Monday, February 26, 2007

Go, Speed Racer, Go!

I'm kind of being indoctrinated into the whole Speed Racer thing. Well, maybe indoctrinated is a strong word, but I'm definitely getting the toes wet, for what it's worth. I never watched the show as a youngster and never formed any sort of attachment to it that lives on in my addled adult mind but I'd heard so many things about it, and it has achieved such iconic opop culture status that when I saw the first DVD collection from Artisan for $5.00, I figured I'd try the thing out, maybe watch it with the kids.

Shortly after buying the DVD I ran across the Tommy Yune mini-series at the public library and I thought it might be a good idea to read it and get up to speed, as it were, before diving into the episodes. The book was meant to be a prequel, and matched with my existing but limited knowledge of the characters and show, it should have been a good primer - which it was.

In fact, the comic book kind of surpasses the show in many, many ways. Tommy Yune did a masterful job of crafting the story and the art is superb. I particularly liked the annotations and the DVD style bonus features located inn the back of the trade - something I've long been a supporter of but haven't seen nearly enough of in the comic industry. Based on the strengths of Yune's Speed Racer mini I think I'm going to follow it up by checking out his sequel mini, Racer X. It really managed to leave an impression and got me excited to watch the series.

Needless to say, it was an experience making the transition.

I do understand that the show is, like, 40 years old but it has been hard for me to watch that style of Japanese adaptation since I got out of Robotech around age 13. They still maintain a lot of their charm, but the quick talking and the matching of American voices to Japanese mouth flapping, they tend to give me a headache now, more than anything else. I'd rather watch it in the original Japanese with subtitles, I think, but those are not available, as far as I know.

When I discovered that the Robotech episodes that I was watching as a kid were an 'adaptation' with heavy edits and story changes rather than a translated Robotech show that was actually being produced overseas and imported, I was crushed. It made me curious to see the originals but I never bothered. That was probably more a result of my feelings of being burned than anything else, but thinking about it now I may yet go back and explore Macross more thoroughly through the DVD releases.

Anyway, the show is primitive and noisy but we'll see how it goes. I never judge anything based only on its first two episodes so we'll see how things shape up with the introduction of racer X into the mix.

Onwards and upwards!


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