Anime: IGPX Immortal Grand Prix
"In the year 2049, the world's most popular mobile sport is the Immortal Grand Prix..."
"From the studio that brought you Ghost In The Shell, Cartoon Network is proud to present the first Toonami original series: IGPX."
Winning the minor league championship, IGPX-2, with sheer luck, Team Satomi is promoted to compete with five teams in the IGPX-1 division, home to the best of the best. The rookie team consists of Takeshi Jin
, a talented hotshot, Amy Stapleton
, who at thirteen is a prodigy, telepathically linked to her feline co-pilot Luca
, and Liz Ricarro
, a hotheaded martial artist. Supporting the pilots on the sidelines: owner and supervisor Michiru Satomi
, mechanic Mark Ramsey
, assistant Jessie Martin
, backup pilot River Marque
, and coach Andrei Rublev
. Together they form a close team as they reach for the crown.
The sport IGPX combines motor racing with old-fashioned roller-derby, via teams consisting of three Humongous Mecha
and their pilots. Races consist of 180 miles of track, with much of that length suspended hundreds of feet in the air in loops, tunnels, turns, and diverted side-tracks. After the first lap, competing teams are allowed to use their mecha to disable or slow down those of the other team in an all out melee at 350mph (565kph). At their discretion, racers may transform into a high speed mode
in the third and final lap... if their opponents are kind enough to let them
Originally rejected as a series when pitched to Cartoon Network, a Microseries was released in 2003 as a replacement in Toonami
's Total Immersion Event. Ratings
were high enough, and viewer response good enough, that it was picked up as a 13-episode series airing in 2005. A second season began airing in 2006, but got moved from Saturdays at 10:30 to Friday at midnight.
IGPX enjoyed time on the revived Toonami
block, airing at 2:30 AM. On October 19th, Toonami aired the last two episodes back-to-back at 2:30 and 3:00 AM as a "one-hour finale", pre-empting Star Wars: The Clone Wars
for one night. Afterwards, the show moved to 4:30 AM for its second run, and was taken off the air to make room for Attack on Titan
once that run was finished. It now currently resides off the air in Toonami's "Regular Rotation" of shows they permanently own the rights to.
The series' DVD release was handled by Bandai Entertainment
, which meant that the show went into licensing limbo when they halted DVD production entirely. Thankfully, the series has been picked up by Discotek Media
for a rerelease, meaning that those who wish to watch it no longer have to rely on YouTube or Toonami reruns.
- The Ace: Takeshi's hero, an enigmatic pilot from decades back called "The Rocket," although since his personality is never explored in this time frame, he might not necessarily qualify. Later, it turns out The Rocket is the team coach.
- Ace Pilot: See The Ace, although pretty much all the teams have at least one member that qualifies of Ace Pilot.
- Alternate Continuity: In the original IGPX Microseries, the IGPX was a three-against-three armed mecha battle, not a race. Takeshi Noa was a pilot for Team Suzaku. Cartoon Network even made a game out of this on its website.
- Amazon Brigade: Team Skylark is an all female team.
- And the Adventure Continues: The series ends with Team Satomi gearing up for next year's competition.
- As You Know: In the first episode.
Benjamin Bright: Lets go over the rules of the IGPX, for the two or three of you who don't know.
- Badass Grandpa: Yama's the oldest pilot in the IG1. That doesn't mean he's a pushover. On or off the track.
- Battle Couple: It is established early on in the series that Liz and Takeshi regularly spar together, long before the second season started hinting at their Last Minute Hookup. Given that Liz and Takeshi often fill the combat role in races, including a rather gratuitous scene of them facing down Yamma, this trope easily fits their relationship.
- Celebrity Voice Actor: Lance Henriksen, Mark Hamill, Michelle Rodriguez, and Haley Joel Osment.
- Character Exaggeration
- Chick Magnet: Takashi, if how the girls from other teams act toward him are any indication. He even hooks up with Skylark's leader, Fantine.
- Child Prodigy: Max
- Combat Commentator: Benjamin Bright is the announcer for the IGPX races, notable mainly for being almost a caricature in both personality and the style in which he's drawn.
- Combining Mecha: Team White Snow's "Operation Snowman."
- Conspicuous CG: Though expertly cel-shaded, scenes of the race are computer-generated.
- GRANRODEO's opening theme for the Japanese version, Go For It!
- The Danza: Steve Blum plays Amy's doctor, Dr. Blum
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: Liz Ricarro, though her hair is a darker red than most.
- Dub Name Change: Masa Ishikawa/Mark Ramsey and Himawari Aoi/Jesse Martin.
- Eagle Land: One can make a case about Sledge Mamma being Type 2, but as the series progresses they begin to lean more towards Type 3, showing a strong disdain for sabotage and cheating, which is more than what can be said for White Snow.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Sledge Mama will fight dirty during a race but never outside of a race. They show a strong disdain for sabotage and cheating, which is more than what can be said for White Snow.
We wanna beat ya; not beat ya up.
- Expressive Hair: A bit of Takeshi's hair raises up when he and Liz kiss.
- False Camera Effects: Especially Lens Flare.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: Jesse and Liz look like they can cook, but a few accidents ruins their preparation. Two scenes later though, they seem to have put it all together nicely.
- Flash Step: Andre pulls one off against Team Velshtien. How he managed to do this with mecha is only ever explained via Techno Babble.
- Freudian Trio:
- Takeshi (ego)
- Liz (id)
- Amy (superego)
- Gratuitous French: Done by Fantine in the dub. In Real Life, Karen Strassman really does know how to speak French.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Guys who rely on this trope piss Liz and River off, and Takeshi's embodiment of this contributes to River's Face-Heel Turn.
- Heel-Face Turn: In the second season, an underhanded team called Team White Snow is introduced and presented as the obligatory villains of the rest of the series until its very end, after their captain realizes that being an Insufferable Genius and fighting dirty can't compensate for honest effort and rapport with team-mates. White Snow then resolves to fight fair next year.
- Heir to the Dojo: Mark the mechanic is the heir to a conglomerate.
- Humongous Mecha
- In Name Only: A common complaint from the Microseries to the actual series.
- Insult Backfire: Lampshaded by River after watching Takeshi race during an IG Festival.
River: Yo, Takeshi. I saw your race. You haven't changed, man.
Takeshi: Thanks, River!
River: That wasn't a compliment...
- Large Ham Announcer: Bright.
- Last Minute Hookup: Takeshi and Liz
- Lonely at the Top: Cunningham was blessed with talent that allowed him to become the best in the league, but he found no satisfaction with being unchallenged, so he was rather happy when Takeshi came along.
- Loophole Abuse: Several of the stupidly overpowered techniques used are allowed because there Ain't No Rule against them. Subverted later when said techniques get banned for being dangerous and game breaking.
- The Man Behind the Man: Zanak isn't White Snow's leader, it's Max.
- Mid-Season Upgrade: Inverted—in between season 1 and 2 one of the local Game Breakers is banned for being dangerous and unfair.
- Mighty Glacier:
- Team Black Egg's hat.
- Team White Snow's "Operation Snowman" falls into the same category; they lose because Team Satomi is a lot harder to hit.
- Multinational Team: Takeshi, Mark and Michiru are Japanese, Amy is Irish, Liz is Puerto Rican, River is Canadian, Andrei is Russian, and Luca is a domestic shorthair.
- All the teams share this aspect, save for Team Sledge Mamma, whose members are all American (with the exception of River, who joins the team after he leaves Satomi).
- Extending this thought, here are the teams and pilots by nationality:
- Team Black Egg of Argentina has an Argentinian, an Australian, and a Englishman.
- Team Edgeraid of Switzerland has a Swede, an Italian, and a Englishman.
- Team Skylark of France has a Frenchwoman, a Dutch, and a New Zealander.
- Team Velshtein has a German, a French, and a Spaniard.
- Team White Snow has an Australian, an American, and a Norwegian.
- Obvious Rule Patch: On two occasions game breaking and dangerous techniques are banned from use. There is some Fridge Logic of why they didn't get banned sooner, however.
- The Power of Friendship: Discussed and played straight. Especially in the case of Team White Snow.
- Precision F-Strike: Even though the second season already had more instances of swearing due to being aired later in the evening, Takeshi gets one single instance of this near the end of the series.
Takeshi: Well, thanks for the concern, dude... but I'm just wondering when you're gonna stop talking, ya punk bitch.
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Takeshi and Cunningham during the season 1 finals. Happens more often in season 2.
- Re Tool: A major one. The main series is wildly different from the microseries.
- The Rival: Cunningham and River to Takashi. Also, Sola to Luca.
- Scenery Porn:
Almost anything that isn't a raceThe entire series has massive amounts of scenery porn. Yes, even the races if you aren't completely absorbed by the Humongous Mecha.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Plot!: Subverted; in two separate cases a team had a certain technique banned for being stupidly overpowered and incredibly dangerous.
- Shout-Out : Fantine Valjean... Yeah.
- Talking Animal: Luca. Justified since he (yes, it's a he) is part cyborg.
- Team Pet: Luca for Team Satomi and Sola for Team Edgeraid.
- Team Shot
- Team Spirit
- Teen Genius: Max and Amy
- This Cannot Be!: Max's plan to win the last race was entirely flawless. Through luck and teamwork, she loses anyway and results in her Heel-Face Turn.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Liz and Amy
- Tournament Arc: Both seasons
- Transforming Mecha: The alternation between battle and speed mode.
- Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: How Team White Snow usually operates. Hacking into systems, ganging up on opponents, even combining their mechs to form one super-powered bot. Oddly enough they never get called out on this or disqualified. It falls sorely on Team Satomi to beat them at their own game.
- Team Sledge Mama as well though they only keep it toward rough housing and nothing beyond that. They even save Team Satomi from a group of fans who were trying to severely injure them.
- Tuckerization: Team Edgeraid's Bella DeMarco is named after producer Jason DeMarco's daughter.
- Villainous Breakdown: Maxine of all people suffers this in the last race.
JUST DIE ALREADY!
No! No! This wasn't part of the plan!
- Wave Motion Gun: Team Velshtein's Indoraga Mano attack. Mark's description of how it works doesn't help much:
Mark: High voltage pulses create an imbalance in the air pressure, which results in a high impact tornado.
- Weapon Wields You: Team White Snow use their "Puppetmaster" attack on Team Satomi. The arms of their mechs grab onto the enemy and hack into their systems. This resulted in Team Satomi unintentionally and uncontrollably attacking each other during their first encounter with White Snow.
Life... in the fast lane.