Chōdenji Machine Voltes V
|Chōdenji Machine Voltes V|
Japanese DVD (2015 release) cover art of the first volume
(Chōdenji Mashīn Borutesu Faibu)
|Genre||Mecha, Drama, Military Science Fiction|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Tadao Nagahama|
|Produced by||Yoshiyuki Tomino|
|Written by||Yoshitake Suzuki|
|Music by||Hiroshi Tsutsui|
|Original network||TV Asahi|
|Original run||June 4, 1977 – March 25, 1978|
Chōdenji Machine Voltes V (Japanese: 超電磁マシーン ボルテスＶ Hepburn: Chōdenji Mashīn Borutesu Faibu, lit. "Super Electromagnetic Machine Voltes V"), popularly known simply as Voltes V is a Japanese anime television series which first aired on TV Asahi on June 4, 1977. The "V" in the name is pronounced as the Roman numeral for "five." It was created by Saburo Yatsude, directed by Tadao Nagahama and produced by Yoshiyuki Tomino. Voltes V is the second part of the Robot Romance Trilogy of the Super Robot genre which includes Chōdenji Robo Combattler V and Tōshō Daimos. The series was animated by Sunrise and produced by Toei Company. This super robot along with the other two aforementioned super robots first appeared the United States as a part of Mattel's Shogun Warriors line of import toys, released in the late 1970s.
An armada of horned humanoid aliens known as Boazanians invade Earth and launch their "beast fighters" all over the world, defeating most of the world's armed forces. The Boazanians first defeat from the hands of Super Electromagnetic Machine Voltes V brings the invaders to focus their attacks on Japan. Voltes V was designed by Professor Kentaro Gō (Doctor Ned Armstrong), his wife Professor Mitsuyo Gō (Doctor Mary Ann Armstrong) and their trusted colleague, Professor Hamaguchi (Doctor Richard Smith) and built by large scale construction effort backed by United Nations Earth Defense Force and General Oka (Commander Robinson). Voltes V is a robot composed of five "Volt Machines", and each are themselves formidable weapons. Each machine is piloted by Ken'ichi (Steve), Daijiro (Big Bert), and Hiyoshi (Little Jon): the three sons of Kentaro and Mitsuyo Gō, along with General Oka's daughter; Megumi (Jamie Robinson), and Ippei Mine (Mark Gordon), an orphan cowboy.
Voltes V's home base is Camp Big Falcon, a fortress situated on a bird-shaped island along the coast of Japan. Voltes V's enemies are the Boazanians; led by Prince Heinell (Prince Zardoz), Katharine (Zandra), Jangal (Draco), and Zuhl. The series focuses on the struggle against the Boazanian invaders and the Gō brothers' search for their long-lost father, Kentarō Gō. As the series progresses, four major characters — Professor Mitsuyo Gō, Zuhl, General Oka and Professor Hamaguchi — die. Zuhl and Hamaguchi are replaced by General Bergan and Professor Sakunji (Doctor Hook), respectively. Later in the series, the brothers learn of their unique heritage of being half Boazanian. The characters deal with their identity's impact on their own lives and that on both their close friends and bitter enemies.
The Voltes V Team and Allies
- Ken'ichi Gō (剛健一 Gō Ken'ichi, Steve Armstrong) is the Voltes V team leader. Born on June 22, he is an 18 year old marksman, a Motocross champion, an ace pilot, and the eldest of the three Gō brothers. During his younger years, Ken'ichi used to behave like a typical playful child prone to mischief but the long absence of his father molded him to become a more responsible son and older sibling. Stern and selfless, he is rarely one to indulge in personal pursuits that might be detrimental to their cause and he often decides on the best course of action in most of the team's numerous predicaments. Due to his headstrong temperament and unwavering resolve, Ken'ichi often clashes with the more cynical Ippei which often results in fierce fisticuffs but the two share no ill will and eventually get along better. Aside from his exceptional marksmanship and formidable barehanded fighting skills, Ken'ichi's is also quite adept with the use of swords (he can surprisingly hold his own against Heinel who is an accomplished swordsman). His uniform was red. Voiced by Yukinaga Shiraishi. He pilots the Volt Cruiser (ボルトクルーザー Boruto Kurūzā) (Head).
- Ippei Mine (峰一平 Mine Ippei, Mark Gordon), Born on November 24 an 18 year old rodeo champion, was orphaned while still a young boy. His mother died trying to save him from a pack of wolves. After his mother's death, he grew bitter, aloof, but cool under crisis. He learned how to live in the streets and perform odd jobs. This kind of life strengthened his personality. Upon joining the rodeo, he learned to ride horses and how to use a whip. He found his greatest friend in a white stallion known as Eiffel ("Alpha"). The two, man and beast, became inseparable. He won two rodeo championship contests with Eiffel as his horse. Then one day, The Earth International Defense Force asked Ippei to join the team. When he refused, he was taken forcibly, so for the first time, Ippei and Eiffel were separated. Dr. Hamaguchi has Eiffel brought to Big Falcon early in the series. His uniform was blue. Voiced by Kazuyuki Sogabe. He pilots the Volt Bomber (ボルトボンバー Boruto Bonbā) (Arms) and has a Maverick and Iceman-like rivalry with Ken'ichi.
- Daijirō Gō (剛大次郎 Gō Daijirō, Robert "Big Bert" Armstrong), Born on November 18 is the 17 year old defense tactician, was once a playful child. But Daijirō's outlook in life suddenly changed when his father disappeared. Alarmed by this change in his personality, Mrs. Gō sent him to live in the country where a martial arts master taught him different fighting styles and forms of meditation. Upon rejoining his brothers, Daijirō was already a master of different hand-to-hand fighting styles. The Bō (fighting staff) became his favorite weapon. Together with Ken'ichi and Hiyoshi, Daijirō started training as a member of the Voltes V Team. Unlike in the group portrait above his uniform was dark green, not brown. Voiced by Tesshō Genda. He pilots the Volt Panzer (ボルトパンザー Boruto Panzā) (Body Chest).
- Hiyoshi Gō (剛日吉 Gō Hiyoshi, "Little" Jon Armstrong) Born on October 20, is a 10 year old a genius in inventing automatons. He has been interested in learning mechanics, robotics, and electromagnetism since a very young age. He was considered a genius by many university professors. He even created a funny little octopus-robot called Tako-chan ("Octo-One" in the dubbed version). But to his big brothers, Ken'ichi and Daijirō, Hiyoshi will always be a little brother, a child who never felt the warmth and love of a real father. He also excels in swimming and diving. Because of his exceptional talents, Hiyoshi was asked to join the Voltes V Team as a technical handyman, specifically for repairs during field operations. His uniform was light green. Voiced by Noriko Ohara. Volt Frigate (ボルトフリゲート Boruto Furigēto) (Legs) is Hiyoshi's vehicle.
- Megumi Oka (岡めぐみ Oka Megumi, Jamie Robinson) is a 16 year old kunoichi (female ninja) and the 18th heir of the Kōga-ryū ninja, Born on May 17. Megumi received special training during her childhood. By the age of 13, she already possessed extraordinary skills and lightning reflexes. She also learned the gentle arts from her mother. Through her mother's guidance, Megumi became a person with a calm yet alert disposition. Joining the Voltes V Team, she was the voice of reason among the male members, especially whenever Ken'ichi and Ippei were about to clash during personal conflicts. Her cool demeanor and uncanny skills qualified Megumi as the fifth (and only female) member of the Voltes V team. Her uniform was yellow with pink accents. Voiced by Miyuki Ueda. She pilots the Volt Lander (ボルトランダー Boruto Randā) (Feet).
- Professor Kentarō Gō (剛健太郎 Gō Kentarō, Doctor Ned Armstrong)/Prince La Gour (プリンスラゴア Purinsu Ra Goa, Baron Hrothgar) is the father of the three Gō brothers and (only revealed near the series' end) also of the Boazanian Earth invasion force leader, Prince Heinel; making Prince Heinel a half-brother of the three Gō brothers. Being the son of the emperor's brother, La Gour is born to be a royal-blooded Boazanian noble but he was unfortunately born without horns. Due to this abnormality (based on the preferred physical traits of the Boazanian upper class) his parents made him wear fake horns in order to avoid stigma and scandal (hornless Boazanians are forcibly subjected to a lifetime of slavery). The aging current emperor at the time lacked a legitimate male heir so despite La Gour's undisclosed imperfection the latter was still groomed to be next in line to the Boazanian throne. The horned elites' extreme prejudice and severe maltreatment of the hornless slaves struck a chord in young La Gour's psyche and he vowed that one day he will bring forth justice and equality between the two classes. Gifted with an extremely brilliant scientific mind, La Gour's academic excellence and unwavering work ethic eventually earned him the title of Boazania's Chief Science Minister; majority of the planet's technological advancements particularly in regards to the military sciences can be attributed to his efforts. He got betrothed to a horned noblewoman named Lozaria and during their honeymoon he revealed his fake horns to her. His wife told him that he is still the man she chose to love and the couple was overjoyed. Moments before being crowned as the new emperor, La Gour's secret was finally publicly divulged by his jealous and ambitious bastard cousin, Zu Zambajil. He was branded a traitor, stripped of his title, separated from his wife and imprisoned. Lozaria later dies during childbirth while the hapless La Gour can only weep in mourning behind bars. With the aid of the rebels he was able to escape from prison. He then led a rebellion against the empire but his ragtag troops of former slaves were simply no match against the superior might of the Boazanian military. His desperate comrades sacrificed themselves in order for him to board their last remaining space saucer which led him to planet Earth. He was found wounded and unconscious near his ship's wreckage by a local woman, a scientist named Mitsuyo Go who he later marries. Fearing Zambajil's interplanetary conquest ambitions, La Gour (who now goes by the name Professor Kentaro Go) collaborated with his wife as well as premier earth scientist Professor Hamaguchi and Earth International Defense Force commander General Oka to design and construct Voltes V, his greatest creation and the ultimate defense against the potential incoming Boazanian invasion. After the birth of their third and youngest son, Hiyoshi, Professor Kentaro Go tearfully left his newfound home and family; he returned to Boazania as a diplomat in a peaceful effort to put an end to the cruelty and tyranny of the now current reigning emperor, Zambajil. Instead of listening to Professor Go's appeal of non-violence towards other planets, the ruthless monarch offered his long lost cousin a high ranking position as lead designer of Boazania's interplanetary war machine. Disgusted by how vile and despotic Zambajil had become, Professor Go vehemently refused and was therefore incarcerated. The main story begins ten years later. Voiced by Yū Mizushima.
- Professor Mitsuyo Gō (剛光代 Gō Mitsuyo, Doctor Mary Ann Armstrong) is the human wife of Professor Kentarō Gō and the mother of the three Gō children. She met La Gour when he escaped Boazania and crash-landed on Earth. She later married Lagour and, as a scientist herself, assisted him in creating Voltes V. She raised her children on her own when her husband left, and continued to care for them until her death. She sacrificed herself to help Voltes V when it was under the mercy of a beast fighter.
- Professor Hamaguchi (浜口博士 Hamaguchi-hakase, Doctor Richard Smith) is the commander of Camp Big Falcon fortress at the beginning of the Voltes V series. Regarded as planet Earth's top scientist, he helped design and build the Voltes V robot alongside his good friend Professor Kentaro Gō. Due to his friendship with their absentee father, Professor Hamaguchi is somewhat of a father figure to the Voltes team, especially to the three Gō brothers. Despite appearing to be an old man, he is very capable of defending himself; Boazanian soldiers who were trying to seize him failed when they were met with his vicious roundhouse kicks. Professor Hamaguchi acted as the commander of Camp Big Falcon on Professor Gō's behalf until he was killed after sacrificing his life to save the Voltes team. He is voiced by Seizō Katō.
- General Oka (岡防衛長官 Oka-chōkan, Commander Robinson) is Megumi Oka's father. He is the 17th heir of the Kōga-ryū ninja, a co-designer of Voltes V, and commander of the Earth International Defense Force. On the verge of retirement due to ill health; he dies late in the series saving his daughter from a Boazanian beast fighter that had the power to control people's minds. Voiced by Hiroshi Masuoka.
- Professor Sakunji (左近寺博士 Sakunji-hakase, Doctor Hook) is another commander of Big Falcon. After Hamaguchi's death, Sakunji, a former student of Hamaguchi, is called upon to take over command of Big Falcon. He is a hard-nosed commander who continually pushes the Voltes V Team to their limits during training, sometimes to the point of risking their lives. Although he first appeared cruel, he has also shown his soft side as the series went through, especially that he was concerned about the people of the Earth more than anything else. Voiced by Tamio Ouki.
- General Dange (ダンゲ将軍 Dange-shōgun, General Watson) is a Boazanian colleague and ally of Doctor Kentarō Gō. He was a member of Boazanian nobility, and military general until he deliberately broke his horns, because he "..believed in equality and decided to fight for it" and joined the rebellion against Emperor Zambajil. When Dr. Gō returned to Boazania, he broke him from capture and escaped with him to earth, along with a handful of rebels. He assisted Voltes V by piloting the "Mechanical Eagle" and installing new weapons upgrade components during Mid-battle. En route to Camp Big Falcon, he was attacked by a beast fighter and was mortally injured. However, just before he died he managed to tell Ken'ichi, Daijirō, and Hiyoshi of their father and their Boazanian origins.
- General Doir (ドイル将軍 Doiru-shōgun, Commander Garth) is another Boazanian colleague and ally of Doctor Kentarō Gō who escaped with him to earth. He is the leader of the Boazanian refugees/rebels on earth and helped Gō construct the Solar Bird, a giant spaceship that is designed to be the partner for space travel for Camp Big Falcon. After Gō was re-captured by General Gururu, he led the Voltes team and Camp Big Falcon to Boazania to launch the final attack on Emperor Zambojil and his regime.
The Boazanian Nobility
- Emperor Zu Zambajil (皇帝ズザンバジル Kōtei Zu Zanbajiru)
The emperor of Boazania. He was extremely racist, cruel, and selfish, but ultimately a coward, typical characteristics of super robot villains of the time. The bastard son of the previous emperor and his mistress, he overtook the throne when he revealed the "hornlessness" of his cousin, La Gour. Driven by greed and the desire for conquests, he ordered his people to create beast fighters as a tool to expand his empire further. His ambition knew no bounds: Under his rule, horned and hornless alike who dared oppose him were imprisoned, enslaved, and executed. He sent Prince Heinel, the son of La Gour, to Earth, as a means of removing a perceived threat to his rule. As time wore on, he sent others to pretend to aid Heinel while spying on him. When Voltes V and the Big Falcon reached Boazan, the people rebelled against him and the few still loyal to him turned against him and fled. He met his end when, while trying to escape with a wagonload of riches, he was found by Prince Heinel, who killed him in repayment for betraying his planet and people. Voiced by Mikio Terashima.
- Prince Heinel (プリンスハイネル Purinsu Haineru, Prince Zardoz)
The half-brother to the Gō brothers at their father's side. He was born the son of a traitor, bitter and more of the noble villain. As a child, he had a rough time being called a traitor's son, with no memory of his parents and only loved by his grandparents. He wanted to clean the stain, but being a possible heir makes his second-degree uncle Zambajil hate him secretly and was hesitant to appoint him. Though first shown as a villain and using dirty tactics, he is later seen to be having noble qualities like playing fair at times in contrast to most of his comrades who prefer to use cheating methods like most super robot princes that would eventually succeed him. Graduating as best student at the Institute of Military Science and Warfare, He has a high sense of honor, like most warriors and regards himself more of a soldier than a prince. Due to his repeated failure, his second degree uncle Zambajil removed him from duty. Prince Heinel sought to restore Boazania to glory; after all, he was only a scapegoat. He would rather die in battle than die a loser. He later realized that he was fighting against his own father and his own half-siblings. His mother was Lozaria, the Boazanian wife of La Gour/Kentaro Gō who died after giving birth to him. When he saw Zambajil try to escape, he threw a dagger (which came from his mother) to kill the despotic Emperor to redeem himself. In the end, he died a redeemed man, peaceful, enjoying a few moments of peace having saved his younger half-brother Kenichi's life. Voiced by Osamu Ichikawa.
- Katherine Rii (リーカザリーン Rī Kazarīn, Zandra)
Prince Heinel's aide and would-be lover, Born on May 5. Motivated by love, she remained loyal to her prince until the end, when she took a sniper's bullet, saving his life. As she died, she confessed her love to him, and he realized that he loved her, too. Voiced by Noriko Ohara.
- Jangal Rui (ルイジャンギャル Rui Jangyaru, Draco)
The three-horned General sent to Earth with Prince Heinel and Katharine. Fiercely loyal to Heinel while also a wise strategist, he is the one who convinced Heinel, and himself, that the Gō Brothers are actually part Boazanian. He later chose death over surrender to the Voltes team.
- Zuhl (ズール Zūru)
The one-horned, aged, hunchback, toothless scientist, one of Prince Heinel's original aides. His invention of the Anti-Super Electromagnetic Device nearly destroyed Voltes V. Cunning and contemptuous, he discreetly captured Prof Go just before he returned to Earth and attempt to use him for his plans to kill Heinel and Voltes V. Eventually, his attempt to betray Heinel failed and he was executed.
- General Bergan (ベルガン Berugan, General Oslack)
The second general sent by the Emperor, sent by Emperor Zambojil to keep an eye on Prince Heinel and kill him if necessary. He kept his identity concealed most of the time with a blank mask. Upon arrival, he created a combat beast with a special alloy called Maxingal, the same alloy used for his armor, which was supposedly impervious to Voltes V's weapons and sword. Using this alloy, he intended to defeat Voltes V and take over Heinel's position, but lost and became Zuhl's replacement under Heinel. Since his arrival, all beast fighters constructed has Maxingal as standard armor but they're still no match when Voltes V upgraded its sword with the Chōdenji/Superelectromagnetic Ball. Along with Gururu, he betrayed Heinel and attempted to blew up Earth with a Magmite Bomb. During the battle to liberate Boazan, he died when the starship he and Gururu were on was destroyed by Voltes V.
- General Gururu (グルル Gururu, Baron Zander)
The head of the Boazanian Military and the last commander sent to Earth. He re-captured Lagour/Prof Gō and betrayed Heinel with Bergan. Overconfident, he was killed during the liberation of Boazan.
- Duke Zaki (ザキ侯爵 Zaki Kōshaku)
The chief inspector of Emperor Zambajil, and one of few who knew about Zamabajil's betrayal to Lagour and the Boazanian throne. He is well known to deliver bad news to the emperor from his scouting, thus many executions ordered by the Emperor was a result of his reports. Zambajil sent him to Earth to report on Heinel's progress, but discreetly wanted him to ensure Heinel's death at the hands of Voltes V. He plotted with Zuhl to have Heinel pilot a beast fighter, while at the same time leaked information to Big Falcon about the beast fighter's weak points. His plan backfired when Katharine overheard the plot. Heinel ordered Zuhl to reinforce the weak points, and in mid battle the beast fighter destroyed Zaki's nearby ship with him inside.
Voltes V was broadcast in Japan by TV Asahi from June 4, 1977 to March 25, 1978, replacing Chōdenji Robo Combattler V in its initial timeslot. The series' opening theme is titled "Voltes V no Uta" (ボルテスVの歌 Borutesu Faibu no Uta, "Voltes V Song") by Mitsuko Horie, Koorogi '73, and Columbia Yurikago-kai with the ending theme titled "Chichi wo Motomete" (父をもとめて, "I Want Father") by Ichiro Mizuki. Both songs were composed anonymously by Toei staff
An English-language dub of Voltes V was first aired in the Philippines by GMA-7 on May 5, 1978. The series was shown every Friday (6:00 pm) and became popular nationwide. An American English dubbed version was later released in North America in 1983 by 3B Productions as Voltus 5. It was a condensed version of episodes 1, 2, 9 and 18. The English dub used the character names of the Philippine English version.
In 2005, the cable channel Hero, owned by the ABS-CBN Corporation, released Voltes V as Voltes V Evolution. However, the voice cast was different from the GMA version. In an attempt to promote the show to a younger audience, the network had Jett Pangan, Sandara Park, Dennis Trillo and other Filipino celebrities re-dub the characters' voices. On March 27, 2017, in celebration of the anime's 40th anniversary, a new Tagalog dub of Voltes V returns to Philippine television on its original network, GMA, in the "Astig Authority" block every weekday mornings. The new voice cast features several of the network's artists such as Bea Binene, Derrick Monasterio, Jak Roberto, Hiro Peralta, and Ken Chan.
In September 2016, a video-on-demand service, iflix began streaming all episodes of Voltes V both in English and Filipino dub. Currently, Telesuccess Productions holds the Philippine rights to the series. At the Otakon 2018 convention on August 13, 2018, Discotek Media announced that they licensed the series for its DVD release in North America.
During the series' run, Popy released a diecast metal toy of Voltes V. The toy was available either with the five Volt Machines sold separately or in a gift set known as the "Volt In Box". Aside from the Volt Machines combining to form Voltes V, the toy also transformed into Voltank mode (an alternate vehicle mode wherein the robot lied down face-first with the Volt Panzer and Volt Lander's wheels on the ground). Voltank mode never appeared in the series, but was a unique feature of the toy. The boxed set was re-released in 1982 before being repackaged as part of Bandai's Godaikin line for the international market in 1983. Popy also released a Jumbo Machinder version of Voltes V. Standing at over 24 inches in height, the toy featured firing projectile fists and could transform into Voltank mode, which small children could ride on.
In 2006, Bandai released a newer, smaller Voltes V toy as part of their Soul of Chogokin line. This toy is more detailed and more poseable than its Popy diecast predecessor. In 2008, the toy was re-released as a special edition called "Respect for Volt In Box", which pays homage to the original toy in both color scheme and packaging. In addition, this version has been retooled to transform into Voltank mode.
In 2018, Bandai released the Soul of Chogokin Voltes V F.A. (Full Action) figure. The figure sacrifices its combination gimmick in favor of more anime-accurate proportions and dynamic articulation.
Influence and legacy in the Philippines
In April 1979, shortly before the series finale, the authoritarian President Ferdinand Marcos issued a directive banning Voltes V and other similarly-themed anime series, ostensibly due to concerns about "excessive violence". This, however, led to speculations that the series was banned from broadcast due to its underlying themes of rebellion and revolution. In 2012, Marcos' son Bongbong defended his late father's decision to ban Voltes V, citing pressure from parents.
After Marcos' ouster in the February 1986 People Power Revolution, the series returned to Philippine television on multiple broadcasters, beginning with PTV-4 and ABS-CBN in 1986, IBC-13 in 1989, and RPN-9. It returned to GMA in 1999, with the English dub aired weekly beginning in January and a Filipino/Tagalog dub airing later in December. In the same year, the last five episodes of Voltes V that were cut from broadcast due to President Marcos' ban, were compiled together and released theatrically by GMA Films under the title as "Voltes V: The Liberation".
Due to popularity of the anime, Voltes V has embedded itself in Filipino pop culture. The debut album of the Filipino rock band Eraserheads is titled Ultraelectromagneticpop!, a reference to the "Ultraelectromagnetic Top" used in the series.
A thirteen-foot sculpture made by Toym Leon Imao called at the time Last, Lost, Lust for Four Episodes was displayed in front of the Palma Hall at the University of the Philippines Diliman from September 20 to 28, 2014, consisting of brass, fiberglass, and galvanized iron. The sculpture was made to represent "the anger felt as a 10-year-old when Voltes V and the other robots were summarily removed from television."
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