This is the review of all 4 stages of the Initial D anime, which is mainly the reason why it takes so long for me to watch. read on if you wanna know whether you should waste some considerable time watching this series. This review will encompass all 4 stages into one short review, the trademark of this blog.
Takumi Fujiwara is a daydreaming high school student who broke the traffic law everyday by delivering tofu for his father on a Toyota Sprinter AE86 Trueno, without a license and also no plate number, on Mount Akina’s downhill. Nevertheless, he also drives way faster than the law allowed, with the speed exceeding 100km/h on a 40km/h zone. Takumi still bothered to wear the seat-belt though, which I think is ironic because of his VERY DANGEROUS way of driving. He was then followed by others who also broke the same laws, leaving his best friend above (picture) in the dust.
The subsequent seasons sees some of the drivers repented and started to drive with number plates on, and Takumi also gets his license. Still, they still flout the traffic law by driving way above the speed limit. And I have never seen a single policeman or traffic police chasing after those lawbreakers featured prominently in this series.
Well, that’s what the story is all about, which is about drivers driving fast. The story is decent, but I tell you, all that is important here is the street racing with plenty of that drifting thingy. The first 2 stages or so, the series tried to have some sense of storyline but the producers eventually become wiser and just shove the storyline for more and more racing by the time of the 4th stage. And yeah, the 4th stage is the best stage from all the stages here. Hahahaha.
Being a classic from the last century, the character design reflects the trend of that era. And the author Shuuichi Shigeno suffers the same flaw Naruto author did, he does not know how to draw beautiful female characters. Definitely not the main point of the series.
Unlike the character design, voice acting here is excellent, at least for the main recurring characters. There are plenty of heavyweight here such as Miki Shinichiro, Tomokazu Seki and Wataru Takagi, even Ayako ‘Nodame’ Kawasumi who play a cameo as the hero’s love interest.
Another great point of the series. The OST is decent but with plenty of insert songs of the dance variety. Meanwhile, there plenty of good themes; they are the 1st stage first and second OP themes, also the first ED theme; third stage OP theme; and all themes in the 4th stage. Only 2nd stage has fully disappointing themes. Those insert songs really gets you in the mood, especially in the midst of a race when an overtaking move is performed.
The animation is decent but the integration of the 2D and CGI scenes is not smooth especially in the first 2 seasons. It does improve as the show goes on. The directing is superb, with all those action scenes, backed up with great camera shots and also the insert songs. One of my favorite scenes is when Shingo Shouji tried to crash onto Takumi but failed. The failure is presented in slow motion with Rage Your Dream insert song start playing in the background. I love such scenes very much!
9 out of 10. Definitely a must watch if you are an automobile fan. But even if you don’t, this is still a good series to watch.