Episode 1: Time to Shine

This first episode jumps into a race immediately, showing the qualifying round to IG-1. Since
this is our introduction into the series, it made sense to show off what races are like. The races
consist of CG animation, which is very well done. CG is basically just 3D animation. The
amount of detail in each shot is staggering. Unfortunately, the action is so fast, a lot of the
detail is lost. The CG animation is also a switch for those used to anime without any. The mix
is quite superb; I never thought that the CG felt out of place or was overused. In fact, the
story is what really got me hooked.
Not even half of this episode had CG animation, so obviously, to keep our interest, the story
had to flow. The entire grand prix may seem a little confusing at first. What may be even more
puzzling is that less than 50 years from now these types of races could exist. In that sense, you
have to come into this episode (and ultimately this series) knowing that you have to have a
little imagination.
Of course theses races won't exist in 2049, but the thought that they do makes the races all
the more exciting. Since these don't exist, the creators had an easy time making a world that
works around their ideas. All they had to do was introduce it to us and still make it fun, all in
one episode.
Many shows have a weak first episode, in my opinion. This is no exception. And before you
begin to think that I don't like this episode, I should let you know that I do like this episode. I
wouldn't have stuck with the series if this show didn't interest me from the beginning. Here's
what makes this show so interesting-the story.
This is a slow episode. There's not much of any particular race shown. Once again, the creators
are simply leading us into the series. The good thing is that the plot does advance a lot in this
episode, but this episode still tells a lot about the characters. Takeshi Jin is our main
character, as many can infer from the beginning. He belongs to Team Satomi, which is also
who we as an audience follow.
Of course, the team starts off on somewhat bad terms. It was obvious to me that the creators
wanted room for growth, so I left it at that. The characters personalities are revealed just
enough to paint a picture of what to expect from them. From there, we are left to imagine
what we want of these characters.
The script is what tells all, and I think a couple of spots are a little weird. This show really
likes to play stereotypes. The 'cool' stereotype is very heavy in the script, with a few
characters saying 'dude' and 'man'. That didn't feel very overused, but I still probably would
have changed a few words. These characters don't have to talk cool to seem cool, and that's
what bothered me the most.
This is also still the only episode with one spot of weird animation. Takeshi is seen doing a
morning jogging exercise. When they attempt to zoom in a little on his body, his face is not
seen. Yeah, it's kinda weird, and made it feel a bit unpolished. Some may argue that it was the
shadow of the buildings, but it still looked unconvincing to me.
However, this is the only time. CG may be the highlight of what some people think is excellent
animation, and I'm not saying it's bad. I think a lot of people are overlooking the normal
anime animation, which is utterly brilliant. The lighting and shadows and just the way it flows
is simply the best I have ever seen.
The story has a slow flow to it, but this leaves room for growth of the characters. It also allows
a deeper look into the lives of the characters. There's one scene with Takeshi talking with his
sister at his house. He is playing a handheld video game (with graphics that look worse than a
DS) and his sister even thinks that he is too old to be playing. I think that is ridiculous, but
the fact that she sees video games as a waste of time is funny.
The character development is quite staggering. Even the simplest of comments or emotions
reveals the characters so well. We see that Miss Satomi is one who has to deal with a lot of
stress. We also see that she is firm in her decisions and can stand her ground against
opposition. Not getting mad at River after River yells at her for not letting him be on the team
and is very strong of her character.
There are very few shows that provide a first episode that sets the stage perfectly for the rest
of the series. There's also very few shows that have this kind of style. As one of the characters
puts it, this show "has a style that's different from the rest". If the first episode was simply a
stand-alone episode, it may not have worked so well. The anticipation for the next episode was
built well. It may have been slow, but it's certainly taking its time to unravel the necessary
pieces to this plot. This show didn't start out perfectly, but is a good start to what looks to be a
promising series.
Team Satomi's first race,
and the first look at the
awesome CG animation.
Team Satomi stands
dressed up for the IG-1
League opening ceremony.
Team Satomi prepares for
their first IG-1 League
race against Sledge Mama.
Additional Pictures
Additional Information
USA original air date: November 5th, 2005
Japan original air date: October 5th, 2005
Original Japanese Title:
Time to Shine

Team Satomi is a rookie team vying for a spot in the IG-1 League.
The IG-1 League is where six teams will compete for a chance to
win the championship. Only six teams can get to the IG-1 League.
Team Satomi thinks they have what it takes to make it there.
Unfortunately, their lack of teamwork may be their biggest
obstacle. Once they qualify, will they be able to work well with one
another to face off against veteran team Sledge Mama? This
episode introduces all the teams and the characters of Team Satomi.
OVERALL SCORE: 7 out of 10
Toonami Version Differences

-A line of Miss Satomi and Jesse is cut out, amounting
to about 8 seconds. This occurs during the scene in
the meeting room after the race and press conference.
Miss Satomi remarks that she needs to find sponsors,
and Jesse responds with an offer to help.

-Very small cuts are made in making some long
pauses shorter. The pause after River says "Neither
is anything else" to Mark is a bit shorter, for example.