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Around the Mediaverse: ARC, TAG Sign Off; Rappler Stripped of Registration

More sad news in Philippine cable television.

At midnight of January 15, the ABS-CBN Regional Channel and TAG permanently signed off the air. According to Creative Programs Inc., they cite a ‘change in business direction’ for the closure of the two channels.

The ARC was launched on August 1, 2016 in another attempt to make ABS-CBN Regional programs available outside its respective regional footprint. However, like the Sarimanok Channel (now the ABS-CBN News Channel), ARC was beset by various problems from the start and its inability to gain support from the mother network eventually led to its downfall.

Two months later, on October 19, TAG signed on, showing Tagalized foreign films. However, it also endured its fair share of problems, the most obvious of which is redundancy due to the fact that the films shown in the channel are also aired on sister channels such as ABS-CBN, CineMo, Cinema One and Yey!.

CPI will also end broadcast of the anime channel Hero on January 31. More on that in a future article.

Rappler Registration Revoked

Later that afternoon, some breaking news involving a rising media outlet shook the world of journalism. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it revoked its registration of Rappler due to an alleged violation of a rule regarding foreign ownership of media companies.

The SEC claimed that Rappler is being controlled by the Omidyar Network, a fund created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Rappler denied this statement, saying that the company is ‘100% Filipino-owned’ and that Omidyar is only an investor.

Rappler’s reported revocation of its registration was vehemently criticized by the likes of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, saying that it violated the rights of freedom of speech and the press. Malacañang denied these claims, saying Rappler violated constitutional rules and that it has nothing to do with President Rodrigo Duterte’s criticism of the outlet.

This said rule regarding the ban on foreign ownership of media companies has been in place since the 1970s. It can be recalled that GMA Network owner Robert ‘Uncle Bob’ Stewart sold the company to Felipe Gozon, Gilberto Duavit and Menardo Jimenez due to said rule, and MPB Primedia was also forced to sell its share of TV5 to Manny V. Pangilinan.

Despite its revocation, Rappler said it will continue to operate and will exhaust all legal efforts in order to reconsider SEC’s decision. Good luck with that.

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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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anime, entertainment, Japan, Philippines, television

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.

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action, anime, cartoon, entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

Remembering Action Kids on ABS-CBN Sports+Action

 

ABS-CBN Sports+Action once aired animated programs under the ‘Action Kids’ block until late last year. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

There was a time when animated programs used to air on ABS-CBN Sports+Action.

Dubbed as ‘Action Kids’, the morning block featured animated programs, both from the United States and Japan. The block usually aired in the early mornings whenever there are no sporting events on tap.

Some of the most notable programs on the block include sports-themed animated series like ‘Supa Strikas’, Nickelodeon educational programs like ‘Dora the Explorer’, and animes such as ‘Metal Fight Beyblade’. Marvel animated series like ‘Avengers Assemble’ and ‘Spider-Man Unlimited’ were also aired during ABS-CBN’s contract deal with Marvel.

‘Action Kids’ was essentially carried over from the animated shows that aired on predecessor Studio 23.  However, in late 2014, the ‘Action Kids’ block was taken off the air for unknown reasons, and Sports+Action soon shifted its focus towards live-action programs, sporting highlights and general information shows, most notable of which were NBA replays.

Thing is, ABS-CBN Sports+Action was aimed at a predominantly male adult audience. ‘Action Kids’ didn’t conform to the channel’s tastes.

Some of the programs that aired on ‘Action Kids’ were moved to the newly-launched ‘Yey!’ channel, which is currently available on SkyCable and on the newly-launched ABS-CBN TVPlus digital TV box. Others were moved to the cable-only Hero TV.

For a station that prides itself in airing sporting events and action-packed programming, ABS-CBN Sports+Action’s brief spell into animated shows was something to forget. While it did provide a bit of action and adventure for younger audiences, it is not what they really have in mind.

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action, anime, cartoon, entertainment, Japan, Philippines, television

The Decline of ABS-CBN’s Team Animazing

Animes on ABS-CBN are suddenly out of commission with the re-airing of classic adapted Japanese cartoons such as ‘Princess Sarah’ and ‘Cedie’. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

Hard-hitting animes on ABS-CBN are now a thing of the past.

With new seasons of ‘Naruto Shippuden’ and ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ still months away from their premiere, ABS-CBN decided to re-air their popular 1990s Japanese adaptations of classic novels on the said block. This despite the fact that they have the backing of sister channel Hero to bring in new animes.

It is clear that Team Animazing, once a formidable rival to GMA’s Astig Authority block, is on the decline. And here are some reasons why.

It all started when ABS-CBN took advantage of ‘Princess Sarah”s renewed popularity on social media by re-airing the series in October. Then in a more desperate move, the Kapamilya network re-aired ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’, ‘Cedie: Ang Munting Prinsipe’ and ‘Dog of Flanders’, much to the dismay of their anime fans.

Worse, ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ continued to air on the said block, even though it is clear no one is in the mood to watch the Nickelodeon icon in Tagalized and heavily edited form.

As a result, Astig Authority overwhelmed Team Animazing in the ratings, even though they were frequently criticized for re-airing old animes regularly. But Team Animazing’s problems go beyond low ratings.

Unlike Astig Authority, which runs for over three hours, Team Animazing is only given half of what the former is allotted. This leads to fewer programs, and worse, heavily edited episodes, which does not bode well with viewers and the anime community in general.

And if there’s anything the Kapamilya anime fans want to blame, it is the presence of Kris Aquino in the mornings. ‘Kris TV’, which is now airing for four years but is struggling for ratings, continue to be honored by the network thanks to Kris’ ‘ironclad’ contract demands.

Team Animazing’s recent slump is only one of several problems that concern ABS-CBN today. That said, for the Kapamilya anime community, it is unfair for ABS-CBN to not commit towards new animes.

What’s the use of Hero if ABS-CBN won’t do favors to their anime fans? This definitely makes no sense.

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