anime, entertainment, Philippines, television

In 150 Words: Hero Revived as Jeepney TV Programming Block

Hero is back on television, sort of.

Filipino anime fans rejoiced as the Hero brand was revived as a programming block of Jeepney TV. Starting March 11, select anime programs will be aired on Jeepney TV every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. as part of the Hero Zone block.

It can be recalled that Hero the cable channel left the airwaves last January 31 after a 13-year run. While it became a purely digital portal that concentrated on anime, pop culture and gaming, anime viewers sorely missed its presence on television, even as sister channel Yey! tried to make up for Hero’s absence with new titles of its own.

Although if it will only be a two-hour habit once a week, viewers should be more than happy to enjoy a treat of new and on-demand anime from the Hero Zone block. Still, it remains to be seen if this experiment will be a long-term one.

anime, cable TV, Japan, Philippines, television

Goodbye, Hero

Tomorrow will be the last day for Hero TV.

Hero, a cable channel of ABS-CBN affiliate Creative Programs Inc., will permanently sign off at 11:59 p.m. of January 31st. Similar to the case of now-defunct sister channels TAG and ABS-CBN Regional Channel, a ‘change of business direction’ is cited behind the closure of Hero.

Hero was first launched on November 12, 2005 and became the only channel in the Philippines to showcase Tagalized dubs of Japanese anime. The content of Hero ranged from classic anime titles (some of which were redubbed) first shown on ABS-CBN and other channels to new acquisitions fresh from its original Japanese airing.

But Hero is not exclusive to anime alone. Over the years, the channel also showcased tokusatsu programs (e.g. ‘Masked Rider’ series and ‘Shaider’) and even original programs produced by the network that focused on the cosplay culture and other anime-related news.

Just as Hero was starting to take off, however, a new digital free TV channel was being planned by ABS-CBN to eventually inherit its place. In 2011, Yey! was launched, and four years later, the ABS-CBN TVPlus digital TV box made its commercial debut.

Still, CPI soldiered on with Hero despite the presence of Yey!. Unfortunately, the growing sales of ABS-CBN TVPlus along with the rise of undubbed new anime on the internet necessitated cord-cutters to shift to these new medium, and as a result, Hero’s viability was put into question.

Sadly, such factors became too much for Hero, and in early January, CPI finally delivered the bad news. Hero would cease to exist whether its loyal fans liked it or not.

Regardless of how it ended, the 12-year run of Hero is worth remembering for Filipino anime fans. In the days leading up to its closure, Hero’s social media pages were flooded with appreciation posts, thanking them for their service in delivering Filipino-dubbed classic and fresh anime to their satisfaction.

Hero’s final call to arms should be a memorable one. But for those who still crave for more anime, there is Animax and AniPlus to deal with it, as well as Yey! for Tagalized ones.

action, anime, dance show, drama, entertainment, fantasy, game show, live events, Philippines, reality show, Sports, talent show, talk show, television

FTT Year 2017 in Review: The Hot or Not Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part III)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2018, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at some of the Hot or Not moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I and Part II of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part III of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

HOT: Ang Probinsyano

Year II of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ was no different from Year I. Despite questions surrounding its quality for a series that has run for two years and counting, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ continued to dominate the primetime landscape, often reaching 40% or better some nights.

Even as the likes of Maja Salvador, Bela Padilla and Albert Martinez depart, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ soldiered on with new additions such as former GMA stars Aljur Abrenica and Louise delos Reyes. The series was also rewarded with yet another extension that will last until an undetermined date in 2018 (barring another extension).

NOT: Ang Probinsyano’s Opponents

Meanwhile, four different opponents from the Kapuso network tried to take down ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and its lengthy run of excellence. Unfortunately, neither ‘Encantadia’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ nor ‘Super Ma’am’ were able to take Coco Martin and company down.

None of the four teleseryes breached the 20% mark and worse, the disparity between ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and its opponent is around 20% or better. With such a large deficit GMA should start thinking of a new strategy this early or wait for ‘Ang Probinsyano’ to end in order to take advantage of this new opportunity (too bad there’s no end date yet).

HOT: 2016 Miss Universe

The 2016 Miss Universe was held in the Philippines last January 30 and was simulcast on ABS-CBN, TV5, GMA and Solar Entertainment channels. The collaboration marked just the second time that an event of national interest was aired in unison among the country’s broadcast giants; the last being the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing fight two years ago.

France’s Iris Mittenaere was crowned the 2016 Miss Universe while the host’s representative Maxine Medina finished among the top 6. However, she was unable to complete an entire year’s reign as this year’s Miss Universe was held last November 26 with South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters winning the said pageant.

NOT: Pacquiao vs. Horn and the sport of boxing

The declining interest in Manny Pacquiao continued as he fought Jeff Horn in July. The end result was a unanimous decision victory for Horn, some bloodshot eyes from Pacquiao and lukewarm reception from boxing fans in the country.

It was a poor year overall for boxing on Philippine television. Despite the efforts of ALA Promotions to promote the sport via its Pinoy Pride series, the year saw the end of ABS-CBN Sports’ partnership with Top Rank Boxing (coinciding with Nonito Donaire ending ties with Bob Arum’s promotion) and the expected cancellation of ‘Blow by Blow’ on TV5.

HOT: Magandang Buhay

2017 proved to be a coming-out party of sorts for ‘Magandang Buhay’ as the show became a ratings hit each and every morning. The news is an encouraging one for ABS-CBN despite the fact that the show airs at 8:00 a.m., which is typically ‘dead’ time for viewership.

With the trio of Melai Cantiveros, Jolina Magdangal and Karla Estrada, plus some impressive selection of guests, it is no secret that this talk show has become the talk of the town. With all due respect to Kris Aquino, the trio of Melai, Jolina and Karla should now inherit the ‘queens of talk’ mantra considering ‘Magandang Buhay”s success.

NOT: GMA’s Animes and The Lolas’ Beautiful Show

The traditional morning powerhouse that is GMA’s Astig Authority suddenly became vulnerable with the rise of ‘Magandang Buhay’. Even though the network redubbed ‘Voltes V’ and ‘Daimos’ this year with a host of celebrities from their stable, it failed to prevent the inevitable.

One talk show that would have helped is ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’, hosted by Wally Bayola, Jose Manalo and Paolo Ballesteros in their alter-egos as Nidora, Tinidora and Tidora. However, the show’s status as a TAPE-produced show (TAPE programs are only allowed an 11:30-2:30 timeslot on GMA most afternoons) prevented it from seriously challenging ‘Magandang Buhay’.

It also didn’t help that ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ is losing to the morning drama ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ on a regular basis. Perhaps GMA should loosen the reins a bit to give the lolas of ‘Eat Bulaga’ a chance to go up against the momshies of ‘Magandang Buhay’.

HOT: ABS-CBN Reality/Talent Shows

Reality and talent shows continue to give ABS-CBN plenty of reasons to celebrate. This year’s winners are:

Pinoy Big Brother Lucky 7 – Maymay Entrata

Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids – Awra Briguela

I Can Do That – Wacky Kiray

The Voice Teens Philippines – Jona Soquite

Currently on the network’s weekend primetime menu are ‘Little Big Shots’ and ‘I Can See Your Voice’, both of which continue to excel and trend among viewers. If 2018 is of any indication, then even more excitement awaits ABS-CBN as it introduces either new seasons of existing reality/talent shows or new programs.

NOT: All-Star Videoke

A poor man’s version of the popular ‘All-Star K’ was introduced to GMA last September. Unfortunately, ‘All-Star Videoke’ failed to live up to the standards of its more successful sibling.

GMA could have used this opportunity to bring back ‘Lip-Sync Battle Philippines’ or acquire ‘Killer Karaoke’. Instead, they rehashed an original Filipino concept that did not work out, and with all due respect to Betong Sumaya and Solenn Heussaff, they are no Allan K and Jaya in that regard.

Part IV of this four-part series is coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

anime, entertainment, Japan, Philippines, television

Redubbed Daimos to Air on GMA Astig Authority Starting Today

Another fresh sound for a classic anime.

Following in the footsteps of the popular ‘Voltes V’, GMA announced that a redubbed version of ‘Daimos’ will air beginning today at 8:50 a.m. This redubbed version will feature the voices of Miguel Tanfelix and Bianca Umali, who will lend their voices to protagonists Richard Hartford (Japanese name Kazuya Ryuuzaki) and Erika.

Other characters such as Prince Ulrich, Edward Kramer, Joanna Hartford, Professor Yurgen, General Harris, Bertha, Laila, Zendor and Rowena will be voiced by professional voice actors. But the main force of this newly-dubbed ‘Daimos’ will be the voices of the BiGuel love team, which should lend a new perspective to this classic series.

Like ‘Voltes V’, ‘Daimos’ became a popular anime series when it first aired in the late 1970s, only to be banned by then-President Ferdinand Marcos due to excessive violence. After the demise of the Marcos regime, ‘Daimos’ was aired in full in various Filipino free TV channels, but it was not until 1999 when GMA brought back the series to popular acclaim.

Though not as well-recognized as ‘Voltes V’, ‘Daimos’ nevertheless became an iconic anime on its own right. For viewers, the story of Richard fighting for the love of Erika while convincing the Brahmins that they were not all evil is just as compelling as the Armstrong brothers’ fight to save their father while recognizing their Boazanian heritage.

It remains to be seen if this refreshed version of ‘Daimos’ will click with a new generation of viewers. But for those who want to look back at the battle between humans and Brahmins while at the same time reflect on the love story between Richard and Erika, this series should be a sentimental one to watch.

‘Daimos’ is a creation of Tadao Nagahama and is produced by Toei Animation and distributed by Telesuccess Productions.

action, anime, entertainment, Japan, Philippines, television

Revisiting the Super Sentai Craze in the Philippines

Before the ‘Power Rangers’ existed, there was the Super Sentai series in Japan.

This week marked the premiere of Haim Saban’s ‘Power Rangers’ movie, and while critical opinion was mixed, the film to date has been a financial success so far. However, the Power Rangers franchise in general is not an original concept.

The Power Rangers were actually adopted from the Japanese Super Sentai series that is now in production for over 40 years. In fact, stock footage of every Super Sentai series were used in combination with originally produced American footage to create the Power Rangers that it is today.

The premise of the Super Sentai (and of the Power Rangers in particular) is simple. A group of normal individuals-turned-superheroes dressed in color-coded battle suits fight the forces of evil, using mecha that, when joined together, form one giant robot in order to combat a more towering monster.

The Philippines caught its first glimpse of the Super Sentai when ‘J.A.K.Q Dengekitai’ (known here as ‘The Lucky Aces’) was aired on RPN-9 back in 1978. However, it was its predecessor ‘Gorenger’ (known here as ‘Star Rangers’) which popularized the Super Sentai in the country.

The mid-1980s saw the entry of both ‘Bioman’ and ‘Maskman’ to the country. Now regarded as classics in the Super Sentai genre, ‘Bioman’ and ‘Maskman’ were regularly aired here for much of the 1980s and deep into the 1990s, and its popularity rivaled that of late 1970s robot anime ‘Voltes V’ and ‘Daimos’.

The 1990s marked the beginning of the end for Super Sentai in the Philippines. Although ‘Goggle V’, ‘Turboranger’, ‘Fiveman’ and ‘Jetman’ were introduced during this period, they were eclipsed in popularity thanks in large part to the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’, which premiered on ABS-CBN around 1995.

From then on, the Power Rangers franchise was aired in both English and Filipino dubs on the following channels: ABS-CBN Channel 2, Studio 23, Yey!, Hero and Cartoon Network. And while the Super Sentai soldiered on in its native Japan, Filipino networks have no interest in importing such series due to the changing tastes of viewers.

So while people flock to the cinemas to watch the ‘Power Rangers’ movie, let’s not forget that it is the Super Sentai which started it all. The series may be past its prime here, but its influence remains prevalent today.

anime, entertainment, Philippines, television

Newly-Redubbed Voltes V to Air on GMA Astig Authority This Week As Part of 40th Anniversary

The legend returns: ‘Voltes V’ will air anew on GMA starting tomorrow, featuring a new Filipino dub. (Screenshot courtesy of Toei, Nippon Sunrise, Telesuccess Productions and GMA Network)

‘Voltes V’ is back.

As part of the anime’s 40th anniversary, GMA announced that a redubbed version of ‘Voltes V’ will be aired starting tomorrow morning on the network’s Astig Authority block. The fresh new Filipino dub of ‘Voltes V’ will feature the following Kapuso stars:

  • Derrick Monasterio (as Steve Armstrong)
  • Jak Roberto (as Mark Gordon)
  • Hiro Peralta (as Big Bert Armstrong)
  • Bea Binene  (as Jamie Robinson)
  • Ken Chan (as Prince Zardos)

The voices of Little John Armstrong, Dr. Ned Armstrong, Mary Armstrong, Dr. Smith, Commander Robinson, Dr. Hook, Draco, Zandra, Zuhl and other characters will also be dubbed by various voice actors. However, it is unknown if GMA will give credit to these voice actors for their roles in the redubbed ‘Voltes V’.

‘Voltes V’, a brainchild of Tadao Nagahama (also the man behind ‘Daimos’), was first aired on GMA in 1978. However, it was soon banned by then-President Ferdinand Marcos (along with the aforementioned ‘Daimos’ and other robot anime) for being ‘too violent’.

It was only after the People Power Revolution that ‘Voltes V’ triumphantly returned on air through various TV channels (most notably ABS-CBN and IBC-13). In 1999, ‘Voltes V’ was brought back by GMA in both English and Filipino dubs (along with the four unaired episodes known as ‘Voltes V: The Liberation’), and instantly became popular with a new generation of viewers.

The renewed popularity of ‘Voltes V’ also inspired the ‘Bubble Gang’ segment ‘Ang Dating Doon’ (a parody of the religious program ‘Ang Dating Daan’) to adopt the anime’s opening song as its theme. The skit even brought a toy version of the robot on numerous occasions.

In 2005, ABS-CBN’s Hero channel aired a new Filipino dub of ‘Voltes V’ (known as ‘Voltes V Evolution’), starring the likes of Jett Pangan and Sandara Park. However, the new dub was poorly received.

The 2017 dub of ‘Voltes V’ may be a celebration for the anime’s 40th anniversary, but it remains to be seen if the redub will be worth watching. Considering that ‘Magandang Buhay’ has had some winning moments in recent episodes, this will be a tough task for the returning series to overcome.

Still, for those too young to remember the battle between the Boazanians and the Earth’s special forces, ‘Voltes V’ will be a new experience for all of them. Win or lose, this new dub should give them a fresh perspective on how good overcomes evil, and how bloodlines were revealed.