【ジャパニーズ・サブカルチャー × フィリピン】なぜ「ボルテスV」は 国民的アニメになったのか



 『超電磁マシーン ボルテスV(ファイブ)』――「原産地」である日本では、1970年代に量産されたロボットアニメの一つに過ぎず、決して知名度は高いとは言えない。しかし、ここフィリピンでは国民的アニメの地位を確立しており、主題歌の知名度は国歌に次ぐとさえ言われる。現在まで9回放送され、実写版ドラマも今年民放大手GMAで放送予定だ。なぜ、ボルテスVはこれほどフィリピン国民に愛されるに至ったのか。日本のサブカルに詳しいアテネオ・デ・マニラ大学のチェンチュア先生に、フィリピンにおける日本アニメ史を聞いた。



「ボルテスVはボアサン帝国から地球を守ることができるのか!?」と銘打った1978年当時の新聞広告 Newspaper advertisement featuring Voltes V appeared in 1978(Photo courtesy of Dr. Karl Ian Uy Cheng Chua)







































Dr. Karl Ian Uy Cheng Chua
Assistant Professor at Ateneo de Manila University, Japan Foundation Research Fellow at Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo
Ph.D. ( Hitotsubashi University )
Born : 1980 Home :IloIlo City 
Hobby : interaction with Japanese locals




VOLTES V and Japanese Anime in the Philippines


VOLTES V is a Japanese anime, which only a few people know
in Japan but, almost all the Filipinos know. The theme song,
“Voltes V no Uta” is said to be the second most known song to the national anthem in the Philippines. Why and how did Filipinos come to love Voltes V and adopt Japanese anime?
Navi Manila interviews Dr. Karl Ian Uy Cheng Chua who specializes in Japanese pop-cultures.



Voltes V Beat Mazinger Z


In the Philippines, Cartoons began to be broadcast in the 1970s, when TV ownership increased in the Philippines. The first cartoons aired, such as Tom and Jerry, all came from U.S. In the late 70’s, a media company, Questor, whose CEO had watched anime in Japan, bought the broadcasting rights of 5 robot anime titles, including Mazinger Z and Voltes V. The five titles began broadcast in the first week of May, 1978.


Thanks to “random interest of corporate sponsors” of the five titles, Voltes V was largely advertised. In addition, it was broadcast on Fridays, when higher viewership was garnered. As a result, the viewer ratings of Voltes V reached a peak of 58%.



Japanese Anime under Martial Law


Voltes V became a cult favorite, but before the last four episodes could be aired, the government ordered the show off the air. There are various speculations as to why: One theory was that the Marcos Martial Law government found it might lead to uprising because of the anime’s theme of “rebelion against a dictator.” Another was that GMA-7, the only non-governmental broadcasting station at the time, was under attack by the regime.


On the other hand, a Catholic women’s group submitted a petition to the government demanding that Voltes V broadcast be stopped due to the violent scenes. Selina Cristobal, who played Little John (Go Hiyoshi), testified that “President Marcos responded to the pressure from the Catholic groups and middle-class parents. As a result, Voltes V was taken off the air along with the five other robot anime shows. However, Japanese anime itself was not banned. Candy♡Candy and others continued to be broadcast as family-friendly cartoons.



Filipinization and “Fansub”


After the liberalization of the telecommunication industry in 1992, private broadcasting company ABS-CBN began to use Filipino as their broadcasting lnaguage. The Filipino dubbing of cartoons also began around this time. In the mid-90s, there was a flood of anime such as Dragon Ball Z, SailorMoon, and Ranma 1/2. However, this included the practice of diluting the works’ Japanese tastes by localizing character’s names and cutting opening songs. Filipino anime fans who disliked this, went to shops selling pirated anime with fan-produced subtitles.



Voltes V is Back


In 1998, a TV program aired a song about Voltes V and it became a huge sensation. This led to the production of a Filipino dubbed version in 1999. Numerous dubbed versions have been produced since then, and the fifth dubbed version was broadcasted in 2017. It is now a multigenerational national anime.


However, my general impression is that Japan observed strict copyright laws and did not see the Philippines as a lucrative market. However, “anime” and “manga” have so deeply penetrated Philippine society through piracy that they have become local. For example, supporters of Leni Robredo had made a Japanese anime version of the music clip of her theme song for her presidential campaign, and the aesthetics of many Philippine komiks (comics) are influenced by manga.


Photo courtesy of Dr. Karl Ian Uy Cheng Chua