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As “Speed Racer” went into production, elder brother Tatsuo stepped forward as the show’s main visual designer. Kuri, the youngest of the three, meanwhile became the series’ main producer and came up with ideas for story lines and sequence. He also personally directed many episodes of the series, including the classic “Trick Race” (1968), which raised the body count for TV animation as dozens of cars crashed and burned, along with their drivers. While still aimed at young children, the show’s action, both on the race track and off, helped move Japanese anime from being mere kid’s stuff into a mode of adrenaline-fueled adventure.

While car accidents added a dash of danger and realism, Kuri insists, “We intentionally tried to make a show that was peaceful and not violent. For instance, there is no evil organization that the heroes have to fight. There are villains, of course, sometimes with guns, but they never kill anyone. Still, we heard some complaints later that ‘Speed Racer’ was considered a little too violent in the USA.”

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