GMA-7 on “Voltes V: Legacy:” “Hindi natin ito titipirin.”
It is not an easy feat for GMA-7 to produce its much-anticipated series, “Voltes V: Legacy.” The show is the first-ever live-action adaptation of the hit Japanese anime “Voltes V” which first aired in the Philippines in 1978.
The show’s creators—director Mark Reyes, headwriter Suzette Doctolero, and program manager Helen Rose Sese—admit that producing this project, which is almost 10 years in the making, was truly a challenge.
In the recent media conference held for the show in April, the creators recall the challenges they faced in producing the show.
Mark Reyes, who directs the show and produced the pitch tape that allowed them to get awarded by Telesuccess with the franchise, found recreating an old anime challenging.
However, he believes that the anime’s strength is its soap opera-like story about family.
He says, “Since 1978 here in the Philippines all the way down to 2023, ‘Voltes V’ has always been in the hearts of the Filipinos.
“Hindi nawawala sa karaoke yung pagkanta ng ‘Voltes’ theme, mga political ads, commercials. ‘Voltes V’ has always been around. There was certain magic, perhaps, with ‘Voltes V’ that it has endured all those years, all these decades.
“But inherently, ‘Voltes V’ is a story of family on so many levels, yung istorya. Kaya siguro it was easy for GMA to approve the project. Because once they saw [it], it was one of the first soap operas that I saw as a child because when you know the whole story, the betrayal of the brothers, the loss of the father, the loss of a mother, it’s a soap opera. It’s a space soap opera.
“That hailed from Japan but it was very near and dear to the Filipinos kasi yan ang gusto natin, e, yung nagtutulungan, mga magkakapatid. Mga magkaaway, si Mark at si Steve, ‘tapos magsasanib pwersa ‘tapos yung kalaban mo, hindi mo alam, kalahi mo, kadugo mo.
“So, all of those things, it’s in one big pageantry.”
However, Reyes was honest to say: “What was scary was could we have pulled it off?”
He reasons out, “Lalo ngayon sa kabataan, kids these days, their level is ‘Marvel,’ ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Pacific Rim.’ Could we have pulled it off?”
Reyes then remembers how “Voltes V: Legacy” all started with one big dream of Reyes and RIOT Inc., a post-production company that produced the computer graphics of past Kapuso shows.
“I just had the audacity of ignorance, 2014 with the help of Jay Santiago of RIOT and I said, ‘Jay, kaya ba ito? And surprisingly, it was serendipity because RIOT’s dream project is ‘Voltes V.’
“We worked together in ‘Encantadia’ and several other projects, so, noong may mutual dream na gawin ang ‘Voltes V,’ we developed a pitch tape, we presented to Telesuccess and to GMA, and then we presented to TOEI.
“Back then, that was 2014. Iba pa technology noon pero ang ganda na lumabas ng pitch tape. For GMA and for Japan to approve the level of the robot then, the graphics were very impressive already.”
READ ALSO: GMA’s Latest “Voltes V: Legacy” Reel Earns Approval Of Anime’s Original Producer
“Hindi natin ito titipirin”
From the show’s development, “Voltes V: Legacy” did not run out of challenges.
The costs of producing the project were gargantuan, from the computer graphics to the costumes to the sets.
When “Voltes V: Legacy” was already a go and everyone is ready to shoot, the pandemic hit, causing more delays. When taping resumed, the costs ballooned because of restrictions: RT-PCR tests, accommodations for lock-in tapings, and more delays.
Reyes recalls, “So, all these problems were part of this whole legacy of the production of ‘Voltes V.’ Pero yun na nga, I guess, the proof is in the pudding, as they say.
“Naubos na ang dugo sa akin ng mga producers ko kasi budget pa lang, and then the pandemic, we had to stretch. I think it’s safe to say that we added so many shooting days, taping days to ‘Voltes V Legacy,’
“That’s how adamant GMA was na ‘No, hindi natin ito titipirin.’”
Reyes then turns emotional, and tries to hold back his tears.
He continues, “We will give it the best because the project deserves the best, and calling it as a legacy project, it has to show. It has to be revered and emulated and hopefully liked by you, people.”
Program manager and AVP for Drama Helen Rose Sese says that the main challenge during the taping of “Voltes V: Legacy” was the COVID-19 pandemic as they had to make necessary adjustments.
“Nag-start kaming mag-shoot, pandemic. Nag-start kami na naka-lock in, imagine yung COVID at that time, yung gastos ng network, yung protocols.
“We also had to adjust the script para hindi mag-sacrifice yung quality and we’re very thankful sa network because ang dami kong pinagdaanan na additional taping days to finish this, and binigay yun sa atin to come up with such good project.”
One of these challenges was main cast member Raphael Landicho, who plays Little Jon. At the time they started taping, minors were not allowed yet to work.
Sese adds, “Tatlong beses kami nagpagawa ng costume ni Little Jon and isa yun sa mga malaking challenge na pinagdaanan ng production because during that time, hindi pwedeng mag-shoot ang minor.
“So, we had to finish all the sequences without him. There were meetings na, ‘Papalitan ba natin si Little Jon? We will adjust the script.’ But no, nanindigan po kami na hintayin natin, we hope na mawawala ang COVID and, thank God, natapos po namin ang project.”
READ ALSO: How “Voltes V: Legacy” Director Chose Its Main Cast
Meanwhile, “Voltes V: Legacy” headwriter Suzette Doctolero says that she and the creative team had to add some scenes and plots to strengthen the story and make it more realistic.
She says, “Yung dinagdag natin, para lalong ma-highlight yung maganda na na meron sa ‘Voltes V.’
“For example, sa anime, ang dali dali para kay Mary Ann Armstrong na payagang makipaglaban ang mga anak niya na lumaban sa mga dangerous na aliens.
“Pero kapag in-adapt sa realistic na approach, gaano kadali para sa isang ina na anak mo na bunso, huwag na yung dalawang matanda, na ipanlaban mo? So, may mga idinagdag kami doon.
“Ipinapangako namin sa creative team, sa pangunguna ng aming creative director at sa aking mga writers, na ang anumang idinagdag namin at hinighlight sa show ay para lalong magbigay, well I hope, ng kinang doon sa show para mas maging maganda lalo ang experience.
“Come May 8, sila ang makakapagsabi niyan at makakapaghusga kung naging maganda ba ang aming trabaho.”
As a last word, Reyes recalls how everyone backed him up and supported his vision for the project, especially when he finally presented it to the big boss who will determine the fate of the project: GMA chairman and CEO Felipe L. Gozon (FLG).
He says, “Sorry, I got emotional because the rush of emotions from way back on how this thing came to be is really something for me it has been a vision quest to do this.
“And then, sila Miss Lilybeth Rasonable, sila Miss Redgie Magno, Miss Cheryl Ching Sy, they really fought for the project. Si Suzette also fought for it.
“I was on the board presenting this to FLG, everyone backed up the project, and FLG could say was, ‘Direk Mark Reyes, congratulations, no one has ever had it easy on this board room. Put ‘Voltes V’ on the board.”
“Voltes V: Legacy” premiered on Monday, May 8, with a combined TV rating of 14.6% from all its broadcast platforms: GMA-7, Gtv, Heart of Asia channel, and Pinoy Hits.
Banner Art Dani Sison