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Original title: Kapeta
Kappeita Taira, Shigeo Taira, Monami Suzuki, Nobu Ando, ​​Naomi Minamoto, Nanako Minamoto, Saruki, Isamu Tobita, Ryou Shiba, President Ikari
Authors: Kuro Tomiyama, Masahito Soda
Production: Studio Comet
Regia:Shin Misawa
Country: Japan
Year: 2005 mm
Broadcast in Italy: January 2011
Gender: Sportsman
Episodes: 52 mm
Duration: 24 minutes
Recommended age: Children from 6 to 12 years old

Capeta is an animated series about the world of motoring, made in 2005 by Studio Comet for a total of 52 episodes of 23 minutes, taken from the manga comic by Masahito Soda published by Kodansha in 11 albums. In Italy, the rights of the series were acquired by Yamato Video and is broadcast on Rai Gulp starting from January 18, 2010. The story is divided into three phases: the one concerning Capeta at the age of 10 struggling with go-karting, at the age of 14 when he competes in the first car races and finally at 16 years old , already in the world of professionals.

It is the story of Kappeita Taira, a 10 year old boy who attends the fourth grade and is mocked by his classmates. Orphan of his mother, he lives with his father Shigeo Taira who works for Ikari, a paving company for road asphalt, but given the sacrificing working hours, which take him out of the house even on Saturdays and Sundays he is too busy to look after his son. The young person must therefore take care of all household chores such as washing dishes, cleaning and cooking. As a good little man he also provides for his father, preparing a packed lunch for him and ordering him in exchange for work clothes. Capeta is not happy with his life and suffers from loneliness, spending his days watching the cars passing by on the freeway. Her only friend is Monami Suzuki, a girl with a strong and decisive character, but very caring towards Capeta (whom she calls Ka-chan). On the occasion of the 34th sports festival for elementary schools, Capeta is faced with running races and immediately proves to be the fastest, managing to overtake his rival Nobu Ando. However, the cheering of his opponents' parents discourages poor Capeta, who suffers from the absence of his father, therefore taken by despair, he stops running and loses the race that is won by Nobu. Meanwhile, Shigeo, Capeta's father, finds himself working near a go-kart track and is amazed to see that driving those mini formula 1 cars are some kids of his son's age. Given Capeta's passion for toy cars, he would like to buy a go-kart to give it to him, but he is frightened by its too high cost (300.000 Yen), for his limited finances. Shigeo decides to take an abandoned go-kart and put it back, one piece at a time.
Between Capeta and Nobu there is bad blood as the latter, being in love with Monami, is jealous of his friendship with Capeta. Backed by his friends, he never misses an opportunity to rant on the little boy and beat him up. Despite being beaten, Capeta turns out to be a tough nut to crack, highlighting all his talent for running and reckless actions.

Shigeo, Capeta Monami and NobuThe work of rebuilding the go-kart takes a lot of time and Shigeo sacrifices to Capeta, even the few hours he should dedicate to him. In his heart, however, he knows that this magnificent gift will redeem his figure as an absent father. However, Capeta unaware of everything has become even sadder and this does not escape his friend Monami, who proposes to Capeta to follow Shigeo in disguise, believing that he is dating a new partner. Arriving at the company headquarters, Capeta accidentally finds the go-kart under construction that his father is building, with his name also written on it. This fills him with happiness, because he understands that it is a gift from his father, which also explains his further absence after working hours. Still deprived of the engine, Capeta pushes it up a slope and is also helped by Nobu, who meanwhile has understood that his rival's interests do not concern Monami, but only the cars. Capeta decides to drive the go-kart which thanks to the wet asphalt, acquires incredible speed along the downhill road. Beside him, a terrified Nobu begs him to stop. Their race ends off the road after a curve, but despite the nasty fright, Capeta tries that experience again by taking the go-kart back to the top of the hill, until he manages to maneuver it perfectly and tackle the curves in the correct way. Meanwhile, Monami meets Shigeo and takes him along the road where Capeta tries go-karting. At the sight of his son whizzing on the toy car, Shigeo is struck by emotion and great enthusiasm.
Shigeo promises his son that when he has completed the go-kart with an engine, he will be able to run freely within the tracks dedicated to this type of vehicle. However, he soon realizes that the price of a go-kart engine is also very high, but that at the dawn of this sport, in Japan the engines of old tractors, electric generators or snow blowers were also used. Shigeo therefore decides to buy an electric generator, but Mr. Ikari, his employer, gives him one as a gift. Once mounted on the chassis, the go-kart works, with the immense happiness of Capeta who will finally be able to try his hand at the authorized track. Here, after having received the right instructions to drive and having given the appropriate corrections to the car, Capeta ventures into driving, immediately showing himself to be very good, despite some difficulties due to inexperience.

Capeta in the raceMr. Kumada, manager of the track, notices a lot of instability in the go-kart that Capeta drives, due to the fact that Shigeo did not perform the proper balancing of the wheels and its set-up. This forces Capeta to use constant steering and does not allow him to tackle the curves well, for this reason Mr. Kumada claims that it is not possible to race on the track with that vehicle. This creates a huge disappointment on Shigeo's part, because it is a sign that his work has not been successful. Despite being invited to leave the track by an insider, Capeta, in contravention of orders, returns to the track trying to compensate for the difference in height between the wheels, with a series of swerves. Despite being repeatedly invited to leave the track, Capeta continues undaunted to stay on the track, until he finds a solution. By placing the steering wheel at a certain angle, he realizes he can correct the go-kart's stability flaw and go straight without skidding. Encouraged by this discovery, Capeta presses the accelerator and tries to catch up with the other competitors, tackling the curves in extreme conditions and arousing wonder even in Mr. Kumada. The boy's feats also arouse interest from the beautiful lady Nanako Minamoto the Autohouse Racing Team Manager, who immediately identifies his potential talent.
Meanwhile, Capeta ventures into his first overtaking, but while pushing the engine to its maximum capacity, he cannot overcome the go-kart of Naomi, the son of Mrs. Minamoto, this is because it uses a common electric generator and not a specific motor for karting. Capeta looks for a solution and realizes that by keeping wide in corners without touching the brake, he avoids slowing his car, even if this risks making him go off the track. After a long chase she finally manages to overtake him in the corners, but this is short-lived as Naomi quickly regains her position, due to her much more powerful engine. This overtaking of Capeta makes Mrs. Minamoto furious, who forces her son to leave the track, in order to blame him for not having committed himself properly and having strained the new engine still in the running-in phase. Naomi is a year older than Capeta and is a champion who will compete for the next national youth kating championship.
Mrs. Minamoto, and the Capeta teamCapeta also comes off the track, but he is exhausted and with burned knees, from having constantly pressed them against the tank. He receives compliments from everyone and in particular from Mrs. Minamoto, who asks him how long he has been competing in a go-kart. When he is told that this was his first time he is amazed, immediately realizing what the little boy is made of. This creates no small jealousy on the part of Naomi, who insults him by despising her "cheap" go-kart. From this Mrs. Minamoto understands that Capeta could be the right opponent of her son, because it would push him to improve considerably. Capeta is sad that he was unable to overtake the other go-karts even though he worked hard to reward his father's sacrifices in building the car and Mr. Ikari for giving him the engine. His anger stems from the realization that in karting the power of the engine is more important than human quality. Even his father seeing him so tried, understands that he has underestimated the commitment of competition on the track.

Naomi Minamoto and CapetaOne day Mrs. Minamoto suggests to Capeta to register and participate in the SL Cadet karting races, in the beginners category. Capeta does not hesitate for a single moment and proves very happy to be able to participate in a sports competition. For the occasion, he will be able to take advantage of a new engine, which will be given to him by Mrs. Minamoto herself. Capeta refuses another engine and insists on wanting to use Mr. Ikari's old 4-stroke, made from an electric generator. After several searches in the library with his friends Monami and Nobu, they found documents on how to upgrade an engine. Ms. Minamoto breaks Capeta's enthusiasm, introducing him to the strict laws of participation in the SL Cadet, where a specific engine is required. All participants must have the same type of engine, which will be rented by the SL Cadet itself, in order not to benefit anyone and bring out the true talent of the driver. In exchange for the new engine to be used for drills, Ms. Minamoto requests that Capeta be part of her Autohouse Racing team. Capeta refuses the offer claiming he already has his own team consisting of Monami, Nobu and his father Shigeo.
From that day Capeta and his team will begin the adventure of motor racing, challenging the Autohouse Racing team and the champion Naomi Minamoto in exciting and breathtaking races.

The series is a compelling coming-of-age tale, which traces the human and professional growth of the young Formula One driver. The drawings are accurate and well made, even if extensive use has been made of real-life movies rendered with the cel shading technique, a plug-in that allows you to transform photos and movies in cartoon style, which if used massively tends to depersonalize the style of the drawings.

by Gianluigi Piludu

Video of Capeta - the animated series

Titles of the episodes of Capeta
01 Beyond the limit
02 The first kart
03 The first lap on the track
04 Full throttle
05 Rivals
06 Team Capet
07 The tests
08 Track problems
09 The track record
10 The Qualifications
11 Departure
12 Battle!
13 Team strategy
14 Victory
15 Promotion
16 Penalty
17 The comeback
18 Hunt for the sponsor
19 The guest of honor
20 Teammates
21 Racing history
22 Pressure
23 The last chance
24 Critical conditions
25 Young talents
26 Showdown
27 Blue Flag
28 Strategies!
29 Matter of tires
30 In the rain
31 Head to head
32 Last lap!
33 The interview
34 The proposal
35 Everyone on set!
36 Forced rest
37 The new kart
38 Formula Star!
39 First steps!
40 Track tests
41 Want to win
42 The turning point
43 A race to the last breath
44 On the track!
45 The road to victory
46 Hearing!
47 Perfect Victory!
48 Next stop!
49 Opponents!
50 Second pilot
51 Red zone
52 Checkered flag

Capeta is copyright © Studio Comet / Masahito Soda / Kodansha / Yamato Video and of the right holders, the names and images are used here for cognitive and informative purposes.

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