The funny thing about this episode is that they adapted its story for one of those radio play/storybook combinations. Having been more familiar with the Transformers iterations of these, I hadn't been aware that the odd little storybook was an adaptation; the Transformers audio storybooks always were
Anyway, the adaptation is notable because there was a certain amount of adaptation decay in the Voltron dub of Golion: If you watch the episode, it's pretty clear from context that the little mole person Sandy dies at the end, despite the Voltron dub's narrator vehemently insisting that Sandy recovered later.
In the audiobook version, Sandy unequivocally wakes up at the end. I almost wonder if they picked this episode to adapt this way so they could comfort the traumatized children.
Anyway, that's not really what I'm blogging about. What I really want to talk about are the sand people/mole people that are the subject of the episode.
Why? Because they're adorable. (I do have my weaknesses.)
In the art for the storybook, they were these weird, generic little football player guys with pointy fingers indicating their claws. This lost a lot of detail from the animation's character model:
Clearly, they're some sort of insectoid creatures with a relatively superficial resemblance to football players and moles.
What I really find interesting is that they actually have four distinct forms of locomotion: They burrow; they drag themselves on their bellies (presumably, this is related to their burrowing); they do a hilarious little waddle gait with their arms sort of akimbo; and when they're scared by the villain's tanks showing up to abduct them, they throw their arms up and do full-on cartoon wheel-leg runs (and some of them actually outsprint the tanks).
The reason the villain was after them, incidentally, was because he wanted to turn them into an army of robeasts (if you're unfamiliar with Voltron, that's simply the word for giant monsters used to fight Voltron). And the poor little
What makes it really sad, of course, is that the reason the villains picked Sandy to transform is because he was wearing a bracelet that the princess had given him, so he was more identifiable than the others. The princess ultimately got this specific sand person killed. (Not that it was her fault, of course. But don't tell me she wouldn't be waking up from nightmares about it months later.)
Even sadder: There was a creature on this very planet that was a far more suitable subject for transformation into a robeast.
Seriously, don't tell me these big ugly horse substitutes wouldn't have made more powerful robeasts than knee-high mole people.
They're frikking terrifying.
...Perhaps it isn't fair to use this particular frame of animation as an example, but my point stands.