“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” –Paulo Coelho
Picture this: November 2006, you are at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, it was a beautiful Saturday morning, a calm, cool, and warm Saturday morning. You skip your only morning Saturday subject in college to go to the venue.
You see thousands of anime fans lining up the entrance of the Convention Center, and when you look through it, you see someone doing a live report of the lines and the atmosphere inside the venue.
Then the doors opened, and you see the convention venue, packed with activities, booths and different experiences. You see cameras and life-sized figures everywhere.
At the entrance, you were give a paper bag, with the name of the event, and then, you looked at the stage, and after that, you look at the tech booth.
As a wide-eyed media student, you gaze at the technological tools they use to produce the show, the cameras, mixers, and VTR equipment. And then, you look at one side where you can see the back exit, and outside, it was parked, an ABS-CBN Satellite News Gathering van, which was used to transmit the reports live to HEROtv, a first for an anime event.
Yes, the person whom I was describing was me, and the event I am referring to was Hataw! Hanep! Hero 2006.
Pulling the Plug
Hataw! Hanep! Hero 2006 was just one of the things that I will cherish once HEROtv goes off the air on January 31.
It saddens me and at the same time angers me why ABS-CBN decided that after 12 long years, they had to pull the plug on the network without even exploring other options.
Sure, we still get to have YeY on digital terrestrial TV, but do you think it would be that awkward to see grown adults watching a channel which has ads for Peppa Pig and Sesame Street during the time they watch anime?
As I have stated time and again, and to which I am still saying with conviction, ABS-CBN’s network executives may just be jaded to think that anime has a better audience than kids; rather, they would lump us anime fans as part of the market who loves anything ‘colorful, magical and amazing’, which is the target market of YeY.
The network may be blind to see how anime has changed over the years in the wake of technologies like streaming video and high-definition, and instead of competing, they resorted to just allowing themselves to be complacent and let the channel die a natural death without resorting to even increase the “per subscriber rate” to pay TV providers, or even spending more on pursuing video streaming rights to iWant TV because it is ‘expensive’
Such thinking led me to this quote by CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves when he was interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter in 2015 which I shared three years ago and still rings true today.
“If you’re in the television business, you better be a little bit competitive. You better say, ‘Gee, I want that script more than the other networks.’ If there’s a lack of caring about winning, you’re not going to win.” Moonves says.
And that is what ABS-CBN did, they did not care, that’s why they never won.
But despite all the things that made me disappointed in the way HEROtv closure is going to be handled by the corporate ‘bozos’ at ABS-CBN, I have so many fond memories of the network.
I was a witness when it was first launched, followed its website on Blogger detailing its first schedule, satellite parameters, and even some photo shots just to prove that it was not a fluke!
I was part of its old forums, called HEROtv Forums, when it started a few months after the channel made its full launch on SKYCable. I was a part of its so-called “Circle of 300”, or the first 300 people who registered on its forums.
I participated in eyeballs among members, and yes, joined in my first ever event, which was HEROtv Summer Splash in Splash Island resort in Laguna.
I was sad when my relatives decided to change cable subscriptions from SKYcable to Destiny Cable, and prayed that they would get HEROtv (which was the case in 2013, when SKYcable acquired Destiny Cable and HEROtv was later added, but I was now off the cable line since then).
I participated in some games, and most of all, defended them against their detractors.
But the most important highlight for me was when I entered in an internship with the channel in 2008.
My time working with the channel made me think and realize about the cut-throat world of broadcast media. Starting off with the CPI Library Department for the first 200 hours, then working with HEROtv on the next 100, I learned the intricacies of how our programs are beamed into cabled homes, and later on, made a PR proposal on how to effectively market the channel and create an event for it.
Though I was not involved in the production side of things, in the tail-end of my internship, I helped them in their backpack shoot of an anime event in 2009, and for that, I got myself a souvenir shot of me having to hold the classic HEROtv microphone.
My moment with HEROtv helped me a lot in my work first as a brainstormer in ABS-CBN Program Acquisitions (a job which I regretted resigning), to becoming an anime journo.
And, time and again, despite all the misgivings I am having with the channel, I am eternally and forever grateful for the chance to be a part of the team.
At the strike of midnight on February 1, HEROtv is officially no more, shutting down 12 years of anime memories that came with it, and also, ABS-CBN’s legacy in bringing Filipino-dubbed anime on an even par with its subtitled competitors.
I will miss the shows that I’ve enjoyed watching on the channel, which included Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and SEED Destiny, DICE, Yakitate Japan, Cyber Formula GPX and Mirmo De Pon, to the latest titles like Your Lie in April, Free!, and Captain Earth.
While ABS-CBN still owns to the rights to most, if not all, of the titles that HEROtv aired, it will be uncertain if they will be given a lease on life on YeY, knowing its target market and its penchant for airing only “kids” fare as per its remit.
I have been itching to see Your Lie in April and Captain Earth in Filipino-dubbing on Free TV, but I guess I won’t be able to see that in the foreseeable future, or possibly even when I live, unless someone had the platinum gut to air these shows on Free TV.
As for me, I had been somewhat saddened that HEROtv has to end this way. But for all the things the channel had done, positively and negatively, HEROtv’s era was the best era I have ever experienced.
It is, as to quote Roone Arledge in his book, where I made my bones professionally and made my entire adolescent and young adult life fruitful.
Thank you HEROtv. You made me me.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect the views of Anime Pilipinas, its members, partners, and colleagues. If you have comments or reactions, please email at [email protected].