Another mega-moto-movie has roared into the international box office. And while the Fast series may at first glance seem to be running at a completely different speed than anime, that actually couldn’t be farther from the truth. If Fate of the Furious’ car carnage charms you, but still doesn’t seem cartoonish enough, consider buckling in with these turbo-charged toons.
If Tokyo Drift didn’t seem technical enough, do dive into this long-running series that gets so deep into the particulars of drifting, calling it “car porn” would be the understatement of understatements. The illegal races in this show don’t happen on the streets of L.A. after hours, of course, but on the winding downhill roads of the Kantō region mountains. It’s sooooo made for Fast fans that, instead of describing the plot, we’ll just mention how Keiichi Tsuchiya, a real-life pioneer of drifting, was a creative supervisor the series. So yes, it’s legit.
Much like Brian O’Conner’s journey from do-right undercover LAPD officer to outlaw member of the Toretto “family,” this show follows a middle-mannered cubicle jockey’s seduction to the dangerous lifestyle of modern, high-seas piracy. Of course, in this case, the innocent is actually kidnapped for ransom by the gangsters, and he develops a more kick-ass flavor of Stockholm syndrome. Ever macho and always mad, the series even parallels the Fast movies’ “spectacle creep,” starting off with a premise somewhat grounded in contemporary crime, but not taking long at all before getting around to killer robots and assassin nuns.
It’s like Death Race 2000 to the 10th power! Or a gleefully nightmarish underground competitor for the Wacky Races. Seven years in the making, and Madhouse’s obsession with detail radiates out of every frame. Join mach 500 racers (and rival lovers) Crab Sonoshee and the impossibly-pompadour’ed Sweet JP for the ultimate illegal challenge on Roboworld, a planet whose cyborg rulers have expressly declare that racing is forbidden. If that doesn’t sound bizarre enough yet, wait until the monstrosity known as “Funky Boy” swings by for the final lap.
A relic of the Wild West era of anime imports in America, when dangerous O.V.A.’s were the only titles getting through the rocky waters of foreign licensing. On paper, the plot sounds typical to a crime flick. You’ve got a pair of lead-footed outlaws getting framed for a kidnapping, and finding out–through a series of high-speed double crosses and surprising cases of mistaken identity–that the real bad guy is a suit all the way at the top. However, such a description doesn’t nearly convey the sheer absurdity of vehicular carnage in this day-long gauntlet. Just look above for a tantalizing taste.
A spiritual successor to Riding Bean, with some returning characters, and some who’ve been totally re-imagined. Bounty hunting has never been more delightful as we follow a gang of housemates who basically nab criminals for fun after work. And as this is all more madness from the mind of mangaka Kenichi Sonoda, you’re guaranteed high-speed chases, swaggering gunplay, and some loving detail lavished upon the rides all throughout.
Immortal Grand Prix
Honestly, the premise should be a movie studio exec’s dream. Take two of the biggest film franchises on the planet and mash ’em together? That’s a Reese’s solution, if ever there was. Yes, if the promo image above doesn’t make it clear, this is precisely what you’d get if the cars in Furious 7 turned out to be Transformers in disguise. Just roll with it.
We’d, of course, be remiss not to mention the O.G. car culture cartoon. The Wachowskis’ Hollywood candy-colored cult film (which appropriately enough, came out when Tokyo Drift was still the most current Fast flick) has enjoyed some due reappraisal recently. However, if you’ve only known animated Speed as a Geico pitchman, you owe it to yourself to go back to the show and experience it purely. If for no reason other than seeing how 60s-era localization led to the American’s dub unforgettable “Speed speak.”
Any other favs for Fast fans? Share any and all recs in the comments.
Image Credits: Manga Entertainment, FUNimation, ADV Films, Artmic, Discotek Media
Featured Image Credit: Manga Entertainment