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DVD Review: Speed Racer - Volume 5


Believe it or not, I have never really watched Speed Racer. Yeah, really. It originally aired before my time, and I didn't catch but maybe one episode in all the time it has been re-broadcast. So to tell you the truth, when I got the new Speed Racer Volume 5 box set, I was a bit nervous. I mean, the show is a classic. What I find it to be all what everyone has hyped it up to be, or would I find this classic show to be just corny and goofy, living up only to the great memories of people's youth.

Well, I finally watched it, and I have to say... it's a bit of both. Yep, it is corny, and it is goofy, but it is also interesting and fun and different from any other anime I've ever seen. I watched it all the way through in one sitting and never got tired of it, and that says something right there considering it's just over 3 hours long, was made in the 60s, and is the end of the series rather than the beginning. If, like me, you haven't seen previous episodes, it's okay. You can jump right into this set with no problems.

The story, if you don't know, is about a boy named Speed Racer who happens to be one hell of a race car driver. His car: the Mach 5, which would even make Kitt jealous (for all you kiddies out there, that was Knight Rider reference, which was a show in the 80s). It's James Bond-like, with features like jet propulsion, saw blades, bullet-proof windshields, and even an underwater driving mode. It was conceived of and built by Speed's dad, AKA "Pops". That's one talented old dude! If he wasn't a fictional character I'd ask him to come over and pimp out my ride.

Team Speed Racer consists of not just Speed and Pops, but also Speed's girlfriend Trixie, his brother Spridle (or Spritle), and a monkey named Chim-chim. In each episode (or each two episodes in the case of two-parters), Team Speed Racer must tackle some evil scheme made possible by various villains. And somehow, Team Speed must be able to manipulate space-time, because they're always able to go out of their way to catch the bad guy and yet still not only catch up to the other racers but actually beat them! Can you imagine if there was just one race where nothing bad happened? I bet Speed would be able to finish the race, go out to dinner, and finish off his dessert before the other racers even crossed the finish line!

Unfortunately this set doesn't have any extra features to speak of, but it does come with a little metal collectable Speed Racer license plate. The lack of extras doesn't make this set any less enjoyable, though, and I thought the final two-part episode, featuring a race around the world, did a good job of ending the series. All-in-all, I don't think anyone would be disappointed with this series, though I don't seeing it turn anyone into a hard-core Speed Racer fan. It's being released on October 31st (AKA Halloween, AKA my wedding anniversary). If you'd like to learn more about this series and its characters, check out the Speed Racer profile conveniently located right here at Absolute Anime!

This set contains the following eight episodes:

  1. Great Car Wrestling Match
  2. Motorcycle Apaches
  3. Car with a Brain
  4. Junk Car Grand Prix
  5. The Car in the Sky
  6. The Trick Race
  7. Race Around the World (Part 1)
  8. Race Around the World (Part 2)

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