Back in May 1978, or some 45 years ago, GMA Network aired the Japanese animation TV series Voltes V, giving the Filipino youngsters of the late ‘70s something to dearly hold on to as they grew up into the ‘80s and beyond.
It truly makes sense that the same channel had come up with its live-action television adaptation (which began airing on May 8) and pulled off the feat with flying colors.
As many of the viewers are praising Voltes V: Legacy based on “the cinematic experience” and the first episode alone (as of this writing), and considering that Filipinos, in general, tend to be bashers first than believers of their own compatriots’ work, safe to say the gamble paid off.
Even anime fans are amazed by the Filipino production that pays attention to visual details and captures the nostalgic essence of the original Voltes V series from the time of martial law.
People saying that the good word Voltes V: Legacy is getting owes much to hype must have ulterior motives. They’re probably the ones criticizing whatever product coming from people they’re not associating themselves with. And instead of keeping their mouth shut for etiquette, they choose to spread negative vibes.
I found out that a high school classmate of mine, Darling Pulido-Torres, serves as the executive producer of Voltes V: Legacy. We haven’t talked for centuries and she doesn’t need to call me. Even our most elusive batch mate would offer a thumbs up to what she and her team did.
To the uncynical who are open to seeing it without prejudice, Voltes V: Legacy does not disappoint. If sweet memories of the famed animation (which icon Ely Buendia once described as the Elvis of all robots) revisit you while watching it, then it already does half its job.
The word “legacy” is a nod to what Voltes V possesses as far as Filipinos are concerned. It’s a priceless gift from a country that actually occupied the Philippines during World War II. It’s a pop culture icon that has touched the core of Filipino in many ways.
My US-based brother-in-law Stephen Deita, a big boy toy collector, with Voltes V items among his most treasured stuff, is just one of the truly excited people about the live-action adaptation. He is an artist by profession who in the past had shown us some of his drawings of Voltes V and other popular anime characters. He noted in our group chat, “Matagal na akong hindi nagdo-drawing ng Voltes V. I need to do one na siguro dahil sumisikat siya ulit. “
Kuya Steve, as we call him, left the Philippines a long time ago, and cherishes his vivid memories of watching Voltes V back in his days as a young Manila boy.
My younger brother Rockefeller, who works for Top Draw Animation in Pasig, is on cloud nine since seeing Legacy on the big screen with my other two brothers. We used to imagine ourselves as Voltes V members, and by virtue of being the oldest, I would take the Steve Armstrong spot.
Let us be reminded that the original Voltes V aired during a golden age of original Filipino music and the peak of the Crispa-Toyota basketball rivalry, becoming a part of the vibrant culture. Its banning with only four episodes remaining added to its mystique, attributed to its underlying themes of rebellion and revolution. You may say that political trolls can distort Philippine history, but not the impact of Voltes V on our culture. Can we ever forget those days when Brod Pete’s hilarious segment in Bubble Gang is introduced with the Voltes V theme?
The Voltes V soundtrack holds a nostalgic charm for music enthusiasts, with its memorable melodies that evoke fond memories. While the Japanese lyrics of the opening theme may not be fully comprehended by all, some fans playfully substitute the first line with the humorous Pinoy rendition, “Tattoo ni Allan sa puwit ay agila.” Nevertheless, the tune can be effortlessly hummed from beginning to end, leaving a lasting impression on both older generations, like Gen Xers, and younger listeners alike. The captivating intro riff has enthralled and delighted fans for decades, creating a timeless appeal that transcends generations.
Singer Julie Anne San Jose did a cute rendition singing the upbeat song for Voltes V’s latest iteration. She must have internalized the words first before nailing it.
I will not be surprised if future generations will have a Voltes V day parade or something akin to Star Wars’ fans’ “May The Fourth be with you.” There will always be an interesting add-on to the ever-growing legacy of Voltes V.