I graduated high school in 1992, so my childhood and adolescent years cross two generations – the 80s and the 90s. We didn’t have a TV set in my primary school, so I have to watch Star Rangers from a neighbor’s window. Yeah, I grew up before the Internet was born, before people could google every bit of knowledge that we are supposed to know.
Shaider, Bioman and Mask Rider Black, they were the kid’s Japanese metal heroes in tokusatsu, before Manga and Anime came to be a hit in the Philippines, in an era of Japayukis. In those time, Philippine television imported rights to air these live-action film or television drama that use a lot of special effects to the country, while Filipinas move to Japan for live entertainment in its red-light districts in disguise of cultural shows. I think I didn’t see Mask Rider Black, it must be because I got serious with my studies then, when I was in high school.
Bioman was a primetime hit for kids like me then. Learning colors and numbers were fun, because these guys morph and fight calling their codes out loud, “Red 1, Green 2, Blue 3, Yellow 4, Pink 5” … “BIOTEAM FIGHT!” Then they would call the biorobot and fight their life-size enemy that would turn to be anothe giant robot. Their biorobot as integration of several vehicles that they ride. Yah, this is a drama, the most of it was when Yellow 4 died, and has to be replaced by another. I could even sing with my cousins its original Japanese song. But that was when I was still a kid.
Shaider is the “pulis pangkalawakan” o space sheriff. The story line in this show is set on earth but the batlle is galactic. Alexis is the main character, he rides a motorcycle and fights against Fuuma Lear who wants to infuse the earth with his evil whims. Shaider fights against alien invation. He tandems with Annie, who everytime in a fight would show her undies. The main lesson imparted int this show is the fight for good, justice and freedom, while there is a romantic side going on between Alexis and Annie.
These shows were an alternative to the hits of Voltes Five, the animation that showcased a group of young men and women, woking together to fight against the darkness of human evil. The plots are usually the same, but there are twists some how, and that the sequences flow smoothly so the young viewers would be following. The most important element in these programs is that of the lessons it impart on the viewers as they vivify the values of heroism, teamwork and the desire for equality, freedom, justice and peace. Such things are valuable to a culture.
Bioman and Shaider were a hit in the Philippines. The last was even revived in a local version as Zaido. These programs were first shown in Japan 30 years ago, yet locally, we have not gone so far in producing a show that is similar in quality. It seems to me, that these shows are representations of the Japanese culture. That thought, pehaps, explains how technology is not a part of the Filipino culture. Although we have the same values for freedom, justice and peace, it is noticeable that the local show we have produced do not really represent those values at all.