Voltron Force: Dradin, Baby, Dradin Review
Remember last week how we said 5 was a magic number for Voltron? This week, the 5 “C”‘s play a big part in the episode, “Dradin, Baby, Dradin”. The 5 “C”‘s are Color, Cameo, Campy, Conflict and Convention. “Dradin, Baby, Dradin” had to be the most Colorful episode of all the Voltron Force episodes. Just like the Casinos in Las Vegas, the endless array of lights and color that are on display in Manset’s LeisureDrome Resort on Dradin are truly a spectacle for the eyes. Once I was able to see it on iTunes in Full HD, I was blown away by the amount of color that saturated this episode. There was one explosion of a tank that was particularly well done to the point that it looked almost real.
The Cameo we are referring to is the beginning of the scene where the Cadets are trying to get in, but the bouncer stops them. As the camera pans over to the Cadets, we see a quick glimpse of a Voltron Girl, obviously someone who was attending the Science Convention at the LeisureDrome. She is very similar to the real Voltron Girl in many respects, as you can see in the comparison picture below. Voltron Girl, A.K.A. Belldandy Chii, a Philippine Cosplayer, has become an internet sensation over the last couple years, mostly due to how intricately detailed her costumes are when she attends Cosplay Conventions and local costume contests in the Philippines. She has won prizes in several contests. She has also appeared as Bumblebee (BumbleChii, as she called herself) from Transformers, Yoshimitsu of Tekken Dark Ressurection, and Berserker Predator and Elder Predator from the Predator films. Her cosplay resume speaks for itself. We are most honored to have had her appear in a Voltron Force episode.
The word Campy seemed to be a very suitable word for this episode. There is not a time during this episode where we feel the Voltron Force is in any danger. Due to its lighthearted nature, this episode was ripe for campiness. The banter between Lance and Keith about who is more fun just kicked it off. Then, the way Pidge details the responsibilities of the Cadets on Arus while the Voltron Pilots are on Dradin, even down to leaving contact information on the refrigerator, leads you to believe the Pilots are the parents, and the Cadets are just babysitters. While Keith is trying to find Black Lion, he has to use a PediCab to chase him down. This becomes campy the second he steps into it, but even more so when his vocal instructions are misunderstood by the robot driver (Head North became “Sped forth?”). The campiness continues later when Black Lion gets “tricked out” into a punkmobile after he was stolen. When Keith gets him back, the fuzzy dice drop down, and Black Lion does a dance to the campiest music you ever heard. Daniel thinks the look worked for Black Lion. This behavior was duplicated at the end of the episode when the Lions were leaving Dradin. No offense to Hal Beckett or Steffan Andrews, but if I never hear that strange Hip-Hop music again, my ears will thank you.
Obviously, you can’t get through any Voltron Force episodes without Conflict. As I said, even though there was conflict of a serious nature in this episode, we still never felt like there was any real danger to the team. The first conflict occurred when the Cadets were not invited to Dradin. This became more conflicting when the Cadets decided to go anyway. This got increasingly more conflicted when they decided to give a joyride to a Parking Attendant, who managed to con the Cadets into losing Black Lion. When confronted by Keith, they were lucky he devised his own idea as to why they were there, and the Cadets went along with it, thus never receiving any punishment whatsoever. The other obvious conflict in this episode was Manset’s reason for bringing the Voltron Force to Dradin from the start. Manset was not inviting them for a vacation like he led them to believe (conflict), but so the Voltron Force could take out Boss Dread, a Drule Mob Boss, who has nothing to do with King Lotor. He is the leader of the Syndicate, a network of ex-military Drules who defected from Planet Doom. This is the most boring part of the episode, especially for kids who are watching, but Hunk sums it all up perfectly. “So, your criminal side business helped other criminals threaten your own legitimate business? That’s crazy, man.” Action conflict happens later when the tanks start destroying Manset’s Resort, the Lions fight back, and eventually Black Lion wipes them all out with a weapon from his mouth we never saw before that totally wipes out all the tanks the other 4 Lions had been losing ground on, in one swift blast.
The 5th “C” is Convention. The only reason Vince cared about Dradin was because a Science Convention was being held there, which left the geek in him wanting to share his new Voltron Force video he created with his fellow geeks. He finally got that chance at the end of the episode, and the audience cheered hysterically in approval when it was over. You see, there was a nerd who appeared after all the fighting was over (complete with the geek-lisp, i.e. Dudley), who got 3rd place in the Homebrew Robot competition. Vince asks him what kind of operating system he uses, and once he finds out the kid programmed his own, and that they share a common interest in source codes, well, he’s completely hooked. Vince is able to get some extra passes for the Cadets to attend a Panel Discussion, which he uses to show off his video, ending with the audience cheering hysterically in approval, thinking it was all CGI (computer-generated imagery).
There you have it. Since I went through several plot points in the 5 “C”‘s discussion, we’ll plow through the story rather quickly. This episode may have started with you wondering whether they changed the theme music for the show. But, as we all know, they always start each episode with a few minutes of introduction before starting the theme song. The Voltron Force Documentary concluded with Vince asking the rest of the team what they thought about it, and Allura telling him that she thought the music was a little much.
Since Voltron is in the best shape he’s ever been, the team wonders what they should do next. Lance suggests they need a vacation, and they get into a debate over whether Keith knows how to have fun. Lance asks the Cadets who is more fun, Keith or Lance, and they luckily don’t have to answer, because a call comes in from Manset. Manset invites the Voltron Pilots to the LeisureDrome Resort on Dradin, for a relaxing weekend. The Cadets have to stay behind.
Obviously, when the Cadets are told they can’t participate, they find a way to do just that, using AwesomeTron, of course. They are soon following close behind the Lions, on their way to Dradin. It was good to see another AwesomeTron forming sequence. Those are always cool.
The Lions arrive on Dradin and a parking attendant asks them if he can park their Lions, and to his disappointment, Keith says they will self-park.
The Cadets try to get into the LeisureDrome after they arrive, but are told by a bouncer that they are not on the list, and to scram. The parking attendant offers a way they can get in, if they are willing to give him a ride in Black Lion. Vince, in all of his gullible wisdom, takes the deal immediately, and uses his Voltcom power to hotwire Black Lion.
While Manset is about to take the Voltron Force back to the resort for dinner, he gets abducted by some Drule Mob goons, who say Boss Dread wants a word with him.
Voltron Force realizes quickly that their vacation is over, and Keith and Lance get on a couple of hoverbikes and chase after the limo that took Manset.
Meanwhile, the Cadets are giving the Parking attendant a ride in Black Lion. After that ride is over, he will ask them to meet him at the back entrance after they park Black Lion in an alley.
Keith and Lance catch up to the limo that took Manset, and break in through the roof, sitting on the seat across from Manset and the Drule Mobsters, facing them down with Lance drawing his Magma Pistols.
They manage to save Manset and head back to the resort, where Manset comes clean about why he really brought them there. Since we already talked about that earlier, we’ll just get to the part where Allura makes Manset swear he will go legit if they help him. He agrees. Now, they only need to find Boss Dread.
With perfect timing, Boss Dread appears, with a full army of tanks and more Drule Goons in tow.
When the Cadets wait at the back entrance, and the parking attendant never shows like he said he would, they realize they were conned, and they never will get into the LeisureDrome. They head back to where Black Lion was, and realize Black Lion is missing. This happens at the same time that Keith and the others are heading back to their Lions to join in the fight against Boss Dread. Keith and Larmina end up saying “Black Lion’s Gone!” at the same exact time.
Boss Dread’s tanks have already taken out the Diamond-encrusted Bowling Lanes, but when he gets taunted by Manset, he takes out the heavy artillery, a hand-held rocket launcher, and takes out the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet in one shot. Manset cries out over losing this, as does Hunk.
While the Cadets are asking people they meet on the street, “Have you seen our Giant Lion?”, Keith is traveling with the only ride he could get, a Robo-Cab, and ends up being one step behind the Cadets on every turn.
After the Cadets catch up with the Parking attendant, in a warehouse where they also find Black Lion, the Parking Attendant and his friends scatter in fear, and Keith confronts the Cadets about what they are doing there. Luckily, he makes up his own story which makes the Cadets look good, and they agree to that story.
Keith finds that Black Lion has seen some hip-hop modifications, that make him dance to strange music, and he’s been repainted and pinstriped.
Black Lion joins the fight against Boss Dread, where the other Lions seem to have been having a tough time against all the tanks.
Black Lion get up behind all the tanks and sends a shot of Voltron energy from his mouth which disintegrates all of the tanks. This allows the local police to come in and arrest Boss Dread and his Drule Mob goons.
With the Boss Dread Syndicate threat eliminated, the Cadets are finally able to get some passes to get into the SciCon Panel Discussion, where Vince debuts his Voltron Force Documentary to thunderous applause.
In this week’s episode, “I, Voltron”, Cadet Daniel becomes trapped inside the Voltron robot itself and doesn’t want to come out! But when a monsterous foe from the past returns, will “DanTron” be enough to stop it?
New episodes of Voltron Force premiere every Wednesday at 8PM EST only on Nicktoons!
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