Voltes V is a Japanese anime television series that was first aired on TV Asahi starting April 6, 1977. It was created by Tadao Nagahama as the second part of his Robot Romance Trilogy , of the Super Robot genre. Conceived as a second part/remake of its predecessor Combattler V , was released in Italy, Spain, and The Philippines, dubbed in their respective languages according to Wikipedia.
It was 1978, the year when the Japanese anime Voltes V hit Philippine television and caught all Filipino children by surprise. For many, it was their first glimpse of Japanese culture, and for those with black-and-white TV sets, the colors were not so vivid then. Imagine most Filipino’s running home from school or from work, wary that it is almost 6 p.m., dropping their things carelessly on the floor and turning on their old black-and-white TV.
I weren’t one of those so-called Martial Law babies, who got caught in the web of Voltes V mania. I was just born then so I never really did saw the first time it aired, but based on their stories, it really was a phenomenom then.
Each morning, the previous night’s episodes would fill classroom talk and everyone would trade stickers or collectibles of their favorite Japanese heroes. Forget about Superman and the Superfriends, or Wonder Woman and Batman! Somehow, in that brief glimpse of time 30 years ago, Japan had caught the imagination of Filipino children, and their lives would never be the same.
The parade of Japanese robots began with Voltes V, and then came Mazinger Z, then Daimos, and soon enough, prime time was swamped by all of these Japanese cartoons, and kids like me then began to mimic them. It was fun acting out Steve Armstrong (or Kenichi Gou), the venerable pilot of Volt Panzer.
Just when Filipino people got comfy on watching Voltes V, former President Marcos banned the showing of all Japanese anime. Many have argued that the former dictator was annoyed with the parallel identification between the villain characters with his regimes. But some others explained that it was because Marcos’ family owned television company could not compete with the popularity of the television company that broadcasted Voltes V, so Marcos had to intervene by banning the broadcast of Voltes V. Still, the first arguments were already widely speculated, thus at some point Voltes V was gaining a more political popularity. Imagine the day after Marcos pulled the plug. An eerie silence soon replaced the animated chatter in the cafeteria. It was as if someone in the family had died. Voltes V and the rest of the Japanese heroes are gone. But life continues, so they speak, but not without the episodes playing and replaying in the Filipino minds.
So when it was re-aired again it’s as if one has risen from the dead. A mania of Voltes V was relived. And it seems that its bigger than ever…
“Let’s fight together! LET’s VOLT IN!”