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YMMV / Speed Racer

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The Series

  • Ear Worm:
    • The main theme will stay in your head forever. It has the same tune in Japanese and English, which is somewhat of a rarity.
    • The Russian version of the intro song known as New Adventures of Speed Racer is permanently etched into subconscious of a whole generation.
  • 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.
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  • 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, ans 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.
    • While it's likely more a case of exaggeration, the "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.
  • Narm Charm:
    • The English dub. It may make everyone a Motor Mouth, and be full of all kinds of weird verbal tics... and yet, the show wouldn't be nearly as beloved as it is without the corny acting.
    • The narration dramatically reveals Racer X's true identity (it's Speed's brother!!) practically Once an Episode, which goes from annoying and slightly patronizing to ridiculously funny after about the fourth or fifth time it happens.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The shot of Speed posing in front of the Mach 5 in the opening theme.
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    • Speed confronting Racer X about his true identity in The Trick Race.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Except it's so bad it's awesome.
  • Subbing vs. 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.
  • 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.

The Film

  • 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.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Part of the reason why the movie didn't do too well is because it tried to keep the campy tone of the original series.
  • Better Than Canon: In the anime, Speed was a Boring Invincible Hero who ALWAYS WON...and yet, only because Racer X always let him. In the movie, Speed is still important (as in The Chosen One of Car Racing), but he's toned down a bit, and this time he's better at racing than Racer X, so his victories don't seem so cheap. Trixie taking a slightly more active role is also well-received.
  • 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.
  • Misaimed Marketing / Trailers Always Lie: 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.
    • The advertising also gave the impression that it was an In Name Only adaptation.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The Nintendo Wii video game is considered a pretty good F-Zero knockoff.
    • The Nintendo DS version is pretty good too.
  • Poor Man's Substitute: Cruncher Block for almost any character ever played by Tom Wilkinson.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Many have accused the victory milk drinking as an example of Frothy Mugs of Water, but it's actually a reference to a real life racing tradition, most famously the Indianapolis 500.
  • The Scrappy: Snake Oiler is one of the whiniest and most annoying villains to appear onscreen. Though granted, that's likely the point.
  • 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: Possibly Invoked. Either way, be it design or accident, it's a damn awesome movie if you're in the right mindset.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: It's, arguably, just as viable an adaptation of F-Zero as it is of Speed Racer.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The family watching Rex's fake 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.
    • 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.
    • And nearer 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.
    • 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 in order 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.
  • 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 


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