Initial D (series)

All posts tagged Initial D (series)

Will we get to see him in the future?

Today’s mini-review is a change from previous usual ones because this is a review of the live-action version of Initial D, featuring Jay Chou and also one of the last movies that feature Edison Chen. This is another hi-def movie, and the album for this can be found here.

Hi-def marvels allows you to see more details than ever before. Even skin pores can be easily visible.

What applies in my previous Initial D review also applies here, although it covers only the parts up to second season. Two whole seasons condensed into one and a half-hour movie, resulting in removal of some elements of the original storyline that can be mind-numbing. For example, Keisuke did not exist, Itsuki is a fat-ass drop-out, the gas station has a hot attendant and more.

Despite the alterations, the movie is still awesome. Jay Chou managed to carry the shy Takumi character very well, and I think there are times where he is overdoing it to the extent where I think Takumi has some mental disease or something. That isn’t a bad thing, just so you know. Edison Chen has little airtime, even the revamped and luckier Itsuki has more of it. And that’s the bad thing here.

Character development is obvious only for Jay Chou and his dad, with everyone else can almost be described as decorations. The ending is a mixture of the first and second season endings, with Jay Chou victorious at the end. Only that, he loses his (super hot) girlfriend unlike the manga/anime version. Whoops, is that a spoiler?

Natsumi is HOT, a far cry than that sorry excuse for a woman in the manga/anime version.

Character Design:-
This does not apply here because this is live-action movie. But Natsumi is HOT, unlike the anime/manga version. So are Edison Chen and to the lesser extent, Jay Chou.

Unlike Steamboy, dark scenes (there’s a lot of them) in this movie is actually watchable.

Voice acting:-
Also did not apply here. But the acting in general is decent I think, especially Edison Chen. The only problem you have is to believe that people in Akina speaks Cantonese instead of Japanese.

Imported from the anime version:- Censorship of plate numbers.

No m.o.v.e. tracks here, so in this aspect the anime is superior than this movie. It has a couple of good Jay Chou songs though, if Cantopop is your thing.

But in key scenes like this, the plate number is visible. I wonder why the movie company even bother doing it in the first place.

This isn’t an animation, but being a hi-def movie, the details are spectacular. The directing is not that good unfortunately. Overuse of that stuttering camera shots ruins the presentation of this movie, but camera angles in some of the racing scenes are excellent.

A shot of that famous ‘gutter’ overtaking manoeuvre.

8 out of 10.
If you are a fan and can stomach the missing/altered details, you should give this a spin. Hint: Get the hi-def version, you will like it immensely.

That cheesy scene that has been parodied by Izumi Konata is also here.

Put the sponsors’ logos here.

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.

Sudo Kyoichi is more observant of the traffic law compared to our gas-attendant hero. At least he has number plates.

Character Design:-
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.

Voice acting:-
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 Lan-Evo may be going down, but at least the vehicle has a plate number.

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.

Our hero eventually repents and put on a plate number on his 86 Trueno.