Initial D First Stage
Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans
Genre: Action, Drama, Sports, Car, Vroom!
First Aired: Spring 1998, 26 episodes
Summary: Takumi Fujiwara is a seemingly normal high school student that helps his father by delivering tofu to the Lake Akina shops at night. On top of that he maintains his job at the local gas station in town. His coworkers are all gearheads, but Takumi could not care less about cars. It’s difficult to pinpoint what he cares about since Takumi is indifferent to most situations. Everything is about to change when Takumi’s talents come to light and he is called upon to shine in the world of street racing.
I had no idea street racing could be so exhilarating! The buildup to the race, the drama unfolding, the thrill of the battle on the asphalt, the strategy of jockeying for position on the road, the naming of specific maneuvers! Everything about it reminds me of a sports anime. Each episode left me wanting to know what Takumi and the street racing team at his job were going to do next. Are they going to practice their four-wheel drift? Are they going to defend their honor against a rival car gang? Anything is possible in Initial D!
You might enjoy this if: You’re all about the 90s. Initial D takes you two decades back in a time machine to a simpler time. Everything in this series screams it. The soundtrack is classic, including the crazy ending credits to every episode. What’s that all about? The animation is reminiscent of an earlier age where the eyes are not quite as large and the hairstyles are tamer.
You might not like it if: 1990s computer graphics make you cringe. A lot of Initial D has withstood the test of time, but not the awkward car CG peppered throughout the episodes.
Note to the Viewer: There are a lot of Initial D seasons. The order to watch them is as follows:
- First Stage (season one, 1998)
- Second Stage (season two, 1999)
- Extra Stage (OVA, 2000)
- Third Stage (film, 2001)
- Battle Stage 1 (OVA, 2002)
- Fourth Stage (season three, 2004)
- Battle Stage 2 (OVA, 2007)
- Fifth Stage (season four, 2012)
- Final Stage (season five, 2014)
BONUS: There’s also the 2005 Hong Kong Initial D live-action film and the three-part film series from 2014-2016, New Initial D.
AMV – Forever Young by Alvin