Voltron originally conceived in Japan as this science fiction fantasy known as “Go! Lion” with melodramatic undertones and haunting score that would put you back early to bed. But just like Transformers the Americans who got the rights for “Go! Lion” re-branded the series and slap it with a better soundtrack and you got “Voltron: Defender of the Universe!”
They also slightly changed the narrative too and putting Voltron in the mix of 1980s melting pot related to cool robots. It was a great to grow up in this era seeing all the cool cartoons and those shiny robots.
Then again you won’t be able to afford it back in the day. But thank Jollibee for it as they acquired the rights from World Events Productions to come up with idea of making Voltron as you’re Kids Meal. If you just happen to read this just now you might be three years too late since this was originally released in 2008.
Originally released in September 2008 exclusively in the Philippines Jollibee woke up their biggest competitor regarding offered Meal Toys. The Filipino-owned company has had best days offering these Kids Meal toys, but nothing like bringing the most iconic property offered as a collectible.
This must be undocumented of what would possibly the Holy Grail of meal toys in this generation. Imagine Voltron composed of five colourful robot lions offered as a Kids Meal Toy who would have thought of that?
Of course you have to get all five lions to form the all-powerful giant robot Voltron. Maybe McDonald’s should try to come up with something cooler than that, but you’ll never know they have Happy Meal since the early 1980s surely they’ll answer back soon with something interesting.
For those living outside the Philippines Jollibee in the western continent possibly is unknown unless you live the Los Angeles area. They have several stores there the ever expanding fast food restaurant, which only unseated McDonald's in the Philippines. But if you are aware about this store in the US chances are they didn’t offer Voltron as a Kids Meal toy in 2008.
The Colorful Lions
To get Voltron you collect the five lions, which feature a holographic seal and proof that it’s an official product licensed by World Events Productions that’s rarely seen in other fast food restaurants offering these as a meal toy for kids. But it’s much more offered to adult collectors who have grown up watching the classic cartoons on a Friday night at IBC 13 in the Philippines.
If you’re fan of Voltron you won't stop just to get one or two lions you’re obligated complete all five lions. You have to go through a lot of Jollibee outlets to complete a set, and it’s worth every Yum Burger to get them all. If your childhood memories owning only a small Voltron figure wasn’t enough doesn't separate to five lions would be a great consolation to own all five Kids Meal toys representing Voltron.
These days the toys are expensive but this one was something Jollibee had hit up with adult collectors who grew up watching the cartoon, which can be reintroduced to the younger kids who’ll see Voltron for the first time.
Here’s an individual look at breaking all five lions to three groups to give you the idea that Voltron -- The Jollibee Kids Meal is not some knock off toy.
The Red & Green Lion
These two lions form the arms of Voltron and they’re quite small, and since this a Kids Meal Toy the same quality is not the same compared to the actual ToyNami figure. This is made of plastic which is cheap. But the details of the little lions are great, and they come with their individual "stands", which also doubles as a cover for your soda drink.
The original toy mostly had gimmicks but since this is a meal toy there are no spring mechanisms that usually launch the lion heads to fire when Voltron uses them as his “Lion Head Fists” to fight the Robeasts.
When transforming them to the robot arms of Voltron, you'll be surprised it’s not the tail of the lions that connects to the Black Lions body. They have "gentiles" pegs that fold up underneath the tail.
The Blue & Yellow Lion
These two are larger than the Red and Green Lion which forms Voltron's legs. All five lions can open their mouth just like the original toys made of diecast parts. They are the same size as the Black Lion and you’ll notice that they have better plastic quality used compared to the Red and Green Lion.
When transforming the Blue and Yellow lion into Voltron's legs their tail retract an not fold which also a change due to that Jollibee probably have to keep the budget constraints in producing this into a Kids Meal toy.
The Black Lion
It’s the one lion you should get first since it’s the centerpiece that makes up to form Voltron. This was the first one that sold out immediately when it came out and it’s challenging to find one when everyone started getting it. It’s the first piece everyone tried to get since this is Voltron’s main body and without it you won’t be able to “form feet and legs” to its torso.
The Black Lion appears to have better quality used in this figure since it’s everything that holds the other four lions to form Voltron. The articulation is close to its die cast counterpart, but with few limitations since this is a toy that was sold for the kids along with your Yum Burger, Jolly Spaghetti, Chicken Joy, and Burger Steak with rice.
The main torso is a bit fragile between the upper and lower body as Voltron. The quality of the plastic is good, but not as sturdy as the material made from the actual toy. The waist part of the body has minimal movement, but not entirely articulated that can do a 360 rotation.
Form Feet and Legs. I'll Form the Head!
Putting together the five lions to Voltron is just like in the cartoon or the like the masterpiece exclusive diecast figure that Toynami released recently. The minor issue is the Red Lion doesn't connect properly that you have to interchange the Green Lion from the left to move to the right.
There’s no issue in the legs when attached into the small peg that connects to the central body, and it was impressive to see something no other meal toy by any fast food restaurant has ever done like what Jollibee has offered for their Kids Meal.
Defender of the Kids Meal
Voltron’s head is definitely spot-on with its signature appearance you’ll see this figure immediately that it is the ‘Defender of the Universe.’ Every to design has budget constraints and for the reason why it didn’t come with his blazing sword or his shield as an extra accessory. Even the lions have no weapons with them, but for a Kids Meal toy like this you’ll understand that it was originally offered or kids.
Thank Jollibee for bringing nostalgia to older fans and introducing Voltron to the next generation. This probably won’t happen again and rarely you’ll ever see a popular 1980s property like Voltron to be sold as a Kids Meal and this is going to be rare.
Overall it’s a rare kind of meal toy exclusively released only in Asia for the Philippines biggest fast food restaurant. Something you don't see in other Kids Meal toys that Jollibee has offered recently, which make this a unique collectible a few would never have completed. Its why even though it has issues with quality you’ll never see another meal toy quite like it.
Expect The Voltron Force to fly once again in spring 2011 with their upcoming animation on the Nicktoons television network!