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Meet The Racers

April 17th, 2008

Before I delve any further into the world of Speed Racer, I want to acknowledge my primary information sources:

  • Speed Racer: The Official 30th Anniversary Guide by Elizabeth Moran, published 1997 by Hyperion. It’s a handy reference guide, though I’m finding that its spellings of character names aren’t necessarily accurate.
  • Speed Racer, an unofficial but highly informative website that gets much deeper into the series than I intend to do myself.

Now that we’ve met some of Speed’s rivals and foes, let’s look in on his family and friends.

One thing you may not have known about the Racer clan is that they really weren’t named “Racer” at all, at least not in Japan. Speed’s original name was Goh Mifune, with “Goh” intended as a bilingual pun on both the English word “go” and the Japanese word for “five,” as in “Mach 5.” (The series’ Japanese title was Mach Go Go Go, making clever use of all three meanings.) The embroidered “G” on Speed’s shirt referred to his Japanese name, and the big “M” on the Mach 5 was for Mifune Motors.

Pops Racer is seen above in his natural state: shouting. It was his stubborn belligerence which caused his son Rex to take to masked vigilantism, and it initially caused a rift between him and Speed when the latter wanted to follow in his brother’s tire tracks.

Before he became a race car designer/builder, Pops was a champion wrestler. Woe to the unfortunate thug on the receiving end of Pops’ moves.

Trixie (whose embroidered letter “M” stands for her Japanese name Michi) was Speed’s girlfriend. Her favorite outfit involved a pink, shapeless blouse which appeared to be a potato sack tied at the shoulders. I believe that Trixie’s lack of sartorial confidence may have explained why she became fiercely jealous every time a pretty girl showed up.

On the other hand, Trixie owned her own helicopter, which was useful when Speed needed an eye in the sky. She was also good in a fight. Still, too bad about the potato sack.

The youngest member of the Racers was Spritle, whose bottomless pit of an appetite served a sugar-fueled penchant for mischief that quite often got Speed out of a mess. His constant companion was the family monkey Chim-Chim.

It still nags me: why did they dress their youngest son and their monkey in the same outfit?

Spritle and Chim-Chim had a habit of hiding in the trunk of the Mach 5, in complete violation of both child restraint laws and inertia. When Speed’s back was against the wall, they provided valuable support.

Such as recruiting a squad of rock-throwing monkeys.

There’s not much to say about the final two members of the team. Sparky fixed the car. Mom Racer baked cookies.

Mom Racer will be played by Susan Sarandon in the movie, and she can bake my cookies any time.

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