Volting in again
There are a few great things that I enjoy as an adult, but given a chance, I would trade some of my prized possessions including my liberty as a grownup just to get back to that carefree feeling of just watching my favorite cartoons on free TV all day.
When I learned that GMA Network is giving Voltes V a vocal face-lift, terms such as “Let’s volt in,” “ultra electromagnetic top” and “laser sword” instantly came into mind. I was a bit sentimental because it brought so many memories about my childhood. I even started singing its theme song “Voltes V no Uta,” one of the first songs in foreign language that I learned and one of the only two Japanese songs that I know.
You see, this Japanese series, no matter how outdated its graphics are, still sparks great interests not to mention so much nostalgia. Its universal theme of good versus evil will never wear off. And I believe I am not the only one who feels this way as there were millions of kids before me who already had experienced raising their index fingers to volt in with their friends and playmates.
The Voltes V revival that premiered on Monday morning on GMA-7 is the fourth time that the Japanese anime is being dubbed locally, and the third time in Filipino. Announcement of its comeback was first made in 2015 but it was only last week when GMA Network officially unveiled the voice cast that will volt in for the popular Japanese mecha.
For the Marcos babies, those who were born before the 1980s, and to the 90s kids, Voltes V doesn’t need any further introduction, but for the Generation Z, who were born after the turn of the new millennium, we have to give them a detailed description of the characters and memorable scenes that in one way or another have become a great part of our childhood.
Voltes V first aired in Japan in 1977 (originally as Chōdenji Machine Voltes V) and in the Philippines with English dubs in May 1978. The story is about an armada of horned humans from the planet Boazania out to conquer Earth. It is up to Voltes V to defeat the Boazanians’ giant robots, known as beast fighters, sent to destroy the planet.
Voltes V, on the other hand, is a robot composed of five “Volt Machines”, and each are themselves formidable weapons. Each machine is piloted by Ken’ichi (Steve), Daijiro (Big Bert), and Hiyoshi (Little Jon): the three sons of Kentaro and Mitsuyo Gō, along with the only daughter of General Oka; Megumi (Jamie Robinson), and Ippei Mine (Mark Gordon), an orphan cowboy. Their home base is Camp Big Falcon, a fortress situated on a bird-shaped island along the coast of Japan.
Marcos babies “were devastated” when the series was shut down by then President Ferdinand Marcos, having aired only five episodes. The former strongman issued an order taking Voltes V and all other robot cartoons off the airwaves due to “excessive violence.”
After the fall of the Marcos regime, together with another anime series, Daimos, made a comeback in 1986 on local channels and, since then, other networks screened Voltes V with Tagalog dubs. It was aired on multiple channels like PTV-4 and ABS-CBN in 1986, IBC-13 in 1989 and RPN-9 before it returned to GMA in 1999.
Perhaps, the revival of Voltes V with Derrick Monasterio, Bea Binene, Ken Chan, Jak Roberto, and Hiro Peralta, all on board as voice talents, is GMA Network’s way of reintroducing the series to the young generation. And it is something that we should be glad about. It is safe to say that Voltes V makes three generations volt in, from the Marcos babies, to the 90s kids and then the Gen Z. We all now have something in common.