It is the year 2201. Twenty four pilots have reached the F-Zero finals, and are undergoing a practise lap before the race begins. One racer, the commander of the Galaxy Mobile Platoon, briefs her comrades on their mission: the enemy are funding their criminal activities with F-Zero price money, and their goal is to prevent them from winning.
The racers finish their lap and return to the starting grid, awaiting the countdown for the real race.
Machine #00 gets an early lead with a boost, though the others aren't far behind, bursting out of the stadium and onto the track.
While on the first corner, the leading racer gets slammed by the Big Fang, its driver Bio Rex clearly looking for a scrap. He gets slammed back for his troubles and left sputtering.
It is the year 2051. A Formula One racer crosses the finish line, and its driver, Ryu Suzaku, is declared the racing champion. He steps out to revel in victory, paying attention to only one member of the crowd...
... the race queen, Haruka Misaki. Offering him flowers, he takes her hand instead and lifts her up to his car, the two celebrating.
"Don't underestimate me! I've been racing for a hundred and fifty years!"
Haruka is later waiting for Ryu at the lakeside park, and calls to ask where he is.
Ryu tries to say he'll be there shortly, but he loses reception on his phone. He thinks nothing of it; he's too excited about proposing to her later tonight! His thought is interrupted by his police radio: there's been a prison break-out!
Zoda hauls ass through the prison gates in an ATV before stealing himself a car, opening fire on the coppers hot in pursuit. Hearing he's headed for the harbour, Ryu pops on his lights and joins the chase.
The two stream through narrow alleys and fly over bumps, but neither of them are going to give up; Ryu put him in jail, and he's gonna keep him in jail. Zoda has other ideas...
He shoots the hinges off the door of his car and kicks it loose, sending it careening through the air...
... and right through Ryu's windshield.
One hundred and fifty years later, Jody Summer and Dr. Stewart tell their director, John Tanaka, of their plan to revive someone who's been in cold sleep for a century and a half. Tanaka's only concern is how he'll explain this to his boss.
His body was in need of serious medical attention, but 23rd century technology and Dr. Stewart finesse are enough to revive Ryu from cold sleep. He and Jody introduce themselves to him; she is the commander of the Galaxy Mobile Platoon, and Ryu will be working for her from now on.
Ryu's first action is to check his possessions, and sees his ring of proposal for Haruka. This triggers the memory in him and he rushes out, taking his clothes with him. While looking for the exit, he finds something else entirely...
An aerial view of the future New York skyline... now known as Mute City.
Stewart and Jody finally let him know he's in the future and has been in cold sleep this whole time; he's more than a little shocked. Jack Levin jokes he should have set his alarm clock. While Jack argues with Jody over the suggestion he should give the newcomer a tour, Ryu rushes past him and freaks out - this can't be real!
He finds himself in the hangar, where Clash is working on a hot set of wheels: the Dragon Bird. Ryu barges in and takes it for himself (after having some difficulty with the key first), despite Jack and Clash's protests.
The speed in this thing is intense! Ryu has trouble keeping it together just exiting the building, but taking an electronic road beneath the East River before reaching the city just shows him weirder and weirder sights: information panels in the sky, aliens in the streets... maybe he has been asleep for a hundred years.
He takes the highway but has trouble with his accelerator, and gets honked off at the next exit, where he finds what he's been looking for: the park! He stops to gets out, and finds a familiar-looking figure watching the ships go by. Can it be Haruka?
No, it's someone else. Jack finally catches up to him, knowing this part of town has been mostly unchanged since Ryu's time. Jack gloats about what a playboy he is and cracks wise about Ryu's honey, but offers to take him to a club to pick up some future babes. Ryu storms out after being glomped by Jack's groupies, and Jack only hopes he reacts better when he's his age.
Ryu's about to leave, but Jack challenges him to a race: he needs an initiation before he can handle these machines professionally, but Ryu is offended by that notion. He's an awesome racer! As they make their way to the track, Jack decides to make it interesting: if he wins, he'll take Ryu's Dragon Bird.
The race begins, but Ryu continues to have trouble with his accelerator. Just as he catches up with the Astro Robin, they approach a corner, where Jack's machine peels ahead.
Ryu finally finds what he thinks is the accelerator... but it's the booster! His machine zips far ahead of Jack's, but keeping it under control on the long turns is difficult...
... and the Dragon Bird hits the wall and crashes dramatically, sliding across the ground on its roof. Ryu is fine, but he's inexperienced with his car and the course. Jack tells him he'll never win if he's using techniques from 150 years ago, joking he should go back to napping if he can't catch up, and drives off. Jody was watching the race from the clifftops.
After returning to the hangar, Ryu catches a police report of a prison break, and he can't believe who he sees: Zoda!
Jody briefs her team on the prison break when Ryu storms in: he's coming along, and he's driving the Dragon Bird, no matter what Jack says. There's no argument there, and the Galaxy Mobile Platoon head out.
Back to the race, Ryu takes the inside corner to get ahead of Octoman, but he and Bio Rex soon catch up and flank him, preparing to slam him from both sides. Ryu hits a speed booster just in time before they strike...
... leaving two fiery wrecks behind him. It looks like smooth sailing to the finish line, until another pilot passes him effortlessly: Captain Falcon. His Blue Falcon is a tough cookie to beat, but Ryu is up for the challenge. Let's do it!
Burt's F-Zero Classroom: Each episode of the series ends with this segment, a brief minute-long lesson on a wide range of subjects in the F-Zero universe. We'll meet Burt in the next episode.
Today's subject: F-Zero races! They're fast, they're popular, and Zoda and his gang are in it for the prize money, hence the Galaxy Mobile Platoon's involvement.
4Kids broadcast: Just for fun, I'll also be noting the edits and changes made in F-Zero: GP Legend, the English broadcast version from 4Kids! Cheers to MrMorris5026 for uploading these... and, uh, thanks for the dirty great watermark, to boot. To begin with, here's a few universal changes:
Ryu Suzaku is renamed Rick Wheeler, and all visual references are edited over.
The Galaxy Mobile Platoon is also referred to as the Elite Mobile Task Force. (for the record, Dreadopp & Zedopp's subs call it the Mobile Task Force, while the name I use is sourced from the Game Boy Advance GP Legend game)
Approximately a minute's worth of footage (or more!) is cut from each episode's running time to tighten up the pacing... and make room for commercial breaks, of course. Most notably, this episode ends almost immediately after the final flashback ends, with Ryu's narration capping it off; Captain Falcon's appearance is totally omitted!
All background music has been replaced with new techno-heavy compositions.
New scene transitions are added, featuring waves of F-Zero machines driving across the screen.
An amber light is added to the middle of the starting grid countdown. In the Japanese version, only the left lights (for "get ready") and the right lights (for "go") are lit; the middle ones are consistently skipped and never seen lighting up.
Not an edit so much as a quirk - Jack Levin speaks with a British accent (I won't dare identifying it, though!), while Clash boasts a thick Russian accent.
Moving on to this episode in particular, its dub title is The Legend Begins.
Zoda's gun is replaced with a CGI one, and all gunfire is accompanied with colourful flare and laser sound effects.
In the dub, Jack jokes about Rick being aged 175 years old, making him 25 - in the anime, Ryu is aged 23. Rick also refers to the lakeside park as Brooklyn, something the anime wouldn't fess up to until episode 17!
The Twin Norita and Blood Hawk (not pictured) are present for the opening race, and will appear constantly in all 3D race footage... but shouldn't actually be introduced until way later. No spoilers or anything!