LAP 02
Captain Falcon

Jack is racing Ryu on a few practise laps to help him get acquainted with his machine, with Jody and Clash offering advice over the communicator, but the newcomer's having a hard time deciding when to overtake. He finally speeds up and gets the lead, but failed to notice the corner up ahead.

He tries to make a sharp turn, but hits the barrier at full speed and crashes... though Jack remarks this isn't the first time that's happened. The Galaxy Mobile Platoon race to the track and get him out of his vehicle to safety; Jody isn't concerned that he crashed, she's desperate to know how the lost to Jack!
Clash fixes the Dragon Bird back in the hangar, while Jack gripes about all the attention Ryu's getting. He's not even that good! Clash suggests he's envious of the attention Jody's giving him. Jack disagrees.

Director Tanaka summons Jody to his office, and expresses concern over Ryu's performance - he's only been in the Platoon for a month and he's bungled darn-near everything, but Jody is adamant that he'll improve if given time. If not, they can take it out on her.

Ryu is summoned to the main room and given a bit of a catch-up: five years ago, a cold sleep facility for dangerous criminals on planet Alcatrand was broken into by Black Shadow. His robot troops wiped out the guards and got a hold of the pods, and used the break-in to reawaken Zoda. Their ultimate goal? Conquering the universe.

Zoda is now using the prize money from F-Zero races to fund his criminal operations, and that's why it's vitally important the Platoon beat them to the finish line. Jody hopes Zoda is enough to make Ryu rise to the occasion; EAD has faith in him, but Jack doubts this human relic has any skill left in him.
Ryu leaves and returns to the test track, but visions of Zoda cloud his focus.

Ryu practises 'til morning, running the corners again and again, using his tried-and-true method to handling them, but has little luck. He visits his favourite café, Falcon House, and asks the owner Burt for a black coffee. Ryu overhears a group of girls gossiping about Jack Levin who are going to see his next race; Ryu pretends he doesn't know him, or even has interest in F-Zero racing...

... until Burt mentions he'll be going too; F-Zero appeals to all age groups, it's the ultimate game of skill! (please buy our games) He was once an F-Zero pilot, but an accident during a hair-pin turn ended his career: he cornered too much going into the turn. The machines of today are littered in safety features, so one doesn't need to counter-steer as harshly... something Ryu realises he's been falling victim to.
The girls are impressed by Burt's racing knowledge, and he continues by commenting on how there's a lot of bad eggs in the business; one girl comments the universe is full of bad eggs, and wishes there were more good folk to stand up to them. 

Back at the base, Jody is briefing the Platoon on their next race on planet Nintese, only for Ryu to barge in; nobody told him about this meeting! Everyone's quick to tell him he's a crappy pilot who'd crash at the first opportunity (EAD is there to lend sympathy, though), and Jody tells him he's on standby until he's ready to join their operations. And that's an order.

Ryu adjourns to the lakeside park to watch the ships go by. He thinks back to the time he and Haruka fed seagulls on the bow of a cruise ship, and how much fun they had. But that's all gone now.

While driving back, he sees a bus carrying the girls he met earlier go the other way, and a crowd of noisy hooligans following after.
The bus is on its way to the race: taking a road leading up to the sky and towards the stars, it leads them across a space bridge, before entering the warp gate, taking them to their destination. One of the girls gushes over how exciting the event is going to be, all the thrills and spills, the whizzes and hums of a passion-filled race...

... though things aren't so chipper on the other side: those punks are attacking the bus! This is reported over the police radio, and Jack is eager to rush out and stop them, though the Galaxy Mobile Platoon declare it none of their business. They're there to win the race, and that's more important. Unfortunately, those thugs are packing heat, putting the pursuing police cars out of commission...

... but it's a good thing Ryu Suzaku is on their trail! A blast from a rocket launcher damages the bus and forces it to stop, but Ryu gets between it and the thugs, stepping out and introducing himself: he's from the Galaxy Mobile Platoon, and these hooligans are under arrest. That doesn't scare them, and they create a ring around the bus, taking aim with another rocket...

... only for a mysterious blue vehicle to show up.

It's Captain Falcon!

The punks know a badass when they see one, and scarper quicker than you can say 'show me your moves.' The girls squeal their love for Falcon, and the good Captain exits as suddenly as he came, but not without some words to Ryu: "See you at the race."

The racers have lined up at the starting grid, awaiting the countdown, but the girls are anxious to see the Dragon Bird take part after its driver saved them earlier. Ryu joins the grid just seconds before the race begins...

And they're off! Ryu streaks ahead of Clash and EAD, surprising the Platoon; he demands they gave him a chance on this mission, and Jack is quick to test him: there's a corner up ahead! Ryu reflects on what Burt told him...

... and sails across the corner with ease, nicking a boost pad to get ahead of Jack. Ryu takes the lead on the first lap, and the girls are surprised to discover they had talked to the Dragon Bird's pilot back in the café!

Jack isn't taking this sitting down; Ryu may have gotten lap one, but he'll be the one taking first place. As if to spite him, a new contender approaches: Captain Falcon! The Dragon Bird and Blue Falcon hit a boost pad, sailing ahead of the Astro Robin.

Jack hits his booster to catch up, but the burst of speed sends him flying when there's a drop in the track, sending his vehicle crashing and burning.

Captain Falcon takes first place, Ryu takes second, but he rushes to Jack's wreck as soon as he can. Jody reprimands Ryu with a slap; he not only disobeyed her order, but his actions caused the injury of a fellow pilot. Jack tells her to lay off; after all, if he hadn't sabotaged the Dragon Bird, it might actually have taken first place. Ryu socks him and storms off. While Jack is taken away in the ambulance, the group grumble about the ill-will that's been going on between them, though Jody remarks this is just how Jack works.

She later visits him at the hospital, where the nurses can't get enough of his boy-idol charms. Jody speaks to him alone, and believes he let Ryu win. Jack insists he just didn't want Captain Falcon to take home the prize money, but Jody returns the piece he allegedly took from the Dragon Bird: it's not even from Ryu's machine, it's from the Astro Robin. Jody thanks him for giving Ryu confidence, though, and leaves.

Ryu returns to base to find someone waiting for him: Lucy Liberty, one of the F-Zero fans he saved on the bus. She was impressed by Ryu's actions both on and off the race track, she's decided to join the Galaxy Mobile Platoon!

Burt's F-Zero Classroom: Burt talks briefly about Captain Falcon, the ace pilot whose identity is a mystery, before urging viewers wishing to know more about him to Falcon House, where's there's some totally unexplained portraits of him on the walls, and you can buy breakfast for only 480 credits!

4Kids broadcast: This episode is titled The Racer's Edge.

After Rick crashes, the chat between Jack and Clash segues into the reason Jody recruited Jack into the Platoon - a subject the anime wouldn't be exploring until episode 37!

EAD speaks with a chirpy modulated voice.

Lucy's friend in the blue top has her cleavage and exposed belly button removed.

The planet is referred to as "Ninte".

Bios of the other Platoon members and their machines are used to prefix the race.

Jody's slap is cut.

Jack actually explains his sabotage - the device allegedly sapped power from Rick's machine, and was also responsible for his crash during the practise run. It turns out to be a headlight fuse from the Astro Robin.

For the brief instance you see it, Black Shadow's machine looks pretty off-model, though the close-up of Black Shadow uses the Black Bull's CG model. This is rectified in the 4Kids version, and also any time the scene is revisited in future episodes.

The course on planet Nintese is a copy of Mute City: Figure Eight from F-Zero X, complete with the loop, the boost on the corner, and the drop that Jack wipes out on.