I didn’t expect to get emotional. But as the end (opening?) credits rolled on the first episode of Voltes V: Legacy, I did. And this is me not having watched a single episode of the original series. If I felt this excited and hyped for the series, I can’t even imagine how it must feel for fans who grew up with the original series. Especially for Filipino fans who are seeing their childhood now in a live-action, locally produced series.
GMA Network’s ambitious Voltes V: Legacy has been years in the making. And throughout the process, it’s been obvious how much it was a labor of love from everyone involved. Of course, there is a big financial cost necessary to mount the series. But it’s really been a highlight seeing the care and effort that’s been put into the series as well. And from this first episode, it’s very evident.
This premiere wasted no time in jumping right into the action. (And after quickly looking up the original, it looks to be a faithful adaptation of its first episode.) The Boazanians, an alien force led by Prince Zardoz, have arrived to conquer Earth and are attacking cities all over the world. The Earth Defense Forces are quickly mobilized, but it becomes apparent that they might soon be overpowered. That’s where the world’s last line of defense comes on; the Voltes V.
Seeing the team assemble and head out into battle and culminating in the formation of the iconic robo was absolutely breathtaking. I think the moment that really hit me hardest was as soon as the theme song kicked in and Voltes V’s transformation was complete.
The episode came to an end at the perfect moment as well. Giving the audience the time to savor that climactic moment.
For anyone new to Voltes V, like myself, it was a great introduction. Giving just enough insight into our main characters, both heroes and antagonists, to allow the audience to be fully engaged as this war for Earth begins.
Just as the Voltes team are thrust into this sudden battle, so too is the audience. And that gives a sense of relatability as the five heroes have to quickly adjust to the emerging chaos that has engulfed the planet.
Being a fan of fellow Toei properties Kamen Rider and Super Sentai, I had my own affinity for the idea of a live-action Voltes V series. Even more that it is a Filipino production with Filipino actors and surely Filipino themes as well.
Now, Voltes V: Legacy is technically not a tokusatsu since they will be using a lot of CGI for much of its action sequences. (Though, without knowing how the story progress, I certainly hope to see some ground battles and hand-to-hand combat between our human heroes and their alien adversaries too!)
Based on this first episode and from all the trailers and teasers so far, the series still appears to employ a lot of toku conventions. Aside from the elaborate costumes and creative sets, the story’s dramatic action is mixed with a lot of fun and touches of humor alongside hints of more character-driven emotion. All of which will surely be explored more in the next 79 episodes. But there’s this feeling of childhood nostalgia mixed with simply enjoyable action that toku does so well that is also present here on Voltes V: Legacy.
The series, so far, seems to strike that balance between action-fantasy and realistic, relatable stories. No doubt themes of family, friendship and yes, romance will appeal to a Filipino audience used to daily soap operas. But those are also relatable themes for a wider audience outside of the Philippines as well.
Even being a faithful adaptation, being able to have a Filipino touch to the story is very welcome. Being thrown right into the middle of these dynamic action sequences and hearing Filipino being spoken as they shoot at flying saucers attempting to lay waste to Earth is really an exciting experience. I can’t help but well up with pride seeing a Filipino production being capable of delivering these thrilling scenes.
And even more so, having a Filipino lens on ideas and concepts usually reserved for, say, a Japanese Sunday morning program or big-budget western blockbusters is so wonderful to see. The CGI is top-notch and no doubt elevates what most come to expect when thinking about Filipino television.
Though of course this was only the first 30 minutes of what will be an 80 episode series, there was already a lot to like and enjoy. The cast is a great mix of experienced vets and talented fresh faces. I especially look forward to seeing what our five title heroes have to offer.
Overall, finally seeing Voltes V: Legacy begin, it seems to be well-worth the wait. It’s a big moment for Filipino television and talent. And for the audience, just so fun and exciting with still lots more to come. I’m definitely ready to Volt In!
I don’t know if I’ll actually be recapping all 80 episodes. But after this first episode, I’m certainly motivated to follow (and critique!) the series as much as I do Toei’s Sunday morning toku shows. Hehe We’ll see!
How to Watch Voltes V: Legacy?
GMA Network looks to be uploading full episodes to their official YouTube channel:
However, the episodes will likely be geoblocked and limited to the Philippines only. Hopefully the series will be made available to a wider, worldwide audience soon.