Mecha Fridays: Super Robot Romance GMA 7

Written by Louis

January 10, 2020

We just found the perfect way to give this segment a comeback.

What has been teased and rumored for months and months has finally started to see the light of day as GMA 7 finally unveiled the first look of their planned adaptation to the beloved Super Robot Anime series Chōdenji Machine Voltes V or most commonly known as Voltes V.

First launched in the country back in 1978 through GMA 7, Voltes V has had an interesting history as it was then abruptly pulled out from broadcast in 1979 only to return to Philippine TV in 1986, and has since then made numerous comebacks in different TV Channels up until 2017. Regardless of which version or iteration you watched during those years, Voltes V has been universally loved by the Filipino audience and has become one of the initial gateways to the mecha fandom for many of today’s fans. Its tale of bravery, standing up for good, and as well as family and friendly values intertwined with weekly huge robot vs monster battles could easily be defined as a modern-day epic for many and a tale that could easily be retold and appreciated in generations to come.

The “V” of course stands for Voltes V

However, as excited as one may feel about how the icon that is Voltes V is receiving new life through a live-action adaptation, we also couldn’t help but also feel troubled due to the current track record of the network that will be leading and creating this said adaptation that is GMA 7.

Trouble in paradise?

While GMA 7 does have its place in the hearts of Filipino fans as being the network who helped bring Japanese Anime into free TV with its numerous offerings which include now classics such as Yu Yu Hakusho (Ghost Fighter), Flame of Recca, Doraemon, Mojacko, Bakusō Kyōdai Let’s & Go!! (Let’s Go), Dragon Ball, Trigun, Desert Punk, Full Metal Panic!, Fushigi Yuugi, numerous Gundam shows, the rest of the Super Robot Trilogy: Chōdenji Robo Combattler V (Combattler V) and Tōshō Daimos (Daimos), and numerous other shows, how it handles live-action is…something else.

Remember these guys?

Okay, so it may seem cheating that we’re using Zaido – Pulis Pangkalawakan which was GMA’s adaptation of another Toei classic Shaider since it’s a tokusatsu series and not an anime but if one found the time to watch Zaido and compare it to Shaider, perhaps you would understand why this comparison seems fair in many ways. While to some extent Zaido did adapt the Tokusatsu formula, the overall feel of the show feels more of your regular primetime soap opera rather than an actual tokusatsu show with its excessive of typical Filipino telenovela tropes in a style that seems to rely more on its big actors and prominent stars rather than a plot that is true to the show’s theme to drive viewership through the already existing and potentially soon to be tokusatsu fans during that time.

A faint light in the horizon

Still, not all hope is lost as looking at the backbone of GMA’s Voltes V live-action, some light is seen at the end of the tunnel with hints of Toei themselves to keep a close eye on production, and the network promising to deliver an adaptation worthy of the show’s iconic shows status with director Mark A. Reyes at the helm. As per online exchanges between some of the production staff and the fans, the adaptation will hope to wrap up production first before all declaring all systems go for broadcast, which means that despite the early reveal of the teaser, the show itself might come at a much later date which, to be honest, is not really a problem if that means that we’re really getting a high-quality show. Talking about the director, Mark A. Reyes is not new to live-action animation and working on fantasy or fictional stories as he has been involved in projects such as Resiklo, Pintados, and Encantadia, which, love it or hate it, were also icons in terms of storytelling and special effects during its own time and were less typical soap operas or melodrama shows but more of its own brand of action and fantasy.

Fun fact: Pintados is considered to be the first live-action fantasy series locally created and broadcasted on Philippine TV.

Here’s to hoping

Though we are bound to expect a mixture of local tastes (i.e. soap opera tropes) and super robot themes in the upcoming Voltes V live action from GMA, we hope that the latter is given more emphasis in the overall theme of the story rather than the usual melodramatic approach and lengthy emotional conflicts. Looking back, Voltes V’s character dynamics and development might have the central figures clash due to differences in ideology and emotional outbursts from time to time but just like how every monster is sure to be defeated every week, these conflicts are also resolved within the episode in true “Positivity conquers all challenges” fashion that the Super Robot genre almost always employs. In addition to this, we also hope that the new Voltes V will still be its own vessel of family and friendly values rather than forced shallow intimacies and for the conflict to actually make sense rather than the generic revenge and jealousy tropes.

With only a teaser and a promise, it is too early to say as to how Voltes V would fare in its new form however we definitely are hoping that its new treatment will live up to its legacy, and usher in a new wave of fans of this beloved icon.

Also if they can retain both the original Opening and Ending themes, that would be really gucci.

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