F-Zero GP Legend (lost unaired episodes of 4Kids English dub of anime based on racing game franchise; 2004-2005)
F-Zero GP Legend (known as F-Zero Falcon Densetsu in Japan) is a Japanese anime that premiered on October 7th, 2003 on TV Tokyo and ended its run on September 28th, 2004. It lasted for a total of 51 episodes. It is based on the F-Zero video game franchise from Nintendo and had its own game based on the anime that was released around the same time. F-Zero GP Legend was eventually dubbed into English by 4Kids Entertainment and premiered on the FoxBox block (later renamed to 4KidsTV) on September 4th, 2004. Out of the 51 episodes that aired in Japan, only the first 15 episodes of the English dub were aired, since the show was cancelled, likely due to low ratings. The remaining thirty-six episodes of the English for F-Zero GP Legend has never surfaced.
Taking place in the year 2201, F-Zero GP Legend revolves around a character named Ryuu Suzaku (Rick Wheeler in the dub). After suffering an injury at work, Ryuu is placed into cryogenic freeze until a cure for his injuries could be found. By the time a cure was found, it was 150 years after he was injured. Having been brought back by the secret Galactic Police, Ryuu is now tasked with stopping corruption within the F-Zero races.
F-Zero GP Legend aired in the US on September 4th, 2004, to coincide with the US release of the video game with the same name. With 4kids taking up the task of localizing the show, many alterations were including name changes. Ryuu Suzaku was changed to Rick Wheeler and Ms. Killer was changed to Luna Ryder. F-Zero GP Legend aired on the Fox Box block in the US on Saturday mornings at 10:30 AM EST. During the non-racing scenes, the 2D drawn vehicles in the original Japanese version were altered in the 4kids dub to be 3D CGI models instead. It was confirmed by a former 4kids editor that it was the case due to the higher-ups wanting the cars to stand out more during those non-racing scenes for US audiences. Despite a massive promotional campaign by Fox Box, F-Zero GP Legend turned out to be a flop in ratings. After 15 episodes, the series was prematurely pulled from the air, though it was rumored that two additional episodes were dubbed before the series' cancellation. Many cite the vague plot for the show's low ratings.
- David Wills as Captain Falcon
- John Campbell as Rick Wheeler
- Caren Manuel as Luna Ryder
- Dan Green as Dr. Stewart
- Jamie McGonnigal as Zoda
- David Lapkin as John Tanaka
- Eric Stuart as Black Shadow
- Marc Thompson as Jack Levin
- Mark Saturno as Dr. Clash
- Veronica Taylor as Jody Summer
Most of the episodes that aired of the English dub is available online. However, it seems that there may have been more episodes dubbed than the 15 that have aired. The last episode that aired is "Target: Tanaka", which premiered three months after the episode before, on March 5th, 2005 (and was shortly after the FoxBox was renamed to 4KidsTV). The following episode, "Super Scam", was scheduled for airing the weekend after on March 12th, 2005, but was pre-empted for the second airing of Sonic X. Since then, F-Zero GP Legend has not aired again in the United States. Because episodes like "Super Scam" never aired, then that makes the episode unavailable to the public, and likely never will be. This leaves the fate of this episode, and the rest of the unaired English dub unknown. It is also unknown how many episodes actually were dubbed in English.
Cherry Lane Music Company, who acquired rights to various television shows including other 4Kids shows such as Pokémon, filed the copyright document DR. C INBOAT 3. on May 17, 2010. The document contains music and episode titles from television shows including F-Zero GP Legend. The document only lists seven episodes including episode 18, "SECRET IN THE SANIC."
Impact On Other Nintendo Projects
The failure of F-Zero GP Legend in the US had a great impact on future Nintendo projects. The 2004 video game, F-Zero Climax did not see a release outside of Japan possibly due to the fact it followed up on F-Zero GP Legend's storyline. In a 2013 interview, Shigeru Miyamoto mentioned how Nintendo became more cautious when it came to outsourcing its franchise due to the experience with F-Zero.
- An article that has the plot for F-Zero GP Legends. Retrieved 20 Jun '19
- A website that talks about F-Zero's English broadcast. Retrieved 20 Jun '19
- Anime News Network's article on F-Zero GP Legend. Retrieved 20 Jun '19
- Corvallis Gazette Times newspaper listing of "Super Scam" Retrieved 17 Jun '20
- Back cover of the Pokémon 2.B.A. Master album. Retrieved 29 Apr '22
- DR. C INBOAT 3., V3598D153, (17 May '10), United States Copyright Office Retrieved 29 Apr '22
- Interview where Shigeru Miyamoto stated how cautious Nintendo has become. Retrieved 20 Jun '19