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Animation / Rimba Racer

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The Season 1 cast, from left to right: Meika, Sunny, Meelo, Mr. King, Tag, Axle, Cuckoo, Wrecks, OoAa, Krom, Tamira.

Rimba Racer is a 2016 animated series from Malaysia about vehicular racing, and corruption, in a World of Funny Animals.

Tag is a young tiger street racer who is invited to compete in the Rimba Grand Prix, a series of races based all over the world and one of the largest sporting events of the year. However, he finds quickly that things aren't quite so simple as he thought, and he'll need to do more than drive well to survive the competition.

The English dub, up to episode 23 in Season 2, is available, along with the original Malaysian, on YouTube. Netflix also has Season 1, comprised of the show's first 13 episodes, circa early 2019.


  • 13 Is Unlucky: The Rimba Grand Prix is on its 13th season when the show starts and things go quite poorly for both heroes and villains during it.
  • All There in the Manual: The official site has biographical snippets about the characters on their individual pages. (Torres knows judo, Meika's an only child and rich, etc.)
  • Animal Motifs: About half the racers have cars modeled to some extent after their species. Tamira's Lunar Shadow drops low like a panther on the prowl, the Atlas driven by Wrecks has a rhino-shaped horn on the front end, Krom's Heavy Metal has scale-like armor and markings like a croc mouth, and Cuckoo's Ruby Star is basically a chicken egg on wheels.
  • Appropriated Appellation: The Ringmasters apparently took that codename from a dismissive remark about their plans made by Riq.
  • Authority in Name Only: For his failures, the Ringmasters punish King at the end of season 1 by forcing him to be answerable to their more reliable agent overseeing the competition, Meika.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Axle's Hyperspeed move gives his car a gargantuan burst of speed at the cost of maneuverability, making it ill-suited for most of the tracks in the series which are obtuse in structure and loaded with a multitude of very sharp turns.
  • Banana Peel: OoAa's rockets are designed to evoke the idea, they're yellow and unfold into slippery "dark matter discs" that send cars sliding when they pass over them.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Rimba" is Malay for "jungle".
  • Bland-Name Product: Various examples, ranging from Rimbasonic (Panasonic) to Highway (Subway sandwich), or Sonny's "Moose Effect" game.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Lunar Shadow's Shadow Drift mode doesn't boost its speed, armors its chases, or launch any sort of weapon, but instead improves its maneuverability on top of creating a vapor trail behind it to hamper the visibility of her pursuers. And while the smoke can only be deployed once, like the Heavy Metal's Side-Swipe and the Atlas' Stampede, the transformation can be maintained for the rest of the race which is a godsend on the more treacherously twisted tracks.
  • Brick Joke: One of the sponsors Tag tries and fails to win early on when he's unknown is "Usagi Watches"; later, during the Good-Times Montage after he becomes more popular and successful, they're the ones happily signing him up.
  • Bridge Bunnies: Literally. Most of the Ark's crew are young female rabbits.
  • Bully Hunter: Meelo's of the opinion that "you don't run from bullies", as demonstrated when Tag and Miles interrupt his fight with Krom and he actively seeks out a rematch, wearing an electrified jacket.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first half of season 1 dealt with Tag acclimatising to the Rimba Grand Prix and sorting out his anxieties and other personal demons. The second half, however, is more about The Conspiracy.
  • Confusion Fu: Xeno's Andromeda has spherical wheels that give him sublime manoeuvrability at the cost of a lower top speed. These allow him to retreat to and attack from angles that would be impossible for most cars to reach.
  • The Conspiracy: The Ringmasters, as mentioned above. How much they control is unknown, but it's enough that they can completely manipulate the media and grant or remove power from major businessmen. Meika was covertly working for them all along, and apparently, whoever's pulling the strings in the second season will be, too.
  • Cool Airship: The Ark, a large streamlined airship with individual garages for the racers, a fleet of camera drones, offices, a bar, and a hospital.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. King, the RGP's organizer, who tries to rig it for the sponsors and doesn't have many qualms concerning racers who refuse to "play along".
  • Crippling the Competition: In the third episode someone beats Tag over the head with a wrench and sabotages the Ripper it was Tamira, fortunately he recovers in time for the next race and is able to fix the damage in time to finish the race, albeit in last place.
  • Cue Card Pause: While giving a speech to potential sponsors, Miles gives us this gem.
    Miles: Sponsor us, and we promise to blow!
    (flips index card)
    Miles: away!
  • Cyberpunk: Technology is slightly more advanced than present day but mostly plausible, and corporations have obscene amounts of influence.
  • Cyberspace: The first race of Season 2 takes place in virtual reality with moving tracks, power-ups, warp tiles, and trailing enemies. It has a considerably higher casualty rate than any of the "real world" tracks.
  • Darker and Edgier: King says as much about the second season's Rimba Grand Prix as he tries to promote it.
  • Disappeared Dad: Tag's father Riq went down on the Dam track featured in episode 4, though it's noted they Never Found the Body. In the season finale he's revealed to be not only alive, but also Tamira's partner.
  • EMP: Cuckoo's "supernova" is an area-effect EMP, while Meelo's grappling hooks are electrified and Meika has a pair of EMP missiles.
  • Enemy Civil War: As of Season 2, King and his original cronies are deliberately sabotaging and withholding information from the Ringmasters and their new agents out of resentment at being forced into becoming a figurehead.
  • Fixing the Game: It's gradually revealed that Mr. King rigs the races to varying extents, such as hacking the cars and convincing some of the racers to throw races and/or force others off the track, as Tag finds out in episode 7 when King tries to "recruit" him.
  • Flat Character: OoAa and Cuckoo among the Season 1 cast, and an interesting example of Tropes Are Tools regarding the concept of a Flat Character. While they don't really develop and progress from how they are introduced in episode 2, they still manage to work just fine, successfully showing that they don't need to be more than what they started off as. From a sense of pragmatism, this also meant they were excellent choices to allow for the replacements of two of the three Season 2 newcomers.
    • Season 2's Xeno, who is similar to both OoAa and Cuckoo (in being eccentric, even by RGP standards, being a loner among the racers, outside Pike and Vyxx for rather obvious reasons, for his choice of vehicle style, essentially a bubble on wheels like Cuckoo's, and for only speaking gibberish to the viewers ears like OoAa does), plays with this Trope. Like OoAa and Cuckcoo, he doesn't really develop beyond his basic introduction, and also like the aforementioned duo, he fulfills his role swimmingly in spite of that. But unlike Cuckcoo and OoAa, we do get hints and pieces of his backstory, and get enough of a sense of Xeno over time to learn that he has an underscored but present sadistic side to him, just like Pike and Vyxx's more overt sadism. Xeno isn't quite the odd one out among his group as he initial appears.
  • Flying Car: The Ripper has a downward-facing jet turbine on the undercarriage for making short jumps or "Thunder Pounce". Towards the end of the season its' rebuilt with secondary engines for forward momentum and maneuvering thrusters.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the second half of "Finish Line", when Tamira connects the blackbox to Meika's laptop, one of the folders in King's one reads "ANIME". Apparently, Mr. King is a closeted otaku.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Meika's stylish sunglasses/goggle hybrid are also her uplink to the Ringmasters via HUD.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While Mr. King appears to be at the center of the corruption rampant in the RGP, he's occasionally seen on the phone with someone that he apparently answers to. Season 1 finale shows them to be an Omniscient Council of Vagueness known as "The Ringmasters".
  • #HashtagForLaughs: "#PrayForMeelo" appears briefly in-universe in the second season; mind you, it's only comedic because we know it's all part of The Plan...
  • Hologram Projection Imperfection: The second track has holographic obstacles that flicker just enough to tell whether one can drive through them.
  • Honor Before Reason: In spite of having just learned that King can disable his car at any time, Meelo tries to defy him during the ninth episode's race by attempting to win on a very dangerous avalanche-laden course where the slightest malfunction or wrong move can lead to mortal peril. Meika manages to talk him down, citing that it's a nigh-suicidal act of rebellion that won't accomplish anything and he's better off surviving to fight King some other way. Likewise, Axle refuses to turn on King in spite of knowing of how corrupt and wicked he is, because more than anything, he pledged his loyalty to the man early in his career and he never goes back on his word.
  • Hot Pursuit: Tamira fleeing from Krom and half a dozen security on motorcycles in the climax of episode 10.
  • Hufflepuff House: Cuckoo and OoAa, who have about two intelligible lines between them, sit out several races, and generally do nothing except disable several cars at important points. When OoAa wins the final race, although not the Prix, even the announcers are shocked.
  • Ice Queen: Torres, Mr. King's wry and humorless secretary/accountant/recruiter. Initially Tamira as well, but she starts to defrost over the course of the season.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Keeping in-line with the show's racing theme, an episode is called a lap.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: Bugs in this universe are half-dollar-sized, round devices that blinks in a color apparently of the user's choice, and attach to devices, even monitors, without having to actually be plugged into anything, despite data being stored on standard USB flash drives in other scenes. They are, unsurprisingly, found pretty quickly. The second time one is used, however, it's more forgivable as it's only for a second and only to erase the contents of one file folder.
  • Insufferable Genius: Meelo is both one of the best mechanics and racers in the entire competition and he knows it. As such, no one is in much of a hurry to massage his all ready swollen ego with compliments unless they really have to.
  • Inexplicably Tailless: Zigzagged. Word of God stated that some characters' silhouettes are more distinctive without tails and vice-versa. Tag's case is justified, as he lost his tail in a childhood accident involving a homemade rocket car.
  • Maniac Monkeys: OoAa the chimp, who usually doesn't speak, instead hooting and screeching loudly and attacking people.
  • Manipulative Editing: King edits clips of the supposedly-live broadcast to show Sonny suddenly veering off course and slamming into the tree that knocked him into a coma, instead of being forced off the road by Krom. It's incredibly obvious, but the public buys it completely.
  • The Mole: Tamira was working undercover to expose King. Meanwhile, Meika works for the Ringmasters.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Meelo drinks ten cans of the energy drink that Tag promoted and claims they didn't do a thing.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: One bit of incidental text menions a "Russish" satellite. However, in an aversion, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur are clearly visible in the Season 2 end credits.
  • No-Holds-Barred Contest: How many races have you seen that allow contestants to ram or shoot at one another's vehicles?
  • Noodle Incident: Sonny's "salmon incident", which he thought Meika had agreed to take to the grave.
  • Parental Abandonment: After faking his death, Tag's father Riq spent the last thirteen years trying to take down King and the Ringmasters without letting his wife or child know that he was still alive. It was justified in "A Lesson in History". Had he informed them, he would only end up helping his enemies hurt the people he cares about.
    Smythe: For the sake of anyone you care about, I strongly urge you to keep the details of our little meeting here to yourself.
  • Parental Substitute: Miles to Tag, he was an old friend and mechanic to Tag's father and has partially taken on the role.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Tag and Miles, due mostly to the cost of parts for the Ripper and a shortage of sponsors. In the first episode Tag names three different creditors that he assumes Torres is from.
  • The Psycho Rangers: Season 2's Pike, Vyxx, and Xeno serve as antagonistic counterparts to Tag, Tamira, and Meelo respectively.
  • Punny Name: Sonny is a sun bear who generally has a sunny disposition.
  • Put on a Bus: Wrecks, OoAa, and Cuckoo are dropped from the Season 2 roster to make room for new racers.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Smythe dresses and sounds the part, with tweed suit, flat-cap, and walking cane, and fittingly he's a badger. But since he's one of the founders of the Ringmasters, he's rather ungentlemanly indeed.
  • Ramming Always Works: Plenty of that going on. Krom and Wrecks' cars are designed for ramming, when Krom uses his "special move" armor plating covers the windshield and the vehicle sprouts vibrating spikes. While Wrecks' Atlas actually rears up and heats up a "horn" at the end of the hood.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Krom, a thuggish crocodile who gets a kick out of smashing his foes, and Xeno, who's a toad and technically an amphibian, works for the bad guys.
  • Retired Badass: The trophies in King's office are all from his past career as a professional racer.
  • Righteous Rabbit: Torres is supposedly informed about everything King does, but she appears to be out of the loop where the Ringmasters are concerned, making her genuinely innocent in that regard. They even make her a brief Red Herring as a mole, only to reveal that, no, she wasn't really privy to his every move. She also provides what little help she can in getting Tag back into the team, though she has no obvious motive to do so beyond wanting a good show.
  • The Rival: Tag and Axel frequently end up neck-and-neck, something the commentators like to play up. Vyxx, one of the new racers in Season 2, claims she joined for the opportunity to beat Tamira.
  • Sexy Secretary: Not only is Torres this for fans, but in-universe as well; her official bio notes that she has plenty of admirers, even if they're too afraid of her to say anything.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Happens to Season 1's designated comic-relief racers, OoAa and Cuckoo, as they replaced by more serious, and deadly, racers in Season 2.
  • Shout-Out:
    • At one point, after obtaining something plot significant, comes the line "So much trouble for something so small!" Given what Meika is doing at that moment, the fact that it's spoken by Boromir in the original serves as foreshadowing.
    • Star Wars is also quoted at one point: "You're all clear, kid! Now let's blow this thing and go home!"
    • One of Sunny's video games is Moose Effect.
  • Spanner in the Works: Tag is a long-term one for Mr. King's plans, with his refusal to "play along" and habit of winning. OoAa, one of the two racers not aligned with Tag or Mr. King, manages to take out Sonny and Meika in the final race, preventing them from helping Tag, and ends up winning the race, though not the RGP as a whole, when Tag and Axle are knocked out.
  • Statuesque Stunner: A 6'2, Vyxx is one of the tallest racers who's ever been part of the RGP and she's pretty easy on the eyes. It's a case of Truth in Television, as female hyenas are usually larger than males in real life.
  • Stealth Pun: Meika the vixen's hobby? Boxing. Foxy boxing, if you will.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: When contacted by a representative of The Conspiracy who is spouting rhetoric about changing the sport for the better, Riq admits that racing is a pretty niche, high-risk, impractical sport that sponsors aren't really interested in. Pretty brutal considering the premise of the show.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: While also being the Evil Counterpart to Meelo, Xeno serves as a combination of two of the replaced racers, Cuckoo and OoAa, being The Unintelligible and driving a car that's basically a bubble on wheels.
  • Taking You with Me: Cuckoo has a habit of panicking when it's clear he's about to crash and activating his car's "supernova" in response. This never saves him, but it causes the cars of his opponents to short circuit which either causes them to stall or get knocked out with him if they're all on a particularly perilous part of the track.
  • The Team: After finding out that the Rimba Grand Prix is rigged, Tag forms a team with four allies. Tag is a hot-headed newbie to the races, and constantly aims to win every race, but is kept safe and in check by his older mechanic and father-figure, Miles. His fellow teammates are Sonny, whose large frame and larger car do a lot of the heavy lifting, Meelo, the socially-awkward tech genius, and Meika, who is the most feminine and socially-active of the group. The team stays at five members until the later half of the first season, where Tamira joins them to work against her former employer.
  • Third-Person Flashback: One important scene in Season 2 shows something happening in the flashback that neither of the characters narrating it could have known, and in fact that's an important point. It can be assumed that it was just what was reconstructed as having happened after years of research on it by Riq.
  • Throwing the Fight: One of Mr. King's occasional tactics. Heroic example in the season finale when Tag takes himself and Axle out of commission to buy Miles and Tamira more time to steal King's black box.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Wrecks' Atlas is the Unstoppable Force and Krom's Heavy Metal is the Immovable Object which is reflected in each vehicle's special ability. None of the other cars can win or match them in a melee and when they do finally clash against each other in the season 1 finale it results in mutual destruction.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: In the third episode Tag's cooling system is sabotaged, bringing his car close to exploding in the race, but he manages to fix it while driving. Later, it's shown that Mr. King has backdoors into all the cars' electronics, but Meelo develops countermeasures a couple episodes later.
  • Wacky Racing: The cars have once-per-race "special abilities" ranging from electrified spikes to booster jets and EMP missiles. While the tracks are rarely straightforward and often more like obstacle courses, one time they even play soccer.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Lap 8: "Versus". The Ripper is totaled and Sonny is put in a coma.
    • Prior to that, we have Lap 7, which reveals that the Rimba Grand Prix is rigged, as Miles had suspected for some timenote 
    • For season 2, Lap 19: Meika's status as a spy is discovered, causing her relationship with her "friends" to become strained.