超電磁マシーン ボルテスV: Super Electromagnetic Machine Voltes V

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From my previous article, one of our local networks in the Philippines - GMA Network released a second trailer for their upcoming live adaptation series of Voltes V, the most beloved anime series in the Philippines.

As I mentioned previously, the series had a dark history during the 70s, and for 44 years it became a symbol of Filipino Pop-Culture up to this day. In this article, I'll discuss everything about Voltes V. I promise you I'm not going to spoil everything, but I'll just give you a short story about the series. If you want to watch the full series, visit YouTube with the following official channels below.

Premise

Deep within the far reaches of the universe lies the planet Boazan. A humanoid alien race called the Boazanians, their social system revolves around a caste system. Those who were born with horns were considered nobles, while those who don't have horns were treated as slaves.

Baron Hrothgar / Dr. Ned Armstrong (Prince La Gour / Prof. Kentaro Go)

Baron Hrothgar (in the original version his name is Prince La Gour) was born with royal-blood, but only one problem, he's born without horns. Throughout his childhood, he needs to wear artificial horns to avoid stigma & scandal, and as he witnessed his fellow people being enslaved by the treachery of the Boazanian Empire. He made a promise that he'll bring justice and equality to his race. He became the Chief Science Minister of Boazania because of his gifted mind, professionalism, and his academic excellence.

Lozaria (wife of Baron Hrothgar / Prince La Gour)

He marries Lozaria, a horned noblewoman and during their honeymoon, he revealed his fake horns to her. Royal-blood or not, he is still with the man she chose to love and both were overjoyed. When his secret was revealed by his jealous cousin Zanzibal (Zu Zambajil) who would become the Emperor of Boazania, he was separated from his wife, branded as a traitor, and stripped of his title.

Lozaria dies during childbirth, and Prince Zardoz (Prince Heinel) was born, but Hrothgar could only weep behind bars without the knowledge that his royal-horned son was born. He was able to escape with the help of the rebels and led the rebellion against the empire, but he was no match against the Boazanian's military superiority. His brothers-in-arms sacrificed themselves so Hrothgar can board their last remaining spaceship, leading him to planet Earth. He was found wounded, unconscious near the wreckage by a scientist named Mary Ann Armstrong (Dr. Mitsuyo Go) who would become his wife. Hrothgar changed his name to Dr. Ned Armstrong (Prof. Kentaro Go), as he collaborates with his wife, Dr. Richard Smith (Prof. Hamaguchi) and Earth International Defense Force Commander Robinson (General Oka) to create and design Earth's last defender against the potential invasion of the Boazanian Empire, Voltes V. After the creation of the Voltes vehicles, Ned and Mary Ann had 3 sons: Steve (Kentaro Go), Robert "Big Bert" (Daijiro Go), and "Little John" Armstrong (Hiyoshi Go). He tearfully left his newfound home and family, but suddenly disappeared.

The story revolves around the 5 chosen pilots of Voltes V: Steve Armstrong, Robert Armstrong, Little John Armstrong, Mark Gordon (Ippei Mine) - a rodeo champion, and Jamie Robinson (Megumi Oka)- daughter of Commander Robinson as they protect & defend the planet against Super Beasts deployed by the empire. With the help of other supporting characters throughout the series as Steve, Big Bert, and Little John investigates clues of their father's disappearance and their true origins.

Creation & Release

Voltes V was created by Saburo Yatsude as part of the Robot Romance Trilogy (Combattler V, and Tosho Daimos), produced by Toei Animation and Nippon Sunrise. For the full list of characters, click/tap here to read more.

It aired in Japan on June 4, 1977. A year later, the pilot episode for Filipino viewers was aired as an English-dub on May 5, 1978, every Friday at 6:00 pm, making it the most popular animated series in the Philippines. As you may remember Tosho Daimos centers the love story between Richard Hartford (Kazuya Ryuuzaki) & Erika. The series reached its final episodes in 1979 as per instruction by former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos to ban the last 4 episodes because of its themes later would show as an influence at that time. But it was re-aired multiple times on various networks from the mid-80s to the present day, and it is now part of a streaming service called iFlix.

Liberty Leading the People by painter Eugene Delacroix

The themes on Voltes V centers on oppression by a dominant authority and the rebellion against the regime. No wonder why it was banned, but became an instrument to oust the president who ruled the country for 2 decades. Also, the anime series was influenced by the French Revolution, as the lower class rise to overthrow the noble class of the empire. It revolved around revolution, socioeconomic injustices, and racial discrimination.

Why Voltes V became part of Filipino-Pop Culture?

ボルテスVの歌 (The Song of Voltes V) became the National Anime Song of the Philippines, and it was used as a theme song for Bubble Gang's segment of Ang Dating Doon (a parody of the religious program Ang Dating Daan) as told by Michael V. from his Vlog # 24. As a big fan, he wrote the lyrics in a Manila Paper, while Isko "Brod Pete" Salvador and others read the lyrics as the whole crowd sings the opening theme of Voltes V. Aside from this, he became a collector of Voltes V toys, and other pop culture franchises in both film & TV, also he shared his struggles during his childhood of dreaming to get one of Voltes V toys.

In Arts, a 13-foot sculpture created by Toym Leon Imao was made out of brass, fiberglass, and galvanized iron (pictured below). Voltes V was modeled as an archangel as he takes down a super beast, down below was the head of the former president as the empire's flagship after Skullrook. It was made to represent "the anger felt as a 10-year-old when Voltes V and the other robots were summarily removed from television."

Eraserheads' debut album in 1993

In music, Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon (the TVJ trio) also made a parody of the song in 1978 as part of their album TVJ Tough Hits Vol. 4. Eraserheads (an Alternative Rock band in the Philippines) released their debut album in 1993 named after one of Voltes V's weapons. The Ultraelectromagnetic Top, which they changed it to Ultraelectromagneticpop! with their hit singles Maling Akala, Pare Ko, Toyang, and Ligaya. It paved the way for other rock bands and emerged with the 90s Rock Revolution in the Philippines.

I guess I enjoyed writing my premise part on this article, and that is how Voltes V was so loved by Filipinos, including me as a 90s kid (I was born in 1992), however, it left a scar within the 70s but those wounds were never healed for some of those who lived during Martial Law as people find other ways to vent out their anger through arts. From Music, it may become a spoof, but a rock band managed to lead the charge as they make airwaves and gain popularity with the masses. Voltes V truly etched the hearts of every Filipino.

Sources:

https://superrobotwars.fandom.com/wiki/Voltes_V

https://manga.fandom.com/wiki/Ch%C5%8Ddenji_Machine_Voltes_V

https://www.esquiremag.ph/culture/movies-and-tv/voltes-v-facts-a00293-20200110

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Comments

Good article! I love how you talked about the cultural impact of Voltes V. Just one thing, though. I think that this page would have been better to use as a source: go to a website called "villains wiki" and search for Prince Heinel and also look at his gallery page, it has commentary about him from official artbooks and such translated from Japanese to English. For example, did you know Heinel is based on a Spanish aristocrat as much as he is based on a French one?

I'm guessing that you watched the live action remake. What do you think about it!

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