Speed Racer: The Next Generation is an American animated children's television series based on the classic Speed Racer franchise, in which the internal events take place decades after those in the 1967 Japanese series. It is the third 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. Regardless as to whether or not this is a canonical succeeder, references to the original show are amazingly accurate.
This series was partly made to promote the live-action film, and the pilot movie premiered on Nicktoons 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. Regardless as to whether or not this is a canonical succeeder, references to the original show are amazingly accurate. 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.
Prior to the events of the series, the original Speed Racer has disappeared for unknown reasons, but the main characters know that he is alive. 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. The rest of the original cast are unseen, and their whereabouts are unknown.
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.
The most pivotal 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 automatically get dispensed back onto the real one, unharmed. However, like all programs, the virtual track can be infested with viruses and/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 one of the antagonists 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.
The Mach 6 succeeds the Mach 5 for the rest of the series, and more of the original gadgets will be gradually revealed (such as the sludge slick) and used in future episodes.
Episodes and DVDs
- Official Speed Racer site
- Speed Racer: The Next Generation at the Internet Movie Database
- Speed Racer Deals Cross Finish Line
- NYCC 08: Speed Racer's Next Generation Revealed
- TV Guide's Speed Racer: The Next Generation episodes
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