Initial D

Title:Initial D
Initial D First Stage
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: KAKAZU Yumi
KOYASU Takehito
MIKI Shinichirou
SEKI Tomokazu
When an 18-year-old tofu delivery boy named Tak begins to casually get involved with the street racing scene, he unexpectedly goes up against a street racing legend in one of his first races. Soon, Tak has acquired a reputation and finds that other racers are lining up for the chance to take on Tak and his famous "Eight-Six of Mount Akina".
26 TV episodes (24 min each)

1:30min Series Opening - YouTube Video
2:02min Excerpt from the series - YouTube Video

[edit] The ↗Initial D franchise:
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch 6 5 5 8 5 5 Ggultra2764 [series:340#1552]
Yeah, this is one of those shows that have a niche audience that I'm not gonna have interest in continuing further with. I've heard quite a bit about Initial D since college where it was popular with street racing fans and even served as a gateway drug to anime for some. It even gets poked fun of for its subpar animation in some comedy anime like Lucky Star and School Rumble, which I'll cover a little later in this review.

Pretty much, Initial D's selling point is the various street racing competitions that male lead Takumi and his friends are involved with. Plenty of in-depth terminology on the various cars and their parts are part of regular conversation between racers as they hype up the capabilities of their car and driving, as well as any reputation that a reputable racer within the series has. The races are genuinely suspenseful, albeit predictable in their outcomes and usually defy real-life physics, as Takumi finds himself regularly challenged by other street racers throughout the course of the series as he adjusts to the street racing craze and improves his skills in later episodes against unique challenges like a "duck tape death match" or racing in unfamiliar territory. The series does delve into backgrounds and developments of some prominent characters in the series, but many are hard to connect with due either to lacking much in personality (mostly applies with Takumi), are archetypal to a great extent or only exist as challengers to Takumi and to gawk at his exceptional driving skills when he beats them. Essentially, Initial D is mostly focused on racing and you will find yourself rather bored of the series if you are expecting anything more out of it.

Visually, Initial D is quite subpar sporting rough lining and washed-out colors for its scenery and characters designs, the latter sticking out quite prominently with the faces of said characters looking quite off. The races and cars within the series are animated entirely in CGI which looks quite a bit on the cheap side in terms of rendering and the audience in said races looking like cardboard cut-outs while races are in action during many shots. On the plus side, Initial D's techno soundtrack is quite catchy and upbeat, going along nicely with many parts of the show and doing well at making the races in the series seem genuinely intense.

Even with said soundtrack though, it isn't enough to have me wanting to see more of Initial D. The title's premise appeals to a rather niche audience and doesn't have much else that sticks out with it beyond its cliched characters and subpar visual presentation. Your mileage will definitely vary with this one.

Last updated Friday, June 06 2014. Created Friday, June 06 2014.
Rent Stretch [series:340#628]
(All episodes watched):

This is one of those shows which isn't part of a genre which I generally watch, but which I'd heard so much about that I felt I needed to watch at least a few episodes in order to continue to pretend to be an expert on anime. Actually, it was seeing parodies of Initial D on more than one series which spurred me to check out the original. I see how somebody who was watching this series when it was first broadcast (and therefore didn't know what to expect, like I did), would have enjoyed the way the basic premise of the show is spelled out by means of a skillful series of hints being dropped--I enjoyed it, too. In other words, skillful writing. Character designs are distinctive compared to other series, but largely alike compared to one another and it's difficult to tell individuals apart. All things considered, not bad! The popularity of this series isn't unjustified. I was skeptical about just how much excitement could be generated from road racing without any major crack-ups, but there haven't been any and the show remained interesting and entertaining. I wish a few things had been explained more crisply, though--like what was Taki's father's attitude towards his son's new racing career. He seemed apathetic to me. I guess the secret behind this show was taking a look at an unusual sport, combined with skillful writing and special effects--the CGI of this show plays such a large part that it has become a running gag in the anime world.

Last updated Saturday, June 07 2014. Created Sunday, September 30 2007.
Buy 7 7 8 10 10 10 Big Fire [series:340#2441]
I liked the First Stage. After all, the first drift that 86 ever did got me and i was hooked for life...Yes the art/animation is dated, but if you like cars, especially circa mid 80s to 90s, and think drifitng is cool, then this is the ONLY game in town...In addition, to racing, the first stage does offer a good story where we get to know several characters. I own it and you should too...

Last updated Friday, February 02 2007. Created Friday, February 02 2007.
Buy 7 7 7 10 10 10 DisFunctional [series:340#863]
although the animation wasn't that great and the story line was predictable, there was something about initial d that makes you wanna watch over and over again.
The writer sets up the story so perfectly that you can feel the characters excitement, anticipation, sadness and so on. not many anime does that these dayz.
initial d was one of the first jap anime i've seen and it remains one of my favorites.
after seeing so many jap animes, there's only a few i recommend and this is one of them.

Last updated Thursday, July 29 2004. Created Thursday, July 29 2004.
Rent 7 8 7 9 8 8 Jan-Chan [series:340#967]
26 episodes - each about 25 minutes long.

Takumi, a sleepy-headed high school student gets drawn into the world of street car racing. Having spent the last five years delivering tofu to a lodge at the top of the Akina mountain road (driving under age and on the road at 4am each morning), he finds himself very bored with driving, at least until he gets bribed by his father to race against another driver to defend the honor of the local Akina Street Racers motorclub.

This is a very fun series, the footage of the characters is animation, while the car racing scenes are all CGI (computer generated imagery). The story line ebbs and flows around the five races that Takumi gets involved in (in the 26 episodes of this series), and there is a lot of character development as Takumi learns about the lingo and culture of the street racing clubs. The music is very hip and very well pared with series. And then there is also a girl that Takumi is interested in......

I probably should give this a BUY rating, but there are certain shortcomings that only allow me to give this very fun RENT rating for this mostly G-rated series. But all in all, I really like this series.

Last updated Sunday, October 19 2008. Created Friday, July 02 2004.
Watch 6 8 6 10 6 Kaali [series:340#1285]
[I have seen this series only once.]
I really didn't think i'd like this series, but it was a quite enjoyable experience overally, except that after a few races it became too repetetive. There was a bit of a romance story going on in the background but in my opinion it was dragged too much while the focus was on cars. Well, the main focus was on the cars and the romance story was just a background story that didn't really have an impact on the rest of the story.
The setting was quite nice about Takumi and his relationship with cars. And there were some nice highlights with this special relationship. There really isn't that much to say about this series that hasn't been said already, if you like the basic underdog beats the pro's sports series you should watch this. And no, you don't have to be interested in cars, but warning: This series might make you.
- Art: I didn't like the drawing style, especially the lips on characters. 3D-art was subpar too, but fortunately it gets a bit better on the Second Stage and the Third Stage.
- Animation: 3D scenes were quite nicely animated though.
- Character Design: I liked Takumi's character, his father's and the gas-station owner's design a bit, but the other characters seemed very dull to me.
- Music: Full points for choosing euro-poppish music as it supports the car theme perfectly.
- Series Story: The story had a nice idea(regarding Takumis character), but it becomes too repetetive after a while.

Last updated Sunday, March 21 2004. Created Sunday, March 21 2004.
Watch 6 7 4 10 7 7 DarkAstheir [series:340#868]
DownHill, Uphill racing and even a Semi-decent plot in between. Being an Extreme Driver myself (and Mentor to a few Speed Junkies), I Loved this movie, The Music fits perfectly. This particular Anime is a Hit-or-Miss, You'll either Watch it till the very end or Tire of it and Set it aside with Star Ocean EX. I recommend this one highly only if you have Driven a Vehicle to its Limits and made it Drive Sideways instead of the Usual Foreward.

Last updated Tuesday, July 22 2003. Created Tuesday, July 22 2003.
Buy 10 Anonymous #364 [series:340#364]
I am not a car enthusiast or anything like that, but Initial D is awesome. True, the fish-lip art designs and outdated CG animation may be harsh at first, but I got used to them. Really, I didn't mind that...
because I was too busy being addicted to these characters' lives. Virtually all of the characters are likeable--they seem like extensions of reality with their anime style reactions yet at the same time, they are very real. They have human flaws. They make mistakes.
As for the races, they range from average to nail-biting exciting. This is because I really did CARE about what happened, even though the storyline is kinda predictable. Also, don't forget about the great Eurobeat soundtrack...added with the CG racing, it makes for some of the most memorable scenes I have ever witnessed in anime.
Overall, it may take some time to get used to it...but it's SO worth it. This won't appeal to everyone, but please, try it out.

Last updated Monday, August 12 2002. Created Monday, August 12 2002.
Rent RobbieNewbie [series:340#211]
I watched all series (or called stages: First Stage, Second Stage, Extra Stage and Third Stage), because I loved it! I gave First Stage a RENT rating because not everyone will like this type of story and this type of animation.
For a first view episodes, I was a little annoyed with the handdrawn animation but the stories developed enough to make me forgot about it. One thing that I liked from the start is the combination of Rendered animation and Handdrawn animation went so smooth that it looks cool! If you are a PSone fans of GranTurismo game, you will be pleased with this series.
The story is simple enough, a simple minded youngster realized that he liked racing and actually good at it! With many cars/driving technique explained in the series, most people would be able to understand and relates with the tricks they showed in the series.
I liked this kind of stories (=BUY), but then you must be patient and interested with racing type anime (=RENT).

Last updated Tuesday, April 16 2002. Created Tuesday, April 16 2002.
Rent 5 6 7 7 Kaitou Juliet [series:340#137]

Note: review written after 8 episodes, expected to be revised later.

Folks, I am shocked. I am stunned. I am enjoying this series.

I have no interest in car racing. It's the kind of thing I actively avoid on television. But my local anime club was showing this series in between two shows I did want to watch, so I sat through it. And gradually, darned if I didn't start looking forward to it.

It certainly helps to be a car racing fan; there's a lot of talk about engine capabilities and plenty of fanservicey shots of the "cool car of the week." But on the other hand, all that discussion means that you can follow the story without knowing too much ahead of time. Besides, the basic storyline of a young person discovering abilities and adjusting to new challenges works whether it's about car racing, swordfighting, or ice skating.

I really liked the fact that the main character wasn't some gung-ho guy but a reluctant racer who has to discover his own enjoyment. I like the little day-to-day scenes too, and the character interaction. Takumi's father and the gas station manager crack me up.

I have mixed feelings about the character design. It's not the "classic" anime style, and is even kind of ugly. Looking at it always distracts me a little, and yet there's something to appreciate in its grittiness, too. It definitely doesn't go out of its way to make everyone look glamorous, which is a plus.

Last updated Thursday, November 01 2001. Created Wednesday, October 17 2001.

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