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Speed Racer

Demon on wheels.
Filed under:  Vehicles
 
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Emile Hirsch was 6 years old when he saw his first episode of the cartoon Speed Racer and, more important, caught a glimpse of the Mach 5.


speed racer car 1

Speed Racer Mach 5.

"It was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen," Hirsch says by phone from Germany, where filming will begin next week on the movie adaptation. "That's when I started thinking it would be great to be on TV. And have one of those."

Sixteen years later, he finally got behind the wheel of the speedster, which gets its first look here and will be at the heart of the film, due May 9, 2008.

"My first thought was, 'Yeah, they got the car right,' " he says. "That's one of the best things about the show, so it was always going to be one of the most important parts of the movie."

That and the return of Andy and Larry Wachowski, the brothers who are making their first directorial effort since The Matrix trilogy.

(source: USAToday By Scott Bowles.)


Speed Racer is the title of an English adaptation of the Japanese anime Mach Go Go Go, a series which centered around automobile racing. The series is an early example of an anime becoming a successful franchise in the United States.

Background.
The characters and storylines originated in Japan as the manga and anime series Mach Go Go Go from the anime studio Tatsunoko Productions.

Mach Go Go Go was first created by anime pioneer Tatsuo Yoshida (1933-1977) as a manga series in the 1960s and made the jump to TV as an anime series in 1967. The central character in the anime and manga was a young race car driver named Go Mifune Yoshida selected the names and symbolisms in his creation very carefully.

The M logo on the hood of his race car and the front of his helmet stood for his family name Mifune, a homage to Japanese film star Toshiro Mifune (and not "Mach 5" as the dub would suggest).

His given name Go is also a Japanese homophone for the number 5 (the number on his race car). This is also represented by the letter G embroidered on his shirt. The names themselves constitute a multi-lingual wordplay of the kind that started to become part of the Japanese popular culture of the time. Yoshida got his idea for Speed Racer after seeing two films that were very popular in Japan at the time, Viva Las Vegas and Goldfinger. By combining the look of Elvis Presley's race car driving image (complete with neckerchief and black pompadour) and James Bond's gadget-filled Aston Martin, Yoshida had the inspiration for his creation.

The English rights to Mach Go Go Go were immediately acquired by American syndicator Trans-Lux. The main character Go Mifune was given the name "Speed Racer" in the English version. A major editing and dubbing effort was undertaken by producer Peter Fernandez, who also voiced many of the characters, including Speed Racer himself. Fernandez was also responsible for a retooling of the theme song's melody and its subsequent English lyrics, provided by Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass.

When the series emerged before U.S. TV audiences as Speed Racer, fans were quickly drawn to its sophisticated plots involving fiendish conspiracies, violent action, hard-driving racing, and soulful characters with sparkling eyes. In an effort to squeeze the complicated plotlines into existing lip movements, the frenetic pace of the dubbing made Speed Racer famous for its quirky "fast" dialogue. In the late 1990s the series made a comeback as reruns on Cartoon Network in late afternoon (and later on in late night/overnight) programming. The series was distributed in the 1990s by Group W's international unit with the mention of Trans-Lux deleted from the show's opening sequence.


speed racer logo

Speed Racer logo.

speed racer go logo

Speed Racer "Go" logo.

speed racer site intro

Speed Racer.

speed racer car 2

Speed Racer Mach 5.

speed racer movie frame 1

Speed Racer movie frame.

speed racer movie frame 2

Speed Racer movie frame.

speed racer car 3

wheel hub

Speed Racer Mach 5 steering wheel hub.

VIDEOS

Speed Racer reveal.

LINKS
Speed Racer   Official site.
 
 
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