A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Speed Racer is a 1960s Japanese cartoon series that gained popularity in the United States when MTV picked it up in the 1990s. While there's a profusion of explosions and action, it's very cartoonish and garnished with a sleek retro look.
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What's the story?
The beginning of this SPEED RACER tells an exciting, if simply animated, adventure story. Here, our hero Speed races to win prize money for a new car, while fending off villains trying to steal plans for the car. By the end of the series, after going up against a number of villainous characters, dangerously tricked-out cars, and shady schemes -- while sticking to his good-guy image -- Speed is a seasoned driver ready for the title of best racer in the world.
Is it any good?
This hit 1960s Japanese cartoon has a sleek look and an emphasis on car crashes and other explosions that kids will love almost as much as die-hard anime fans. The beginning of Speed Racer is more awkwardly animated and less streamlined than later episodes, but there are still plenty of fast-paced thrills. As the series progresses, fans will find more psychological themes and drama mixed with the action and suspense.
The best in this series is Episode 21, "The Fastest Car on Earth," where Speed falls under the spell of a powerful new racing engine. The series' usual emphasis on action and movement is heightened by some very dramatic visual effects and a fully orchestrated, suspenseful music score.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of Speed Racer. Why do you think it became popular in the U.S., and so long after it came out in Japan? What do you think about Speed's good-guy image? Is he such a good character if there are always explosions and dangerous situations all around him? Does he ever solve something with violence that could have been solved another way?
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