Voltus V

Reviewed by: Floo..

December 21, 2007

Rating: four

This anime (known as Voltes V in several countries) was produced by Toei Animation Co.,Ltd and broadcasted in Japan by Asahi TV Station in 1977. I know, I know, it is such an old anime. But believe me, classic is a far more suitable word. After all, not many serial can still be remembered after twenty years.

=A Very Short Synopsis / Spoilers=
As usual, there are five fighters -- Kenichi Go, Ippei Mine, Daiziro Go, Megumi Oka and Hiyoshi Go / also known as Steve, Mark, Big Bert, Jaime and Little John-- who defended Earth from Boazanian invasion. Led by Prince Heinell and his subordinates -- the beautiful Kazarine, Zurr, etc. --, the Boazanian set their mind to conquer Earth and enslaved the hornless human, as the Boazanian looked much like human, but with 'horns' that they thought gave them their superior status.

Actually, Professor Go (Kenichi, Daiziro and Hiyoshi's father) is an aristocrat Boazanian. Born without horns, he was sent to prison to be a slave. He managed to escape to Earth and dedicated his life to prepare the earth from the Boazan invasion by building Voltus. Alas, he was then re-captured by the Boazanian and was sent back.

After numerous battles and tearful deaths, the Voltus V used a gigantic ship and went to Planet Boazan to save Professor Go and the hornless slaves. Heinell was having a swordsduel with Kenichi when Professor Go appeared and yelled that Heinell is actually his son from his marriage with a Boazanian woman. Startled, both Kenichi and Heinell froze, as their duel place collapsed. At the last second, Heinell managed to save Kenichi, but didn't try to save himself...

At a first glance, the story seems common and didn't offer something new. Five people, in a huge robot, defend the Earth, enemy-turned-brother. This theme has been 'recycled' like umpteenth time. Then what makes this series special? For me, the first reason might sounds very much subjective. It is the first mecha I (and many Indonesian kids) watched. Memory seems played a huge part in this case, as Voltus VCDs (and theme song) still reigns in pirated market in Indonesia.

Another thing that struck me is how 'real' Voltus V is. OK, maybe driving a huge robot and fighting monsters are not your idea of 'real'. Yet its 'science-fiction' approach stands this series out of the hocus-pocus of current series. The dead people remain dead, there is no person that comes from future or past, and no super power laser blazes from their palm. The Voltus V team's expertise comes from real training. One episode depicted how difficult it is for Voltus V team to make a close U-turn, and how they resent practicing it, only to find that that particular move saves their lives in the next battle. No magic, no innate super power, just pure training.

This series is also full of heart wrenching scenes, which add to its 'real' storyline. Anyway, it's difficult to expect life is a party when your main duty is defending Earth. Disagreements between Voltus members is quite common, and that only made their sense of teamwork seems more valuable. Inferiority complex, feeling rejected, stabbed from behind, deceived, they are woven beautifully into the storyline that you can feel empathy towards the character, be that from Voltus side or Boazan side. Deaths and sacrifices of the loved ones (mother, father, friend, subordinates, animal) are not taboo. The 'sad' scenes (which are greater in quantity than in other mecha in its era) give deeper feeling to the storyline.

Another interesting perspective is the horn/hornless issue. Boazanians are built very much like human, but some of them have horns that give them superior status, and give the 'horned' kind to enslave the 'hornless' counterpart, despite the fact that the 'hornless' one have the same level of intelligence (Prof. Go, for example, was highly respected in Boazan BEFORE it was revealed that he is actually hornless). The final fight of Voltus towards the 'horn' corrupt government, therefore is not only fight to liberate human being (a.k.a earth inhabitants), but also the fight of the enslaved Boazanian. Cool, huh? Despite the sometimes-coarse quality of pictures (hey, it was made more than two decades ago!!), the 'mood' of each scene is greatly conveyed. The great soundtracks are also good medium in delivering the mood. The main song is heroic and dynamic that I still love to hear to uplift my mood. It is a little weird to me, as the ending song is not played in the series itself. Instead, for sad scenes they are using slow-tempo of the main song. While it can be a bit boring, but the song itself is so versatile that it can convey both mood greatly.


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