Future GPX Cyber Formula
|Future GPX Cyber Formula|
|Episode Length||24 minutes|
|# of Eps/Volumes||37|
Sum it up in a Sentence
A young boy enters into the futuristic Cyber Formula races with the assistance of his father’s custom-built race car, which includes a special super-AI.
The story follows Hayato Kazami, a young boy whose father is the top designer for Cyber Systems. Cyber Systems are special AIs built into cars to allow the drivers to perform at maximum efficiency. They don’t drive or anything like that, they just assist. Hayato’s father is developing a system for the Sugo Corporation when he is attacked by a group looking to steal his newest AI, the Asurada, for use in a war machine. Despite his disinterest in Cyber Formula racing, Hayato is forced to take the wheel of the GSX Asurada, a car with the Asurada AI installed on it, in order to keep it out of the bad guy’s hands. Unfortunately, this locks in Hayato’s driving data and so nobody else can drive the Asurada. Since this leaves the Sugo Corporation without a car, they’re forced to enter Hayato into the qualifying race instead. From here, Hayato must learn to master the Asurada, not just to win races, but to survive the attacks of the syndicate.
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Look up at the director. Did you start to groan in disgust? Well, don't worry. This isn’t Gundam SEED Fukuda. This is GEAR Fighter Dendoh Fukuda. In fact, this show was what put him on the map, and why the idea of a Gundam series directed by Fukuda should have been awesome not crappy. The main series is a lot of fun. It’s one part Speed Racer and one part Gundam, but the mix works together fairly well. The races are interesting and exciting, due in no large part to the very strong supporting cast. While Hayato is the main character, he’s just one of a number of plot threads going on throughout the races. He doesn’t win every race, and a lot of the time he isn’t even the most important thing on the track. Future GPX Cyber Formula has a really amazing way of making potentially unlikable characters be fun and interesting. Karl Richter von Randoll in particular is a great example of this, as he somehow manages to avoid the annoying factor that comes with arrogant geniuses and instead ends up one of the most likable and amusing characters in the cast. Bleed Kaga is a great supporting cast member and a fun foil to Hayato, and is basically Chibodee Crockett before the character existed. It’s not a mind-blowing show, but it is extremely well executed and a lot of fun to watch, even if you’re not a racing fan.
The OAVs, on the other hand, are of mixed quality. SAGA is easily the strongest of the lot. It has the least focus on out-of-nowhere bullshit and the strongest character writing. It’s also the best about not forgetting the supporting cast, including some incredibly hilarious moments featuring Randoll and Osamu making fun of the ‘masked man’ trope. It’s as good, if not better, then the series. Zero is good, but of lesser quality. The introduction of the Zero Zone is a big leap, and while the actual payoff is interesting, it’s hard to get over Hayato suddenly acquiring magical powers. 11 is pretty much a standard “you want to see more of the characters” OAV and it shows. It’s worth watching once, but promptly becomes forgettable. Even the video games tend to forget it exists. SIN is the finale, and is just not very good. It forgets why characters were likable and focuses too much on angst and drama, and not in a good way.
One of the most notable things about Future GPX Cyber Formula is that it is where Fukuda took most of his ideas from Gundam SEED from, except he did them much better in Cyber Formula. These homages are so blatant that at least one of the openings from Gundam SEED Destiny is shot-for-shot a clone of the Cyber Formula SAGA OP, and one character (Gilbert Durandal) has the same voice actor and character design, and a very similar role in the story. However, the similarities don’t stop there. Even things like SEED Mode began their life in Cyber Formula, only much less ineptly. Even beyond being a good show, it’s an interesting watch if you want to see what Gundam SEED’s ideas would be like with less crappy execution.