Future GPX Cyber Formula is a 1991 anime TV series produced by Sunrise. It is an anime series about Formula racing in the future, a time when race cars are equipped with computer support systems called "Cyber Systems". The beginning of the series takes place in 2015, and continues on to 2022 in the OVAs.The story focuses on a 14-year-old named Hayato Kazami, who one day becomes the driver of a car named Asurada. While on a delivery to the Fujioka track, the machine was attacked by thieves to try to steal the machine. He manages to escape and retrieves it to the Sugo team, but there's only one problem: Asurada is an AI supercomputer with a unique security feature equipped within a car, which is programmed to only one person per driver. Hayato's data is locked into the system, so the Sugo team has no choice but to make Hayato the main driver of the team. After obtaining the "Super License" to compete in the Grand Prix, he becomes the youngest racer in the history of Cyber Formula. Hayato now must struggle with being on top of his game and overcoming all obstacles both on and off the racetrack, while meeting rivals, friends and enemies along the way.Cyber Formula was eventually given 4 Original Video Animation sequels (and 1 extra OVA):
Early Days Renewal — 2 episodes, a compilation of the TV series with redone voice acting and newly animated scenes.
SAGA (1996-97) — 8 episodes
SIN (1998-2000) — 5 episodes, which focuses on Bleed Kaga rather than Hayato as the main character.
There are a number of drama CDs and games based on this series only in Japan, although the SNES game based on the TV anime was brought into the West as Cyber Spin, albeit with most of the references to the anime removed.
This series contains examples of:
The Ace: Shinjyo, who is a 2-time European F-3 champion and Randoll, who excels at every sport and endeavors.
Accidental Athlete: Subverted. While Hayato got into Cyber Formula racing completely by accident, he was skilled in motorcycle racing.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Al-Zard. Al-Zard is a bio-computer in which the computer interfaces with the pilot and decides the best route for the race. Phill uses it in SAGA and it controls him like a puppet.
All in a Row: The formation laps before the start of the race.
Aluminum Christmas Trees: As much as they make the cars look futuristic, there have been six-wheeled F1 racers before: Tyrrell had experimented with such a model in the mid-70s, but it didn't catch on.
Happens to Bootsvorz in a test drive accident while racing with Osamu in his backstory and he was given a mechanical arm.
A former racer named John Cleeve also went through this when he lost his leg in an accident when he returns home from test driving.
Animal Motifs: Some of the racing teams have this, the Sugo team has the winged mystical creature Pegasus as their logo, and Albatross has the...albatross as its logo.
Arc Number: The number 11, which in the series is called Double-One. The story takes place at the 11th CF World Grand Prix, Asurada is upgraded into the Super Asurada AKF-11 and it's the title for 2 consecutive championship wins.
Art Evolution: The car and character designs improves significantly in the OVAs.
Art Shift: The last 2 OVAs. Backflashes keep the old art style, so it can be a bit confusing for some audiences.
Artificial Intelligence: The race cars are equipped with AI supercomputer systems, which are used for navigation, diagnostics and among other things.
Artificial Limbs: Bootsvorz gained a cybernetic arm and modular eye after he lost his left arm and eye in a crash during a test run. Later in the series, he has natural-looking implants.
Badass Driver: Kaga, as he's skilled in field racing. In fact, any driver who has a spotlight on can be badass. For instance, Shinjyo's Character Development, and Hayato and Randoll during the 8th race in Spain.
Banana Peel: Leon slips into Henri's banana peel traps in EP 3 of SAGA.
Beach Episode: Sort of, in episode 4 of SAGA. It's here that Hayato and Asuka have a bit of an argument during vacation, and they find each other again at a beach at late night.
Shinjyo & Miki, Osamu & Clair and to some extent Shiba & Rena from the PlayStation video game are the Beta Couples to series Alpha Couple Hayato and Asuka.
If there's anything to add about Shiba & Rena, they are alpha couple in their game. The rest are secondary characters and are already lovey-dovey couples.
Bifauxnen: Sera Gallagher, who been mistaken for a boy when she's first introduced.
Big Brother Mentor: Kaga, Osamu and Johji all serve as this to Hayato. Also, Lope to Hiyoshi.
Big Fancy House: Randoll's house is like this, complete with extensive grounds and it even has its own racing track.
Big Ol' Eyebrows: Johji, Randoll and Bootsvortz, but Randoll's eyebrows are more noticeable and pronounced than most of the cast's.
The Big Race: The series in general takes place in this, and TV series has insane courses.
Bishōnen: Most of the male racers, specially in the later series, in which the character designs makes them 3 times more pretty-looking than they already are.
Bittersweet Ending: Sin's ending. Kaga wins his first and only championship (so far), but he then retires from Cyber Formula and leaves for the United States. Kyoko resigns from her position as team owner, although it's been hinted that it will be a temporary retirement.
Blood Sport: The Fireball race. There's also episode 13 where Bleed and Hayato participated in a crash race.
Blue Blood: Randoll. He is from a extremely wealthy family in his native Austria.
Boisterous Bruiser: Kaga and Gudelhian, but Kaga's trait is toned down in the last 2 OVAs when he gets more serious
Break the Haughty: Happens to several characters during the series. The most notable is Shinjyo, who goes through this three times — The first is his defeat at the British Grand Prix and the the other 2 is when Miki calls him out on his attitude twice towards the new staff on his team.
The "S" in later Asurada models stands for "Sugo", the racing team the main character, Hayato is in. Shoemacher/Osamu in 11, also has the letter "S" in his racing suit. And Kaga's racing suit has the letter "Z" in it, as he belonged to Aoi ZIP formula.
The team logos also has letters, like the "S" for Sugo and "Z" for Aoi ZIP.
Bootsvorz does this with his Missioner VR-4 to ram through Smith's helicopter in episode 21, following Asurada, with Hayato driving, hitting said chopper.
In the last minutes of the Fireball Race, Kaga does this to a driver who was about to cross the finish line by crashing his car with the driver's car, allowing Hayato to get the victory in that race.
Celibate Hero: Kaga. Although he cares for Kyoko (as evidenced in EP 5 in SIN), he is too much focused on his rivalry with Hayato.
Cerebus Syndrome: The TV series has some dramatic parts to the show, but remains fairly lighthearted, but by the time the OVAs were released, the series gets more and more dramatic.
Char Clone: Knight Schumacher exhibits almost everything this trope has. An ace in driving? Check. A rival to the hero? Check. Younger sister emotionally involved with the hero? Check. Drives a white and red formula car? Check. Secret identity? Check. Wears impossibly cool shades? check.
EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. The most notable ones, though, are the Asurada series and Ogre AN-21. See the entry for more info on this.
Other cool cars graced the series, such as the Garland series, the Steel/Stil series, the Misssionel series, the Superion series, the Issuxark series, the Spiegel HP-022, and so on.
Cool Helmet: The racers wear those, complete with cool-looking designs.
Cool Shades: Osamu, Randoll and Shinjyo, Osamu in partiuclar, which inspires the latter two to wear does when they return to racing.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Kyoshiro Nagumo in Saga. As the team president of Aoi ZIP Formula, he used unethical practices which includes putting a bio-computer on Phill Fritz's car Al-Zard NP-1, which can make the driver's own judgment, using an illegal drug on Fritz to suppress those responses, having his thugs kidnap Hayato and drugging him so he wouldn't compete in the 11th race in Japan and trying to kill him in said race by taking over the Al-Zard's computer unit. These events resulted in Phill turning against Nagumo, Nagumo receiving a one-year prison sentence for violations of drug laws and kidnapping and Aoi ZIP Formula having their Super License revoked for a year for cheating.
Cyborg: Bootsvorz. After all, he has a cybernetic left arm and eye.
A Day in the Limelight: Some of the episodes (in both TV and OVAs) has a character (like Shinjyo, Osamu and the others) focused on them. The final OVA, SIN, focuses on Kaga.
Defeat Means Friendship: Hayato has made friends with Kaga, Shinjyo, Osamu and some others after he defeats them several times.
Some of the racers are like this, but Hayato is the best example of the trope in the series, where his inability to give up helps him get out in most situations.
Shinjyo. His Fire Superion's engine slows down and ran out of gas in the very near end of the African Grand Prix in episode 32 in the TV series, and then he pushes the car into the finish line. He also once did the same in his F-3 era.
Disappeared Dad: Hayato's father, Hiroyuki. He was killed by Smith, who wanted to use Asurada as a military weapon.
Down to the Last Play: Hayato does this a lot (in the first three series) with his last-minute "winning runs" in races.
Dramatic Thunder: Happens in episode 27 of the TV series with Hayato and Randoll in a test drive during a thunderstorm and a verbal confrontation that follows afterwards.
Dub Name Change: In the Korean dub, Hayato Kazami has several name changes, first known as Chang Min-honote original video release of TV series, then as Cha Hye-seongnote KBS dub of TV series and finally as Kang Jin-woonote SBS and Tooniverse dub of OVA series. And that's just the start of things...
Eagleland: Jackie Gudelhian, as he is a mix between both types.
Empathic Weapon: Asurada can help the drivers communicated with the system and help grow with them.
Every Year They Fizzle Out: Some of the racers (like Henri, Gudelhian and Shinjyo) won their championships, then they never win another one again.
Character designs from the games are very clearly used again in Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome. This is because Hirokazu Hisayuki is the character designer for both the Mai series as well as the games and last 2 OVAs for Cyber Formula.
Some of the characters were actually modeled after real-life Formula One racers. The most notable is Knight Schumacher, who is modeled after Michael Schumacher. Also Leon Earnhardt, whose last name is taken after the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr.
Falling into the Cockpit: During a delivery en route to the Fujioka circuit, the truck carrying Asurada GSX is atttacked and Hayato has to drive Asurada to the Sugo Asurada team and get himself out of the mess. Unfortunately, the system locks Hayato's driver data and Hiyoshi, the original pilot can't get himself to drive it because of that, which led to him quitting the team and Hayato being the main driver of Sugo Asurada.
Asuka does this to Hayato in episode 35 in the TV series after he got into a fight with Ryohei stemming from Hayato wanted to destroy Asurada for making Ohtomo retire early from racing after Ohtomo's accident in the 9th race. Then Hayato realized that he had no one else to blame but himself.
Kurumada also does this to Miki in episode 7 when Miki is angry about rescue efforts for Ryohei are stopped due to a typhoon. Also, to Hayato more than once, albeit verbally.
Osamu does this to Henri in the final episode of Zero, when Henri tried to quit his chances of being world champion. He would do that later.
Osamu himself gets slapped by his father in a backflash of the TV show before he leaves his home to England. To think about it, this series have a lot of slapping for shonen anime.
Go Karting with Bowser: Hayato has this with some of his rivals. One minute they are competing against each other, the next they have a bit of conversation and fun, and it's back to the tracks again.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Kaga has his trademark crescent-shaped scar on his forehead. He got that scar as the result of his failed rescue attempt on his best friend Eiji from the car he was trapped in when the car exploded and the a piece of the pipe cut his forehead. Randoll has one on his left cheek since ZEROdue to the accident with Hayato in the English Grand Prix.
Heel-Face Turn: Bootsvorz. He does this when he drove his car, leaped out of it and the car rammed it into his evil boss Smith's helicopter after Smith attempted to kill both Schumacher (Osamu in disguise) and Bootsvorz, killing Smith in the process. Both he and Osamu got better.
He Knows Too Much: Osamu (disguised as Schumacher) knew Hayato's father when he was building Asurada and Smith's malicious intents to use Asurada other than for racing purposes. Smith tried to kill him for exposing said secret by shooting a missile behind his car, but failed. Osamu survived, however, the incident also resulted in injuring his eye, setting up for the storyline for 11.
Heroic BSOD: Hayato has this more than once, particularly in episode 22 of the TV series, where he is found out by his mother that his father, the person who created Asurada, was killed by his former boss, who wanted to use the computer as a weapon.
Hospital Hottie: Asuka is one in training, as she is a medical student at Columbia University.
Hot-Blooded: Hayato, as well as Shinjyo and Leon. Hayato stands out for his sheer determination.
Ill Girl: There are a few instances in the series:
The first is Lita, a girl in a wheelchair who appears in 2 episodes in the TV series. Even though her legs have been healed, she is afraid to walk. She overcomes her fear after Hayato finishes the race.
The second is Elena (also appearing in 2 episodes of the TV series), ill from a weak heart since birth. In episode 30, she is struck down by a fever during the Fireball race, but she gets better thanks to Hayato and HSR-III.
Luke, I Am Your Father: Knight Schumacher is Asuka's older brother, Osamu, who left home 5 years ago to become a racer in England. He uses his disguise to keep an eye on Hayato, as well as Smith, who attempts to steal Asurada's Cyber System.
Make It Look Like an Accident: How Smith does this to Hayato's father, Hiroyuki when he made the car crash into the tree, so he can get the briefcase that contains the prints of Asurada.
Manipulative Bastard: Henri in ZERO and Nagumo in SAGA. Notable in episode 5 of ZERO when Henri swindles Shinjyo, Gudelhian and Heinel into thinking that Hayato was driving recklessly to get ahead.
Mecha Expansion Pack: Technically a Car Exapansion Pack, but the Asurada GSX receives two types: the Rally mode and Aero types to which are used in the second and third races to fit different racing situations (one is in a rocky mountain course and the other is a city course with high winds).
Hayato uses the Zero Realm (along with Kaga and Shinjyo), in which is the main plot point in Zero.
In SAGA and SIN, Hayato drives the v-Asurada AKF-0 and in the PlayStation game, Shiba drives the AKF-0/1B Nemesis, a variation of Asurada which has the same chassis, but it has a different Cyber System.
Nitro Boost: The cars, specifically Asurada, uses quite a lot throughout the series, including the car's Spiral Boost in SAGA and SIN.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Also a Shout-Out. In the final 2 episodes of the TV series, Osamu wears a racing suit that greatly resembles that of the Benetton Formula (now Renault) racing suit, the team Michael Schumacher was in at the time of the TV series' production.
No One Could Survive That: Hayato surviving a near-fatal accident when his Asurada when of the track banking seconds after he collided with Randoll while discovering the Zero Zone during the fifth race in England on the first episode of Zero. This also happened to him in the TV series as well when the GSX was totally destroyed.
Oddly Named Sequel: The names of the sequels after the TV series ended are as it follows: 11 (Double One), Zero, Saga and Sin.
Randoll in Zero, under his alias "Prince Rosenkreuz", and Shinjyo and Miki in episode 6 of Saga.
Osamu (as Knight Schumacher) was initially this, but once the sunglasses broke apart, it's been revealed it is him.
Pinky Swear: Hayato does this to a girl in a wheelchair named Lita. Her legs have been cured, but she's afraid to walk, so Hayato does a pinky swear that if he gets third place, she will stand up. He didn't get 3rd place (he got 5th place instead), but Lita stood up and walked thanks to Hayato.
In episode 14, Miki and then Ryohei does this in front of Hayato when they apologize to him for not checking close enough to find the cause of Asurada's understeer (it was caused by a dust on the lens).
In the same episode, a young Kurumada does this after the test drive accident when he found out that he made a mistake in changing gear which caused the accident.
Episode 32 features Shinjyo doing this to Katagiri after he apologizes for mistreating Katagiri and the other Aoi mechanical staff.
In episode 35, Hayato himself does this when he realized that it wasn't Asurada's fault for causing Ohtomo's crash at the German GP.
The Power of Love: Asuka helps Hayato to overcome his "Zero Realm" fear in episode 4 of ZERO and that helps them get them back together by the next episode.
Shout-Out: Asides from the aforementioned No Celebrities Were Harmed example, the series has some shout-outs. Most notably with Asurada's cars (especially in its later incarnations) have the same 6WD as the Tyrrell P34, a formula car made in the 70's.
Sibling Yin-Yang: Osamu & Asuka and Heinel & Lisa. Osamu & Heinel are levelheaded and calm individuals and Asuka & Lisa are lively and energetic.
So Last Season: In Double-One the Super Asurada 01 can't catch up to the other cars' upgrades due to Sugo not having enough money to do a proper upgrade. A similar thing happens to the Super Asurada AKF-11 in SAGA, in which the aging of the machine causes him to lose the title and forces him to use the less powerful Garland SF-03.
Something about a Rose: Randoll. He first does this when he threw a white rose at Asuka in episode 28 in the TV series.
Spoiler Ending: The final shot in the ED of the TV series shows a photo of the Sugo team with a winner's wreath and a diamond-shaped trophy, the same one Hayato received after winning the 10th Cyber Formula GPX.
Spot of Tea: Sera drinks tea, as seen in the ending of Sin. Randoll also drinks it a lot, even in the middle of the races.
Stock Footage: Clearly uses it a lot, especially when the cars go into boost modes.
Technician Versus Performer: Shinjyo and Randoll are the technicians to Hayato's performer. In episode 33 of the TV series, this was lampshaded by Asuka when she had a conversation with Randoll.
10-Minute Retirement: Hayato, more than once, especially in Zero, after he nearly got killed when he discovered the effects of the Zero Zone. That didn't last long though, as he returned to racing by episode 3, but he didn't fully recover from the fear of the Zero Zone until episode 4.
Theme Music Power-Up: When something exciting happens near the end of the race, expect the insert songs I've Got to Ride and Be Tough! (in ZERO) to be played.
In EP 21 of the TV series, Asuka said this to Hayato while reflecting on her thoughts:
Asuka: "I have this feeling that Knight Schumacher is my brother!"
And another one followed in EP 22 when his mother revealed what happened to his father:
Junko: "Hayato, listen to me well...your father is dead."
"Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The final ending included in the DVD release of EP 5 of Sin takes place a year after the 2022 season. The 2023 season starts, Henri and Bootsvorz switched to Missing Link and Sugo GIO Grand Prix teams, respectively, Sera Gallagher joins the Union Saviour team, Shinjyo & Miki returns to Aoi ZIP Formula and Seiichiro joins the same team, Rena is now the campaign girl for FICCY, Kaga visits his friend's grave and meets his wife and child and finally, Hayato and Asuka tie the knot.