If you are of a certain age, coming home from school and watching Speed Racer was an indelible part of growing up.
Originally airing in 1967-68, but mostly re-run in syndication on American UHF channels throughout the '70s, it hailed from Japan's Tatsunoko Productions and formed a captivating block of afternoon cartoon time shared with a bowl of Count Chocula or cinnamon Koogle sandwich and a tall glass of orange Kool-Aid.
For kids who loved Hot Wheels or Johnny Lightning toy cars, Sizzlers or AFX racing sets, Speed Racer was required watching, with its weekly exploits of the 18-year-old Speed Racer (Go Mifune in Japan) in his souped-up, gadget-equipped Mach 5 convertible, his girlfriend Trixie, dad Pops Racer, mechanic Sparky, and the annoying candy-crazed pair of Spritle and his pet monkey, Chim Chim, accompanying him to grands prix around the globe.
But the coolest character of all was Speed's presumed-dead brother, Rex, who in reality was the mysterious masked Racer X, who drove the sleek Shooting Star sporting the notorious number "9."
Funimation Entertainment has just blessed us with a sparkling new HD transfer of all the original Speed Racer Season One shows in a deluxe Blu-ray set available now. All 52 episodes are included in this 5-disc edition, with dubbed English voices. Due to a printing error by Funimation, this set does not include the Japanese language unedited episodes, which are apparently coming in a future release.
Cleanse your clouded mind of the bizarre 2008 live-action Speed Racer movie from the Wachowskis and take the checkered flag with this high-octane edition of the original cartoons.