Rev up those flashback engines, we’re going on a nostalgic robot ride.
Robots and Mechas have long integrated itself to the Filipino pop-culture ever since the arrival of cartoon shows and animes on Pinoy TV. Starting from the 80s up until the early 2000s, Filipino TV has been filled with numerous, iconic fictional humanoids of metal, in stories that commonly involve the triumph of good over evil, friendship, love, and realization.
These robots and the shows that they star in have made so much impact on Filipino pop culture that they even made they way to the other avenues of the overall Filipino culture such opening themes being used as inspiration for jingles and even selectable through the Videoke, or Video Karaoke, machine.
In this edition of Mecha Fridays, we’ll be doing a quick flashback and list down some of the most memorable and iconic robots that have appeared throughout the course of Filipino TV viewing, and really left their mark on our culture.
We’re kicking things off with the granddaddy of Super Robots, and perhaps the most successful one to boot which also started a new trend for the anime mecha genre. Mazinger Z’s popularity arrived in the Philippines sometime around the 1980s before the airing got abruptly suspended through reasons that are still debated as to what exactly are up until today. Mazinger Z, even though it might not be the first in its genre, pioneered many tropes that were soon used by other shows and has even kickstarted a new breed of Scale Model and Toyline, the Chogokin series, which became a staple for any Robot toy and scale model collector.
Chōdenji Robo Combattler V
The look, the feel, the characters, the combination sequence, heck, even the title, Combattler V has a lot to compare to its successor and the first of what is called as the Robot Romance Trilogy by Toei. whose collective creator called themselves “Saburo Yatsude”. Much like Mazinger Z, Combattler V battles giant monsters sent to destroy the earth, albeit instead of having just one pilot, Combattler V has 5 different people that make up its parts, the arms and chest, the torso, the legs, the feet, and the head, which then morph together in a rather lengthy combine sequence which really makes you wonder why the opponent just sits there and wait for the combination to finish up instead of attacking them mid-sequence.
Another entry to Toei’s Robot Romance Trilogy, Daimos differentiates itself from the other 2 by having only 1 single pilot and putting more emphasis on the love story between the protagonist, Kazuya a.k.a Richard in the official Filipino dub, and Erika a.k.a Carina in the Pinoy version. While it still follows the same ol’ Super Robot formula which is Giant-Robot-fights-Giant-Monsters-and-saves-the-world, Daimos is more on the “Love and Understanding conquers all” theme with its main protagonists being of different races, the Earthling Kazuya and the Baam Erika.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
While fans are debating as to how likable the new Megazord of the new adaptation of the Power Rangers might be, everyone can always agree that the original is ALWAYS better. Piloted by Jason, Trini, Zack, Kimberly, and Billy, the Megazord defended the Earth from attacks by Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa which almost always includes towering monsters. 5 robots that make up one big robot fighting giant monsters feel familiar? It should be since the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is the western adaptation of Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger which was originally produced by Toei which also produced our previous entry here that employ the same mechanic, Combattler V.
Chōdenji Machine Voltes V
To compile a list of memorable robots in Philippine TV and not include Voltes V is a huge disrespectful slap to its popularity among the other robot shows that aired on local TV. Being the most popular of the 3 Robot Romance Trilogy entries, at least here in the Philippines, Voltes V initially served as a spiritual successor of Combattler V borrowing many of its themes and even having some of Combattler V’s characters make cameo appearances in the series. Voltes V is so popular that its Opening theme has been adapted into jingles, gag songs, and even appearing in the selection of Filipino videoke machines. While Voltes V originally aired in the late 70s, it was then taken off air before reappearing in the 90s.
XXXG-01W Wing Gundam
New Mobile Report Gundam Wing
Okay, hold up, Gundam Wing? Perhaps right now you’re thinking “I thought we’ve ended this list with Voltes V, what’s Wing doing in here? You’re just putting it last because you’re a huge Gundam nerd”, well it is slightly true, but even though Gundam Wing may not be the best Gundam series out there story wise, although it does have one of the classiest villains, Treize Kushrenada, the arrival and popularity of New Mobile Report Gundam Wing to Philippine TV kickstarted a new addition to our pop culture, for which we now refer to as Gunpla building. The show also helped bring the other Gundam shows to the Filipino audience, and has helped build up a fanbase strong enough to even have Sunrise and Bandai grant official Tagalog subs to the currently airing Gundam shows.
Got something to add to our list? Tell us in the comments and share your love for awesome robots!