Initial D is a 1998 anime adaptation of the 1995 manga of the same name.
Set in the late 1990s in Japan's Gunma Prefecture, the series follows the adventures of Takumi Fujiwara, an eighteen year old who helps his father run a tofu store by making deliveries every morning to a hotel on Akina with his father's Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX (AE86). It is revealed that Takumi has been driving on Mt. Akina every morning to deliver Tofu to the summit five years before he even had his license. As a result his skills in mountain racing were honed, and is able to drive under adverse weather conditions.
Why It Rocks
- It has some best character and racing animation.
- This show stays almost faithful to the manga, with some anime-only scenes.
- Some memorable characters, like Takumi Fujiwara, Bunta Fujiwara, Koichiro Iketani, Itsuki Takeuchi, Keisuke Takahashi, Ryosuke Takahashi, Takeshi Nakazato, Shingo Shoji, etc.
- The cars are great, including the iconic Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno.
- The Funimation Dub was great, thus way better than the Tokyopop Dub.
- The finale of Final Stage was decent, which shows the GT86 at the end.
- Catchy Eurobeat songs that were played in some racing scenes, including Deja Vu by Dave Rodgers.
- The Battle Stages was quite good, with some CGI improvement.
- Initial D Third Stage was a great film.
- M.O.V.E is the best musician artist who made the openings and ending songs of that said anime.
- The Initial D Legend trilogy films was good, which stays completely faithful to the manga.
- It helped to popularize the tuner racing genre internationally.
- The Initial D Arcade Stage series is a great game.
- The CGI on the cars for First Stage was quite awful, but however improved in Second-Fifth Stage.
- The character designs of Fifth Stage was slightly ugly.
- The Tokyopop Dub is bad, which replaces the Eurobeat with Hip-Hop/Rock music, changed the characters names, removing the scenes, replacing the iconic 4AGE sound effects with a V8, which made the AE86 sound like an American Muscle Car even though it's a Japanese Car, and added the special effects that ruined the racing scenes, thus it's a lot badder than the One Piece 4Kids Dub, the Dragon Ball Ocean Dub, and the Sailor Moon DiC/Cloverway Dub, and however, Funimation had now owned the rights to Initial D, which not only undo the mess that Tokyopop had done, but hired new voice actors.
- This anime can have some filler scenes.
- The 2005 live film adaptation was awful, with some characters from the anime were missing (such as Keisuke Takahashi, Shingo Shoji, Mako & Sayuki, etc.).
- Itsuki Takeuchi or Koichiro Iketani can be butt-monkeys for sometime.
- Fifth Stage and Final Stage was never dubbed, even the Battle Stages and Extra Stage 2.
- Two of Keiuske's uphill battles (Keiuske vs. Atsuro and Keisuke vs. Sakai) didn't appear in the Fourth Stage anime, but only appears in the manga and Battle Stage 2.
- The game, Initial D: Mountain Vengeance was awful.
- Most of the scenes were anime-only but never appeared in the manga, such as Itsuki vs. Shingo, Takumi vs. Ryosuke (Third Stage) and Keisuke vs. Seiji (quite canonical in the manga, but Battle Stage only).
- It was quite sad to see the AE86 getting it's engine blown up in the race against Kyoichi Sudo.
- Most of the characters are quite unlikable, such as Miki (who tried to kidnap Natsuki), Shingo Shoji (who often bumped and rear-ended Iketani, and also Itsuki in anime only), The Lan Evo Jerks (who made Keisuke crash into a curb by an oil spill), Fake Project D (who tried to impersonate Takumi and Keisuke), etc.
This Anime was well received by many critics and fans, which had spawned many memes, such as, Running in the 90's, Deja Vu, Nani? Kansei Dorifto!?, etc. and spawned the Initial D Arcade Stage series and merchandising.