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This was an early attempt by the Japanese to covertly brainwash the minds of Americans so that they would all become their gaijin slaves. To an extent, it's worked, as most Americans have no idea that this is actually a Japanese cartoon. In a rare break from the Laws of Anime Physics, no one in the cartoon has blue hair.
Speed Racer - the teenage boy in question. For some inexplicable reason, nobody finds it odd that he is actually named "Speed". Perhaps one of his parents was addicted to it around the time of his birth. At any rate, besides becoming a world-famous racecar driver, he is also on a quest to get laid as much as possible and hits on almost the entire female cast.
Trixie - Speed's wannabe girlfriend, although he's too much of a horndog to stick to just one woman. She follows him around and acts like a complete bitch to anyone who might even so much as sneeze in Speed's general direction. For some reason, the writers decided not to give her a last name.
Sparky - Speed's mechanic and the scrawnier, less-handsome, geeky dude that Speed stands next to to look even hotter than he really is. What is Sparky's actual name? The world may never know. But he wears a red hat.
Spritle and Chim-Chim - what the hell is the deal with this kid and his freaking monkey?? All I can think of is that it's a pro-Evolutionist plot to indoctrinate children into believing that they're all just a bunch of monkeys, by showing one of them hanging out with a monkey in human clothes.
"Mom" Racer - hardly gets any face-time.
"Pops" Racer - he's overweight and he smokes--he's a heart-attack just waiting to happen. Didn't want Speed to become a racer, but changed his mind when he realized that he could live vicariously through him.
Racer X - he's secretly Speed's older brother who ran away from home years ago--a fact that the narrator never ceases to mention, until the viewer gets so sick of it that he hunts said narrator down and decapitates him. Has a fetish for spandex and masks, and stalking his hot younger brother.
edit Episodesmacho to leave well enough alone. If the episode involves a young, hot female supporting character, Speed will manage to get sequestered with her for a good portion of the episode or he will flirt with her a lot or something, in an attempt to get laid. (Although the show shied away from depicting or suggesting sex due to the time at which it was written, you can bet that had it been written today it would've probably been a veritable hentai, with the writers even going so far as to give Speed the ability to grow tentacles.) Then he will join back up with the main group and they will all figure out the plans of the villains-of-the-week, which will then be easily foiled. Speed will then go on to completely win whatever race he's in, despite the fact that there is no way in these three dimensions that he could ever make up the time he missed screwing around with the villains/Racer X/chicks.
edit Speed's Car
What would a show about racecar driving be without a car? I can tell you that if Speed did not have his car, then he would not be a racer and could thus not travel around the world, enticing women with his ability to grow tentacles. Speed's car is called the Mach 5, and it's kinda like something off of "Pimp My Ride", except that all the gadgets on Speed's car are actually useful for something. The gadgets are controlled by a set of buttons set in the middle of the steering wheel (so much for airbags):
- A-Button: deploys hydraulic jacks to raise and lower the car. Possibly an attempt to make the Mach 5 into a low-rider, although to complete the look, it would have to be painted candy purple and have a Virgin Mary painted onto the hood.
- B-Button: deploys belt grips for the tires, for when driving horizontally just isn't good enough.
- C-Button: deploys huge circular saws from an area beneath the hood of the car. Possibly an attempt to get to that hard-to-reach lumberjack demographic.
- D-Button: basically a roof for the convertible, that happens to be bulletproof. Great for gun-nuts and gun-fearers alike.
- E-Button: whatever this actually does, it was only done twice in the whole series. I think it might be night vision or something.
- F-Button: raises a periscope and turns on the TV on the dashboard. Whether or not you could get cable channels or porn with this thing has yet to be proven. Although, using the periscope to watch ladies get undressed in their rooms is kind of like porn.
- G-Button: deploys a bird-shaped robot from a slot in the hood. Can be used to send messages to people, knock out bad guys, disable airplanes, anchor climbing ropes to pyramids, call the mothership, achieve faster-than-light travel, etc.
The Mach 5 also contributes copiously to the Global Warming phenomenon, although there is no button for this.