Sunday, December 25, 2016

Did Voltes V Inspire Anti-Nuclear Activism?


Given Ronald Reagan’s September 21, 1987 speech at the 42nd General Assembly of the UN eerily reminiscent of a Voltes V episode, did Voltes V inspire the 1980s anti-nuclear activism?

By: Ringo Bones 

It may be such a weird idea given that the weapons and energy technology featured in Voltes V is a generation ahead and therefore much more dangerous in the hands of the unenlightened in comparison to the nuclear energy utilizations and the nuclear weapons arsenal we currently have, it seems an anathema that the first few episodes of Voltes V seem to hints that mankind is at a dangerous path when it comes to stockpiling thermonuclear weapons. When it first aired back in 1977, the prospect of an all-out thermonuclear exchange between the United States and the then Soviet Union seems inevitable given the weapons treaties in existence at the time. But, nonetheless, did Voltes V inspire anti-nuclear activism that led to the widespread anti-nuclear protests of the 1980s? 

For those who remembered the then US President Ronald Reagan’s September 21, 1987 speech during the 42nd General Assembly of the United Nations General Assembly in which he said: “I occasionally think how quickly our differences, worldwide, would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.”The first few episodes of Voltes V which aired back in 1977 is eerily reminiscent of Reagan’s 1987 speech when Voltes V inventor Dr. Armstrong did the same in front of the UN General Assembly about the looming Bozanian threat that only Voltes V can stop – which in the story’s timeline was set at 1989. Sometimes, I too wonder if the then governor of California saw the first few episodes of Voltes V back in 1977. Well, it seems that we’ll never know if Reagan was a secret Voltes V fan given that he never mentioned it in his memoirs.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Kepler-452b: The Voltes V’s Planet Bozania?


Even though NASA called the recent Kepler Space Telescope discovery the “Earth’s twin” – will Voltes V fans call it Voltes V’s planet Bozania?

By: Ringo Bones 

Remember back in 2011 when the Kepler Space Telescope discovered Kepler-16b, that extrasolar planet /exoplanet that orbited around two parent stars akin to the Star Wars’ planet Tatooine that 1977 era astrophysicists says is impossible? Well, the Kepler Space Telescope’s recent discovery back in July 23, 2015 revealed a planet that will not only rouse interest to those people in search of Earth-like planets outside of our own solar system, but also to Voltes V fans who might see a resemblance between planet Bozania and planet Kepler-452b. 

Unlike the Saturnus or Saturn-like planet Bozania with its dual Saturn-like rings, Kepler-452b at the moment appears to have no rings around it as seen by the Kepler Space Telescope. Kepler-452b appears to be 60-percent larger than Earth and its surface gravity pull appears to be twice that on the surface of the Earth so a 150-pound earthling would weigh 300-pounds on Kepler-452b. The planet appears to orbit within the habitable zone of the sun-like G-Type star Kepler-452 and takes 381 earth-days to orbit its present star so it’s “year” is slightly longer than planet Earth’s. 

Given that Kepler-452b is a billion years older than Earth, any advanced life forms on the planet could likely be more technologically advanced than us earthlings. But given its star is a billion years older than our sun, it might be nearing its “Red Giant” phase and might be subjecting Kepler-452b much higher amounts of energy than our Earth gets from the sun. Even though Kepler-452b is 10-times closer to Earth at 1,400 light-years or 430 parsecs in comparison to Voltes V’s planet Bozania, which is 14,096.24 light-years or 4324 parsecs away from Earth, it did manage to peak the interest of “mere” science fiction fans to the world of real astronomy and the finer points of astrophysics.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Is Voltes V Influenced By The Ancient Astronaut Theory?


Even though it is barely implied in the series, is it correct to assume that the Voltes V series is nonetheless has some ancient astronaut theory or ancient alien theory influences? 

By: Ringo Bones 

The distance between planet earth and planet bozania may be 4,324 parsecs or 14,096.24 light years, which means a radio message sent from earth traveling at the speed of light – 186,000 miles per second - will take a little over 14,000 years to reach bozania. And despite such vast distances, current theoretical physics, especially the one put forth by Prof. Miguel Alcubierre, points out that such vast distances can be traversed by intelligent beings possessing “warp” travel technology that allows then to travel almost 10,000 times faster than light without breaking Laws of Relativity put forth by Albert Einstein. Such hints of fantastic future technologies is primarily the basis of the ancient astronaut theory / ancient alien theory first put forth by Charles Fort in 1919 but was made famous around the world by Erich Von Däniken when he published his book “Chariot of the Gods?” back in 1968. 

To those unfamiliar with the concept, ancient astronaut theory / ancient alien theory claims that intelligent technologically advanced life-forms visited earth in ancient times and profoundly affected the development of human civilization. Even though no such event happened in Voltes V. The setting of the story in theyear 1989 when it was first aired in 1977 suggests that technologically advanced extraterrestrial beings capable of faster-than-light interstellar travel are readily willing to help us earthlings to advance our preexisting scientific capabilities – although in Voltes V, the purpose is to prepare the human race defend ourselves from an alien threat. 

Even though it is very hard to ignore the influence of ancient alien theory / ancient astronaut theory as a literary device in almost every work of science fiction published around the end of World War II and its peak during the 1960s Age of Aquarius, many a good science fiction with a large following and ones with a “cult following” – i.e. Voltes V in the Philippines – seems to have owed its existence to Erich Von Däniken’s “Chariots of the Gods?”. At least this concept is a sure-fire way to sell science fiction.       

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Voltes V’s Anachronism: A Hindrance In Its Ability To Gain New Fans?

This iconic anthropomorphic giant robot anime from the mid 1970s has gained a cult following, but does it retro-cool anachronism and anachrophillia scaring away new potential fans?

By: Ringo Bones

The rather strong cult following of Voltes V here in the Philippines had been for a number of years mostly the domain of guys over 40 – i.e. those old enough to have experienced Voltes V first hand back in the late 1970s before it was banned by the then Philippine strongman named Ferdinand Marcos The question now is – is this sense of anachronism and anachrophillia that casts a cool 1970s retro feel to Voltes V scaring away potential fans – specifically new younger fans?

Comparative analogy to the Samurai warrior class of feudal era Japan is too hard to ignore given that at the time the rest of the world are inventing better and better firearms, the Japanese stuck to their bimetallic mono-crystalline steel blades as the epitome of technology in warfare. Such a mix of bind insularity and anachronistic anachrophillia of such artifacts nevertheless cast a cool mystique over these high-end mono-crystalline bimetallic katana blades forged by famed sword-smiths like Muramasa amongst others of a virtually perfect blade reserved for the elite Samurai class. By the way, famed examples of such “Samurai swords” can easily fetch for as much as 300,000 US dollars these days.

Sadly, the same problem seems to be affecting Voltes V’s ability to attract a retinue of new and younger fans born way after of the Marcos dictatorship here in the Philippines. It may be hard to attract new and younger fans to the Voltes V bandwagon here in the Philippines, but who knows what the future might bring.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Should There Be A Voltes V Fan Convention?


Given that Star Trek, Star Wars and other science fiction based genre fan conventions had been financially beneficial to each of their brand image should there be one for Voltes V?

By:  Ringo Bones

Ever since the first Star Trek convention back in 1974, such big events not only serve to advance the revenue earning potential of every science fiction franchise with a large fanbase, but also serve as a very important venue to attract new fans or “converts” as well. But should there be one for the late 1970s science fiction Anime series Voltes V?

Even though I have yet to hear one becoming highly publicized on Philippine soil, it seams that – whether official or not from Questor’s perspective – there hasn’t been a major Voltes V convention ever commissioned despite fans of the “Martial Law” era TV series now probably number in the tens of thousands. It may be that all a dedicated Voltes V fan to do is start an “unofficial” fan convention in his or her garage. After all, around the time of the first Star Trek motion picture was released – it was purported to be that in the United States alone during the 1980s, there were as many as 30,000 Star Trek conventions a year – though how much of there are “officially” sanctioned conventions is still open to speculation.

Should there be big venue Voltes V convention - preferably held in a “large-ish” convention center like the one oft advertized in SM malls? Even though nobody has yet to give recent “accountancy figures” on the economic viability of such a big venue science fiction / fantasy convention in this day and age, it might as well be just serve as a venue to attract new converts – or see every “obsessive” fan dress for a Voltes V based Cosplay role playing in the zaniest possible manner just for the Hell of it. I’m already intrigued by the prospect. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Neutrino Bomb in Voltes V: More Science Than Fiction?

Given that Bozanian science and technology is supposedly a few centuries more advanced than ours, is the Neutrino Bomb used in the Voltes V series finale based more on science fact than on science fiction?

By: Ringo Bones

If you’re a die-hard Voltes V fan who just have more than a passing interest on the latest happenings on cutting-edge theoretical physics, chances are you’ve already noticed that the Bozanian science and technology often featured in this 1970s era Anime is very reminiscent of the work of physicists Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg on the Electroweak Unification that won them the 1979 Nobel Physics Prize. And if you are fortunate enough to finish watching the entire series, chances are you’ve seen the Neutrino Bomb that almost destroyed planet Earth. But is a workable / practical Neutrino Bomb more than science fiction?

If you have a more than passing interest in astronomy – especially astrophysics – chances are you probably knew by now that 99% of a supernova explosion’s energy is emitted in the form of neutrinos. And given a sufficiently advanced alien civilization whose science and technology is a few centuries ahead of us already has the nuts and bolts to figure out in mimicking such destructive celestial phenomena. Which is a paradox since neutrinos barely interact with regular matter and they can only be “seen” via heavy-water based detectors when they emit Cherenkov Radiation – a glow of mostly ultraviolet light.

The faint bluish light named after Soviet era physicists Pavel Cherenkov was first observed by him and his team back in 1934 when water emitted a bluish glow when exposed to high-speed gamma radiation. The Cherenkov Effect or Cherenkov Radiation as it is often called in scientific literature, is the emission of light waves by electrons or other charged particles – even weakly interacting ones like neutrinos – when they move in a medium at a speed greater than that of light in the same medium. The effect is somewhat analogous to the formation of acoustic shock waves by a projectile moving in air at a speed greater than that of sound. In both cases, the speed of the object traveling through a medium exceeds that of the resulting wave disturbance in the medium.

Monday, May 24, 2010

President Ferdinand Marcos Versus Voltes V

The idea might be too kitschy for some, but historically, it did happen. A dictator picked a fight with a Japanese anime. Guess who won?

By: Ringo Bones

If it wasn't for the martyrdom of Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. Filipinos would have been rallying around Voltes V. Certainly a somewhat too kitschy rallying point for some tastes when it comes to standing against one of the 20th Century's most notorious dictators and his wife that had unfairly stereotyped Asian women as having a preexisting unhealthy shoe fetish. Believe it or not, there was really a time in Philippine history that the now deposed strongman named Ferdinand E. Marcos really did pick a fight against a somewhat kitschy Japanese gigantic anthropomorphic science fiction robot anime called Voltes V.

By issuing a "Presidential Decree" that no one - other than himself- could possibly veto, Marcos managed to ban Voltes V and related gigantic anthropomorphic cartoon shows - like Mazinger Z, Mekanda, Daimos, UFO Grendaizer and their ilk - citing that the shows entices violence in impressionable kids and makes them harbour "rebellious" ideologies. But to the point of view of the Voltes V fans and fans of related giant robot anime shows, it is probably due that an overwhelming majority of this shows revolves around the toppling of a delusional dictator.

Not surprisingly, then President Marcos managed to ban such Japanese anime shows near the end of 1979. Worse still, Marcos issued a kangaroo "Presidential Decree/" yet again around 1981 banning coin-operated video games like Pac Man and Space Invaders. It was not until the great dictator was ousted near the end of February 1986 that video games and Voltes V and his pals went on air unmolested by "dictatorial" media censorship. To this obsessed Voltes V fan, Ferdinand Marcos will always be forever remembered as the delusional dictator who picked a fight with Voltes V.