Speed Racer: The Next Generation
|Speed Racer: The Next Generation|
|Created by||Larry Schwarz|
|Written by||Ben Gruber
|Directed by||Stephen Moverley
|Voices of||Kurt Csolak
David Zen Mansley
|Opening theme||"Go Speed Racer Go!", rearranged by John Angier|
|Ending theme||"Go Speed Racer Go!" (w/o vocals)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||52 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Larry Schwarz
|Running time||30 minutes (approx.)|
|Production company(s)||Animation Collective
|Original run||April 27, 2008– August 25, 2013|
|Preceded by||Speed Racer
Speed Racer X
|Related shows||Three Delivery
Speed Racer: The Next Generation is an American animated television series based on the classic Japanese Speed Racer franchise, in which the internal events take place decades after those in the 1967 Japanese series. It is the fourth television adaptation of the franchise, and is executive produced by Lions Gate Entertainment, Larry Schwarz, and Ken Katsumoto. It is the first Nicktoon not to be based on an original property. Animation Collective produced the series, while the Flash character animation was handled by the now-defunct Collideascope Studios as their very last project. The last episode of Season 1 features the voice of NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon, who plays Turbo McCalister.
This series was partly made to promote the live-action film, and the pilot movie premiered on Nicktoons Network on May 2, 2008, a week before the feature film adaptation was released in theatres. However, both projects were produced independently from one another and featured different generations of "Speed Racers" (with the film featuring the original generation), though both featured a Mach 6. Five three-part specials aired on Nickelodeon from March 14, 2009 to April 11, 2009.
A second season began airing on March 24, 2011. The animation, layout, and 3D effects were outsourced to Toonz Entertainment in India for this season. After his death, Peter Fernandez's roles were replaced by Greg Abbey.
Prior to the events of the series, the original Speed Racer has disappeared to protect his family, but the main characters know that he is alive. Initially only one of the original characters, Spritle, has a major role in this show. Speed Racer is seen briefly at the end of The Note and more recently in Plot for Teacher, and he makes a full appearance in the pilot episode to Season 2. Another member of the original cast appears at the end of Season 1, Speed Sr.'s original mechanic and friend Sparky, who shows up as an adult posing as a Russian engineer named Chezko (he assumed a false identity to protect himself from Speed's enemies). In the three-part story The Secrets of the Engine, "Dr. Chezko" (Sparky) helps finally perfect the engine of the Mach 6, allowing it to run without gasoline. The rest of the original cast are so far unseen, and their whereabouts currently unknown.
Given the apparent age of Speed Sr., Spritle, and Sparky, it is likely that Mom and Pops Racer, as well as Spritle's living chimpanzee pet Chim-Chim, are likely deceased by the time of the series. Speed Sr.'s girlfriend Trixie is revealed as the mother of Speed Jr. and X, but she plays a radically different role, instead serving as one of the main antagonists of the series.
The series follows the adventures of an orphan teenager named Speed who dreams of being a famed car racer like the one he is named after. He takes a bus to the elite Racing Academy, founded by the Racer family, and soon experiences the difficulties of fitting in and competing with X, the best racer/student in the school, and Speed Racer's son. Spritle himself is now the headmaster. In the pilot movie, Speed discovers that he is the other son of Speed Racer, meaning that X is his brother.
Through the rest of the series, Speed and his new allies set out on a quest to get through the courses, discover the mystery of Speed Racer's disappearance, and try and build the Mach 6, a car that captures the spirit and gadgets of the Mach 5 for new generations, and the first car to contain a gasless engine. It is this Eco-friendly design that garners the attention of the oil tycoon Zile Zazic, who wants to destroy the car. It becomes apparent in Season 2 that the Mach 6 also possesses the power to travel through time, which becomes the primary focus for the remainder of the series as the series villains desire to use it for their own gains.
Another major plot device is the Virtual Track, a race track that transports racers to virtual racing environments known as the Virtual World. School faculty have the ability to add as many of their own obstacles as they wish, complying to school safety regulations. Whenever a racer is defeated in the track, they are automatically dispensed into the real world unharmed. However, like all programs, the virtual track can be infected with viruses or hacked, causing anyone trapped in the Virtual World to be affected.
Mach Five and Mach Six
The second episode features the rebuilt Mach 5 designed as it appeared in the original anime, only animated in CGI, like all of the other cars in the show's racing sequences. Minor changes have occurred in the Mach Five in this series. Although the function for the homing robot is present, it is redesigned to resemble more of a metal peacock than a sleek, futuristic robot dove. The Deflector is used as the roof of the Mach Five. Also revealed in this show is an ejector's seat underneath the driver's seat in case of emergencies. A parachute was made, but was forgotten to be installed at the time.
Its return is brief, as Zile Zazic destroys it successfully - the original makes a cameo in Plot for Teacher. However, plans for a new car are discovered and soon the protagonists rebuild the Mach Five to form the Mach 6. The Mach 6's engine is not designed to run on gas, which is a crucial story point, even though gas is still used for it through most of the series. It has all the features of the Mach Five, but redesigned or changed in some form or another. For example, the rotary saws are kept, but they're turned into laser saws. Also, the car has become more of a silver color with a fan in front and also includes two functional jets in the back where the fans were, and are used to get out of situations like a tornado ( as seen in the episode 'The Dance') or to help with acceleration. The new car features a transparent, holographic screen (better known as the 'comp') over the dashboard that the driver can use to interact live with his crew, and with other racers. Apparently, Speed mentions it can dispense rubber spiders out the back, and also real spiders, but he has not confirmed this. In recent episodes in Season 2, a new Mach 6 feature has been revealed after the completion of the gasless engine. When the Mach 6 gets up to the speed of 250 mph, an electrical charge causes the car to jump to another location in a matter of seconds. However, this feature can only be used three times before the car can be restarted. It has also been hinted that the Mach 6 has the ability to time travel with the right part for the gasless engine.
The Mach 6 succeeds the Mach 5 for the rest of the series, and more of the original gadgets were gradually revealed (such as the sludge slick) and used in future episodes.
Episodes and DVDs
- "Return Laps for the First Voice of Speed Racer". New York Times. 2008-05-10. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
- "Nicktoons Network To Premiere New Speed Racer Series In May". Animation News Network. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
- ALSO CONFIRMED BY TEASER TRAILER RELEASED BY NICK and TNG FACEBOOK PAGE.
- Official Speed Racer site (No longer active)
- Speed Racer: The Next Generation at the Internet Movie Database
- Speed Racer: The Next Generation at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Speed Racer: The Next Generation at TV.com
- Speed Racer Deals Cross Finish Line
- NYCC 08: Speed Racer's Next Generation Revealed
- TV Guide's Speed Racer: The Next Generation episodes