Netflix’s Hyperdrive – A Drifting Competition Like No Other

Netflix’s Hyperdrive – A Drifting Competition Like No Other

hyperdrive rx7
Hyperdrive – a competition TV series by Netflix where cars race and drift through an obstacle course! Car in pictured above is Aaron Parker’s RX7 which was a competitive car and driver in the first season.

Netflix released their original competition series Hyperdrive on August 21 2019. It’s been likened to a “drifting meets American ninja” type of competition TV series – and I fully understand why. It’s got the same style of battle formatting, annoyingly hyped-up commentary that you cringe at 99% of the time, dazzling light shows and same overall dramatized feel to it all. If you think of American ninja and just place the competitors in cars, you have Hyperdrive.

Kisaragi Awano – whom I first heard about Hyperdrive from and whom I wanted to see driving the most, made an appearance of only a few seconds!

I had seen a few posts about this Hyperdrive beforehand on Instagram – namely from Kisa Awano whom I thought would make a major appearance and was one of the main reasons why I wanted to watch Hyperdrive in the first place. Surprisingly, she appeared in the crowd shots more than she appeared on the course! Apparently she had (mechanical?) trouble with her JXZ100 Cresta so she struggled to drive at a competitive pace. The few shots they put into the episode with her in it showed her coming to a complete stop before the target she was meant to drift into, which – for anyone who can drift, and she can – is very unusual. The next scene shows her not being able to manji down the straight and hit the targets there either. I’m guessing her car had some major issues with it to not even be able to drift into those targets, which is super unfortunate.

After realizing I wouldn’t see Kisa anymore, I kind of lost interest. And after watching some very laughable driving and mind-numbing commentary in the first 4 episodes, I was just about to do a big fat skid on the show and never return. But I was curious about the other Japanese competitor, Atsushi Taniguchi. Since I live in Japan and it’s my home now, I’ve got to root for my fellow Japanese countrymen! (I’m kind of surprised there are no Australian drivers in it – coz Aussies are deadset drifty kings!) So I go to the next episode to see how Atsushi goes and he makes it through. And he keeps on making it through all the way to the finals! I was really hoping he would, because after all, Japan’s drifting pride was resting on him and his ‘Meihan Police’ 2JZ Toyota Crown.

atsushi taniguchi hyperdrive
After Kisa was knocked out, I was rooting for the other Japanese driver, Taniguchi Atsushi and his “Meihan Police” drift spec 2JZ powered Crown. Another driver with a WTF moment when he catapulted this car a few feet in the air and came down hard.

The last half of the series was MUCH much better than the first half. Thanks to the elimination format, the weak drivers were knocked out so only the drivers who could actually drift/drive were left to compete. Sorry to say it, but some of the drivers made me wonder why they even thought they’d have a chance in this competition. Did they even have to audition or was it just pure random? By the last 2 episodes, I could finally enjoy watching decent driving.

I actually became a fan of Fielding Shredder even after I was like WTF after he waaaay overshot a turn and crushed the rear of his red Kouki S14 Silvia into the side of a building! He made it to the finals too, so it was exciting to see him progress through the rounds. Fielding and Atsushi were definitely my favorites. I don’t want to spoil it and tell you who wins – you’ll have to see it to find out.

Fielding Shredder impressed me right away with his comp-spec S14 240SX Silvia packing a healthy sounding 2JZ under the bonnet. His WTF moment was him creaming the rear end into a brick building. Surprisingly, he was able to fix his car and continue in the contest!

Hyperdrive is worth watching if you’re a fan of drifting and/or tuned cars because there is quite a bit of action and most of the cars are high horsepower and properly built – but I recommend watching the first couple of episodes and then skipping to the last two or three. The middle gets pretty boring – coz it’s more of the same – and there is only so much “WOAHH! Listen to the sound of that engine!” in-your-face commentary you can take. The last few episodes where the really good drivers competing against each other was quite entertaining. Go here to watch Hyperdrive on Netflix.

I guess there will be a season 2 after all, because at the end of the episode finale, there was a call out for drivers to go to and submit your details in hopes for an appearance in the next season(s). With a public call out like this, I suspect they’ll have much more talent to choose from for future seasons. And that’s what I’d (and probably everyone) like to see. More skill behind the wheel and less over-the-top dribble from the commentators.

– Disco

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