Growing Up with Voltes V
It was probably in 1979 when I first saw on TV these irregularly shaped flying vehicles combining in mid-air to form a gigantic robot that eventually annihilated the similarly huge robot monsters it is fighting.
I was nine years old back then. I remember it was early evening sometime between 5 to 6PM, it was also the same time when I would be called by my Auntie Choleng (may her soul rest in peace) to come inside the house for dinner after a day of playing outside the house and wandering aimlessly at the neighborhood streets together with my friends. It was summer and I was pretty much enjoying whatever is left of my vacation. As a kid growing up in Quezon City in Barangay Paltok, to be exact, life for me was generally easy and uncomplicated. Just play all day and in the evening watch TV.
Back to those flying vehicles on TV, it was one of those hard to forget events when the very moment I sat and gazed my sight at the direction of the TV, I remember I was immediately struck by this cartoon and asked my cousins what the heroic robot is called. They told me the robot was called Voltes V.
Back in those days the only television we had is the black and white one owned by my lawyer-uncle Enchong (again, may his soul rest in peace). The whole TV set is encased in a wooden cabinet so if you wanted to watch a program you have to slide open the cabinet door in an accordion style manner.
After that eventful encounter with Voltes V, I would faithfully follow week on week the brave exploits of the brothers Steve, Big Bert and Little John Armstrong together with Mark Gordon and the only girl in the team Jamie Robinson fighting the evil alien forces led by Prince Zardoz who is singularly bent on destroying the Voltes team and conquering the earth at all costs.
Even without the benefits of color, I would imagine how a yellow burst of light would emanate the moment Steve would utter "Ultra-electromagnetic top!" or the coup de grace blow to the enemies, "Laser sword!" and slice the robot enemy in half etching the burning "V" sign while Voltes V hovers victoriously around in his shining metal armor regalia.
Notwithstanding the other TV shows I've watched during that time which included Ramon Zamora's martial arts (a la Bruce Lee) skills where he would rip his shirt off the moment he would fight the bad guys or Jun Aristorenas' use of blazing guns in one of those Western inspired shows, Voltes V for me established in my young and impressionistic mind the constant battle of good versus evil. Not only that, I can also somehow empathize with the Armstrong brothers and their continuous search for their missing father. I can remember as well asking my mother about my own absent father whom I never did get to know ever since I was born, only to have an incomprehensible reply from her…either he was "dead", "deceased" or something to that effect.
Instead of clearing things up, those conversations further muddled my otherwise confused mind as to the status of my real father. Thus, consciously or unconsciously I somehow formed a bond between me and the cartoon show I love to watch. This is no way to belittle the efforts of my mother who single-handedly brought me up to become a God-fearing and responsible citizen. On the contrary I love my mother for championing and supporting me even in her times of struggle being a single and working parent at that. The same goes to my late Uncle Enchong and late Auntie Choleng who helped my mother in nurturing me and treating me as if I'm their own son. For that, I am forever grateful to them.
Yet deep within I also naturally wanted to know what happened to my biological father just like what the Armstrong brothers seek to do. In the end, the brothers came to know of their ancestry and eventually found out who their real father was which was a good thing but unfortunately this did not last for long. Their father was taken by the enemy, the Boazanians and unfortunately for us in the Philippines the show was suspended. We did not get to see what happened next. The then dictator President Marcos ordered the broadcast of the cartoon to be stopped on the belief that he being the president is likened to the evil Prince Zardoz and his political enemies the good guys. Of course he didn't want that and that's not good on his image that's why the cartoon was abruptly stricken off the air. So, we children are left hanging on what really happened (to the cartoon and the dirty politics back then).
Anyways, as I grew older I also found out that my real father has now a family of his own (a wife and six daughters). I also learned to accept that that is how it is supposed to be. I never learned to hold grudges especially as to my absent father because what I only care about at that time were: the love and care of my mother to me, the chance to play all day and the chance to watch my favorite cartoons on TV and for a young boy those are already enough.
Like the Armstrong brothers knowing their past is necessary but moving forward and embracing the promise of the future is more important. Bravely fighting the enemies do not distract them from being positive and seeing the world in a different light. And just like them, I can never change what happened in the past, instead I try to live at the present and just look optimistic as to what lies ahead. Voltes V taught me all of those and much more. Thus, seeing Voltes V again on youtube definitely brought back lots of good memories of my youth and life.