Starting this post, I feel like this is a good place to start this event. This session of Mecha March is going to be full of classic anime or more recent adaptations of newer series. If anything, it is a very interesting piece of mecha history. For starters, it is the second anime in the Robot Romance Trilogy. I didn’t cover the first Combattler V because it wasn’t on RetroCrush like this one. This one also has a lot of history overseas compared to the United States where it is just watchable now. For instance, Voltes V was banned during a rebellion during President Marcos reign in the Philippines and was re-aired afterwards. Isn’t that amazing? Kind of a case of anime being political.
On a production side, Voltes V was as mentioned one of Nagahama’s Robot Romance Trilogy with Combattler V as the first one and Diamos as the last one. This was also before Sunrise got big because Toei and Sunrise both worked on this one together. Even Tomino worked a little bit on Voltes V before moving over to Zambot 3 which will appear later onwards. Though, Tomino is still marked as a producer of the show. So yeah, this is a little bit of a partial Tomino featured month even if I am only mentioning three of some shows he has worked on. Anyway, I feel like I should discuss the show more now then quickly going through its history.
With Voltes V taking place in the recent future, a group of horned aliens called the Boazan attack Earth. Of course, they completely disseminate all of the Earth’s forces instantly. It’s not even close and every city across the world is quickly destroying all opposing forces. That is until the Voltes V appears. Piloted by three of the Goh male siblings (Kenichi as the lead, Daijiro the biggest one, and Hiyoshi the child), one random stray named Ippei, and the ninja girl by the name of Megumi, five little robots join together to form the infamous robot and surprisingly destroys the first Beast Knight and the show finally starts.
The most interesting thing that plays into the story later is that the Earthlings knew that the Boazans were eventually going to show up. The Goh siblings, in which one is a master of gunplay as Kenichi, another one is a master of judo who is Daijiro, and the youngest loves tinkering with robots whose name is Hiyoshi, have a missing Doctor Goh who they just assume is dead. Their mother is still around and Doctor Goh’s working colleagues who worked on Voltes V, Professor Hamaguchi leading the five of them at the Falcon Fortress. That little bit of complication that makes it so much more interesting then it could be.
I know it’s heavily cliche by this point, but family is an important part of Voltes V. I really mean that because this is the one of core things that holds the show and makes so many more complications to it that are not unexpected. For instance, the Goh siblings have their family that they eventually lose, right? Plus Megumi Oka also has her father General Oka who has trained her in combat. Then there is Ippei who has no parents and is the loose canon of the series who constantly fights with Kenichi because they are similar and yet have different sets of morals. A lot of character conflict happens in the series which adds a lot of dimension to these characters.
The family aspect of the show makes the Boazan situation on earth so interesting as well. I’m sorry about getting to them so late. In an Invader Zim kind of situation, Prince Heinel is sent off to the far off planet of Earth in order to die or just be out of the way and the fact that he is a true blood prince but doesn’t know it leads to some interesting conflict in his own castle as he tries to take Earth. When he isn’t fighting and barely losing against Voltes V, he might get interupted by Boazan officials or one of his party will have their rebellion. Prince Heinel is such a great antagonist because he really is at the end of his rope and must win against Voltes V or just continue to be made fun of. His interesting relationship with Kenichi is also simple yet interesting. One of the best mecha soap operas ever.
So yeah, I haven’t even brought up the format of the show itself yet because there are so many great character things in it. The format of the show is a lot of complicated or simple things leading to Voltes V struggling hard to defeat a Beast Knight and then the episode ends. Yet, this isn’t a purely episodic anime. There are a lot of mini arcs that build off of other mini arcs. There are also some episodes of Voltes V that do not have Voltes V in them and isn’t that mind blowing? Now, this isn’t a purely episodic show because of the mini arc idea throughout even with the small amount of real stand alone episodes in between arcs. Characters develop and change over time in great arcs while the robot fights happen and it’s just so good.
The fights in Voltes V are so visceral for a 1970’s anime and I say that in a year of some very visceral mecha fights. I honestly feel just as stressed out watching this show then I have with a lot of modern anime. There was one episode where the kids literally electrocute themselves to defeat a Beast Knight they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Then there are other parts where the Voltes V held together by spit and duct tape almost has all of his pilots killed as the Beast Knights attacks go straight through the mecha armor and hit the pilots. Man, there is some powerful tension in this mecha anime from forever ago that still affects a person now in 2022.
That leads to some of the mechanical love and tension in Voltes V. Yeah stock footage, but whatever you know? I love this show. It’s exceptional. This was at the part where mechanical design started forming. That mechanical animation of the Voltes V forming was just exceptional and still looks great. I also really like the Voltes V design itself and so many of its great attacks like the god sword of the spinning tops or missiles. The wide variety of Beast Knight designs are unique because they are all over the place and require the Voltes V team to think deeply about defeating them. Especially since they come from people to random animals the Boazan find.
So yeah, Voltes V is an incredible watch. Absolutely solid old anime watching experience. It doesn’t slow down ever, there is also something to add to the tension of the story that makes it so interesting whether it is betrayals to the death of some important character and seeing them be replaced by something there as well. All plot lines connect to each other through the mysterious Doctor Goh as well. The characters are all great and change. Even the side characters get their own arcs to develop in interesting ways. Some of the gimmicks go away, but the tension of it all adds so much there as well. Just watch it ok? Even if it’s 40 episodes in length, the whole experience is worth it.