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 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 is an enigmatic pilot from decades back called "The Rocket," and although we don't see much of him, he is well regarded by everyone. Later, it turns out The Rocket is the team coach.
- 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.
- Ambiguous Ending: The Pilot Microseries ends with Team Suzaku being blackmailed by Velshtein's owner into merging their teams and having their pilots be forced to take on cybernetic enhancements in addition to the merger. Team Suzaku's refusal meaning they would be billed for the weapons they were provided. This sudden conflict is never resolved as the microseries ends right here. The next series taking place in a new continuity altogether.
- 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.
- 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 Relationship Upgrade. Given that Liz and Takeshi often fill the combat role in races, including a scene of them facing down Yamma, this trope easily fits their relationship.
- 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.
- Combat Commentator: Benjamin Bright is the announcer for the IGPX races.
- Combining Mecha: Team White Snow's "Operation Snowman." has a unique unification tactic they use to defeat serious opponents.
- Dream Sequence: There are several mid-race sequences with Team Satomi confronting their opponents on foot. The first has Takeshi dueling Cunningham in a kendo vs fencing match. Then later Takeshi and Liz team up against Yamma, who fends them off with wild knife attacks. Season 2 has Team Satomi fighting Max.
- Cool Old Guy: Yamma's the oldest pilot in the IG1. That doesn't mean he's a pushover on or off the track.
- Dub Name Change: Masa Ishikawa/Mark Ramsey and Himawari Aoi/Jesse Martin.
- Eagle Land: One can make a case about Sledge Mamma being the Boorish type.
- 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.Yamma: We just wanna beat ya; not beat ya up.
- Expressive Hair: Takeshi has a little tuft of hair on the side of his head that tends to pop up or droop down at various comedic moments, particularly when it raises up when he and Liz kiss at the very end.
- Feminine Women Can Cook: Jesse and Liz look like they can cook, but a few accidents ruin their preparation. Two scenes later though, they have put it all together nicely.
- Flash Step: Andre pulls one off against Team Velshtien to show his advanced skill.
- 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 use 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 Opposing Sports Team 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: The titular race features giant robots both racing and fighting each other.
- In Name Only: The Microseries was battles and the genuine series is races.
- 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...
- Last-Minute Hookup: Takeshi and Liz became a couple at the end of the second season.
- Lonely at the Top: Cunningham was blessed with a 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 special techniques used are allowed because there are no rules against them. Said techniques then get banned for being dangerous and game-breaking. Still doesn't stop White Snow from using even more underhanded moves and cheats during the final race.
- Love Epiphany: Takeshi has one in the final episode when he finally finishes the puzzle Yuri gave him, and learns that it was really a gift from Liz. Upon putting it back together, he reminisces about Liz during her best and worst moments, and the following scene is him asking her out (awkwardly) on a date.
- 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.
- Played straight with Team Satomi in the final race of Season 1, counting as an 11th-Hour Superpower. After reviewing the Indoraga Mano attack, Mark designs a counter Indoraga Mano tool, that gives them extra speed and allows them to jump farther than normal. They are later used to evade attacks, get the drop on enemy mechs, and save themselves from being knocked off the track.
- 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).
- 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.
- Precision F-Strike: Takeshi does 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.
- Retool: The main series is wildly different from the microseries, being about races instead of battles.
- Scenery Porn: The races are gorgeous if you aren't completely absorbed by the Humongous Mecha.
- Shout-Out : Fantine Valjean.
- Shown Their Work: Team Skylark- and eventually Satomi- use the "slipstream" or drag from a slower leading mech to catchup. This technique is also used in NASCAR, known as "drafting".
- Show Within a Show: Takeshi spends his time playing "Watch World" an MMORPG game with cute player characters. Fantine has an avatar of her own. As does Max, named "Mini-Bear.
- Tournament Arc: Both seasons are framed by the annual IGP1 tournament.
- Transforming Mecha: The mecha can alternate between battle and speed mode for different jobs.
- Tuckerization: Team Edgeraid's Bella DeMarco is named after producer Jason DeMarco's daughter.
- Wave-Motion Gun: Team Velshtein's Indoraga Mano attack. Mark's description of how it works is as follows:Mark: High voltage pulses create an imbalance in the air pressure, which results in a high impact tornado.
- By season 2, it's been banned from the sport for being a Game-Breaker and insanely dangerous to use (the second use resulted in a massive rain storm appearing almost instantly).