Super Electromagnetic Machine Voltes V

From wikipedia:

Super Electromagnetic Machine Voltes V (Japanese: 超電磁マシーン ボルテスV(ファイブ), Hepburn: Chōdenji Mashīn Borutesu Faibu), popularly known as simply Voltes V (pronounced as "Voltes Five") is a Japanese anime television series produced by Toei Dōga and animated by Nippon Sunrise (formerly known as Soeisha). It is the second installment of the Robot Romance Trilogy, which also includes Chōdenji Robo Combattler V and Tōshō Daimos. It is directed by Tadao Nagahama and produced by Yoshiyuki Tomino. It aired on TV Asahi and its affiliates from June 1977 to March 1978.

One day, a massive horde of flying saucers appears out of the depths of space and launches an invasion of the planet Earth. Despite the best efforts of the world's militaries and the Earth Defense Force under the Japanese Commander Oka, simultaneous deployments of the invaders' fleets of well-armed and highly mobile flying saucers devastate key strategic targets around the world and completely overwhelm the defenders. The invaders are aliens from the imperial planet Boazan, fighting under the command of the Boazanian emperor's ruthless nephew, Prince Heinel. With their victory all but assured, the Boazanian commanders retire to Castle Heinel, a secret underground citadel constructed by their agents in preparation for their conquest, and deploy the massive bio-mechanical "Attack Beast Knight Dokugaga" to destroy humanity's last bastion of resistance.

Unbeknownst to the Boazanians, however, are the efforts of Japanese scientists Mitsuyo Goh and Professor Hamaguchi, who have been working alongside Oka on a plan originally created by Mitsuyo's vanished husband, Dr. Kentaro Goh. Having forced her children, Kenichi, Daijiro, and Hiyoshi, to undergo a grueling training regimen alongside the American rodeo champion Ippei Mine and Commander Oka's daughter, Megumi Oka, it is revealed that all of their efforts up to this point were secretly meant to prepare the earth for this very eventuality. The scientists take the children to a top-secret base on the hidden island of Ootorijima known as "Big Falcon", where they reveal to the five Kentaro Goh's greatest life's work and humanity's last remaining hope for survival: the Super-Electromagnetic Robot, "Voltes V". Though it takes them some time to adjust to the controls, the five are able to work together and save the EDF from total destruction by finishing off Dokugaga with their powerful Heaven Sword, or Tenkuu-ken.

As the series progresses, the Boazanians continue to come up with a variety of strategies to try to defeat the Earth's powerful new robot, always involving the production of a new Beast Knight based on a different animal. As the Voltes team trains to improve their teamwork and skill, they also learn more about the nature of the Boazanians and the Goh siblings' missing father. Professor Goh is revealed to have disappeared on a diplomatic mission to the planet Boazan itself, hoping to stop their invasion before it came to pass. Having been imprisoned by the Boazanian empire this entire time, he escapes from their control and attempts to return to earth with several allies, but is waylaid by a breakaway force and taken prisoner by Heinel's traitorous science officer, Zuhl. Much of the second half of the series revolves around the Goh siblings desperately searching for their father, while he in turn works to oppose the invaders in secret.

Aside from its technological advancement, the planet Boazan is in fact very similar to Earth, and the native Boazanians are so like humanity that the two races can even healthily interbreed. The planet is wholly governed by an oligarchic monarchy with a cruel caste system: Boazanians born with horns are highly regarded and form an aristocratic elite, while the hornless are forced into slavery and worked to death on physically demanding tasks such as mining and construction. During a succession dispute between the highly-revered Chief Science Minister La Gour, son of the late emperor's brother, and Zu Zambajil, an illegitimate son of said emperor, it was discovered that despite La Gour's noble birth, he had been born hornless and had hidden the fact with prosthetics. Taking advantage of this fact to further his own quest for power, Zambajil had La Gour imprisoned and exiled his wife Rosalia, causing him great despair. After learning that Rosalia died while he was forced to work as a common slave, La Gour joined a band of hornless dissidents and subsequently led a daring insurrection against the empire, only to be easily thwarted by their vastly superior military. With no other options available to him, La Gour was forced to escape on a flying saucer and flee across the galaxy until he found himself on the faraway planet of Earth. Upon crash-landing, he was discovered by a Japanese scientist, and they fell in love. To blend in on Earth, La Gour exchanged his name for a Japanese one: Dr. Kentaro Goh. Thus, Dr. Goh's powerful technological advancements and knowledge of the oncoming alien invasion suddenly make sense, for he was once a native of that very planet himself.

Knowing that Zambajil's ambition was to rule a galactic empire, Goh quickly set into motion his plans to protect the Earth from their eventual attack, and moreover, to someday finish what he started by returning to Boazan and liberating its oppressed underclass. Yet when Zambajil threatened to invade the earth unless Goh returned to work under him, Goh had no choice but to abandon his family. Refusing to work for the tyrannical ruler, Goh was once-again imprisoned and nearly executed, only to be saved by the remnants of the rebel army he had created right before his exile. It is here that he met the rebel General Dange, an aristocrat who cut off his horns to join the rebellion, and they left for their ill-fated return to Earth. Just when everyone else believes them to be dead, it is revealed that Goh and Dange have been working on the creation of a massive spaceship known as the Solar Bird, with which they hope to return to Boazan to topple its oppressive government once and for all. 

John's Notes

This was an extremely popular anime that translated well into foreign markets. Voltes V, to me, was the best of the three Robot Romance Trilogy mechas, continuing with the Five-vehicles-into-one-robot introduced with Combattler, but with much more detail and a giant Sword!

Popy and Mattel

As with other popular anime and tokusatsu series, Popy and other manufacturers produced a plethora of toys related to Voltes V, eventually leading to a Mattel licensing deal as Shogun Warrior toys. Unfortunately Mattel really failed in bringing all the toys to the US market with a very limited release. Can you imagine a Mattel jumbo?

  • Popy GA-80 Voltes V ST - Mattel Shogun Two-in-One #2993 Voltus V
  • Popy (unknown) Voltes V mini - Mattel Shogun Collector's #2994 Voltes V

All Mattel images and captions are copyright Mattel, all Popy, Banpresto, Unifive or Yutaka images and captions are copyright Popy/Bandai, images captured from various video segments are copyright Toei or other parties and used without permission. All other content, including images and editorial, is Copyright © 2023 John Eaton and/or contributors unless otherwise stated. If there are any comments or objections, please contact John Eaton, by clicking here.

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