Speed Racer has existed in more iterations that you might know: there’s the original cartoon series from Japan in the late ‘60s, of course – originally called Mach Go Go there, renamed to Speed Racer for us American types – and the well-known (if not well-appreciated) 2008 major motion picture of the same name. But were you aware that there have been several other TV series (including The New Adventure of Speed Racer and Speed Racer: The Next Generation), two webisode series (Speed Racer Lives and Mach Girl), multiple comic book series (including the serial story in 1958’s Shonen Book, the first appearance of the franchise), and even a one-act live play (Spritle: A One Man Show)?
Now comes word (via AnimeNewsNetwork.com) that Tatsunoko Production is developing a new Speed Racer series, targeted at a “modern audience.” Not sure exactly what that means, other than it won’t be a black-and-white, silent, “moving-pictures” style of series shot on 8mm film for the ever-hip 1930s crowd, I guess.
While Tatsunoko did confirm that the show is in production, there did not elaborate on any further details in regard to the series, leaving fans to speculate on its style and scope for now. The smart money is on a CGI-style series, although I personally think it would work extremely well as a traditionally-drawn cartoon; the sense of nostalgia alone would be enough to draw lots of fans of the original back in, I’d imagine.
Tatsunoko also mentioned that they are planning a new merchandise line to be released concurrently with the show, so collectors should have lots of new Mach 5 and Racer X paraphernalia to look forward to. I’ve long thought that Speed Racer cosplay is a sorely under-utilized source in cosplaying at conventions, so maybe this new influx to the franchise could help spike its popularity to those looking to play dress-up in the not-too-distant future.
Finally, I’d like this news to serve as a reminder to everyone of how not-completely-terrible the Wachowski’s 2008 Speed Racer film truly was. Yes, it was a little weak in the script and story departments, but hot damn if it wasn’t a imagistic delight, and the casting was damn near perfect, even if the actors and actresses weren’t given a lot to work with. I highly recommend you go give it another view if you haven’t seen it in a while (or if you never saw it to begin with – for SHAME!), and just enjoy it for what it is: an awesome visual representation of what has long been an awesomely-visual franchise.