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Speed Racer 1 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Katsuji Mori , Peter Fernandez    DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Product details

  • Actors: Katsuji Mori, Peter Fernandez, Corinne Orr, Jack Grimes, Jack Curtis
  • Writers: Peter Fernandez, Tatsuo Yoshida
  • Format: Animated, Collector's Edition, Colour, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Limited Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: 22 April 2003
  • Run Time: 550 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008IHAV
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,498 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Speed Racer ~ Speed Racer

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great DVD! 28 Feb 2005
Format:DVD
Speed Racer is a Japanese "Manga" that was created in 1966. In 1967, the 52 episodes of the show were dubbed into English, and syndicated across the U.S., where they were watched by millions of young people who carried the cartoon in their hearts all the way to today! Speed Racer is the story of a young racecar driver who experiences excitement and danger around the world, both on the racecourse and off. Even though the show is now some 38 years old, the cars are still fantastic to look at and the story has lost none of its fascination!
Recently, the first eleven episodes of the show have been released in this DVD. The eleven episodes cover five stories: The Great Plan, Challenge of the Masked Racer, The Secret Engine, The Race Against the Mammoth Car, and The Most Dangerous Race. Not only that, this DVD is crammed with extras, the best of which are and interactive look at the Mach 5 (Speed's car) and a gallery of villains - each with a clip showing the villain in action!
This is a great DVD! My ten-year-old son has been a fan of Speed Racer since he was quite young (a chip off the old block!), and he is very glad to have some of the episodes on DVD. So, now he and I can sit and watch this great cartoon together. If you know a young boy who likes racecars, then get him this DVD, and he will love you for it!
One extra thing: the limited-edition "rubber tire" packaging is a nice touch. It is so well done that it is really a work of art. Get this DVD!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He's a demon on wheels 17 May 2008
By Amanda Richards VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
"Here he comes, here comes Speed Racer
He's a demon on wheels
He's a demon and he's gonna be chasing after someone
He's gaining on you, so you better look alive
He's busy revving up his powerful Mach 5"

(From theme song: US Version, by Peter Fernandez)

Since I'd never heard of Speed Racer before seeing the preview for the movie, and because my child is an avid race car fan, I thought it best to do some homework so that I could at least hold my own during son/mother interrogation sessions.

The questions begin simply enough.

"Which character are you from Speed Racer?"

But then it develops into the type of car, how fast it goes, who are the bad guys, and then he gets to the really hard stuff. It's fortunate therefore that this DVD exists, as we were able to watch it together many times (him)/ad nauseam (me), and I managed to survive the grilling, at least until we go see the movie.

Originally from the Japanese anime Mach GoGoGo, the series was "Americanized" and aired in the USA from 1967. It features the young racing car driver of the title, plus assorted family members, female romantic love interest, the mysterious Racer X, and tons of villains. The star however, is the Mach 5 itself - a secret agent car if there ever was one, complete with gadgets which are activated by pressing the seven buttons on the steering wheel and another on the console.

This DVD has the first eleven episodes of the 1967 television cartoon, plus production notes; words and music of the theme song; a brief glimpse of the Mach 5; a Villain's Gallery of eight featured bad guys (complete with clips), a preview of the sequels and spinoff commercial, and a list of available merchandise.

The episodes are:
1.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  89 reviews
188 of 217 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Go, Speed, Go (back to the store & return this ... mess!) 25 April 2003
By Michelle S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
So, you waited MANY years to finally get the original Speed Racer show on DVD! (I know I did!) Well, you may be disappointed with this release. (I know I was!) Why was I so upset? Well, read on:
First and foremost, this is NOT the same version of Speed Racer we grew up with! Both the opening credits sequence and the closing credits sequence have been re-done. Gone are the original "Trans-Lux" credit and the exciting swirling white animated "Speed Racer" logo. Now, the opening boasts cheesy yellow & red titles that were obviously created by computer. The lousy graphics were then placed over a re-edited opening sequence that uses the original Japanese version as its base (You can see the swirling red Japanese title in the middle of the wheel). This is where the computer-generated credits are used (with jarring, ham-fisted edits!). The closing credits also feature computer-created graphics that are superimposed over out-of-focus background animation. The closing theme also appears to have been re-recorded...
Look, I know you shouldn't base your purchase solely on the fact the opening and closing credits were changed, so let's look at the episodes themselves:
The colors are very good, as it does look like the producers of this DVD went back to the original Japanese masters. The problem is that the producers decided to pack *5 hours* of material onto *one* single-sided DVD! The episodes have been compressed too much! The bit rate fluctuates from only 2.1Mbps to about 4.5Mbps. (Compare this to the 6.9Mbps to 10.0Mbps bit rate of Rhino's "Battle of the Planets" DVDs.) The Speed Racer episodes suffer from quite a bit of digital artifacting. My disc's video also freezes from time to time.
Maybe the producers of this think they are being generous by including 11 episodes. Well, I think they could have given us 11 episodes over 2 discs, or at least one double-sided disc. They compressed the material too much, and the final results are very disappointing.
Beyond the video compression the producers used to cram 5 hours of material onto one DVD, many of the episodes have also been "time-compressed", meaning they have been sped up. This is usually done so stations can air more commercials, but for a home video release, it's inexcusable!

So, how do I know they have been time-compressed? Well, I compared the actual episode content (minus the opening & closing credits) of the first eight episodes to the Japanese version. Of these first 8 episodes, 3 run faster than the originals. Now, the US-version is edited in a few places, so that will shorten their runing time, but identical portions should run the same speed. Sadly, they don't.

When you watch the episodes side by side (something my TV is capable of doing), the US Speed Racer episodes start getting ahead of their Japanese counterparts. Episodes 1, 7, and 8 all immediately start running faster than the originals. The running time for the first episode is 21:31. Compare that to the 22:45 of the Japanese original (1:14 faster). That's enough for 2 more commercials! Episode 7 is 1:35 faster, and episode 8 is a minute faster.

I don't want to speculate on why the producers felt the need to time-compress these episodes, but it shouldn't have been done!
The Japanese release of "Mach Go Go Go (Speed Racer's original Japanese name) came out on a total of 9 DVDs. They cost a lot more than this disc, yet they feature a much better picture, with less compression. I only wish the US-version was of the same high-standard as the Japanese-version. Sadly, it's not.
Finally, to emphasize how [bad] an operation this whole DVD is, look at its "1966" copyright date. Well, "Mach Go Go Go" wasn't released in Japan until 1967, and the US version didn't come out for another year or two...! Why 1966? How can a company release a truly definitive version of Speed Racer when they don't even know when it was made..?!
49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Bout Time! 20 Feb 2003
By jadedromantic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Well, well, it's about time! The BEST Japanese anime show of its time, and loved by every one of us who watched it religiously while growing up, "Speed Racer" FINALLY comes to DVD with the first 11 episodes!! If done right and in order, as various websites say, this is what the disks should include:
1. The Great Plan pt. 1
2. The Great Plan pt. 2
3. Challenge of the Masked Racer pt. 1
4. Challenge of the Masked Racer pt. 2
5. The Secret Engine pt. 1
6. The Secret Engine pt. 2
7. The Race Against the Mammoth Car pt. 1
8. The Race Against the Mammoth Car pt. 2
9. The Most Dangerous Race pt. 1
10. The Most Dangerous Race pt. 2
11. The Most Dangerous Race pt. 3
"Mach V vs. Mach V" is one of my very favorites, but this is a great start, and will buy every DVD "Speed Racer" set that comes out. What a great addition to the collection of anyone who likes anime, nostalgic tv, and the dangerous adventures of Speed, Racer X, Pops, Trixie, Sparky, and of course Spritle and Chim Chim. Some sites say there are 55 episodes total, from what I have checked there are 52, but either way can't wait to own them all!
Trivia: Do you know what the "M" on Speed's helmet and the "G" on his shirt were for? I never did, until recently, but here's the DL: in the original Japanese version of the cartoon, titled "Mach Go Go," Speed's name is Go Mifune - so the "G" stands for Go (his first name), the "M" on the helmet for Mifune (his last name). Finally, THAT riddle from childhood solved!
GET THIS SET! Unless they really mess up the transfer, this is the best DVD animation news in years!
Go Speed Racer, Go!!
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! 31 Oct 2003
By Duane Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I've loved Speed Racer since I was a little kid. When Ted Turner's first television station, WTBS, Channel 13, started up in Georgia in the mid-70s, he had all the great old shows, The Munsters, The Brady Bunch, Get Smart, The Addams Family, I Dream of Jeannie, The Partridge Family....all part of his afternoon lineup. Speed Racer came on at 3 PM, Monday thru Friday. Every weekday for years I'd get out of school at 2:30, the bus would take me home, I'd rush into the house and turn on the TV just in time for the theme song. I never got tired of it.

(Just an interesting point of trivia - I think - in a book on Speed Racer I read the results of a survey where Speed fans were asked what they considered the single most important reason Speed Racer is so popular. The #1 answer: the theme song.)

I've seen some TV shows I loved as a kid, years later when they were released on video, and wondered how I ever could have enjoyed them. Being three years old is no excuse. The prime example being 8th Man. But I watch Speed Racer today, and while I'm well aware that, because of my history with the show, the fact it was such an important of my life while growing up, I love it perhaps more than can really be justified by what's there....some episodes still DO it for me. And that's pretty darn cool.

What in America we call Speed Racer actually began in the Sixties in Japan as a manga (comic book) called Maha Go Go Go. In America you'll usually see this partially translated as Mach Go Go Go so that's the terminology I'll use from here on. Grand prix auto racing was very popular in Japan at the time, almost a national obsession. To Tatsuo Yoshida, the creator/artist/writer of Mach Go Go Go, the opportunity presented by this situation was obvious: create a series about a teenage Grand Prix driver. I have reprints of several of the original manga. At least some of the anime episodes (more about which shortly) were adaptations of previously published manga stories.

The ....Go Go Go part of the title was a triple entendre. (1) "Go" means the number five in Japanese, it was a reference to the car's name, the Mach 5. (2) In the original manga and anime, the main character we call Speed Racer in the US was named Go Mifune (or Goh Mifune, I've seen it spelled both ways), a homage to Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune (Yoshida was a huge fan) which explains why "Speed" has a yellow G on his shirt and his support crew is called the Go Team. (3) The American word "Go," i.e. "Haul it, dude."

The big red M on the Mach 5's hood, which in America we commonly assumed stood for "Mach 5" was actually the emblem of Mifune Motors, Pops Racer's car company. Likewise this explains the M on Speed's helmet. Trixie had an M on her blouse because in the original manga/anime her name was Michi Shimura. Sparky lucked out; the S on his chest happened to match both his Japanese name, Sabu, and American renaming, as well.

One thing that never made any sense to me, when watching Speed Racer as a kid, was that Racer X had the "Mach 5 symbol" on his chest. It makes even less sense once you learn this is the Mifune Motors emblem. "Hello Speed, I'm secretly Kenichi Mifune, your older brother who ran away from home years ago. In order to hide this fact, I will....wear the emblem of the family business in foot high lettering on my chest!" Good plan. They'll never figure that one out. And of course, they didn't.

In the original manga - and this is something we never really got from the anime - Michi (Trixie) was the spoiled, willful, rich daughter of the head of a rival car company (which explains how she owns her own helicopter - something I always wondered about as a kid - and drives a Mercedes). She first met the Racers when she was sent to spy on them. Wouldn't she know it, she fell in love with Speed which kind of scotched that plan. In my early teens I couldn't understand what Speed saw in Trixie. It's only with adult sensibilities that I appreciate what a total little hottie Trixie really was.

Of course I hated the bratty kid brother. And the monkey! Don't get me started. WAY too much unneeded so-called comic relief in what should have been - and was - a really exciting, dramatic adventure series. I took my Speed Racer seriously. I could never understand how a guy as cool as Speed could have such a whiny little snot-nosed punk of a brother.

All 52 episodes of the original Mach Go Go Go anime were translated into English and in 1967 began airing in America as Speed Racer. The series is about equally split between stand alone eps and two-parters (there's only one three-part Speed Racer). The series has a very self-contained air, with a beginning, middle and an end. It begins with Speed's first professional race and ends when he wins the world championship. In the late 80s thru early 90s the entire series was released on video tape. I bought about half the series, all the tapes I could find, at that time. Just a few months ago the first 11 episodes were released on DVD. You better believe I bought that one. (Hopefully we'll eventually see all 52 episodes on DVD.) All the video tapes that were dupes of DVD eps I then turned around and gave to my next door neighbor's teenage son. Spreading the glory and majesty that is Speed Racer to a new generation. And he really liked them. Obviously there's hope for America's future, after all.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT'S A CLASSIC!!--JUST BUY & ENJOY!!! 12 May 2003
By Gregg Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
FIRST, the ONLY obvious difference from TV-run versions, is a new "SPEED RACER" title logo. THAT'S IT. The ending credits (as original as ever)--are still as smudgy as they were originally aired in the US with its early use of crude-looking video-over-animation titles (AND still horribly misspelling Jack Grimes' name as "Crimes")...if they were NEW titles, I think they would have corrected that legendary goof (considering the voice-over cast bios--including the correctly-spelled 'Grimes' in the Extra Features.)
As for any blurred images...there were a few "dramatic" film dissolves between scenes--that was all the blurring that could be seen in any of the 11 crystal-sharp episodes. And the colors are absolutely vibrant, causing me to assume that these episodes were taken from master prints. True, there are a few specks here-and-there, but you're talking about a much-handled, imported, re-dubbed animated show from 1967!
The only time the video portion "freezes," ...if anyone recalls the original episodes, is when, after the first minute-or-so, as each story begins, there was/is a dramatic freeze-frame image of the main subject of that particular episode (my guess is that the original Japanese title was inserted at that point).
There's honestly no way to be truly disappointed with this release--even being lucky enough to finally see the series (begin) to be digitally preserved. Any high-tech analysis down to the exact frame of video should be quickly dismissed and considered downright silly. There's approximately 4.5 hours of SPEED, and with Bonus Material (however minimal), this single and highly-affordable DVD (no flipping, even!) merits nothing short of 5-STARS!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure's Waitin' Just Aheaaaaaaaad! 10 July 2004
By C. T. Mikesell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The eleven episodes of Speed Racer on this DVD are a surefire way to bring nostalgic parents and their wide-eyed children closer together. I just got this and my four-year-old has barely watched anything else since it went in the DVD player. I'm not the world's biggest Chim-Chim and Spritle fan, but my son can't get enough.

All I remember of the show from my childhood is the catchy refrain in the theme song and that I loved watching it. Personally, the problems people have had with the opening and closing titles being different aren't a big issue for me. And I'm not watching with a stopwatch, so time compression isn't a big deal either. The shows themselves are what I got the DVD for and as far as I'm concerned, they're great.

That's not to say the DVD is perfect. I've noticed an occasional audio "chirping" glitch here and there, but not enough to be a problem. My biggest problem is that your viewing choices are limited to "play all" or each episode individually, and that you can't chapter advance while "playing all." So if I want to watch the three-part "The Most Dangerous Race" I can sit through the first 8 episodes or after watching episode 9, I have to push "play" again for ep. 10 and then again for #11. Not the biggest of deals, but along with the fact that the episodes aren't broken into chapters, either (if you stop watching 2/3rds of the way through, be sure to set a bookmark, or be ready to fast-forward forever), it makes it difficult to watch the DVD the way you want to watch it.

The extras are nice, but nothing incredible (although the footage of the mid-90s remake makes you appreciate the original even more). A trivia section, explaining things like why Speed has a "G" on his shirt, or why cars change colors halfway through the big turn in the opening sequence, would have been nice. Granted, most of that is available on the Internet, but having it on the disk would have been better than pictures of a few items of Speed memorabilia with no context attached to them.

I know this review has been mostly drawing attention to the DVD's flaws, but I still stand by my 5-star rating. The individual episodes are wonderful. The stories, while occasionally hokey, are engaging and fun. The artwork and sound are great. And then there's that theme song ... whoa Nellie! Minor gripes aside, this is a great DVD for young and old. Don't miss it.
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