Who Remembers Daimos?

Two weeks ago we returned from a month-long trip to England. For a whole month, we were so completely immersed in the English culture that my kids sprouted English accents (Mummy, could I have some biscuits please?) and became fans of long-running English cartoons such as Postman Pat and Andy Pandy.

Alfie, of course, could not be more delighted. Having landed squarely into middle age he has gone all nostalgic, reminiscing about the good old days and reliving all his childhood TV shows. He has introduced the kids to his boyhood favorite, the Thunderbirds, and they took to it so quickly that we've already bought the Best of Thunderbirds DVD . All this has stirred up some nostalgia of my own. Memories of the cartoons I watched as a kid in the 70's have been swirling around in my mind, and all of a sudden I miss them.

I miss the Flintstones. I miss Penelope Pitstop. I miss I miss Sigmund the Sea Monster, Flipper, the Land of the Lost. But most of all, I miss the Japanese anime shows. Remember those? If you grew up in the Philippines in the 70's of course you do. Everyone I knew was hooked on one type of Japanese anime show or another. All the girls tried to draw the heroines and all the boys wanted the robot toys for Christmas.

For girls, there was Candy Candy and RonRon the Flower Girl. For boys, there was Daimos, Voltes V (read "five"), Mazinger Z (read "zee"), Grendizer and Mekanda Robot. Actually, even the robot series appealed to girls because of the the soap opera stories woven throughout the plotline (Remember the Voltes V Armstrong boys' search for their missing father? who turned out to be one of the enemy Bozanians? Who can forget Daimos' touching Romeo-and-Juliet love story and the way they kept screaming to the heavens: RICHARD!!! ........ ERIKAAAAA!!). My hands-on favorites were Daimos and Voltes V. They had interesting plotlines, the best transforming robots, handsome heroes and strong female characters (note to Mazinger Z: if you're going to attract the feminist audience, then please give the female robot Aphrodite A some weaponry other than those boob missiles).

We were absolutely outraged when Ferdinand Marcos pulled all the robot cartoons off the air, citing exposure to violence as the reason (I guess he didn't want any dissidents getting ideas....). Luckily my uncle had the foresight to videotape a good number of epidodes (and the money to buy a Sony Betamax), so I spent a good part of the 80's comfortably ensconced in an airconditioned room with my cousins, watching tape after tape of Daimos and Voltes V. That's why I will be able to hum the Voltes V theme song as long as I live.... Da dumdum da-dummm..... DUM--DUM...
And of course, the unforgettable phrases:

Let's... Volt... In!!!!
Laser... Sword!!
Vooooollll...tesss... Five-Ah!!

But I grew up and moved on, and didn't give it a thought until this summer, when it all came back. I'll admit, when I saw my kids enjoying Thunderbirds, I got a bit jealous. Why should they be watching poorly-filmed, freaky-eyed puppets when they could watch the beautiful classic anime sketches of Voltes V? Voltes versus Thunderbirds? Ha! The Armstrong Family beats the Tracy family anytime. Thunderbirds 1 thru 5 are no match for the Voltes Cruiser, Bomber, Panzer, Frigate and Lander -- plus they volt in.

But there's one way that Thunderbirds beats Voltes -- they've got DVD's available on Amazon. And now that Alfie has gotten his Thunderbird fix, I want mine too. Tracking down a copy of Voltes V or Daimos or any 70's anime show aired in the Philippines has been much harder than I thought. For one thing, many shows like Voltes V and Daimos were dubbed into English especially for the Philippine market; I was shocked to discover that all those "American"-sounding voices were actually Filipino voice-overs (so sue me -- I was only seven!). So English copies would be extremely rare, if they exist at all. Due to a series of lawsuits over copyrights, it is unlikely that Candy Candy will ever be released in English again. And a Google search for "Ron Ron the Flower Angel" returns no relevant results whatsoever.

I guess I'll have to make a trip to Manila and go deep into the bowels of Divisoria or Quiapo and search for a poor-quality, overpriced VCD of my favorite childhood TV shows. And I'll be delirious with happiness when I find it. In the meantime, thank God for YouTube....

** Cross-posted on the Filipina Moms Blog


Liza's Eyeview said...

Oh my gosh, this post made "brought back the past" :) - of course I remember Daimos, Voltes V and Mazinger Z :)

Heart of Rachel said...

I remember the love story of Richard and Erika on Daimos.