Western Animation: Speed Racer: The Next Generation
A young man, somewhere in a desert, anxiously awaits his first day at the Racing Academy
to become a great car racer. He immediately becomes the new guy- he's always picked on, makes only two friends, and arrives with no racing car of his own...then he discovers the remains of the one and only Mach 5 in a near-by junkyard. With his rebuilt Mach 6, unusual racing talent, and mysterious lineage, the man realizes for the first time in his life that he is Speed Racer
's second-born long-lost son!Speed Racer: The Next Generation
is the third consecutive television adaptation as a Sequel Reset
taking place 40 years from the original storyline
to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the entire franchise, making it also a Revival
Network aired the entire 26-episode season from 2008 to 2009. If the stiff, Flash-animated
characters look familiar, it's because Animation Collective
, probably best known for animating the first original Nicktoon Kappa Mikey
, produced and premiered this series in conjunction to the wide release of the live-action feature film
. It is quite possibly the most successful of the adaptations, considering the first two never even made it past being canceled during their run. 95% of the characters are brand new anyway, which makes for a more original story, yet when it does get nostalgic, the tributes are amazingly accurate
. The late Peter Fernandez, the producer of the dub of the original show, as well as the lyricist for the English theme song and the voice of Speed, was brought in to voice an adult Spritle.
A second season premiered on March 24th, 2011, with Toonz Entertainment in India taking over the outsourced animation this time, since Animation Collective had financial problems. Speed Sr. reveals more about his motives for going into hiding in this season, and we get more information about the Committee. After his death, the voices of Peter Fernandez's roles were replaced with another voice actor.
This show provides examples of:
- Alpha Bitch: Annalise, though she grows out of it in later seasons.
- Back for the Dead: The Mach Five is revived, only to end up truly totaled. Whe he returns at the start of season 2, Speed Sr. brings with him a once more newly-revived Mach Five.
- Badass Driver: Not an universal concept, despite the setting being a racing academy. It's made obvious through the course of the episodes that not everyone is as gifted as Speed and X are. The gifted ones, however, do indeed fall into this Trope.
- Big Man on Campus: X, so much... after he stops being a jerk to Speed.
- Break the Haughty: Annalise gets dumped by X, and the main characters give her what-for several times.
- Brain in a Jar: This happened to Stan in the altered Timeline.
- Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Headmaster Spritle and Zile Zazic, respectively. In scenes they share together, you can just feel the tension.
- Same goes for Professors Winn and Aniskov, respectively.
- Cerberus Syndrome: The show hits this point in season 2, especially during its second half. It gets to the point where the more casual racing seen in the first season ends up becoming scarce. Of note, the second season only has a single standalone episode and one Clip Show with the rest being 3-part arcs, compared to the first season's multiple non 3-part episodes and two whole Clip Shows.
- Chekhov's Gun: Speed's red bandanna, the only item from his parents that he kept his whole life. Becomes very important during the final arc of Season One.
- Changeling Fantasy: The show appeared to be going this way by the last episode.
- Chick Magnet: First X, then Speed and X. And they're reunited brothers. Quite the "Mr. Fanservice" pair!
- Cool Car: In a car racing show like this one, it pretty much goes without saying that there'd be Cool Cars aplenty.
- Cool Loser: Speed... in the social food chain, that is. On the track, he usually wins.
- Daddy's Girl: Annalise's father is head of Zazic Industries, which designed the school track, and the wealthiest person on the campus.
- Dented Iron: Stan, quite possibly. He was part of the Car Acrobatics team, and as such had to have been an ace driver.
- Do-Anything Robot: Chim-Chim
- Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Used in the episode "The Dance", though it may be justified in the fact that it was virtual.
- Downer Ending: It's what the original timeline and the series would have ended on if the group hadn't been able to time travel.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: And by golly, does Speed and his friends have to earn it.
- Every Man Has His Price: For Conor, it's cookies. Not like it did Zile any good.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Ronald Moulton insisted on having his name pronounced with a (fake) French accent.
- Extreme Graphical Representation: The school's Virtual Track.
- Face-Heel Turn: X Racer in "Racing With the Enemy".
- Fanboy: Conor, primarily of Speed Racer. To a lesser extent, Lucy is a Fangirl of Trixie and she gets to express her thrill at meeting her once she and the others return from saving her from her accident that turned her into the Shadowy Woman.
- Hard Light: In the third part of The Fast Track, various elements from the Virtual Track cross into the real world to wreck havoc, including Conor's gigantic caveman version of himself that he initially programmed for fun!
- Heel-Face Turn: X Racer, essentially twice. A mild one early in the series after learning and warming up to the fact that he and Speed are brothers and a more major one a good 5-6 episodes following his aforementioned Face-Heel Turn.
- And, eventually, Annalise Zazic.
- Generation Xerox: Speed, Conor, Lucy and Chim-Chim = Speed, Sparky, Trixie and... well, Chim-Chim. With X standing in for Racer X. In more ways that one.
- Especially since in "The Beginning" during the qualifying race, when the racing announcer mistakenly calls X by the name of Racer X.
- High School Dance: There's at least two on-screen ones, one in each season. Drama abounds for both of them.
- Holodeck Malfunction: The source of all the problems in the 3-parter, The Fast Track. It includes the return of The Mammoth Car and the Melange. In fact, most of Zile's tampering is officially attributed to this, even after Speed and his friends get wise.
- Holographic Terminal: The starting and finishing points to the Academy's Virtual Track.
- Hostage for MacGuffin: Zile intends to steal the Mach 6, but gets Conor instead, and sees the opportunity to lure his friends to him so he can get the car.
- Jerk Jock: X Racer starts out as this, though he tones the Jerk part down relatively fast once learning Speed's his brother. It takes longer for him to warm up to Lucy and especially Conor.
- Laser Blade: The Mach 6's saws.
- Lazy Artist: The Flash characters are stiff, with outlines that have no life to them, interacting with Conspicuous CG environments and race cars (the Maya models aren't even rendered with a finished look). In the pilot movie, two shots have badly-mixed shading over the characters, prompting the studio never to use shading on them again except for extreme cases.
- That is, until the second season, when the shading returns, only it looks slightly better due to actually having an animation budget.
- Long Lost Sibling: Speed and X. [[Speed was hidden and brought to an orphanage as a means to keep him safe while X was old enough to be known as Speed Racers' son but not enough to remember his brother, which was why he wasn't aware Speed existed.]]
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Obviously, Even though Speed never actually meets his father until the last episode of the first season. With Spritle, it's more of a "Luke I Am Your Uncle!".
- It's played much straighter when the Shadowy Woman reveals herself to Speed and X as their mother, Trixie.
- MacGuffin: The canister that holds the final ingredient to making the Mach 6 run at the speed of sound. And really, the Mach 6 as whole due in no small part to the time and dimension travel capabilities it has once completed. Plus, the hourglass shaped part that lets the Mach 6 time travel and dimension travel in the first place.
- Made-for-TV Movie: Several episodes can be grouped into 5 three-episode-long movies. The first 3 of these movies were released on DVD.
- Missing Mom: Speed's mother is never mentioned. It's a good chance that Trixie is his mother.
- Turns out everyone was right about it!
- Mutual Kill: It's heavily implied this happens to the Shadowy Woman, a.k.a. Trixie, and Speed Sr. when the two crash after facing off with each other in "Family Reunion - Part 1". This is the catalyst that provokes Speed, X, Lucy, and Conor to travel to the past to rescue Trixie from her fate changing accident.
- Mythology Gag: Speed's new high-tech racing suit has "Go" and "Daisuke" written on it. Daisuke was Pops Racer's given name in Japan, and Go was Speed Sr's.
- Non-Human Sidekick: This time, the monkey's A ROBOT!
- Not Me This Time: When Ranford was trying to sabotage Speed, Speed and his friends thought at first that Zile was behind it as usual.
- Older and Wiser: Spritle.
- Only One Name: Though Spritle and X both have last names (presumably Racer for both of them), no one ever uses them.
- Previously On
- Proud to Be a Geek: Conor's self-esteem is unwavering.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Spritle. It's something that decidedly gets on Zile's nerves and the main reasons he tries to have him replaced.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Used in "The Hunt for Truth" Part 3, when everyone is hypnotized by Baron Von Monocle.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: When Speed, X, Conor, Lucy, and Chim-Chim go back in time to avert the crisis that started the whole series's mess by saving their mom, they are the only ones to retain the knowledge of everything that happened prior once they return to their present, and now altered, time.
- Save This Person, Save the World: Quite literally so. By going back in time to save Trixie from the accident that lead to her becoming the Shadowy Woman and starting the Committee, Speed and X and their friends more or less fix everything that ended up going wrong in their lives, specifically the lives of the Racer brother (Conor and Lucy don't end up worse for wear either.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: In "Family Reunion - Part 2", the gang, sans Annalise, go back in time to prevent the accident that changed everything. While there, they also manage to help out Spritle and encourage him to become a racer in his own right and even manage to scare the wits out of a younger, newly-arrived and more optimistic Aniskov (which may explain his usual behavior in the present time...) whilst also causing Zile and Stan to get arrested, freeing the Racer Academy from Zazic's influence in the process. When they return, most everything turned out for the better, including both Speed Sr. and Trixie living together as a family again.
- Butterfly of Doom: Most everything that is. Minor hiccups include Speed Sr. developing into a bit of spoiled-actor type without the dangers he previously faced to temper him and with all the continued fame he had been denied after going into hiding, and Annalise now living in Paris with in mother's custody, though it's always possible that she and X could meet again and start over. The most major being Zile, now calling himself the Iron Monger, who went through a Villainous Breakdown and somehow ended up losing an arm and a leg, and who's only comforts are the thoughts of revenge against the Racer family, a robot Annalise he built, and Stan, who has been reduced to a Brain in a Jar. Even still, the group manages to pull through his last scheme, and even reunites the estranged Racer X back into the family, making the Racer family whole for the first time. Oh, and Zile, Stan, robo-Annalise manage to get away which will surely cause future trouble, but with the lingering implication that the newly united Racers and friends can handle it. All things considered, this Trope ends up being Subverted into a case of Earn Your Happy Ending.
- Ship Tease: Some for Speed and Lucy, some for Lucy and Alpha, and even some very awkward teasing for Speed and Annalise.
- Shout-Out: Countless, all to the original show.
- The ones that aren't to the original show do have relevance to the plot twist in season 2 (the time travel) (with the exception of the Star Wars ref in season 1). Back to the Future and Jurrasic Park are two great examples.
- Conor makes a reference to the I Am Your Father moment from Star Wars when hypothesizing that the original Speed may be Speed's father. He turns out to be right. And then there's when the Shadowy Woman reveals herself as Speed and X's mother...
- An entire episode includes a car with speech capabilities in a shout-out to Knight Rider.
- In response to various viewers pointing out the show's similarities to Harry Potter, Ron, Harry, and Hermoine can be seen in a second-long shot during an assembly meeting about disobeying strict new school rules.
- Standard Evil Organization Squad: The Shadow Committee, more commonly know as the Committee.
- Status Quo Is God: Particularly jarring in a show like this, where continuity seems to be present underneath individual arcs but cannot surface.
- Speed's goal in the third three-part movie, "Comet Run", is to win a major corporate car company named Ranford Industries (whose founder and main owner, Ranford, bet it on the race) that will give him enough money to finally leave the Academy, and develop the gasless engine. Of course, they win. Then in the last two minutes of the third episode, reporters rush in telling him that because Ranford was a fraud, the shares were all dumped, so the company went belly up and their prize is now useless!
- The Status Quo gets invariably shaken up over the course of the entire series, and most prominently throughout season 2, especially by its end. After all, altering the timeline permanently to save Speed and X's parents and the whole world definitely count as changing the Status Quo, doesn't it?
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: Really, why did he not see his fate coming?
- Tagalong Kid: Conor follows Speed wherever he goes, though his mechanical know-how does more than pull its weight time and again.
- The Reveal: A flashback in Episode 16 shows that Captain Terror and Zile Zazic have... similar head forms... to say the least. In Season Two, it's silently confirmed since they wear these same outfits.
- Dr. Andre Chezcko reveals himself to be an older Sparky!
- Most of all, the Shadowy Woman outing herself as Trixie and Speed and X's mother, as well as the events that lead up to her becoming what she did.
- The Rival: Conor has one by the name of Ronald Multon from his middle school days.
- Speed and X, the latter to a greater extent, both develop rivalries with Alpha Leader in season 2. It doesn't really pan out like you'd expect, however.
- The Von Trope Family: Baron Von Monocle.
- Those Two Guys: Jen and Alex, two girls who fawn over X, then Speed.
- Time Travel: The main arc for the second season.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Stan and cookies!
- Two-Teacher School: Aside from Headmaster Spritle and guest teachers, Professors Aniskov and Winn are the only instructors ever shown.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: While Spritle is discharged from his post as headmaster, Zile pulls strings to hire a new puppet, who Speed and his friends hate.
- The Unfought: Season One ended before anyone even got to find out the identities of "The Committee", though this is rectified in the next Season.
- Viewer-Friendly Interface: Most, but not all, of the various computer gadgets in the series.
- Villain Decay: Zile and Stan spend most of Season Two under arrest, while the main characters deal with new threats. Additionally, Zile's status as a mogul has left his hands tied in ways they weren't when he was Captain Terror, leader of the Car Acrobatics Team. And the Tough Ranger SUV has poor mileage and can't maneuver nearly as well as his old racing car.
- After Speed and the gang changed the timeline to prevent the Shadow Committee, Zile was arrested, got divorced by his wife and had Annalise taken from his custody. This eventually causes him to reverse his Villian Decay by making him go through a Villainous Breakdown.
- Visible Invisibility: Speed and Chim-Chim become invisible when they accidentally get caught in Conor's camouflage invention for the Mach 6. To help the viewers, their silhouettes are embossed on whatever they're moving over, with a wave distortion inside them. Of course, the other characters cannot see them AT ALL.
- We All Live in America: In line with the Speed Racer live action movie it was released in conjunction with, the lead characters and setting isn't in Japan like the original show. In this show, Speed, Spritle and X are American. It takes place in a desert akin to Arizona, with truckers and country hicks!
- Weaponized Car's Child: The Mach 6
- Wham Episode: Season 2's episode arcs are just a succession of Wham Episodes that get Whammier the further on they go.
- Wham Line: Definitely when the Shadowy Woman reveals her identity.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: As the series ended at after that point, it's unknown what happened to The Iron Terror/Zile Zazic and Stan after they time traveling with his prototype of the Mach Six.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: His name is Speed? And his brother's name is X?
- Apparently it's better than Preston dePedal, an alias X has to use to gain access to Alpha Academy.
- Logical Fallacies: Various scientific explanations could never possibly occur. For example, how would you make "inertial dampeners" in racing suits?
- Your Mind Makes It Real: Crashes in the Virtual Track are not fatal, as any racer who does crash immediately gets dispensed back into the real world unharmed. However, the faculty can program any obstacle to injure a student, which is rarely done. Also occurs when Conor's giant doppleganger runs loose.