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Kogane

"And I'll form the head!"

Kogane Akira
is the lead male character in the super-robot anime series, Beast King Golion (Voltron, Defender Of The Universe). He is the leader of the space explorers who leave behind the ruined Earth, escape the living hell that is Galra (Planet Doom), and make a home on Planet Altea (Arus), also ruined by Galra. Once there, they meet up with the surviving members of the planet's government, Minister Raible (Coran) and Crown Princess Fala (Allura). Despite Raible's initial doubts, Kogane and his team are shown the resting place of the semi-divine super-robot Golion, scattered into pieces for its arrogance in attacking the spirit of the universe itself. A struggle to find all the mechanism keys leads to the unleashing of the five robot lions that Golion had been broken into, and ultimately the rebirth of Golion itself. Kogane, called Chief by his teammates, pilots the leading Black Lion, which forms the main body and head of Golion when assembled.

A few early successes in turning the Galrans back proved to be short-lived and more than a little costly. A stern leader, Kogane tried ably to keep his team on alert, all while protecting the innocent people of Altea from renewed attacks by Galran Emperor Daibazaal's (King Zarkon) forces. An attempt to draw out the surviving Alteans, many of whom had fled underground in order to live, ended in disaster when Daibazaal's Sorceress Honerva (Witch Hagar) isolated and killed Blue Lion's original pilot, Takashi Shirogane (Sven, who survived in Voltron). Despite deep concerns for her safety and perhaps developing feelings as well, Kogane was impressed when Princess Fala tried to take Shirogane's place, enough so that he allowed it. This was for Kogane the start of an ongoing battle of wills between Fala, Minister Raible and the obsessive designs of Galran Prince Imperial Sincline (Lotor), who quickly became Kogane's archenemy. On some occasions, the team gave in to the demands of Raible and Lady Hys (Nanny) and left Fala behind, inevitably leading to her re-joining them at the last minute, since logically Golion could not be formed without her. Kogane and Raible seemed to have later come to the unspoken understanding that with Galra always threatening Altea and with Sincline's desire to have her, the Princess may as well be in combat as in a supposedly secure area their enemies had shown they could penetrate on several occasions. Lady Hys never did accept this idea.

Kogane knew he had a great team, but the cunning and ruthlessness of their enemies meant that he had to keep them all at their best, and for each one, this meant a different approach. Shirogane was perhaps the ideal second-in-command, requiring little pressure to do his job. Kurogane (Lance) was less so, often seeming on the verge of open revolt when his and Kogane's views clashed. Kogane made his argumentativeness a part of his technique, knowing that often Kurogane's gripes were likely also felt by the others. Giving Seido (Hunk) a bit of freedom and the ability to scout ahead on missions gave the big man elbow and breathing room, something that made him quicker to obey in battle. Except for jokes among the team, Kogane made sure that Suzuishi (Pidge) never questioned his value to the team, and that they were not overly protective of him outside of expressing concern, so he knew he was taken seriously, something important to the smallest and youngest member.

In the case of Princess Fala, a whole host of concerns came up. This was possibly the woman he loved, but in that case he had to consider his role as team leader, her role as planetary leader, Kurogane's possible jealousy, and the threat of Sincline, who would not be above setting traps specifically to obtain the Princess. Since Minister Raible and Lady Hys sometimes strongly objected to her presence on the team, Kogane at times was forced to leave the Princess behind, knowing that, since the two were family to her, Fala would have to overcome their objections on her own. Since she was the least formally trained of the five pilots, Kogane would initially have to lean on her the hardest, again walking the line with a young woman raised to the finer things in life who on other levels outranked him. In the end, his confidence and persistence paid off. Fala was doubly trained to pilot Black Lion, and Kogane once technically yielded command of the team to her in order to satisfy a treaty of alliance against Galra by Altea and the other free planets, something he did with little regret.

Kogane's leadership and daring - more than once pressing their luck until they could catch a break - was a major factor in the ultimate defeat and destruction of the Galran forces. Pressed to think quickly against a variety of Galran schemes, Kogane eventually became a bit more cautious but still never failed to reach for an opportunity in battle, a gamble that did not always pay off for him, but given how overwhelming their opponents often were, one that was very necessary. His ultimate fate is unknown, but it is not impossible to speculate that a hero team leader of galactic standing could marry even a planetary princess.

On the surface, Kogane does not seem that much different than his American counterpart, Keith Of The Voltron Lion Force. But whereas Keith and his team arrived with sanction from a living Earth and had distant friends and classmates staffing the Vehicle Voltron Force, Akira Kogane knew in his heart that the harsh assessment of Lady Hys was correct. They were drifters from a dead world, and they were guests serving at the goodwill of the local government. No back-up was coming. Also, the sheer grimness of his world, where death was common and often very brutal, meant that his confident happy appearance was often just that, and the weight of leadership weighed on him, not to mention wanting to avoid losing another world to war. In recent Voltron comics by Devil's Due and in the Nicktoons sequel series Voltron Force, Keith has been given the surname Kogane, an obvious tribute to his Golion originator.

Trivia

  • Go Lion is often much more brutal than Voltron, edited for American children's television. One episode, Number 38: Golion hunting, featuring the Red Berets/Galran death commandos, rivals the first ten minutes of elfen lied in blood and gore levels.

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