Anime DVD Review: Speed Racer Volume 3

Speed Racer Volume 3 contains episodes 24 through 36 of the Speed Racer anime series. Because 13 episodes were crammed onto the disc, the video quality is noticeably lower in comparison to the first two volumes; the episodes on this disc look rather fuzzy. And with 13 episodes being crammed onto the disc, there are absolutely no special features included.

Speed Racer Volume 3
English Publisher: Family Home Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: May 24, 2005

The set opens with “The Royal Racer,” which is a two-part episode. The episode focuses on a race for 8 to 13 year olds, and Spritle complains about not being allowed in the race; Pops has to remind him that he won’t turn 8 until two days after the race. This turns out to be a story where Spritle happens to look like Prince Jam, and Spritle is mistaken as the prince by kidnappers who want to put Prince Sugarin on the throne instead.

In “The Car Hater,” Trixie, Speed, and Spritle meet a girl who wants to be a race car driver. However, she believes she’ll never be one because her father hates cars so much.

Next is “The Race Against Time,” which is a two-part episode. In this episode, Speed meets a scientist named who asks with his dying breath for Speed to take care of his daughter, Calcia. Unfortunately, Calcia has hit her head and believes that she is Cleopatra.

In “The Snake Track,” Speed is training for the Super Car Race on the Snake Track, a new course with seven curves. After gangsters wreck the car of another racer, the car is brought to Pops to be repaired. This car has a special automatic transmission, and the racer has to a wear a metal brace on his right arm because he cannot use it. Speed challenges the racer to drive the Mach Five with its manual transmission to help “wake up” that right arm.

“The Man on the Lam” focuses on a man who is on the run from the law. He finds his daughter in a cabin, and it turns out that she has become blind since he last saw her. However, from talking to the girl, he finds out that she’s been told that her father passed away. The next day, Speed brings Spritle to the cabin so they can check on the girl and be sure she’s OK. However, when the man comes out, he holds Speed at gunpoint and demands the Mach Five.

Next is “Gang of Assassins,” another two-part episode. In this episode, Speed is participating in the Fujiyama Grand Prix. Meanwhile, ninjas kidnap some diplomats from a peace conference because they want to start a war. It’s up to Speed to help save the day.

In “The Race for Life,” Speed is in Mexico and he must obtain a serum to save the life of mayor of a village. The village is in danger of falling into the hands of the man who poisoned the mayor.

In “The Supersonic Car,” Vavoom Motor Co. is trying to build a supersonic car, and Speed is the one testing it. When the car is sabotaged by a rival company, they try to blame Speed for it.

The final two episodes in the set are the two parts of “Crash in the Jungle.” Speed is stranded on an island after a plane crash, and it turns out that this is where General Smasher is creating giant monsters.

While the tone of the storytelling in these episodes is the same as what appeared on the previous two discs, I thought that several of these episodes were a bit stranger than what had appeared previously. Personally, my favorite episodes on this disc would have to be “The Car Hater” and “The Man on the Lam.”

Like the first two DVDs, Volume 3 contains chapter marks, 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. However, unlike the other Speed Racer volumes, this disc was packaged in a metal tin instead of a standard DVD box. But it should be noted that when this DVD was reissued to correspond with the release of the live-action Speed Racer film, it was repackaged into a regular DVD box.

Overall, I was rather disappointed in this particular Speed Racer DVD. The first disappointment came in the packaging of the copy that I purchased. The tin it is packaged in is circular, in an effort to resemble a tire, and a cardboard slipcase slides over the tin. Unfortunately, there is no hub in the tin to hold the DVD steady, so the DVD just slides around in the tin. What I dislike about this is the fact that by being able to slide around, the DVD is more likely to become damaged.

My next disappointment came in the fact that 13 episodes were crammed onto the DVD. It really makes no sense, especially when the final two volumes of Speed Racer only include eight episodes on each on them. It seems like they could have found a way to divide the episodes a little more evenly across the five DVDs.

The inferior video quality on this particular set was also rather disappointing. The fuzziness that arose from the video compression was glaringly obvious, and it made the set a little harder to enjoy.

If you’re a fan of the Speed Racer anime and want to have all of the episodes on DVD in your anime home video collection, then you have to pick up this release to accomplish your goal. However, be prepared to be disappointed in the video quality and the lack of special features.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Speed Racer Volume 3 that my husband and I purchased.

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