Friday, June 06, 2003
Will wonders never cease? Artisan Entertainment has released the first 11 episodes of Speed Racer on DVD, with a passel of neat extras.
Speed was my favorite after-school cartoon (we didn't use the word anime back then) ever - I used to watch the syndicated reruns on some UHF channel in Philadelphia (can't recall the call letters) before The Banana Splits, Captain Scarlet and Ultraman; with the afternoon kid's programming hosted by some guy named Wee Willie Winkie. Actually, I think it was Wee Willie Weber: it's been a long time.
These days nobody could host a kids show with a moniker like that. I mean, think about it.
The seminal 60's "Japanimation" series was loud, simple and often just didn't "translate" - but it was funny, scary, and drop-dead exciting to a little kid like me. Between the cartoons and having a close family friend from that nation, I grew up to be quite the Nihon-o-phile.
Now I'll finally get to see the episode called "Race For Revenge" which featured a robotic race car, the Mallenge, with an absolutely terrifying-looking mechanical driver. I used to be phobic of driverless vehicles as a small child - I called them "monster cars" and nightmares about them coming to get me. Remember the 1970's movie "Killdozer"? Whew. I had to close my eyes through part of that one.
Okay, not every kindergarten-age girl loves shows about fast cars and villains, but Speed was truly cool - and Trixie loved him. Consider the source.
In the past few years, I think the Speed Racer Fan Club had managed to release a limited edition box set of the series, the price was very steep if you could get your hands on one of the few custom-made copies - I think it was $300 or so.
If you're a die-hard fan with money to burn, there's a company that makes custom Mach 5 racers on a Corvette chassis - if you're willing to shell out 125 big ones.
Anywhow, this new DVD release is much more wallet-friendly, so I can't wait to get my hands on a copy when I get some spare change.