Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Speed Racer Vol 5|
Actors: Katsuji Mori, Corinne Orr, Peter Fernandez, Jack Grimes, Jack Curtis
Director: Hiroshi Sasagawa
Genres: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Animation
INCLUDES THE MOST EXCITING FINAL 8 EPISODES FROM THE ORIGINAL TV SERIES. FOLLOW SPEED & HIS TURBO-CHARGED MACH-5 AS HE & HIS GANG (TRIXIE, SPARKY, SPRITLE & CHIM CHIM) GO ON TO THE GRAND PRIX, THE KEY RACE FOR THE WORLD RA... more »
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Speed Racer Ends With a Bang
Duane Thomas | Tacoma, WA United States | 03/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the last entry in a five volume set collecting all 52 episodes of the 1960s Speed Racer. This series has a very self-contained air, with a beginning, a middle and an end. It begins with Speed's first professional race and ends when he becomes world champion. With all the episodes now available to fans on DVD, we can evaluate the series as a whole. And I am forced to the conclusion that while the beginning and the end rock, the middle fairly sucks.
As the series progressed I suspect the creators began to run out of money because episode quality dropped immensely. Most of the truly excellent eps, "The Great Plan", "Challenge of the Masked Racer", "The Race Against the Mammoth Car", "The Most Dangerous Race", "The Fire Race" and "The Fastest Car on Earth" are two-parters (or in the case of "The Most Dangerous Race" the show's only three-parter) clustered in the series' early days; they're all on Volumes 1 and 2 of the set. Toward the middle/end (the stuff on Volumes 3 and 4) we get a bunch of single ep stories with artwork, scripting, and even the amount of animation all noticably inferior to earlier efforts.
Which brings us to Volume 5 (the last eight eps). Episode quality on this DVD varies wildly, containing both Speed's absolute worst adventure and one of his very best. Other eps range from mediocre to good, with, thankfully, rather more of the latter.
I've always had a weak spot for "The Great Car Wrestling Match" (Episode #45). True, its animation is limited, but the artwork is good, and the storyline amazingly strong. If I may be allowed to seemingly digress for a moment: one reason so many fans love "The Race Against the Mammoth Car" I feel is that it's one of the few times in the series Speed uses the Mach 5 offensively against another vehicle. When Speed breaks out the saw blades and starts slicing tires off the Mammoth Car that just flat DOES it for people. For "The Great Car Wrestling Match" they came up with the absolutely deranged idea of having Speed enter the Mach 5 in a demolition derby. This episode gives us what we love most about "Mammoth Car" - the Mach 5 in car-on-car battle - only instead of a few brief moments within a larger storyline, it's the focus of the entire ep. Thus Speed uses every trick he can pull out of that fantastic car to trash about fifty-seven million other vehicles AND one of his opponents has a highly tricked-out car of his own with a built-in arsenal of weaponry specifically designed to kill the Mach 5.
Ah, good stuff.
I despise "Motorcycle Apaches" (#46). To my mind it's the single worst ep. Speed and the gang look really, really stupid wearing cowboy hats. The characterization of the Apaches is more than a little racist. "Ugh!" indeed. Don't all "Indians" talk that way? Then we have Speed's comments, courtesy of Japanese writers, on what a horrible, selfish thing it is that the Apaches have a problem with their land being used, without their permission, for a facility to build better and more powerful nuclear bombs. This struck me, even as a kid, as self-righteous tripe propounded by outsiders who didn't know what the hell they were talking about.
"Car With a Brain" and "Junk Car Grand Prix" (#s 47 & 48) are forgettable examples of the aforementioned inferior writing, artwork and animation.
"The Car in the Sky" (#49) is decent. "The Trick Race" (#50) features the return of the Car Acrobatic Team from "The Most Dangerous Race" and co-stars Racer X, always a good thing. "The Trick Race" relies heavily on footage from earlier episodes, chiefly "The Most Dangerous Race". Even some of the events happening within the storyline use footage cribbed from other eps. Whenever new footage is intercut with old, the wide disparity in quality of animation (often none at all as characters talk without moving their mouths) and artwork is evident. "The Trick Race" is a pristine example of talented creators turning necessity into virtue; because they had very little money to produce the ep, about half of it is stitched together from previously existent footage. Amazingly, with an ingenious script, "The Trick Race" works, and works well. What happens between Racer X and Speed at the end of the ep has to be seen to be believed. It's genuinely moving and was picked by TV Guide as one of the most memorable moments in television history.
Then there's the series finale, the two-part "Race Around the World" (#s 51 & 52). Obviously the creators wanted to end the series on an up note. None of that weinie single episode stuff, Speed Racer needed to end with a two-parter, and it needed to be great! It was, due to an amazingly inventive script combined with some of the series' best artwork and animation. Speed competes in the Around-the-World Grand Prix requiring him to pilot a Formula 1 car, rocket powered raceboat, airboat, biplane, raft, submarine, snow tractor, ice yacht, truck, motorcycle, kayak - and of course he finishes in the Mach 5 - all while nature and two other racing teams pull every dirty trick they can think of to knock him out of the running. In the final ep, Racer X shows up one last time. Really, they should have called this adventure "Everything But the Kitchen Sink". For my money "The Most Dangerous Race" will always be the best Speed Racer, but "Race Around the World" is in a strong 2nd place, a fine and worthy send-off for our hero.
Looking over the entirety of this five-volume collection, here's my advice to Speed Racer fans. If you want to enjoy the series' worthwhile eps, you should buy Volumes 1 and 2. Volumes 3 and 4 are for completists only. However you NEED Volume 5 for "Race Around the World". Speed Racer may have gotten a bit soft around the middle, but it ended rock hard."
Must own for any Speed Racer fan
The Rectifier | Harrisburg, PA United States | 11/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of all five DVD sets, this is the best set to own. No, I didn't see any special features, but it's well worth the price for the last three episodes in the series.
In "The Trick Race" Speed once again races the Car Acrobatic Team. But that's not what made this cartoon episode one of TV Guide's most memorable 50 programs. If you don't know why, watch the episode and pay attention to the ending.
"Race Around the World" Parts I and II are the last of the original Speed Racer episodes. From the very beginning of the series Speed wanted to become the greatest racing car driver in the world. Find out if he can accomplish his goal while being an honorable man. Excellent way to wrap the series!
If you are new to the Speed Racer series, you will probably want to pick up the first DVD set too. "The Great Plan" and "Challenge of the Masked Racer" (the first four episodes, two parts each) pretty much set up the rest of the series and explain all the special features of the Mach 5.
This was my favorite cartoon series when I was growing up. I couldn't wait to get home from school to watch the next thrilling episode of Speed Racer. I hope you enjoy it as well!"
Misleading photo and description
B K Mom | Texas | 03/07/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Amazon's DVD does NOT come with the collectible miniature license plate (even though the photo shows it and the description mentions it). Save yourself the trouble of getting and then having to return it(like I did). I went and bought mine for $2 less than Amazon's price (and with the license plate) at Best Buy.
5 stars for Speed Racer vol 5.
1 star for false item description
Averages out to 3 stars"
Speed Racer Vol. 5
M. Cooper | New New Orleans, LA USA | 01/21/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Video was of excellent quality, however I'm a little disappointed that the video was not in the original packaging. Hence the commerative license plate was not included with the shipping content.Speed Racer, Vol. 5"