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.

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.

In 100 Words: TV5’s ‘Choose Courage’ Station ID

TV5 under Chot Reyes is all about ‘courage’.

The network’s latest station ID was unveiled two weeks ago, and it featured the network’s newest offerings summarized in a one-minute film. The message of the station ID was simple: people should always overcome challenges and find the strength to escape fear.

As far as the station ID goes, the message may be prophetic, but what is the point when there are still some weaknesses to address. Remember the talk about TV shopping and News5 show reruns, not to mention all the problems that AksyonTV faces?

That said, unless Chot Reyes addresses these glaring issues, the ‘Choose Courage’ slogan that TV5 projects this year will not apply today. Until then, TV5 must take the long road in order to prove that they are indeed ‘courageous’.

GMA’s Astig Authority a Sinking Ship Thanks to Magandang Buhay

How the mighty have fallen.

The past few days have not been kind to GMA’s Astig Authority block, and it showed in the recent ratings posted by the more ‘national’ Kantar firm. As seen in these figures below, it is clear that the block has lost the interest of the public while rival ‘Magandang Buhay’ is beginning to gain momentum with each passing episode.

February 27, 2017

Magandang Buhay (8.1%) vs. Ghost Fighter (5.9%) / Pokemon Xy (6.7%) / Bleach (7.3%)

March 6, 2017

Magandang Buhay (7.5%) vs. Ghost Fighter (5.9%) / Pokemon Xy (6.7%) / Bleach (7.1%)

March 13, 2017

Magandang Buhay (8.2%) vs. Ghost Fighter (6.3%) / Pokemon Xy (6.9%) / Bleach (7.5%)

March 14, 2017

Magandang Buhay (8.3%) vs. Ghost Fighter (5.8%) / Pokemon Xy (6.5%) / Bleach (6.9%)

March 15, 2017

Magandang Buhay (7.8%) vs. Ghost Fighter (5.7%) /  Pokemon Xy (6.9%) / Bleach (6.7%)

So what is the common denominator in these five episodes? Basically ‘Magandang Buhay”s guests came from ABS-CBN’s three top-rated shows in ‘It’s Showtime’, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and the recently concluded ‘Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7’, and the constant top-notch performances of the three shows carried over to the former.

On the other hand, anime’s declining interest on free-to-air television is hitting Astig Authority hard. The fact that Filipino anime fans are moving over to cable and internet for their anime needs, not to mention GMA’s constant overreliance on old anime, is something that the network has yet to realize at this point.

One can only look at ABS-CBN’s controversial decision to cease airing anime in June of last year. The only difference here is that ABS-CBN has the digital TV channel Yey! and the cable channel Hero to back them up, whereas GMA doesn’t have the benefit of sister cable channels to constantly commit to a variety of anime.

Speaking of relying too much on reruns, GMA just announced that a long-awaited Filipino redub of ‘Voltes V’ (voiced by young GMA stars) will hit the airwaves next Monday. This should only make things worse for Astig Authority, as the classic Japanese mecha anime has been re-aired multiple times since 1977.

That said, unless GMA plans a new programming strategy, the slumping fortunes of Astig Authority may continue to last for a longer period. For a network once proud of bringing successful anime titles to the Filipino mainstream, this is unacceptable to say the least.

In the end, GMA must accept reality and move on, because airing anime on free TV is no longer a thing at this point (unless you’re TV5 and you’re willing to bring new animes with it). No offense, but the time is now for GMA to have something else to offer every weekday morning.

In 100 Words: TV5 AniMEGA Goes Primetime

TV5’s AniMEGA block is going primetime.

This was recently confirmed by the TV5 AniMEGA Facebook page, posting this short statement that brought some excitement to anime fans in the country. Soon after, they announced that Dreamworks’ ‘Voltron: Legendary Defender’ will be the first AniMEGA show to move to primetime effective March 20.

It can be recalled that during the Ka-Shake era from 2008-10, TV5’s AniMEGA block was aired on primetime opposite ABS-CBN and GMA’s teleseryes. While the response was enthusiastic, the block was eliminated as part of new owner Manny V. Pangilinan’s futile quest to go head-on with both ABS-CBN and GMA.

Now that wounds were mended between TV5 and its legion of anime fans, one can only hope that AniMEGA on primetime will be here to stay. It will be interesting how this experiment will turn out the second time around, so good luck.

ABS-CBN Wins All Timeslots Last Monday According to Kantar

Not even AlDub’s much-anticipated primetime debut can stop ABS-CBN from reaching an immaculate record.

On Monday, February 27, all ABS-CBN programs defeated their respective GMA counterparts in the ratings, according to Kantar Media. This includes a rare victory for ‘Magandang Buhay’ (8.1%), as it swept all of GMA’s Astig Authority block (‘Ghost Fighter’ (5.9%), ‘Pokemon XY’ (6.7%) and ‘Bleach’ (7.3%)) and the European fantasy series ‘Wolfblood’ (6.8%).

As always, ABS-CBN’s usual suspects dominate the list, with the network continuing to prevail from late morning to late night. Six of the top ten slots belong to ABS-CBN programs, with ‘Ang Probinsyano”s 42.8% leading the way.

Even the network’s programs in the wee hours earned a victory as well. The 4:00-5:30 a.m. slot was won by ‘O Shopping’ (0.4%) and a rerun of ‘Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan’ (1 %) over ‘Reporters Notebook’ (0.9%), while the 11:45-1:00 a.m. slot was won by ‘Mission Possible’ (1.8%) and ‘O Shopping’ (0.9%) over ‘The 700 Club Asia’ (1.2%) and ‘EZ Shop’ (0.6%) respectively.

But the highlight of the day was the matchup between newcomer ‘Destined to Be Yours’ and ‘My Dear Heart’. The former, starring Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, entered the night with high expectations, and considering the duo’s popularity in the last two years, the series was poised to get off to a sizzling start.

Instead, it was fellow young star Ria Atayde who turned heads. Her debut as Margaret’s (Coney Reyes) daughter Gia helped ‘My Dear Heart’ defeat ‘Destined to Be Yours’ 29.1 to 20.2%.

And finally, two shows that are normally affected by ABS-CBN Regional’s own programming managed to beat the odds. Both ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ (5.2%) and ‘Minute to Win It’ (14%) prevailed over ‘Unang Hirit’ (4 %) and ‘Wowowin’ (13.7%) respectively, despite getting preempted by ABS-CBN Regional morning shows and ANR-produced ‘TV Patrol’.

Overall, it was thorough domination on the part of ABS-CBN. No one knows when will this rare wire-to-wire win will take place again, but one thing is for sure: ABS-CBN continues to reign as the Philippines’ top network.