NEARLY 50 years after it first aired in the Philippines – against the backdrop of Martial Law – the Japanese animation series “Voltes V,” which captured the hearts of Filipinos whether young or old, is now being reimagined into a live-action format with the help of an alumnus from the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD).

“Voltes V: Legacy,” the Filipino adaptation of the anime “Chodenji Machine Voltes V” by Toei Company, will be aired this year on GMA as part of its 2023 offerings.

Last December, the network unveiled a five-minute “mega” sneak peek during its New Year’s Eve countdown, with its lead characters – in their iconic red, blue and white robotic attires – joining forces to fight the humanoid aliens, Boazanians, planning to invade the Earth.

The costumes for the live-action adaptation were created by Noel Layon Flores, the lead visual designer for GMA’s science-fiction and fantasy soap operas.

A Commercial and Advertising Arts graduate in 1995, Flores told the Varsitarian that the costumes had to secure approval from Toei through the local copyright handler of “Voltes V,” Telesuccess Productions Inc., before they could be used.

“We cannot really gear away from the original design,” he said.

One of Flores’s major projects was designing the costumes for the reboot of the fantasy series “Encantadia” in 2016.

There were stark differences, he said. For one, “Encantadia” was an original concept of GMA in 2005, while “Voltes V” was born in Japan.

“[W]ith ‘Encantadia and other teleseryes where I was the lead designer, almost all the designs would go through me kasi ako ‘yung world-builder. It was my task to interweave para talaga maging cohesive na world,” Flores said.

For “Voltes V: Legacy,” the CFAD alumnus had to find a way to make the costumes closer to their militaristic theme.

Siguro ang pinaka-obvious na nakita ko with the ‘Voltes V’ pilots design would be how to make them look like they’re pilots or look like they’re trained military personnel,” he explained.

“To make sense of the five costumes, I had to start with the organization – the big picture […] I have to place or visually establish these colors in the big organization.”

As production for “Voltes V: Legacy” dragged on, Flores only felt the need to push for producing more original science-fiction shows.

Andoon pa rin ako sa advocacy na we need to make more of our original works told […] We need to shine more as Filipinos. We should advocate for our own IPs (intellectual properties) and have it actualized for the new generations to see,” he said.

Flores, whose career now spans 28 years, also works as a comic book illustrator for Second Skin Comics, based in Los Angeles, California and Seattle, Washington, both in the United States. He is finishing Issue No. 3 of his comics titled “Dream Walker.”

Flores taught at the CFAD from 1999 to 2011 but stopped teaching to “expand” and “look for what else that is new,” he said.


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