Ōban Star-Racers (オーバン・スターレーサーズ Ōban Sutā Rēsāzu) is a French-Japanese anime series created by Savin Yeatman-Eiffel of Sav! The World Productions in association with multiple international companies. Originally produced as a short movie titled Molly Star Racer, a television series was developed in cooperation with Jetix Europe, with animation production by HAL Film Maker and Pumpkin 3D, a large portion of which was done in Tokyo, Japan. It aired in more than 100 countries including Japan. In the US, the series aired on ABC Family and Jetix/Toon Disney between June and December 2006.
In the year 2082, Earth has been invited to compete in the Great Race of Ōban, an intergalactic race whose winner can be given "The Ultimate Prize", supposedly granting any wish in the world - even bringing back a loved one. The invitation comes from the Avatar, a mysterious entity who ends hostilities between Earth and the sinister race of the Crogs, in return for Earth's entry into the race. Eva Wei, an Earth student, escapes boarding school to find her father, Don Wei, president of Wei Racing and the best race manager in the world. Having left his daughter in the care of the boarding school for many years without ever visiting, Don Wei does not seem to recognize Eva as his daughter. Unable to tell her father who she really is, she lands a job as a mechanic in his team under the name "Molly", a name chosen from a convenient poster on a crate in the hangar. When Wei Racing is ordered by the government to represent Earth at Ōban, Molly stows away as they are taken to a far-off planet. During the first race, the Whizzing Arrow, the Earth Star-Racer ship, crashes due to sabotage. Its star pilot, Rick Thunderbolt, becomes unable to race. After finding that the gunner, Jordan Wilde, makes a miserable pilot, Molly steals the ship and enters the next race. Don Wei grudgingly decides that the only one who can replace Rick is Molly. Haunted by the death of her mother - a famous star-racer - and the harsh "reunion" with her father, Molly is determined to win so she can be with her parents once again.
Why It Rocks
- Outstanding theme song.
- Wonderful anime-esque animation and character designs that look made by Studio Ghibli or Production I.G.
- Terrific voice acting from the Canadian voice actors like Chiara Zanni, Sam Vincent, Ron Halder, Nicole Oliver, Michael Dobson, Kirby Morrow, and Brian Drummond.
- Likable characters, such as Eva Wei, Jordan C. Wilde, Don Wei, Maya Wei, Rick Thunderbolt, Koji, Stan, Prince Aikka, and Satis.
- Very appealing art style.
- It stays true to the original French version.
The Only Bad Quality
- The series went downhill before the sequel and the spin-off.
Ōban Star-Racers was well received with CGI animation and digital ink and paint animation.
- Molly, Star-Racer is a short film released in 2001 that served as the pilot for Ōban Star-Racers.
- During a series of Ōban Star-Racers related events at the Japan Tours Festival at the end of February 2017, creator Savin Yeatman-Eiffel indicated he was working on a potential sequel and spinoff with co-director Thomas Romain. In a Twitter post on March 2, 2017, Savin Yeatman-Eiffel later posted a concept art showing the characters of Molly and Prince Aikka as young adults.