Speed Racer vs. Mach Go Go Go (Part One)

For Christmas 2019, one of the gifts I got was the Blu-ray Collector’s Edition of Speed Racer that FUNimation Entertainment released, which includes Speed Racer, Mach Go Go Go, and Mach Go Go Go Restart. With this set, I was finally able to see Mach Go Go. When I viewed this series, I watched it side-by-side with the corresponding episodes of Speed Racer in order to compare the two versions. Each night consisted of two episodes of Speed Racer, followed by the accompanying episodes of Mach Go Go Go.

When talking about the characters, I will be using their English name, followed by their original Japanese name. I am doing it this way since readers are more likely to be familiar with the characters’ names from Speed Racer. I will also be listing the episodes with the English dub title first, followed by the title from the original Japanese.

Going into this comparison, I was expecting to see quite a bit footage cut and dialogue changed between the two versions. I was surprised to discover that not a lot of footage was cut between the two versions. And while there were some changes made to the dialogue between the two versions, it was nowhere near as much as I had thought there would be.

Because of how long this post would end up being, I am splitting this up into two parts. The first part will cover the first 26 episodes of the series, and the second part will cover the remaining 26 episodes.

Now on to the impressions and comparisons:

The Great Plan [Parts 1 and 2]/Mach 5, Let’s Go! [Parts 1 and 2]

I was impressed by how close the English dub got the dialogue to the original Japanese. There were a few differences, with one of the most notable being some lines that Trixie/Michi had being changed in the English dub to make it not so overt that she and Speed Racer/Go were dating. One of the funny things I saw in the subtitles in the first episode of Mach Go Go Go was the fact that a character says (in English): “I am Black,” but the subtitle for the line was in French (“Je suis Noir”).

Challenge Of The Masked Racer [Parts 1 and 2]/The Mysterious Masked Racer [Parts 1 and 2]

This two-part episode introduces Racer X/The Masked Racer, who is actually Speed/Go’s long-lost brother Rex/Kenichi who left home years ago. In the original Japanese, the tone of the dialogue was different from the English dub. The dub toned down Pops/Daisuke’s harshness in the flashback explaining why Rex/Kenichi left. Also, a couple of scenes of “violence” (Chim Chim/Sanpei scratching a guy’s face, and someone shooting a gun at Chim Chim/Sanpei) were cut. And the reason for Speed/Go to go out in the middle of night in the middle of a Category 4 typhoon and end up in a race with the Racer X/The Masked Racer made a lot more sense in the original Japanese version. In the original, Racer X/The Masked Racer gives Spritle/Kurio a letter to deliver to Speed/Go, which calls him out to race against him that night, and if he doesn’t show up, he forfeits his chance to be in the upcoming race. In the English dub, we’re never told what’s in the letter, and the reason the audience is given for Speed sneaking out in the middle of the night is so he can “gain more experience” before the race, since his father is telling him he can’t be in the race because he lacks experience.

And in the original Japanese version of these episodes, the main racer Speed/Go was up against (Genzo) in the first two episodes has been signed to Alpha Team (a team that was also trying to recruit Speed/Go, but Pops/Daisuke refuses to let him join). In the English dub, however, they decided to give this character a different name, even though it’s obviously the same character from the first two episodes. In the English dub, this character was named “Skull Duggery” in the first two episodes, and in this two-parter, he is referred to as “Slick.” I believe that was his last name, and that a first name was given (but I don’t remember it). English dubs of anime that were produced in the 1960’s. 1970’s. 1980’s, and even into the 1990’s tended to change the names of characters, as well as turned recurring minor characters like Genzo into different characters in each episode they appeared in. This is something that has always frustrated me.

The Secret Engine [Parts 1 and 2]/The Secret Of The Classic Car [Parts 1 and 2]

This two-parter is about a Model T Ford engine that had a code leading to a treasure. In the original Japanese dialogue in the first episode of this two-parter, there is a reference to James Bond that is removed from the English dub. I assume it was to avoid potential issues with copyright infringement.

Also in the original Japanese, the old man who owns the Model T is the son of notorious gangster Al Calone. In the English dub, the name was changed to something stupid (Lightfingers Klepto). The main villain of this two-parter was also given a dumb name in the English dub (Tongue Blaggard). For some reason, with both the English dub of the 1960’s Astro Boy series and the English dub for Speed Racer, the writers thought they were being funny and clever by giving characters these types of names. They just come across as cheesy and stupid. This was something else that annoyed me with early English dubs of anime.

An interesting thing to note is that in the first four episodes of Mach Go Go Go, the writers in Japan were definitely trying to make sure the series was Westernized in the characters’ designs and using current slang in the dialogue (“groovy” is used by the younger characters quite a bit). However, in the English dub of the first four episodes, the hip slang was removed. But, with this two-parter, the English dub used the word “groovy” at least a couple of times. I wish the writing for the dub could have been a little more consistent when it came to the modern 1960’s slang… either, they should have cut it entirely or have consistently embraced it.

In the English dub, when Speed/Go, Pops/Daisuke, and Trixie/Michi are fighting with the villains in the second half of the two-parter, Trixie/Michi has to remind Pops/Daisuke that he was a former wrestler. If that wasn’t bad enough, he responds that he almost forgot that fact. D’oh!

The Race Against The Mammoth Car [Parts 1 and 2]/The Menacing Mammothmobile [Parts 1 and 2]

This two-parter about the Mammothmobile had a couple of serious flaws in its premise, which originated in the original Japanese version of the episodes. In the English dub, the writers tended to want to fill on blank audio with narration. The worst offender for this is every time Racer X/The Masked Racer appears, and the dub keeps reminding the audience that Speed/Gp is unaware that he is really his older brother, Rex/Kenichi. Over the course of these two episodes, we heard that explanation THREE TIMES. Talk about overkill!

Speaking of Racer X/The Masked Racer, my husband and I have given him the nickname of “Deus Ex Machina Man.” It seems whenever Speed Racer/Go is in trouble, Racer X/The Masked Racer just happens to show up to save him.

And at the beginning of the first episode of this two-parter, Sparky/Sabu had some rather sexist dialogue in both versions of the show. But, considering the time period Speed Racer/Mach Go Go Go was made in, it’s not that unexpected.

And that Spritle/Kurio… he and Chim Chim/Sanpei have developed a bad habit of stowing away in vehicles. Yeesh!

The Most Dangerous Race [Parts 1-3]/The Nefarious Acrobat Clan [Parts 1-3]

This three-parter is about the Acrobatic Racing Team. In the first episode, there was a section where Spritle/Kurio and Chim Chim/Sanpei go undercover to spy on the Acrobatic Racing Team and take pictures. But this sequence is rather… trippy. They’re wearing weird disguises and Spritle/Kurio is driving an old-fashioned car while driving through a spooky area at night. Wait a minute… isn’t Spritle/Kurio too young to drive a car? Also, the way the Japanese animators animated this section, it honestly feels like they were on something when they did it. Considering Mach Go Go Go was created in the later 1960’s, that might not be out of the realm of possibility.

Also, there were a couple of shots that were cut in the English dub. First, in a scene where Speed/Go, Trixie/Michi, Sparky/Sabu, Spritle/Kurio, and Chim Chim/Sanpei are sitting on a hillside having lunch, Trixie/Michi becomes annoyed with Spritle/Kurio and pushes him. Later, a shot of Trixie/Michi slapping Speed/Go across the face was also cut. Yeesh, Trixie/Michi… who knew you were so violent?

It’s also interesting to note that Snake Oiler (the name of the main antagonist from the Acrobatic Racing Team) was actually named Snake in Mach Go Go Go. However, the “Oiler” part was added for the English dub. But this is the first time where the Japanese name and the English name in the dub almost match up.

In the first episode, while Speed/Go is training for the Alps race, Racer X/The Masked Racer interrupts him and has a conversation. The tone of the conversation is different between the two versions, and in the original Japanese, it seems to be foreshadowing what’s going to happen near the end of the second part.

And maybe it’s just me, but Spritle/Kurio comes across as more of a brat than usual in Mach Go Go Go. While he’s been kind of bratty all along, in this episode, he seems to have ratcheted it up a few notches. The English dub made Spritle/Kurio comes across as more of a brat when compared to the original Japanese, but the Japanese actually made him come across more like he does in the English dub.

In the third part, some of the dialogue in the original Japanese version is on the darker side and was toned down or changed completely in the English dub. Also, in the original Japanese version, there’s a section where Speed/Go and Racer X/The Masked Racer are together, and Speed/Go makes a comment about Racer X/The Masked Racer kind of feeling like an older brother. This was completely changed in the English dub. I prefer the original Japanese version of that scene. There was also a trippy dream sequence that Trixie/Michi has, although it makes a little more sense in the original Japanese. But it still felt like something that only could have come out of the late 1960’s.

Race For Revenge [Parts 1 and 2]/Marengo’s Revenge [Parts 1 and 2]

This two-parter is about a guy whose father died in a car race, and he’s out for revenge. Overall, in the first episode of the two-parter, I didn’t notice any real differences between the original Japanese and the English dub. In the second part, there’s a major plothole that originated in the original Japanese version. The guy who wants revenge for his father’s death 15 years earlier is running his father’s old car by remote control from a helicopter. However, he’s the only person in the helicopter, and his focus is on the remote control. So who’s flying the helicopter? An invisible person? There was also a major change to the dialogue at one point in the episode. In the English dub, they removed any references to death from the characters’ dialogue, although it’s obvious that at least one person died in the midst of this revenge plot by this point in the episode. Overall, this two-parter just wasn’t very good.

The Desperate Desert Race [Parts 1 and 2]/The Desert Race Of Death [Parts 1 and 2]

This two-parter is about Speed/Go entering a desert race. They meet a cocky driver Kim/Kimuk, who’s car has a time bomb put in it. Speed/Go is accused of being behind it, since Kim/Kimuk had bumped into the Mach 5 early in the episode. It turns out Spritle/Kurio and Chim Chim/Sanpei stowed away, this time disguising Spritle/Kurio as a little girl and Chim Chim/Sanpei as a baby. They follow behind a large family with several young children. I’m still wondering how Spritle/Kurio and Chim Chim/Sanpei were able to get on board the plane without any tickets. Later in the episode, the child and monkey stow away in the trunk of the Mach 5 once again. How come at this point, Speed/Go doesn’t automatically go and check the trunk for those two before going anywhere? But then again, Speed/Go made at least a couple of questionable decisions in this episode, so maybe he’s just not terribly bright.

The second episode of this two-parter had a long stretch of filler content when Spritle/Kurio and Chim Chim/Sanpei get lost in the desert and they see a mirage of an oasis. Their romping around in the mirage ran for WAY TOO LONG. Also, if everything was a mirage, then how was Chim Chim/Sanpei swinging on branches? At least the footage of them swimming in the water could have just been them moving around in the sand. Another complaint is that there’s such a big deal made about the big race in the desert, and at the end, we only see the beginning of the race. The English dub has a line a narration telling us that Speed/Go wins the race, but in the original Japanese, we just see the contestants start the race. That’s a bit of letdown.

The Fire Race [Parts 1 and 2]/The Underground Inca Race [Parts 1 and 2]

This two-parter is about the Fire Festival race. A government wanting to enter the lands of an ancient civilization (a made-up civilization was named in the English dub, but in the original Japanese, it’s the Inca civilization). They have a world-famous racer, whose name was changed in the dub (I can’t remember the name from the English dub, but in the original Japanese he is known as the Inca Curse). This racer, who has been missing for 15 years, is known for having accidents taking place in races that he’s in. In the original, the Inca Curse is known for leaving a trail of death, and this was obviously whitewashed in the English dub. It was fascinating to watch the original Japanese version and see how many references there were to death that had to be eliminated or whitewashed in the English dub. Oh, and we get another story where Speed/Go and his friends travel to a foreign country for a race, and Spritle/Kurio and Chim Chim/Sanpei stow aboard the plane. But this time, no cross dressing or disguises of any kind. It looks like these two characters didn’t learn their lesson after all the danger they went through in the previous episode after stowing away and being in the same location as Speed/Go and the others.

In the second half of this two-parter, it was revealed that Racer X/The Masked Racer was disguised as the Inca Curse for the Fire Festival race, and that there is a connection between Racer X/The Masked Racer and the Inca Curse. Spritle/Kurio does something to anger the Inca people, and they punish him with death (while the dialogue doesn’t say so in the English dub, you can tell from the visuals what’s going on). And there’s a scene between Speed/Go and Racer X/The Masked Racer that was changed and made worse in the English dub… the changes make Speed/Go come across as an asshole who only cares about himself. The original Japanese dialogue was much better here.

Girl Daredevil [Parts 1 and 2]/The Secret Treasure Of Niagara [Parts 1 and 2]

This two-parter is about a female racecar daredevil. Speed/Go doesn’t hide his interest in her even though Trixie/Michi is right there with him, and I’m surprised that Trixie/Michi didn’t slap him. While the English dub only mentions that the big stunt that takes place near the end of the episode is at Niagara Falls, we don’t know where Speed/Go and the others are prior to this. But in the original Japanese, they are in Jacksonville, Florida, with Speed/Go getting ready for the Daytona 500. The big stunt is set at Niagara Falls, but there’s no way for Speed/Go and Trixie/Michi to get to Niagara Falls from Jacksonville in the time that’s given in the episode. I’m guessing the Japanese writers had no clue how much of a distance there really is between Florida and New York. And in a flashback in the English dub, there’s footage that clearly shows the daredevil’s father being attacked by a lion, but the dialogue doesn’t acknowledge it. However, we see in the dialogue in the original that her father was a lion tamer and had been attacked by a lion. And there were a couple of shots near the end of the episode that had been cut from the English dub, where Speed/Go is thinking about his parents.

When the villain steals the Mach 5 in the second half, and Speed/Go and the others follow him in a helicopter, they manage to go from Niagara Falls to Mount Rushmore without ever needing to stop for gas. It was this way in both versions, so I’m guessing it’s another case where the Japanese writers didn’t understand how truly far apart New York and South Dakota really are. I also find myself wondering how the villain built a secret base inside of Mount Rushmore without anyone noticing.

A couple of other interesting notes: in the English dub, Daytona was changed to Nytona (or Nitona), and I don’t understand why. Also, the girl daredevil’s name was changed between the Japanese and the English dub. In the original Japanese, her name is Helen. In the English dub, she became Twinkle Banks. Now, maybe it’s just me, but Twinkle almost sounds like a stripper name to me. LOL!

The Fastest Car On Earth [Parts 1 and 2]/The Demonic Racecar [Parts 1 and 2]

This two-parter is about a dangerous engine that’s dug out of a grave at a cemetery and is put in a car for an upcoming race. Chim Chim/Sanpei is captured and used as a test subject for a spray that’s used for a driver to be able to drive the car with the dangerous engine. No name is given for it in the English dub, but in the Japanese, it’s referred to as LDD. Any relation to LSD? Considering the side effects we see in the actual driver that uses it, that might be the case. The dude turns green and starts hallucinating!

And for some reason, Speed/Go becomes obsessed with the engine, and manages to take the car with this engine for a spin. He starts acting like he’s on something while driving it. Maybe traces of the LDD are somehow still in the car? Who knows? The cliffhanger at the end of the first episode of this two-parter is that Speed/Go passes out and could crash at any time. But of course, he has protagonist powers, so he obviously isn’t going to die. But like my husband commented to me at the end of this episode, Speed/Go really needs some intelligence powers. LOL!

In the second part, Speed/Go came across as a whiny brat when he was arguing that he wanted to drive the GRX (the car with the dangerous engine) as his father was dragging him away from it. Unfortunately, Speed/Go was exposed to the LSD… I mean, the LDD… which helped him drive the car at first. But this spray drug makes the person thirsty, and water counteracts the effects and makes the person afraid of speed. So we ended up spending some of the episode seeing Speed/Go afraid of going fast and him thinking about advice his father gives him before the big race to help him overcome his fear. Another character drives the GRX during the big race, and let’s just say it doesn’t end well for this new driver. Near the end of the episode in the English dub, there was a sudden cut to Speed/Go and his father mourning the driver. But it turns out some of the footage was cut to show that they are actually at a cemetery, and that the driver has been buried (in the English, the shot it cuts to isn’t clear that they’re in a cemetery or that it’s not the same day as the race).

Oh, and it should be mentioned that when the first racer who drivers the GRX crashes during the time trials, he dies… but the English dub has the announcer saying that he’s not injured, he’s just passed out. So far, this is the worst instance of whitewashing that we’ve seen at this point in the series.

Mach 5 vs. Mach 5 [Parts 1 and 2]/The Mach 5, A Hair’s Breadth From Danger [Parts 1 and 2]

This two-parter sees Speed/Go being framed for a crime, and it’s actually thanks to Spritle/Kurio and Chim Chim/Sanpei stowing away in the trunk of the Mach 5 that there’s witnesses as to what actually happened to help prove his brother’s innocence. The scientist who framed Speed/Go manages to build an exact replica (with a couple of modifications) of the Mach 5 in an hour. Unbelievable. But what’s really funny is the difference in how the original Japanese and the English dub treat this. In the original Japanese, the leader of the organization that the scientist built the Mach 5 for is impressed that he got this done in an hour. But in the English, the leader of the organization is disappointed that it took him an hour to build this fake one from scratch.

In the second episode of this two-parter, the animation is bad for most of it. Admittedly, the animation for Speed Racer/Mach Go Go Go isn’t spectacular by any means, but the animation in this episode was much worse than normal. They must have had the D team animating it. There was a couple of shots in the original Japanese episode that were cut from the English dub when they’re in the undersea hideout and the professor’s daughter dies. With the removal of those shots, it’s clear that the daughter dies, but it’s not as blatant as in the original Japanese version. And when Speed/Go throws the mastermind of the plot out of the fake Mach 5, it’s obvious that the guy dies, but the English dub doesn’t say anything in the dialogue. However, in the original Japanese, the police inspector makes a comment along the lines of, “bad guys like these always meet a dead end.” <groan> And Spritle/Kurio and Chim Chim/Sanpei keep stowing away, this time on police helicopters and boats. They even play a part in the chase with the mastermind. But I have to say, this storyline just wasn’t well written at all, in either the original Japanese or in the English dub.

The Royal Racer [Parts 1 and 2]/The Junior Grand Prix [Parts 1 and 2]

This two-parter is about Pops Racer/Daisuke Mifune being commissioned to build a little racecar for the prince of a foreign country for the junior grand prix that’s coming up to celebrate the prince’s coronation. Amazingly, the prince had the same horrible name in both the original Japanese and the English dub (Prince Jam). The country was called the Land of Saccharine in the English dub, and in the Japanese it was called the Land of Wafer. In the original Japanese, Prince Jam has a cousin named Prince Bun. <groan> Spritle/Kurio is pissed because his father doesn’t build a car for him and won’t let him race in the junior grand prix (he’s just not quite old enough; it’s for kids between the ages of 8 and 13, but Spritle/Kurio is like seven years, 11 months, 20-something days, and 8 hours… and yes, it was like this in both the original Japanese and in the English dub). Spritle/Kurio is also told he can’t come along on the trip because there isn’t enough room for him. Well, guess what? To no one’s surprise, Spritle/Kurio and Chim Chim/Sanpei stow away YET AGAIN. It turns out there’s a plot to kill Prince Jam before the coronation so Prince Bun can be put on the throne and controlled, and by chance, Spritle/Kurio happens to look a lot like Prince Jam. At one point, they’re both being chased and they collide with each other. The result is that the palace guards take Spritle/Kurio with them, while Speed/Go takes the prince with him. Yep, this is Speed Racer/Mach Go Go‘s version of The Prince and the Pauper! The main thing that stood out to me in the second episode of this two-parter was the fact that in both the English dub and the original Japanese is that Spritle/Kurio is doing the narration at the beginning of the episode instead of Speed/Go. I thought that was a nice touch. However, I thought the narration at the end of the episode in the English dub was dumb.

The Car Hater/Stop The Speeders!

This episode starts out with Trixie/Michi driving the Mach 5 with Speed/Go in the passenger’s seat. They’re heckled by a group of young boys driving recklessly in a sports car. It isn’t until the two cars stop when the boys realize it’s the Mach 5, and that the guy in the car is their idol, Speed/Go. Trixie/Michi and Speed/Go befriend a girl named Jeanine Trotter/Sayuri, who wants to be a race car driver, but her father hates cars because her brother was killed in a car accident. Mr. Trotter (Jeanine’s father) comes riding up on his horse and sees Jeanine with the Mach 5, and he loses it. He starts using a whip to attack the car and starts going on about how cars are evil, etc. Throughout most of the episode, we see that Mr. Trotter (this name makes me groan, since he uses a horse as his mode of transportation) seems to have anger management issues. We see him use his whip on people, and he even runs over a couple of people while riding on his horse. While people yell at Mr. Trotter in the English dub, some of the dialogue has been whitewashed from the original Japanese (in the original, people are threatening to send him to an insane asylum for what he’s been doing). Mr. Trotter becomes so obsessed with trying to get rid of cars that he hires three men who provoked Speed/Go earlier in the episode in order to sabotage cars to cause crashes and force people to stop using cars. But this plan backfires on him when Trixie/Michi and Jeanine/Sayuri go for a drive in a car that his hired goons tampered with. Of course, Speed/Go saves the day, and Mr. Trotter learns his lesson. However, Mr. Trotter should really be heading off to jail for all the issues and chaos he created with the tampering of the cars.

We have made it halfway through Speed Racer/Mach Go Go at this point.

You can read “Speed Racer vs. Mach Go Go Go (Part Two)” here.

Additional posts about Speed Racer:

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