Scan 2 Go is a show that I started a little over 2 years ago. It was a pretty solid series, but then it was pulled from TV…never to be shown again. Now, it has finally made it to Youtube so I got to blast through the final 7-8 episodes. Let’s just say that this is a great show that really manages to hit it out of the park in several areas. On the surface it’s just another awesome toyetic show, but it decides to go all Gurren Lagann on us in the final 2. This title is pretty obscure so let’s go over the plot first.
There’s a plot? Of course! Kaz Gordan is from Earth and he has three friends. Together, they form Team Jet and they are training to become the best racers in the universe. Scan 2 Go is a futuristic game that lets you mentally synchronize with your (tiny) toy car as you travel across dangerous tracks. The game never really hit it off on Earth, but every other planet is playing it. Kaz convinces his teacher to let Team Jet travel across the universe after he crushes him in a toy car fight. The heroes win tournament after tournament as they meet strange allies and tricky villains. There are many tournaments and training sessions throughout the show, but it’s difficult to call them actual arcs. One of the big story arcs was when the team went to Gurao to train since that’s where they got to bond with their allies. Finally, the team went back to Earth for the universal tournament. The final Grand Prix to decide who the fastest racer in the universe is. Unfortunately….an old enemy has decided to show up as well. There will be much more about that in a moment.
Scan 2 Go’s animation is actually pretty good. To an extent, I expected this, but it really shines during the space battles or really any scene with Ryu. The energy attacks are great and I’m convinced that this show could have pulled off a hand to hand battle scene. How does it stack up against other toyetic shows? I think that the animation is behind Cardfight and Buddyfight, but it beats Tenkai Knights and the original Yugioh series. Animation isn’t typically a gamechanger for a show, but it sure makes the racing scenes more exciting. I can’t say that any episodes had bad animation and that’s always a good thing.
The soundtrack for the show is one of its biggest strengths. There are technically not a whole lot of themes in the show since the old ones just play again and again and again. That’s all right though since they’re so good. From the starting theme, “Scan 1….” so Ryu’s theme, Scan 2 Go’s music selections are intense. The Ryu one is definitely intense and it makes for a very good villain theme. It’s in sharp contrast to the racing theme that typically plays since that one is very fast, but hopeful. Unfortunately, the opening isn’t very good, but this is the kind of show that can get by that thanks to all of its other strengths.
Let’s talk about Ryu. He changed the entire series, which is very impressive. Until he showed up, Kaz just had fun outracing everyone and showing them why his Falgor was the best car in the biz. That all changed when Ryu introduced the notion of racing to destroy the other competitors. His car is the fastest and the strongest in the series so none of the other racers can hope to beat him in a fair race. Luckily, that’s not what he wants anyway. He just wants to destroy the universe! As you can imagine, that was pretty shocking to see in this show. Until then, one could argue that the strongest fighters weren’t even planet busters…so how did we upgrade to universe busting?
Well, Ryu is a living embodiment of a black hole and the power gem that is on his forehead gives him additional power. His car has the ability to instantly regenerate injuries although it may just be Ryu’s ability that transfers to the car since they are fully synchronized. Ryu is so great that he actually pulls off a feat that people have been waiting for DBZ to show. He destroys a moon just by having his car ram into someone else’s. It’s a great scene and it’s pretty tragic since you’re not used to seeing other people get injured in this show. That being said, Ryu goes even farther than that.
Only one character is destroyed in the entire series and you can probably guess who did that. Ryu has a climatic battle with the greatest racer in the universe..or at least, the man who was the greatest racer in the universe. It was a very fun, high budget battle in space and we got to see both of them really put everything on the line. That was easily the darkest episode and the moment where the series had changed forever. It’s hard not to quickly begin to love Ryu as a villain. He toys with all of the heroes and he is the only one who seems to realize that their cars can be used as weapons. After all, they can shoot thunder, make tsunamis, black holes, etc. Why should they only be used in races?
Another reason why the final episodes were so great was because we finall got to see the mysterious council make their move. It really felt like a moment out of Shonen Jump when we got to see Ryu fight these new characters. They all had unique powers and they talked a good game so it was pretty great. I don’t think anyone ever questioned who would win the fight, but it was just fun to see. Ryu’s car also gets to smash through an entire army and it can move so quickly that it turns into a giant meteor.
It doesn’t stop there though as its gravity powers (Or Ryu’s) are enough to push the Moon out of orbit and send it crashing to Earth. Ryu’s universe destroying plan is also rather simple. His car just needs to win one more big race to have enough power to make a black hole big enough to suck everything in. (He absorbs the powers of those he has defeated after all) Naturally, Kaz and friends are here to stop him so it ends up being a 8-12 vs 1 matchup in the final battle. It’s pretty great to see, but the heroes sure look weak and completely out of their league compared to such a fighter.
The heroes are able to let their cars reach FTL speeds as well, although I found Ryu’s feat more impressive since he was doing it on his own. That being said, it’s intense to see them just cruising past planets on their way to victory. I also have to give the show some props since the easy way would have been to just have had Ryu die when they pushed him into the sun. Let’s just say that it’s not enough to stop him. I think that he should have been able to have just left and regrouped somewhere else, but it was pretty much impossible to stop him so they had to end everything somehow. At least the heroes got to try their luck at pushing a moon. It’s a good strength feat since we need to keep in mind that Wonder Woman, Superman, and Martian Manhunter teaming up couldn’t move the moon while the heroes from Gurao were able to move it. (Even more impressive is that the Moon was already crashing so it’s different from pushing a Moon that’s in orbit.) Other heroes come to help after that, but the heroes already got the main job done.
Now, all of this does bring to mind one big concern with the sport and why you have wonder about how safe it is. The show is rather inconsistent in showing just how synchronized you are with the car, but it seems to suggest that you feel the virtual damage that you car does. It’s why the humans will wince or groan with pain after a big attack or end up getting knocked down. They also seem to abandon the real world completely, but is this physical or just mental? At the very least, your conciousness leaves like in Sword Art Online, but other times we see the fighters just appear where the cars are. (Even if it’s thousands of miles away from the arena) So, it’s possible that their physical bodies are able to instantly warp to their cars or they are spirited away during the match. However, they stay at the racetrack at other times to trade insults with the others.
Ultimately, I don’t think that the show could really make up its mind on this. I’ll just think of it as throwing your conciousness into the car, which is why you feel the damage and wind up wherever the car is. After all, we can’t really look at Zero’s battle with Ryu any other way. How else could he breathe in space and follow Ryu there? (Ryu can breathe in space, but he’s not even human so it’s all right) I’ll just add that you can quickly go back to the real world as well or stay there the whole time depending how synched you are with your car. Naturally, this means that mind games work very well in this series.
I still haven’t mentioned what the risk of racing is have I? Well, if you feel the virtual damage, then you are put at great risk. One fighter ended up synching with his car while in space so when the car was blown up, the guy was either blown up with it or he ended up suffocating. Luckily, it seems to be the former. Another guy is obliterated by an energy blast because his car was. There’s no way that you can find this hobby safe and it makes you wonder about all of the one shot characters who got crushed throughout the series. It seems like the virtual damage doesn’t affect you if you don’t have a high synch rate so the throwaway characters might be safe, but it’s still hard to see how this sport is condoned. Maybe that’s why Earth isn’t exactly head over heels for it. Well, that’s enough about how awesome the series is for now, let’s look at the rest of the characters. (Since I basically already talked about Ryu a lot. He’s my favorite character in the series while I have to boot Kaz down to number 2)
Before Ryu took the spot, Kaz had been my favorite character in the series from the very first episode. He’s just awesome and a shining example of how I want my main characters to look. Kaz doesn’t pull any punches whether he’s racing against little kids or old men. In the very first episode he ends up beating his mentor so that he could escape Earth and race in the big leagues. It was pretty cool since the future is luckily safe enough that 10 year old kids can fly around the cosmos unchaperoned. (Unless you count their little robot friend.) Kaz always has a lot of determination and he constantly mentions how he wants to be the Fastest in the Universe. It’s a noble goal to be sure and one to be proud of. He makes quite a few rivals along the way, but he’s never outmatched for very long. His car’s special ability is that it can fly, which actually isn’t one of the better abilities, but it hasn’t failed him yet. While Ryu wields the power of darkness, Kaz holds the power of light and there are only two to three other characters who have wielded a similar power in the past. Zero and one of Kaz’s masters come to mind. Unfortunately, he only uses it a few times throughout the series and surprisingly not in the final fight. That’s a missed opportunity, but it doesn’t stop Kaz from being one of the best main characters out there. I agree with just about all of his decisions and he doesn’t make any huge mistakes throughout the series. No, Kaz is all about the win and then the team..in that order. His Galaxy Falgor is also cooler than almost every other car in the series.
Shiro is the main rival of the series, which guarantees him a spot in the top 5 of the series. He has ice abilities so he can freeze an entire battlefield and stop everyone in their tracks with minimal effort. Unfortunately, he can’t totally control this power and he ends up turning into a wolf sometimes. He seems to be part of a wolf changing species, but he looks pretty human while in..human mode. His car is pretty great since aside from ice abilities, he can also teleport. That is very handy to have in a race and it’s hard to see Shiro ever losing once he gets that power. To an extent..you’d be right, but it’s also partially because his role is lessened a whole lot by that point. By the end, he’s barely in the show anymore aside to just be in the background. No matter, he’s still a pretty great character. The only part of the show where he got to be a little annoying was when he was having a lot of internal drama and he let Ryu play him like a puppet. That was pretty sad, but luckily it was also very brief. Shiro is one of the only racers who can actually give Kaz a fight so he needs to stay in the game!
Zero is known as the greatest racer in the universe and Kaz has always wanted to surpass him. It’s a little sad that they never get to have a proper race since that would have been pretty great. Zero is essentially perfect, which irritates his rivals, but shows why he has so many fans. He doesn’t use any gimmicks or cheap tricks to win as he just races from start to finish. That being said, his decision to fight Ryu may not have been his greatest one. It was an awesome moment since Zero had gotten a whole lot of hype while Ryu was the mysterious son of the black hole. Zero put up a good fight since his car could shoot lasers and he held his own while in space. It was an admirable fight and it was a great way to wrap up his character arc. Let’s just say that I wasn’t going to forget him after that. I’d actually say that he is one of the coolest characters in the show and I’d probably place him at third behind Ryu and Kaz. That final fight certainly did a lot to help me gain respect for him.
Fiona is the main heroine in the series and she has a long lasting rival in Hebina. Her car’s ability is that it can navigate through a race track by using its gliders to look at the stage layout, but the writers probably realized that this wasn’t much of an ability so she gains thunder powers as the series goes on. Those are very useful to be sure so I was glad that she got those new powers. She likes to think that she’s just as good as Kaz in a race, although all of his allies seem to illogically believe that to an extent. Even if Kaz proves them wrong over and over again…their honor is at stake here! She’s definitely better than Myron and Diego, but Shiro would take the number 2 spot on Team Jet…if we decide to count him. She’s definite a pretty likable ally and at least her skills are considerable. She may be top 3 as far as toyetic heroines are concerned, which is a feat in itself.
Diego is the Dex/Bud/Bronx of the show. He’s always eating except when he’s too nervous or upset to do so. His car is pretty slow, but strong. The problem is that there are several other cars that are simply stronger than his, which takes away his only gimmick. How can he hope to win a true race with such a car? Typically, his will power is just that much better than his opponents so he is able to get an extra boost to win the day. I can’t say that I believed many of his wins though and he’s not one of the better allies. He gets a subplot where he feels like he is the weakest member on the team and the sad part is that it’s probably true. Kaz puts a lot of effort into training, but we never see Diego proactively decide to do this. He’s too interested in eating so why should he expect to be strong? It was emotional and all, but he really doesn’t add anything to the show. I still wouldn’t go as far as to say that he’s a bad character though. He’s just not that good.
Myron is one member of Team Jet that I definitely didn’t care for. He’s the smart member of the group, but that doesn’t stop him from still wanting to be one of the fastest racers in the universe. He’s asking for too much if you ask me. His Storm Slazer actually has a pretty good design and it’s gimmick is that it can drive well over ice, sand, and water. It can also drill under the track to hide if necessary. The problem is that Myron is always quick to turn against Kaz since nothing can ever be his fault. He’s worse than Diego and some of the allies from Gurao, which is pretty sad for him. He was definitely a little worse than I could have expected.
Dradd was Kaz’s first rival and he stayed with him until the very end. He has a rivalry with Ryu going on, but he has to get in line since Kaz and Taiga also have beef with the guy. His car’s special ability is that it can hit the ground hard enough to make it jump forward. It’s pretty nifty, but not that practical compared to the other cars. Power is his thing like with Diego and Ryu, but he’s probably second in that category. He talks tough and he is older than Kaz, but he had to start his training from scratch since he had stopped improving. He’s the best member from Gurao. That may not be saying a lot, but his races are fun to watch and I definitely wouldn’t call him a bad character. He’s outmatched against Kaz, but that’s just his bad luck right?
Taiga is Kaz’s second rival and I guess that makes him rivals with Dradd as well to an extent. He races so that he can become better than Zero and then a big rivalry starts with Ryu. He is a good racer, but his will power isn’t so great and he can be manipulated rather easily. He’s not bad, but he tries to act a little too cool at different points and it just doesn’t work. He’s a decent rival, but I’d say that Kaz is clearly superior in a race. I could probably take Taiga a little more seriously if he could have convincingly defeated Diego in the race, but it was a little too close for comfort. He talks really tough the whole series, but he’s usually on the losing end of a race. At least he learned the values of friendship by the end…
I’m starting to realize that the sad characters were not great in this show. I liked Shiro, Zero, Kaz, Fiona, Dradd, and Ryu. That sounds like a lot, but considering how many characters are in the show…that’s a pretty small number. I just ended up not really feeling like the other characters were that good. Kraken is no exception as he is a King who enjoys the game, but it rather overconfident about it. His voice doesn’t help matters at all, but the worst part is that he just doesn’t seem to be that good. His car can shoot large waves of water, which is a pretty great technique, but his car isn’t great on the ground…and that’s where almost all of the races take place. He bonds with the heroes at one point, which gets them all on his side, but he didn’t get me on his side.
Hebina might be the worst member from the Gurao team since she is clearly a villain who just happens to race. Her abilities are not great so she constantly cheats to ensure that she claims victory in her battles. None of the other characters call her out on this half the time and she certainly didn’t earn her spot with the best in the Final Grand Prix. Her theme is also awful and the only piece of music that I didn’t like. It’s not an exaggeration to say that she may be the worst character in the show. Her gimmick is that her car can make illusions so that it looks like her car has multiplied. It’s not very original though since a shadow council member could do that with his car and likewise with Kaz’s original teacher. She’s going to have to do better than that if she wants to be an expert racer and hopefully she becomes likable someday…but the sequel series would really need to change her character to make that possible.
Jack is a cop who also happens to be a racer and he’s definitely not likable. He’s probably the weakest racer from Gurao and it’s hard to even remember what his gimmick is. He definitely has something since his character needs a gimmick, but it probably wasn’t that great. He has a hero moment towards the end of the series where he destroys a meteor, but it just doesn’t make up for a whole series. He needs to just stick to one field and master it instead of dabbling in both. He constantly goes after Hebina, which would be okay if it was just to arrest her, but he doesn’t take his job seriously enough for that. He just likes to give her a hard time. He must have been lucky to have made it to the final grand prix.
Ray is Kaz’s teacher from Earth and he’s pretty cool. His attitude is similar to Kakashi’s in that he is always very confident and mysterious. It’s a little hard to take him seriously since he was defeated in the very first episode of the series and then disappeared until around episode 49, but he quickly made up for this in the final race. His skills are apparently up there with some of the world’s best and that’s pretty cool to see. From Kaz’s three teachers he was definitely the best. Master Hippopo is arguably the strongest master since he’s the leader of the super council and he fought Ryu, but he was certainly not very likable. The only good scene with Hippopo aside from his fight against Ryu was probably his “death” in one of the earlier episodes since Kaz got to have a rage moment as he dueled against Hebina. Now that was intense!
Antares was one of the less interesting members of the main guys. He is a publicity guy first and foremost. He like to always be in the spotlight and he acts as if his races are just shows for his adoring fans. That ultimate comes back to bite him in the final episode. His car’s gimmick is that it can use its tail to do a flip on the track so that it can dodge attacks. It’s pretty useful, but definitely not the greatest bonus for when it comes down to a contest of speed. I just don’t really find him to be that likable and I also doubt his skills.
I have to say that the ending wasn’t great though. I Loved the huge climax and how out there is got, but some parts were still a little disappointing. One part that I was underwhelmed by was Kaz’s big charge against Ryu. He decided that winning on his friends sacrifices wouldn’t be worth it so he attacked Ryu in a rage moment. Unfortunately, he is just thrown to the side and he couldn’t deal any damage. He didn’t even last 5 seconds so that was pretty sad. I also think that they should have just said that Kaz was the winner at the end instead of just saying that all fans of the series were winners. That’s a bit of a cop out right?
Overall, Scan 2 Go is a great show and it’s certainly not one that you’ll want to miss out on. The series mostly doesn’t have a whole lot of stakes in it since it’s just about seeing the heroes race as they get through their challenges, but that definitely changes once Ryu enters the show. Before Ryu’s appearance the show still would have gotten a 7 easily, but his battles gave it the push that it needed to reach the elusive 8. It’s a great experience from start to finish and the visuals as well as the soundtrack only help to enhance that. Kaz is a likable main character and Ryu’s a great villain so you don’t need to worry about the characters dragging it down. Some subplots like Shiro’s origin don’t really go anywhere and we could have done without it, but maybe it’ll be in a sequel at some point. Regardless, the show just wins on all accounts so you definitely want to see it as soon as possible!