anime, cable TV, cartoon, lifestyle, Philippines, reality show, television

New Name for Lifestyle, Plus Toonami Gets the Ax

Lifestyle (Network) has a new name.

On April 2, 2018, Lifestyle was renamed and rebranded as the Metro Channel. Named after the high-end lifestyle magazine of the same name, Metro Channel will feature almost the same content as its predecessor, with a focus on food, fashion and travel programs.

Some of the programs that will air on Metro Channel include locally-produced shows such as ‘The Crawl’, ‘Casa Daza’, ‘At the Table’, ‘G Diaries’ and ‘Pia’s Postcards’. It will also feature foreign canned programs such as ‘Masterchef’, ‘America’s Next Top Model’ and ‘The Great British Bakeoff’.

Operated by ABS-CBN affiliate Creative Programs Inc., Metro Channel was originally launched on July 24, 1999 as the Lifestyle Network. It was later rebranded as ‘Lifestyle’ in 2015 with increased emphasis towards programs concerning food, fashion and travel.

Metro Channel will continue to air on SkyCable channel 52 and on high definition channel 174. It is also available on SkyDirect channel 31 and on select cable operators in the Philippines.

Easter weekend also saw the demise of Toonami, a cable channel operated by Turner Broadcasting. After nearly six years on the air, Toonami was officially shut down on March 31, 2018.

A sister channel of Cartoon Network and Boomerang, Toonami was known to air a selection of anime and American action cartoon series. Among the notable programs that were aired on Toonami include ‘Batman’, ‘Teen Titans’, ‘Ben 10’, ‘Inazuma Eleven Go’, ‘Yu-Gi-Oh’, ‘Yo-Kai Watch’ and ‘Dragon Ball Z’.

The shutdown of Toonami had huge repercussions to Filipino anime fans who still mourn the loss of local anime channel Hero. At the time it was taken off the air, Toonami was broadcasting the ongoing ‘Dragon Ball Super’ series which has yet to be launched on Filipino free TV.

It remains to be seen if Cartoon Network will be able to revive the Toonami primetime block to accommodate its displaced programs. But for anime fans who are looking for other ways to watch their favorite programs, there are other options such as cable channels Animax and AniPlus, as well as anime streaming websites.

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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.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Liga Is the New Balls

CPI has a new cable channel in LIGA, which will eventually serve as the main home of the 2018 FIFA World Cup (Logo courtesy of Creative Programs Inc.)

ABS-CBN’s Creative Programs Inc. has a new cable channel anew.

Following the closure of TAG, ABS-CBN Regional Channel and Hero, CPI went back to work and quietly established a new sports-oriented cable channel called LIGA. The channel’s content will eventually be focused on the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but for the time being, it airs live and classic UAAP men’s basketball and women’s volleyball matches as well as the World Cup qualifiers.

LIGA is served to complement S+A, ABS-CBN’s free TV channel dedicated to sports. While ABS-CBN Sports is the current rightsholder for the World Cup, its main channel S+A may not be enough to shoulder the burden due to its other sports commitments both internationally and locally.

Thus an alternate channel was needed to pick up the slack. Enter LIGA, which is currently on test broadcast with an official launch soon to be announced.

This is not the first time that CPI decided to establish its own sports channel. During the ensuing controversy surrounding SkyCable and Solar Entertainment in 2008 regarding carriage of the latter’s channels, CPI appeased to the demands of some sports fans with the launch of Balls, which lasted seven years before CPI ended its broadcasts in favor of S+A.

But unlike Balls which catered more to the upper echelon of society, LIGA will be more mass-oriented in nature. This despite the fact that it will contain many of the events that Balls used to air.

Now that LIGA is about to be unleashed, one can only hope that this channel will benefit sports fans in more ways than one. Not only that, as the home of the World Cup this June, football fans will be more excited than ever to see their football heroes strut their stuff in the world’s biggest stage.

Good luck.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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