Initial D: First Stage (1998)
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Where do I begin? Do I explain why I have no posted since May? Do I vent about how much my job has stressed me out? Well I do apologize for my absence. I have been active on Instagram with updated my collection which is now standing at 230 series listed. I have even been actively watching Fire Force Season 2, God of High School, and a few others that can be viewed on Instagram to stay updated. I even came back with good news to share... PEACH GIRL NEXT VOLUME 8 has finally released in the US, August 4th. What does this mean? That I can finally finish the series and get rid of my built up anxiety over Momo's adult decisions. I even have made a dent in Princess Jellyfish Volume 4. I was suppose to be reading it simultaneously with MommaLuvsManga, but she already posted her review which you should go check out! I will mainly use hers as a general reference but more so as a comparison review. By the time this post is made public I would have submitted something to Blackgirlsanime which I have applied to before and did not get the position. But with determination and the support of my friends and family I will attempt it again so wish my luck!
When I was a kid I use to eat trash food, such as Cici's Pizza. They would have this arcade that my parents would like me play in with $5.00 worth of quarters after I ate and I would play all the racing games they had. One of the games in particular was Initial D.
I never knew what it was at the time but that it was always at this arcade and had old cars that you could chose from to drive with. I always got my ass beat by my dad and other brother because I was never any good with driving within a game.
Little did I know until I was today-years-old that game was a franchise that made many racing games for arcades, home consoles, handhelds, and PC. All based off of its original manga series which later adapted an anime series and later in 2005 a live-action movie (from what I have heard the audience considered it to be trash but the critics ate it up, which aided in winning many awards).
Unlike his friends in the Speedstars, Takumi Fujiwara was never interested in car or knew anything about them (like myself). He was just the son of a tofu shop owner and had to make the delivers every morning from age 12 to now (16-years-old).
One night the Akagi Red Suns, a racing team famous in town, challenge the Speedstars. The race does not go according to plan because a special Toyota AE86 beats the Red Suns. This is what starts the summer of race after race for Takumi.
Takumi Fujiwara is the son of Bunta Fujiwara (historically the fastest racer in Akina). He rarely shows emotion. His best friend is Itsuki Takeuchi, who is a racing fan (most annoying character ever). He works part-time at a gas station to save money to buy his own car (because his dad does not pay him to do deliveries).
Initially all his friends assumed that Takumi had no racing ability because of his feelings towards driving. The only one who suspected that he was an advanced driver was his boss and gas station owner, Yuuichi, who is great friends with his father.
Throughout the plot if it was not for his father starting his driving career early he would not have won the many races that he did. He won races that technically he should not even has a chance with the car that he had. But the difference Takumi's driving and his opponents is that he is more of an instinctual driver rather than a intellectual.
The plot had many dynamic side-plots about each racer that Takumi went up against. Even surrounding his friends. Those who wanted to break records and fall in love.
For example, Iketani, the leader of the Speedstars and Mako Satou the legendary Usui driver. They were a match made in heaven but Iketani could not get over his pride and ego for Mako. They both had deep feelings for each other but because he was unable to get out of his head about Mako's intentions. This was the most disappointing romance of the season.
The second most disappointing romance is not necessarily the romance itself it is the love interest Takumi has for Natsuki Mogi who is secretly a sugar baby (secure the bag sis!) but she is an under-aged sugar baby and has yet to tell him that is what she does for money. But yet she is going on dates with Takumi and kissing him but in a white benz kissing an old 40-year-old man as well.
Overall I did like the first season. All the races in my opinion had that same cycle of events. Takumi is assumed that he is not going to when then he is able to win by a long-shot that was unexpected. This goes on for 26-episodes. Also there were only six races total that transpired. I hope to see more in the following seasons to come. I am disappointed that the final season is not released in the US so this series will be cut short for me so I am considering buying the manga where the series ends but we will have to see.
I know absolutely nothing about cars but if you are a car buff and want a good plot about a coming of age story of a teenage boy and how he gets into professional racing (spoiler) I definitely recommend. The series can also be found on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video to my knowledge.
Lastly I did love the soundtrack that was included for each race. I linked one of my favorite tracks to the cover photo!