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Speed Racer, known as Mach GoGoGo in Japan, is a Japanese anime series that was adapted from the manga series of the same name. The series was adapted by Tatsunoko Productions and its 52 episodes aired on Fuji TV in Japan from April 1967 to March 1968. The series is an early example of Japanese anime becoming a successful franchise in the United States, spawning multiple spinoffs in both print and broadcast media.
The English rights to Mach GoGoGo were acquired by syndicator Trans-Lux, and Speed Racer premiered on American television in the fall of 1967. In the series, Speed’s full name was Go Mifune, in homage to Japanese film star Toshiro Mifune. His name, Americanized, became Speed Racer. His adventures centered on his powerful Mach 5 car, his girlfriend Trixie, his little brother Spritle (with his pet chimp Chim-Chim), and his mysterious older brother, Racer X. For American consumption, major editing and dubbing efforts were undertaken by producer Peter Fernandez, who also provided the voices of many of the characters, most notably Racer X and Speed Racer himself. Fernandez was also responsible for a rearrangement of the theme song's melody, written by Nobuyoshi Koshibe, and subsequently wrote its English lyrics. The theme was performed in the opening and closing titles (uncredited) by Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass.
In the early 1990s the series made a comeback in reruns on MTV, broadcast in the early morning hours. In 1993, the series was rebroadcast in syndication concurrently with a new American-created remake courtesy of the newly established "Speed Racer Enterprises," with distribution by Group W's international unit. The series later aired on Cartoon Network in the late afternoon (and later on in late night/overnight). The Speed Channel also aired the series during morning hours in 2003.
Teenager Speed Racer aspires to be the world's best race-car champion with the help of his friends, family and his father's high-tech race-car, the Mach 5.
Speed Racer — The protagonist of the series, he is known for his love of racing and valuing his family. He drives the Mach 5 and always manages to wind up in extreme danger with either his younger brother or his girlfriend Trixie. Speed is shown to miss his older brother, Rex (who secretly disguises himself as Racer X). He typically wears a blue shirt with a yellow "G" (standing for his Japanese first name, Gō) with a white collar, a red racing bandanna around his neck, white pants, red socks, brown loafers and yellow gloves. He has a black pompadour hairstyle, and his eyes are blue. While racing, he sports a white open-face helmet with an M (representing Mifune Motors) on top.
Spritle and Chim-Chim — Spritle is Speed Racer's younger brother whom has a pet chimpanzee named Chim-Chim. Their rebellious attitudes often lead them to trouble. However, their mischief sometimes aids Speed while he is in danger. Spritle and Chim-Chim dress in identical jumpsuits and striped hats and often perform identical physical actions. They both have an extreme appetite for candy and are usually bribed with dessert or other presents.
Pops Racer — Speed's father, Pops, is a former wrestler-turned race car owner and builder. After quitting his job in a corporate car manufacturing company, he founded his own company, Racer Motors. He is portrayed as a hothead who is overprotective of his family. His eldest son, Rex (who would return as Racer X), ran away. In addition to Spritle and Chim-Chim, Pops' attitude brings comic relief in the series. Overweight, he wears an athletic red shirt and a beige mechanic's cap. Despite his build, Pops is nearly unmatched in combat as he was once a champion heavyweight wrestler.
Trixie — Speed's girlfriend. The "M" adorning her blouse stands for Michi (her name in the Japanese version). Trixie often flies around in a helicopter during a race, acting as Speed's spotter. In the manga it is mentioned that her father is the president of Shimura Aviation, which explains why she owns her own helicopter, although this is never discussed in the anime. To add comic relief in the series, Trixie becomes jealous if Speed pays too much attention to another girl or if she feels she is being ignored. Unlike most female characters in cartoons at that time, Trixie is not portrayed as a helpless perpetual victim. Trixie often proves herself the equal of Speed when forced into physical altercations. While Trixie has been captured on occasion by the villains, she refuses to cower or plead for her release, more often giving the bad guy a serious tongue-lashing until she is either rescued or escapes on her own. On some occasions, Trixie has even been the one to rescue Speed or other male characters from their predicaments
Racer X (Rex Racer) — A frequent recurring character, driving car number 9, the "Shooting Star," is the enigmatic Racer X. Racer X is a mysterious, selfless, sympathetic, and often brooding soldier of fortune whose secret identity is that of Rex Racer, Speed's older brother. Six years prior, Rex had a falling out with Pops after Rex wrecked a race car that Pops had built. Pops told Rex prior to the race that he was not prepared to compete at the professional racing level. With less than one lap to go, Rex was leading and cruising toward victory, but lost control of the car and wrecked it. Pops exploded with anger and berated Rex, and in response Rex exiled himself, vowing to become the world's greatest race car driver.