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YMMV / Speed Racer

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The Series

  • Awesome Music: The theme song, whether in Japanese (Mahaa Go-Go-Go!) or English (Go Speed Racer Go!), is incredible to hear.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: While not exactly obscure in Japan, Mach GoGoGo is mostly known there for being popular in America. The original series' ratings averaged around 13-14% in Japan, which sounds impressive at first but was more along the lines of average for an anime series in that era. In fact, even the Japanese dub of the live-action film kept the American title and names of the characters and the 1997 remake was mainly made with the intention of dubbing it overseas.
  • Good Bad Translation: Who doesn't remember the Narmtacularly hilarious dialogue?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The GRX from "The Fastest Car In The World" has a top speed of 250 mph and requires drivers to take a special drug to handle the speed. 250 mph is the approximate top speed of the Bugatti Veyron which has been driven that fast without any ill effects. In fact, when it was first shown on Top Gear, the presenter who first took it to said top speed was James "Captain Slow" May.
    • Speed's/Go's Japanese voice actor Katsuji Mori would later play another energetic character who likes being fast, and supports the number 5.
  • It Was His Sled: Racer X is Speed's brother, mainly because the narrator always points this out. This was almost convincingly subverted in The Movie, making the Double Subversion at the end all the juicier (and more heartbreaking).
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Everyone has parodied how every character in the show is a Motor Mouth.
    • In The '90s (during its Newbie Boom) it was popular for kids to say "Go Eraser! Go Eraser! Go Eraser GOOOO!" with chalk/whiteboard erasers.
    • While it's likely more a case of exaggeration, the abundance of pronounced gasping, "Aahh!" and "Ooohh!" sounds characters sometimes make at the end of their sentences have become memes in their own right, usually when reading out something with no punctuation, such as in this video.
    • "He's going over that cliff! AAAAAAGH!" has become a pretty symbolic sequence, somewhat due to Speed Racer's... odd noises while trying to control his car, but primarily due to how shockingly realistic the scream is. Many have commented how it sounds like the actor was genuinely being murdered.
      YouTube Commenter: They killed this man live in the studio to get that scream
    • "A sound that normal humans make". The sound in question? "Oip."
  • Memetic Psychopath: Speed himself is one, due to a large amount of clips being posted showing moments of him that paint him in a less flattering light, to the point where it borders on Black Comedy, a very notable example being the scene where he's told Hap Hazard needs to win the race money to pay for his sister's medical treatment. Speed's response? Say it wouldn't be fair to just let him win, tune out Trixie, and speed up to win the race. The smile he makes after winning the race really sells it. He later loses a race, and even with Speed going into Unintentionally Sympathetic territory, his Sore Loser reaction has been described by one commenter described his reaction as "Trying to kill the siblings with his mind." And that's just the tip of the iceberg...
  • Narm:
    • Snake's about to beat Speed Racer, and says it out loud as if in disbelief that he's gonna win. One second later, his car engine catches on fire because he was suffering an oil leak and pushing the car too hard, and the entire vehicle explodes in five after that. Right before the finish line. It comes off as downright Plot Armor for Speed, and an insanely precise and convenient amount of Laser-Guided Karma on Snake.
    • In Race for Life, Speed just won a South American Grand Prix cup and is being serenaded with flamenco music and a dancer. Right after a brief comment with no animation from him, hellish screaming ensues as it cuts back to the dancer.. and just lingers on her for the next couple seconds as if no one heard it. It's hard to tell if it was a horribly misfire on dubbing a flamenco shout as agonized terror, or if it's the crowd reacting to a wounded José stumbling into the scene and everyone inexplicably has a huge Delayed Reaction.
      Speed: Heheh.. Olé!
  • Narm Charm:
  • Signature Scene:
    • The shot of Speed posing in front of the Mach 5 in the opening theme.
    • Speed confronting Racer X about his true identity in The Trick Race.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The English dub. Except it's so bad it's awesome.
  • Subbing Versus Dubbing: Many people actually prefer the dub because, well, a lot of people grew up on it and it has its Narm Charm from being made in the 60s.
  • Tear Jerker: The very fact that the Racer family, while happy and tight knit, is incomplete, given that the oldest brother Rex ran off years earlier after a fight with Pops. To make it worse, Rex actually wants to go home, but because of his involvement with secret organizations and crime-fighting, he can't.
    • From "The Most Dangerous Race" three-parter, Speed crashes into a ravine and wakes up temporarily blind from the sun-exposure. As he struggles to find the Mach 5, Snake Oiler arrives to gloat over his anticipated victory and Speed's misfortune. For a brief moment, Speed actually cries, either for a devastating loss, the feeling he'll never get help, or both. Thankfully, he powers through with the help of Racer X.
    • In "The Man on the Lam", the robber Lawson Lanster is reunited with his daughter Delicia whom he hasn't seen since she was a baby. He also learns that she became blind, and that her mother is busy trying to earn money for Delicia's operation. He doesn't tell her that he's her father, letting her think he's a friend of his. At the end of the episode, his dying wish to Speed is to give his eyes to Delicia. Speed and Trixie tells her that he had to leave and to look up at the sky whenever she thinks of him.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Hap Hazard needs a race's prize money to get his sick sister the hospital treatment to save her life, and the show even goes out of its way to make Speed take his competitive nature to the logical extreme and ignore this fact for the sake of his racing pride. However, Hap Hazard had been kind of an arrogant Jerkass himself up to this point. Speed then loses anyway by a pure technicality, and Hap's response is to toss his sister in the air while loudly and cheerfully boasting to the world around him, "I beat Speed Racer!" Viewers seem to side more with Speed's Sore Loser tantrum than with Hap's "victory".
  • Woolseyism:
    • The "ninjas" were changed to "Assassins" in the dub. Which is actually correct, given their role in history.
    • Also while it did have renames, cut scenes and so on, it was one of the very first anime imports that tried to keep the spirit of the original show as faithfully as possible.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: People die in this series on a regular basisnote , and while there's no gore or explicit blood, it doesn't even attempt to disguise how horrible some of the wrecks and incidents are, nor disguises things like villains plummeting off cliffs and real guns shooting people quite a lot. No one dances around the subject matter either, which makes it all the more jarring to realize that an entire generation of kids were raised on a series that puts more controversial cartoons like Tom and Jerry to shame. Today's audiences consequently suffer a case of Values Dissonance when they look back on this and realize just how dark such an over-the-top and corny series can be thanks to its shonen roots.

The Film

  • Anvilicious: The film is not subtle about its belief that Big Money is a corrupting influence on everything it touches.
  • Awesome Music: The whole soundtrack, but especially Reboot, played during the final race in which Speed restarts his car from being burned out during the race and comes from dead last to first place. The track combines and recreates old pieces of the original Speed Racer soundtrack with a more modern and high-tech feel, with a bit of chorus in the background, culminating in the perfect musical accompaniment for Speed's main Moment of Awesome.
  • Cult Classic: See Vindicated by History below. In a nutshell, a defined group of fans has grown progressively less ashamed of adoring this movie.
  • Love to Hate: Arnold Royalton is a cruel Corrupt Corporate Executive who will do anything to ruin the lives of the Racer family and racing as a whole, but Roger Allam's powerful, menacing performance as well as him having some of the best lines of dialogue in the entire movie made for an outstanding villain, commonly being one of the high points of even the most scathing reviews.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Speed's infamous "Get that weak shit off my track!" line during his battle with Cannonball Taylor has become a somewhat popular catchphrase in the racing game and sim communities.
    • A fanmade edit of the grand finale race with the Eurobeat track "The Top" neatly dropped into the sequence became quite memetically popular in the fandom in general. Bonus points for the vocals (and the theme of the song in general) matching up perfectly and syncing to the scene.
  • Misaimed Marketing: The advertising blundered just enough to make a difference. It appeared to be a purely badass action movie with eye-popping inventive visuals. It turned out to have a more childish tone, in keeping with the anime. The advertising also downplayed the presence of Spritle and played up the presence of Christina Ricci.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The Nintendo Wii video game is considered a pretty good F-Zero knockoff.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: Cruncher Block for almost any character ever played by Tom Wilkinson.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Ariel Winter as young Trixie, only a year before she became famous as Alex Dunphy on Modern Family
  • The Scrappy:
    • Snake Oiler is one of the whiniest and most annoying villains to appear onscreen. Though granted, that's likely the point.
    • Spritle and Chim-Chim aren't exactly popular to some fans, as they take up a lot of the movie's time with juvenile comic relief scenes.
  • Signature Scene: The final race, where, through sheer determination, Speed races all the way to first at the speed of a jet plane, grapples two racers so that they crash into each other, and basically give the laws of physics the finger.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Be it design or accident, it's a damn awesome movie if you're in the right mindset.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: It's just as viable an adaptation of F-Zero as it is of Speed Racer.
  • Spiritual Successor: The video game is the closest thing we'll get to F-Zero on the Wii and DS.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The family watching Rex's Face–Heel Turn and subsequent death. Even knowing what will probably happen as a result of knowing the cartoon, watching the family deal with this is downright heartbreaking.
    Pops: Don't you turn your back on me! If you walk out that door now, don't you ever come back.
    • Few people with a sibling can avoid Inelegant Blubbering or at the very least Manly Tears when Speed lets his foot off the gas to let his dead brother's lap record stand.
    • Near the end of the film, John Goodman's Pops is heartbreakingly sincere as he refuses to make the same mistake he did with Rex, assuring Speed that he will always love him and welcome him home no matter what.
    Pops: I didn't lose Rex when he crashed. I lost him here. I let him think that a stupid motor company meant more to me than he did. You'll never know how much I regret that mistake. It's enough I'll never make it again. Speed, I understand that every child has to leave home. But I want you to know, that door is always open. You can always come back. 'Cause I love you.
    • The scene in the end where we see the truth about Racer X's identity; he truly is Rex, having faked his death and undergone plastic surgery in order to disguise his true identity to protect Speed and his family. Made all the more heart-wrenching by Rex's decision to not reveal the truth to his family, saying it's a mistake he will have to live with. The score during the moment only adds to the waterworks.
    • When Racer X visits the Racer home with Inspector Detector. First and foremost, it's Rex's first time home in ten years, and there is no chance of it being a happy homecoming. Secondly, there's a two second look that X gives Spritle. In that moment, Rex realizes that he has another little brother, but he'll never be able to get to know or develop a relationship with this one.
  • Vindicated by History: As the years have gone on, the film has found several defenders and even a decent sized fanbase, with even Time Magazine, Den of Geek and Observer looking back at the film as being underappreciated, and is sometimes even compared to works like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Pacific Rim in terms of quality.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Courtesy of Digital Domain.note