Saturday, October 2, 2010

Initial D First Stage DVD Impression

Initial D First Stage on DVD is by no means a brand new series, but seeing release recently by FUNimation made this anime fan pick up a genre long passed over and wow am I happy. Simple put this series is about street racing, specifically mountain-pass drift street racing. So why after all these years am I geeked for Initial D? The story centers around the mentioned street racing and how teenage Takumi Fujiwara gets involved in the underground battles. Takumi's father owns a tofu story and since he was young Takumi has been making the evening deliveries. Over the years, without knowing it, he's honed his driving skills. Once evening another racer, Keisuke Takahashi of the Red Suns racing team sees and challenges the Ghost of Akina (name given to the unknown Takumi). Urged by his friends and former street racing father, Takumi takes part in the race using is AE Eight-Six. Knowing the mountain like the back of his hand Takumi wins but the challenges are just beginning. Welcome to the world of drift street racing Takumi, could you be the best?

Simple concept, yes but one executed awesomely. Funny thing is the animation, character design are dated and feel dated. Like watching some Lupin from back in the day and even looking at anime of the late 90's, Initial D was not that pretty to look at. The cars are done with some early animation meets computer stuff (yes, stuff is a technical term). So I've just said the animation and character design is not that great while the story is pretty straightforward, so what gives? Why am I geeked about Initial D? The flow folks, the flow! The Euro inspired J-pop, J-rap music is still sick and matches the racing action perfectly. The story takes the sports concept of raw protege and puts it on four wheels ... it's just plain sweet. The racing, learning about cars and yes they teach you about cars, the family history, other racers and styles ... it's the flow of all of this that makes Initial D so very relevant even now.

There will be anime fans who just don't dig this genre, so pay attention. It's an anime about racing cars. Sound interesting then check it out but if not don't waste your money then complain. Initial D keeps the action grounded in reality from race types to cars. It's solid anime fun that I'm taking for a second drive, a third drive, a fourth ... well you get the point. Watch if on Hulu and decide if you've missed a gem, sadly this was true for me.

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