Friday, July 2, 2010

30 Minute Japanimation Morality Plays

Back in the late '60s, Japanimation cartoons like Speed Racer were more than simply after school TV. They were art films that depicted a morality play in 30 minutes.

It was true that each 30 minute episode also had a total of about 30 frames, but boy did they tell a story of a fantastic race car, its special powers and a driver who raced it with fierce integrity. Fist fights, jealous girl friends, spectacular crashes and death -- cartoon people death -- were in every episode. Man, those were the days, camped out in front of the TV with a PB&J watching Speed go for another checkered flag. Today's NASCAR is lame by comparison.

The Snake Track episode with race car driver Rock Force was one such classic. Rock had a special driving technique of taking corners on two wheels (it was faster than on four) A favorite to win at the local snake track, Rock took a bribe to throw a race. But after taking the money, he disobeyed and won it anyway. Then the mob boss got mad and had his henchmen cut off Rock's right arm so he couldn't drive a stick shift anymore. Rock had it reattached, but it never quite worked as well.

That's when the hero, Speed Racer, enters the scene. Speed befriends Rock to learn his special cornering technique. By then, Rock was driving an automatic-transmission race car, but it gets smashed up by the angry mob. Speed promises to repair the car if Rock would teach him how to corner better. He does, they race and Rock wins. But the mob attempts to get Rock DQ'd for driving with one arm, a violation of safety rules. A gratuitous fist fight then ensues (gotta love Japanimation). While Rock is smashing the mob guy's face with his right arm, Speed exclaims, "Huh? Look Rock -- you're using your right arm!"

Awesome. Rock Force is my inspiration.

My right shoulder isn't 100%, but it's getting stronger each day.

Perhaps I should get into a fist fight with Shim after next Wednesday night's Trek Store ride. Now that would be inspiring.

Go Speed Racer, Go!

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