HomeCommentaryEraserheads, Voltes V, and fight against oppression 

Eraserheads, Voltes V, and fight against oppression 

The weapon known as the ultra electromagnetic top, resembling a spinning top, which Voltes V launches from within its torso became the inspiration behind the  Eraserheads’ groundbreaking album, “Ultraelectromagneticpop!”.

The album contains the songs “Shake Yer Head”, “Toyang”, “Ligaya”, “Tindahan ni Aling Nena”,  “Pare Ko”, “Shirley”, and “Maling Akala”.

University of the Philippines (UP) has played a special role in the formation of Eraserheads since they started to perform at the Diliman campus in the 1990s, composed of Raymund Marasigan,  Buddy Zabala, Ely Buendia, and Marcus Adoro.

Zabala and Marasigan were my roommates for two years (1989 to 1991) at the UP Molave dorm during my last college years.

Since its formation in 1989, Eraserheads had seven studio albums, 44 singles, a live album, four compilation albums, 10 music videos, and three extended plays.

I usually go out every time our room was used as their “practice area” since I could not study due to the “noise” they were creating.

It was beyond my comprehension that the “noise” that I tried to avoid made them known as one of the most successful and critically acclaimed bands in OPM history, earning them the accolade “The Beatles of the Philippines.”

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I was just seven years old when the Japanese anime television series Voltes V first aired in the Philippines on May 5, 1978, on GMA Network.

As kids of the 1970s, it was our routine at that time to rush home from school to watch the daily airing of from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m of Japanese robots anime: Mekanda on Mondays, Daimos on Tuesdays, Mazinger Z on Wednesdays, UFO Grendizer on Thursdays, while Friday was reserved for the ultimate rating-raking Voltes V.

The cartoon series was about an alien race of horned humans from the planet Boazania out to conquer Earth. It was up to Voltes V to defeat the Boazanians’ giant robots, known as beast fighters, sent to destroy the planet.

I was happy when my father bought me a plastic Voltes V toy but I envied a cousin who had a metal version with detachable parts.

Forty-five years later, the series is resurrected this year via Voltes V: Legacy by GMA Network which acquired the rights to make a live-action adaptation through Telesuccess Productions, Toei’s Philippine licensee.  It made its television debut on May 8, 2023.

Directed by Mark Reyes V,  it stars Miguel Tanfelix as Steve Armstrong, Radson Flores as Mark Gordon, Matt Lozano as Robert “Big Bert” Armstrong, Raphael Landicho as “Little Jon” Armstrong, and Ysabel Ortega as Jamie Robinson.

I had the chance to watch the theatrical version of Voltes V: Legacy – The Cinematic Experience through the special block screening of GMA Pinoy TV.  The 107-minute film covers content from the first 15 of the 80 episodes of the television series.

The block screening of Voltez V Legacy last April coincided with the celebration of National Intellectual Property Month. It aimed to foster the public’s appreciation of the significance of intellectual property in relation to the country’s social, cultural, economic, and technological development.

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPhil) is now collaborating with GMA on its “STREAM RESPONSIBLY” campaign in educating the public against piracy especially now that illegal streaming of content is one of the popular sources of entertainment for Filipinos.

Multi-awarded visual artist Toym Imao said that his artworks that showed the Japanese cartoon “Voltes V” are inseparable from the discussion on Martial Law and the Marcos regime.

Voltes V may not be provocative and radical in the traditional sense but its story does carry with it the idea of revolution and resistance. Boazania was also under dictatorial rule from a despotic emperor, who faced an uprising from Boazanians who were discriminated against and enslaved simply because they had no horns.

In 1979, shortly before the series finale, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued a directive banning Voltes V and other similarly-themed anime series due to concerns about “excessive violence”.

The directive also led to speculations that the series was also taken off the air due to its revolutionary undertones.

Many of Toym’s sculptures and paintings are inspired by his childhood recollection of censorship by an authoritarian regime when his favorite Super Robot cartoons as well as video arcades, were canceled for their alleged bad effects on the minds of the youth. It is symbolic of how the government forces tried to control the freedom of Filipinos in the past.

Eraserheads’ music and Voltes V are reminders of the innocence and enthusiasm of our youth. The popular line “Let’s Volt In!” is a call that we should continue to fight oppression and that fighting for liberty is a noble and worthy cause.

Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho heads the seafarers’ division of the Sapalo Velez Bundang Bulilan law offices. For comments, e-mail [email protected], or call 09175025808 or 09088665786

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