Speed Racer

 
Fast, sleek and explosive classic TV series.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness

Several fistfights, some car crashes and burnings. Speed's father is quite rough with him in two scenes. Implied death of a character. In one episode, a car-hating father roughly shoves his daughter to the ground and whips Speed Racer and a race track official.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this 1960s Japanese cartoon series 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.

What's the story?

The beginning of this TV series 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?

QUALITY
 

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 the series 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of this series. 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?

TV details

This review of Speed Racer was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 2 year old Written byLovinMyGift June 9, 2011
age 2+
 

Cautions for young ones, but lots of positive msgs, enjoyment fluff.

My daughter is almost 3 and loves this! I still think it would have been better to wait until she was a bit older to introduce her to Speed, but now she's hooked, telling me Speed loves tickles and wanting to go to the park in the Mach 5. There is a lot of fist fighting and explosions. No language, and a strong sense of right and wrong. At this age, parents may want to be extra vigilant about the messages. I talked to my daughter about not hitting and she responded well to that and it hasn't been an issue. She loves the cars and the characters and the family dynamics and friendships. I think Speed is her first "hero," saving the day and taking care of people and making sure they're okay when they are hurt.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Kid, 9 years old September 26, 2009
age 8+
 

speed racer is awesome

what can i say. it is awesome
Parent of a 3 and 5 year old Written bymarceladns March 4, 2011
age 3+
 

Cheesy but harmless

My son is obsessed, scratch that, possesed by things that have wheels. Speed racer was love at first sight. And while my daughter enjoys it too, she often gets tired of it because my son would watch it over and over again. The animation is cheesy, and the stories are over the top and so are the accidents. Speed is always doing the good deeds but the explosion and the accidents could scare little kids. Chim-chim & Spritle are fun. For a 3 year old this is car heaven. Nothing to worry about it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Safety and privacy concerns

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