Speed_Racer:_The_Next_Generation

Speed Racer: The Next Generation

Speed Racer: The Next Generation is an American animated children's television series based on the classic Speed Racer franchise, in which the internal events take place decades after those in the 1967 Japanese series. It is the third television adaptation of the franchise, and is executive produced by Lions Gate Entertainment, Larry Schwarz, and Ken Katsumoto. It is the first Nicktoon not to be based on an original property. Animation Collective produced the series, while the Flash character animation was handled by the now-defunct Collideascope Studio as their very last project. Lionsgate is marketing this show as a direct continuation of the Japanese show, but whether or not this is an accurate, canonical succeeder is debatable.

This series was partly made to promote the live-action film, and the pilot movie premiered on Nicktoons Network on May 2, a week before the feature film adaptation was released in theatres. However, both projects were produced independently from one another and featured different generations of "Speed Racers" (with the film featuring the original generation), though both featured a Mach 6.

Premise

This series takes place either in the present, or in the near future. Prior to the events of the series, the original Speed Racer has disappeared for unknown reasons, but the main characters know that he is alive. Only one of the original characters, Spritle, has a major role in this show. Speed Racer is seen briefly at the end of "The Note" and more recently in "Plot for Teacher." The rest of the original cast are unseen, and their whereabouts are unknown.

The series follows the adventures of an orphan teenager named Speed who dreams of being a famed car racer like the one he is named after. He takes a bus to the elite Racing Academy, founded by the Racer family, and soon experiences the difficulties of fitting in and competing with X, the best racer/student in the school, and Speed Racer's son. Spritle himself is now the headmaster.

In the pilot movie, Speed discovers that he is the other son of Speed Racer, meaning that X is his brother. Through the rest of the series, Speed and his new allies set out on a quest to get through the courses, discover the mystery of Speed Racer's disappearance, and try and build the Mach Six, a car that captures the spirit and gadgets of the Mach 5 for new generations, and the first car to contain a gasless engine.

The most pivotal plot device is the virtual track, a race track that transports racers to virtual racing environments known as the Virtual World. School faculty can have the ability to add their own obstacles and as many obstacles as they wish, complying to school safety regulations. Whenever a racer is defeated in the track, they automatically get dispensed back onto the real one, unharmed. However, like all programs, the virtual track can be infested with viruses and/or hacked, causing anyone trapped in the Virtual World to be affected.

Main Characters

Speed Racer Jr.

Character Voice Actor Season One First Appearance
Speed Racer Jr. Kurt Csolak TBA "The Beginning, Part 1"

The main character of the series, Speed Racer Jr. (or just "Speed" for short) is the second son of the original Speed Racer from the 1967 Japanese anime series. He was hidden from the public by both his father and Trixie, for unknown reasons. Speed grew up in an orphanage for the majority of his childhood. His parents had left him a special key and a red racing bandanna, both of which he kept with him for sentimental reasons. He is often awkward and shy, but being behind the wheel brings out the best in him. Unlike his father, Speed doesn't get into any perilous trouble of fighting thugs and gang members, therefore instead of fighting, Speed uses his racing skill. In the pilot movie, Conor mentions that he made it onto the leader boards, but it is still unclear where he is currently ranked.

Speed's skills on the racetrack are on par with those of the top ranking students at the Racing Academy. His skills are somewhat inherited, with Speed knowing the right timing, and maneuvers during racing. Despite his amazing talent, he is generally quite modest about his abilities and claims that his maneuvers are a result of instinct rather than skill. He is not in it for money or fame - he just wants to be "the best in the world", and to have fun. He befriends two of the school's students, Conor and Lucy. Together, they work as a team both inside and outside school grounds.

Casually, Speed wears a blue long sleeve shirt with red stars embroidered on both sleeves. When racing, he dons a white and blue racing helmet with a large, stylized red "M" (which stands for Mifune Motors) atop the visor and a racing jacket that contains several references to the original anime and manga series. The jacket's collar is red, an homage to the red racing ascot tie the original Speed Racer had worn. The jacket's color scheme is mostly blue with white accents, a homage to the color scheme of the original Speed's outfit. Lastly, the jacket features several patches which contain references to the Japanese show, including the names such as "Go" and "Daisuke", the Japanese names of Speed and Pops Racer, respectively. At formal events such as the school dance, he wears a pale light blue shirt and light brown jacket and pants.

X Racer

Character Voice Actor Season One First Appearance
X Racer Robbie Sublett TBA "The Beginning, Part 1"

Unknown whether "X" is his real or nickname, he is the oldest son of the original Speed Racer, and the number one racer at the Racing Academy. Known for his skills and abilities on the track, he is slick, handsome, and popular among the girls at school. While X appears to be a tough guy on the outside, he has a more kind-hearted personality than he leads other people to believe. He is initially shocked to find out that Speed is his long lost little brother, but becomes more accepting of the fact and develops a tough, brotherly bond with him and is always there to give advice. But just because Speed's his brother, doesn't mean X is willing to go easy on him. They are constantly each others' rivals on the track. He usually hangs out with Jared, Jesse, and his girlfriend, Annalise. He wears a gray A-Shirt and has a large "X" tattoo on his right arm.

His car's name is the Shooting Star, a homage to X's uncle's (Rex Racer, known as Racer X) racing vehicle. Though the car retains none of the original Shooting Star's original color scheme, the vehicle dons the number 9 on both sides. It is unknown whether the original Speed Racer named him after Racer X, or if the Racing Academy had given the name to him. X had the Shooting Star rigged to activate an ejector chair which could transform into a mini helicopter.

Spritle Racer

Character Voice Actor Season One First Appearance
Spritle Racer Peter Fernandez TBA "The Beginning, Part 1"

He and Speed Racer are the only members of the original cast from the Japanese series in a major role. Spritle now runs the Academy founded by the Racer Family as the headmaster. While he is Speed and X's uncle and provides fatherly wisdom from time to time, he never bends the school rules for his nephews' sake. He is shown as a matured person in contrast to his childlike attitude in the original series, therefore, Spritle doesn't seem to be suspicious of anybody around him. Spritle remains clueless about Zile Zazic's evil scheme and usually sits behind the scenes during the climax of a given episode.

Lucy

Character Voice Actor Season One First Appearance
Lucy Sahra Mellesse TBA "The Beginning, Part 1"

A good friend of Speed and Conor, Lucy is the sensible one of the group. She wears a light blue mechanic’s uniform with the Racing Academy logo on it. Strict, open-minded, and studious, she often assists Conor with his work, but is a little bit bossy at times. While she is generally a friendly and calm individual, Lucy will occasionally insult Conor and bombard Speed with criticism. She always makes up for it by helping her friends. Lucy has formed a crush on Speed, as she has shown jealousy for any other girl who shows Speed affection in “Be Cruel To Your School” and “The Dance”. It is still unknown whether Speed knows these feelings, but since "The Dance", there is a good chance he might.

Trixie, Speed Sr.'s girlfriend, can be compared to Lucy, because her attitude and role in the series are very similar. She also shares Trixie's abilty to get jealous instantly when another girl hits on Speed. Lucy doesn't appear to drive her own car, but in one episode, she pilots a helicopter transformed from X's ejector seat.

Conor

Character Voice Actor Season One First Appearance
Conor Carter Jackson TBA "The Beginning, Part 1"

A poor racer, but a great mechanic, Conor is good friends with Speed and Lucy. His most defining characteristic is that he is a huge fan of Speed Racer Sr. to the point of obsession. He often cosplays in his Speed Racer outfit, has tons of memorabilia and merchandise in his dorm room, and knows everything there is to know about him and the Mach 5. His nerdish, hyperactive behavior and interests prevent him from making many friends- when Speed accepts him as one, he is eternally grateful and proves to be a reliable companion. Conor clearly has a crush on Annalise, despite of her being completely out of his league, and never having the feeling returned.

Chim-Chim

Character Season One First Appearance
Chim-Chim TBA "The Beginning, Part 1"

Conor built this robot based on the pet chimpanzee the headmaster used to own, but added countless gadgets and professional engineering skills. He is entirely loyal to Conor, and by extension, Speed and Lucy. Chim-Chim has a seemingly unlimited amount of uses, from transforming into a scooter, to storing anything inside the compartment in his stomach, to repairing the Mach Six while it's moving. However, that doesn't stop him from eating necessary car parts, or creating the usual kind of mischief all monkeys make. His belly has a lining of lead material, encasing the contents within the storage area, and protecting them from radiation, and magnetic deterioration. His control panel is behind the lid on his back. As a pantomime character, like R2-D2, he talks in electronic beeps.

In "The Dance", he was modified into a date for Conor named "Chimantha". Conor's rival Ronald built a monkey similar to Chim-Chim, which he named Mich-Mich. Chim-Chim was disabled by an avalanche in "Comet Run, Part 2", but uploaded his brain onto Lucy's camera. By the end of "Comet Run, Part 3", his brain was reuploaded into his repaired body.

Annalise Zazic

Character Voice Actor Season One First Appearance
Annalise Zazic Michal Friedman TBA "The Beginning, Part 1"

Annalise is X's girlfriend, and the second best racer in the school. A spoiled, selfish, whiny material girl, Annalise gets whatever she wants from her father, Zile Zazic, since they come from a rich family. She immediately dislikes Speed upon meeting him, since he's the new kid who gets picked upon in every school, and calls him "Newb" and "Speed Bump". Her discovery of him being X's brother only heightens her animosity for him, as he could be a possible competition for her own boyfriend, and becomes one of Speed's top enemies. The most recent episodes reveal the beginning of a shift in Annalise's and X's relationship, as X's friendship with Speed starts to interfere.

Snake Oiler, Speed Sr's racing rival in the original series can be compared to Annalise. His car number, 12, and attitude are very similar.

Zile Zazic

Character Voice Actor Season One First Appearance
Zile Zazic III Dave Skigen TBA "The Beginning, Part 1"

The academy would be nothing without Zile Zazic- he paid for, designed, and had the Academy's racing track "built for him". He also donated many buildings and additions to the school, and is on great terms with the headmaster and views X as the star student of the school. However, he has a vague, mysterious vendetta against Speed Racer from long ago, and once he discovers "Little Speed Jr." has built the Mach 6 from the Mach 5, he becomes his enemy in secret, carrying out undercover hits on him from his lair. This makes sense, since he is a rich oil tycoon, and the Mach 6's eco-friendly design could ruin him. He now not only wants to destroy the Mach 6, but Speed too. It is revealed in "Comet Run, Part 3" that his full name is Zile Zazic III, which is why he hates coming in third in anything.

In one episode he and Stan dress in the classic Car Acrobatic Team uniforms during the Comet Run trilogy. Zile Zazic wears a uniform similar to Captain Terror's, who is the leader of the Car Acrobatic Team from the original series. Stan wears a uniform similar to the other members of the Car Acrobatic Team.

Minor Characters

Speed Racer

Character Voice Actor Season One First Appearance
Speed Racer Sr. Peter Fernandez TBA "The Note"

Speed Racer Sr. is the father of Speed and X, which makes him the second known cast member from the 1967 Japanese show to appear here. He first appeared for a brief moment in the episode, "The Note". He states that he is not able to see Speed and X now, but he hopes to see them soon. They currently know that Speed Racer is not dead or missing, but is waiting for the right time to meet them face-to-face, when the time comes. His biggest role in the series so far is in Plot for Teacher during a flashback scene, where he is shown half-obscured in shadow, driving the Mach Five.

Jared and Jesse

Character Voice Actor Season One First Appearance
Jared and Jeese Michael Sinterniklaas TBA "The Beginning, Part 1"

Two twins who are part of X's student entourage, Jared and Jesse act as a team, and share the rank as the third best racers in the school. Normally rude and unpleasant, they often act as Annalise's bullish lackies. While they do their best to get the job done, both twins are equally incompetent. On the track, Jared and Jesse are a fearsome team. Although they race together in a single vehicle, the actual car has the ability to split into two pieces which both of them can operate separately for periods of time. They use this technique to surround a single opponent from both sides on the race track. They have both raced only two or three times in the series and have got bumped off the race track each time.

Stan

Character Voice Actor Season One First Appearance
Stan David "Zen Mansley" TBA "The Beginning, Part 1"

Stan is Zile's personal assistant and second-in-command, despite being clumsy and dimwitted most of the time. His large, monstrous size and gentle composure almost makes him look like a jolly giant, often getting in the way of the evil plans he is supposed to carry out. He is overly polite to everyone, and is deeply apologetic whenever he disobeys his boss. However, Stan is still serious about the job, and his mind is always on Zile's side. In the episode "Comet Run, Part 3," it is revealed that his full name is Stan Jr.

Armand Aniskov

Character Voice Actor Season One First Appearance
Armand Aniskov David "Zen" Mansley TBA "The Beginning, Part 1"

Professor Aniskov is an instructor at the Racing Academy who teaches the class on offensive driving techniques. Stern and aloof, he rarely shows any signs of favoritism, and treats all of his students with the same air of indifference. He is probably one of the more critical instructors that the academy has to offer, and is not particularly well-liked by any of his students because of this. His behavior also appears to spread beyond the student body, as he once made a snide remark towards Headmaster Spritle after Speed's first qualifying race. The students often describe him as a mean professor, particularly Conor.

Susan Winn

Character Voice Actor Season One First Appearance
Susan Winn Mami Kimura TBA "The Beginning, Part 1"

Susan Winn is an intelligent and level-headed woman who teaches the class on defensive driving techniques at the Racing Academy. Professor Winn is generally much kinder and more accepting of her students than Professor Aniskov, and is respected because of this. While displaying a sense of strict guidelines and acceptable conduct in her classes, she is a very fair individual.

She is handicapped, and travels around in a sleek, motorized wheel-chair. Her handicap was explained in Plot for Teacher, in deadly car crash that she was caught in between Speed Racer Sr., Captain Terror, and Damian Russ, the last person who saw Speed before his disappearance. While Damian had not caused the crash and even rescued her from the wreckage, she believed he was responsible for her handicap, and never forgave him since.

Mach Five and Mach Six

The second episode features the rebuilt Mach 5 designed as it appeared in the original anime, only animated in CGI, like all of the other cars in the show's racing sequences. Minor changes have occurred in the Mach Five in this series. Although the function for the homing robot is present, it is redesigned to resemble more of a metal peacock than a sleek, futuristic robot dove. The Deflector is used as the roof of the Mach Five. Also revealed in this show is an ejector's seat underneath the driver's seat in case of emergencies. A parachute was made, but was forgotten to be installed at the time.

Its return is brief, as one of the antagonists destroys it successfully- the original makes a cameo in Plot for Teacher. However, plans for a new car are discovered and soon the protagonists retool the Mach Five to form the Mach 6. The Mach 6's engine is not designed to run on gas, which is a crucial story point, even though gas is still used for it through most of the series. It has all the features of the Mach Five, but redesigned or changed in some form or another. For example, the rotary saws are kept, but they're turned into laser saws. Also, the car has become more of a silver color with a fan in front and also includes two functional jets in the back where the fans were, and are used to get out of situations like a tornado (as seen in the episode 'The Dance') or to help with acceleration. The new car features a transparent, holographic screen (better known as the 'comp') over the dashboard that the driver can use to interact live with his crew, and with other racers. Apparently, Speed mentions it can dispense rubber spiders out the back, and also real spiders, but he has not confirmed this.

The Mach 6 succeeds the Mach 5 for the rest of the series, and more of the original gadgets will be gradually revealed (such as the sludge slick) and used in future episodes.

Episodes & DVDs

References

External links

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