission with this. VLD was released on Netflix Japan later than in the US (probably because they have to add Japanese subtitles and a Japanese dub and deal with licensing), so I did not watch Voltron when it was airing live and had its enormous fandom chomping at the bit. I was outside *all* of it. I didn't hear about Voltron except for some amazing fan art and doujinshi that appeared on the internet, and then in 2018 when it magically popped up as available to stream, I casually started watching it.

Theeeeeeeen I learned about the fandom and how it's reputedly one of the most toxic out there. I heard about the death threats on animators, producers, and voice actors; I learned about fans blackmailing Studio Mir with refusing to remove leaked art if their personal ships weren't made canon; accusations of pedophilia, queerbaiting, racism, and more. And of course, fans combusting into angry flames at the last season.

I learned about all of this after the fact, but even so, yikes! Even tirades that contained valid criticism were overshadowed by nastiness that left a bad taste in my mouth. Unfortunately, the toxic fandom seems to be Voltron: Legendary Defender's legacy when it absolutely should not be. People are still writing angry articles about it even now (*cough* GeekDad).

I worried about writing about Voltron and whether I should acknowledge the fandom in my reviews. Here, and just now, I have, but in all my reviews at Speculative Chic (and going forward on this blog), I'm not going to.

I'm leaning towards the textualist approach, and it's generally how I interpret most of what I read or watch anyway: the meaning comes from the text itself and not anything outside of it, like intention or context. Thus, I am reviewing each season based on each episode, and on that alone. Not what fans, creators, producers, actors, reporters, bloggers, promoters, and anyone else has said. If it is not in the work itself, it's not there, and I'm not covering it.

With that preamble aside, please check out my first review for the 2020 Resolution Project at Speculative Chic (comments are welcomed):

Greetings, Paladins! A Review of Voltron: Legendary Defender (S1)



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