4 Reasons Why Hollywood Fails The Anime/Manga Genre

3 of 6


The Speed Racer anime is a timeless classic. Tatsuo Yoshida created the wildly popular manga that quickly caught the gaze of the American audience. Once the show debuted on American television, it became every kid’s dream to become Speed Racer. The television series itself is an early example of anime becoming a successful franchise in the United States, which helped spawn multiple spinoffs in both print and broadcast media. Fast forward to 2008, and this is what we get…..

Now this film has quite a cult following, but this is the perfect example of direction gone awry. The Wachowski were still riding high on The Matrix fame by the time Speed Racer released. They thought to capitalize off Speed Racer nostalgia, and fans were initially excited. The underlying plot is pretty simple. Young kid loves to race cars, is really good at it, and always runs into foes and defeats them. Sounds easy enough to recreate for the big screen. Unfortunately, the direction is the film’s demise. Did they have to make this film look like a Saturday morning cartoon acid trip?

Hmm … maybe that was the point, but it didn’t translate well on screen. The film tried to be somewhat grounded in reality, but still pass itself off as slightly animated-ish? I’m still confused. Whatever it was,  the film failed miserably. Directors have to be careful to not go over the top. I understand with anime that is sometimes hard to do, but Speed Racer was a fairly simple concept and story. How they messed this up? I don’t know. Also what a waste of talent! I love Emilie Hursch and I like the Wachoswkis’ work.

Next: Source Material