Anime DVD Review: Speed Racer Volume 2

Speed Racer Volume 2 contains episodes 12 through 23 of the Speed Racer anime series. Like with the first DVD, there are chapter marks on the disc, but they are not usable by the viewer. In order to skip over something, the viewer has to use the fast forward button on their DVD player’s remote control. When the DVD was originally pressed, the outer sleeve had a button which caused the lights on the Mach 5 to light up, and part of the Speed Racer theme song would play.

Speed Racer Volume 2
English Publisher: Family Home Video
Format: DVD
Release Date: May 18, 2004

The disc opens with a two-parter called “Race for Revenge.” When Speed participates in a test session, he is overtaken by a mysterious car labeled as X3. It turns out the motor in this car whose driver was killed by The Three Roses Club years earlier. It turns out the car is the work of Slash Marker, the son of the driver who was killed. Flash intends to have his revenge on The Three Roses Club.

Next is a two-parter called “The Desperate Desert Race.” Speed and another racer named Kim, along with their cars, are airlifted to Flat Hill Country for a desert race. After a time-bomb destroys Kim’s car after it’s unloaded from the plane, Spritle is blamed. He’s innocent, and Spritle saw who did it. Unfortunately, they have a challenge to convince Kim that Spritle is telling the truth.

Next is “The Fire Race,” which is a two-part episode. This story sees the country of Kapetapek opening its borders after the world agrees to race with Kabala, a racer who is rumored to cause accidents. The race must be completed through a volcano in five hours. It also turns out that a group of racers wants to steal the treasure of Kapetapek.

“The Girl Daredevil” is a two-parter that sees a female car stunt driver named Twinkle trying to cross Niagara Falls on two rope cables. When she finds herself getting into trouble doing this stunt, and Speed goes to save her. When they both fall, they discover a hidden cave used by some gangsters.

“The Fastest Car on Earth” is another two-parter. In this story, a woman named Oriena Flux and her henchmen find a powerful and dangerous high speed engine called the GRX; they want to use it to ensure that they win the Oriental Grand Prix. When the engine is tested on a track, Pops recognizes the sound of it and warns Speed not to go anywhere near it. Pops tries to get Oriena to give him the engine so it can be destroyed; however, Speed has his own ideas and ends up driving the car with the GRX.

The final two episodes on the disc are the two parts of “The Mach-5 vs. the Mach-5.” In this story, Speed is tricked by Dr. Nightcall and his daughter to use the Mach 5 to steal a device called the Mizmo beam. With this device, they build another Mach 5 for their boss named Cumulus.

The episodes in this set follow the storytelling and tone that was established in the first 11 episodes of the series. The stories continue to engage viewers, keep them interested in what’s going on, and to root for Speed Racer to overcome whatever obstacle is in his way in each episode.

When it comes to the DVD itself, there isn’t an actual “special features” menu for the viewer to access. Instead, there are small buttons on various menu pages that the viewer needs to click on to view the special features.

On the main menu, there are three buttons: one with a seahorse, one with the letter “M,” and one with the letter “G.” The seahorse button takes you to a text-only history for Tatsunoko Production Co., Ltd. On the biography is a link to a scene in one of the episodes where Tatsunoko’s seahorse logo makes an appearance. The letter “M” takes you to an explanation for what the “M” on Speed’s helmet and Trixie’s shirt stand for. The letter “G” takes you to an explanation for what the “G” on Speed’s shirt stands for.

The buttons for the remaining special features are found on the menu pages for the pairs of episodes that appear on the disc. On most of the menus, there is a button with a bio for a villain, a bio for a car that appears in each set of episodes, and a link with a picture of Spritle’s face; this button showcases a scene that appears in the pair of episodes that features Spritle.

For the villain and car biographies, there is a link to a scene featuring the villain or car. The villains highlighted are: Slash Marker Jr., the Three Roses Club, Ali Ben Schemer, Kabala, Mr. Kadar, Cornpone Brotch, Oriana Flux, Dr. Nightcall, and Professor Cumulus. The cars that are featured include: The Melange X3, The Black Tiger, Twinkle Banks’ Acrobatic Car, The GRX, and The Fake Mach 5.

The menu for episodes 16 and 17 does not have a bio for a vehicle; instead, there is a button with the word “oops” on it. This link takes you to an explanation of a blooper that appears in that set of episodes. There is a link included in the blooper write-up that takes you to the scene that includes the blooper.

Like the first Speed Racer DVD, there really isn’t much in the way of special features. It’s also obvious that the company that put together this DVD did it “on the cheap.” However, for Speed Racer fans, this disc is needed in order to acquire the episodes of the series on DVD for their anime home video collection.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Speed Racer Volume 2 that my husband purchased for me as a gift.

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