Initial D

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Initial D
InitialD vol1 Cover.jpg
The cover of the first tankōbon volume, released in Japan on November 6, 1995
頭文字D
(Inisharu Dī)
GenreAdventure,[1] sports (street racing)[2]
Manga
Written byShuichi Shigeno
Published byKodansha
English publisher
DemographicSeinen
MagazineYoung Magazine
Original run19952013
Volumes48 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Initial D First Stage
Directed byShin Misawa
Produced byRen Usami
Written byKoji Kaneda
Music byRyuichi Katsumata
StudioStudio Comet
Gallop
Licensed by
Madman Entertainment
Original networkFuji TV
English network
Original run April 18, 1998 December 5, 1998
Episodes26 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Initial D Second Stage
Directed byShin'ichi Masaki
Produced byKayo Fukuda
Written byHiroshi Toda
Nobuaki Kishima
Music byRyuichi Katsumata
StudioPastel
Licensed by
Madman Entertainment
Funimation
Original networkFuji TV
English network
Original run October 14, 1999 January 6, 2000
Episodes13 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Initial D Extra Stage
Directed byShishi Yamaguchi
Written byHiroshi Toda
Nobuaki Kishima
Music byRyuichi Katsumata
StudioPastel
Licensed by
Madman Entertainment
Funimation
Released February 22, 2000 February 29, 2000
Runtime25 minutes (each)
Episodes2 (List of episodes)
Anime film
Initial D Third Stage
Directed byFumitsugu Yamaguchi
Produced byTakayuki Nagasawa
Written byHiroshi Toda
Nobuaki Kishima
Music byRyuichi Katsumata
StudioStudio Deen
Licensed by
Madman Entertainment
Funimation
ReleasedJanuary 13, 2001
Runtime105 minutes
Original video animation
Initial D Battle Stage 1
Directed byShishi Yamaguchi
Written byHiroshi Toda
Nobuaki Kishima
Music byRyuichi Katsumata
StudioPastel
ReleasedMay 15, 2002
Runtime45 minutes
Anime television series
Initial D Fourth Stage
Directed byTsuneo Tominaga
Produced byKayo Fukuda
Written byNobuaki Kishima
Hiroshi Toda
Music byAtsushi Umebori
StudioA.C.G.T
Licensed by
Madman Entertainment
Funimation
Original networkAnimax PPV
Original run April 17, 2004 February 18, 2006
Episodes24 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Initial D Battle Stage 2
Directed byTsuneo Tominaga
Written byNobuaki Kishima
Hiroshi Toda
Music byAtsushi Umebori
StudioA.C.G.T
ReleasedMay 30, 2007
Runtime78 minutes
Original video animation
Initial D Extra Stage 2
Directed byTsuneo Tominaga
Written byNobuaki Kishima
Hiroshi Toda
Music byAtsushi Umebori
StudioA.C.G.T
ReleasedOctober 3, 2008
Runtime55 minutes
Anime television series
Initial D Fifth Stage
Directed byMitsuo Hashimoto
Produced byKayo Fukuda
Written byNobuaki Kishima
Hiroshi Toda
Music byAtsushi Umebori
StudioSynergySP
Original networkAnimax PPV (Perfect Choice Premier 1)
Original run November 9, 2012 May 10, 2013
Episodes14 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Initial D Final Stage
Directed byMitsuo Hashimoto
Produced byKayo Fukuda
Written byNobuaki Kishima
Hiroshi Toda
Music byAtsushi Umebori
StudioSynergySP
Original networkAnimax PPV (Animax Plus)
Original run May 16, 2014 June 22, 2014
Episodes4 (List of episodes)
Films
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Initial D (Japanese: 頭文字Dイニシャル・ディー, Hepburn: Inisharu Dī) is a Japanese street racing manga series written and illustrated by Shuichi Shigeno. It was serialized in Young Magazine from 1995 to 2013, with the chapters collected into 48 tankōbon volumes by Kodansha. The story focuses on the world of illegal Japanese street racing, where all the action is concentrated in the mountain passes and rarely in cities or urban areas, and with the drift racing style emphasized in particular. Professional race car driver and pioneer of drifting Keiichi Tsuchiya helped with editorial supervision. The story is centered on the prefecture of Gunma, more specifically on several mountains in the Kantō region and in their surrounding cities and towns. Although some of the names of the locations the characters race in have been fictionalized, all of the locations in the series are based on actual locations in Japan.

Initial D has been adapted into several anime television and original video animations series by OB Studio Comet, Studio Gallop, Pastel, A.C.G.T and SynergySP. A live action film by Avex and Media Asia was released in 2005. Both the manga and anime series were initially licensed for English-language distribution in North America by Tokyopop (2002–2009),[3] however, the anime license has since been picked up by Funimation, while the manga is no longer available in English.

Synopsis[edit]

The first battle of the series, Keisuke Takahashi (RX-7)(FD3S) vs. Takumi Fujiwara (AE86), as seen in the anime.

The protagonist, Takumi Fujiwara, is a gas station attendant working with his friend Itsuki to buy a car, which they plan to drift on the twisting roads surrounding nearby Mount Akina. Unbeknownst to his colleagues, Takumi moonlights as a tofu delivery driver for his father's store before sunrise each morning, passively building an impressive amount of skill behind the wheel of the family car, an aging Toyota Sprinter Trueno (AE86).

Shortly after the story begins, the Red Suns, an amateur racing team from Mount Akagi led by Ryosuke Takahashi, challenge the local Speedstars team to a set of races on Mount Akina. Dispirited after watching the Red Suns' superior performance during a practice run, the Speedstars expect to lose. Later that night, the Red Suns' #2 driver, Keisuke Takahashi, heading home after the last practice run, is defeated soundly by a mysterious Sprinter Trueno, despite driving a much more powerful Mazda RX-7(FD3S). An investigation into the identity of the driver leads to Bunta Fujiwara, Takumi's father. The Speedstars beg Bunta to help them defeat the Red Suns, and he initially refuses, later relenting to "maybe" show up at the race. At the same time, Takumi asks Bunta if he can borrow the car for a day to take a trip to the beach with a potential girlfriend (Natsuki Mogi), and Bunta seizes the moment by granting permission (plus a full tank of fuel) on the condition that Takumi defeats Keisuke.

On the night of the race, the Trueno does not show up, and the Speedstars enlist a backup driver for the first run. At the last moment before the race starts, the AE86 arrives. Takumi steps out of the car to the bewilderment of the Speedstars, who were expecting Bunta. He easily defeats Keisuke by utilizing a dangerous "Gutter run" (putting both the right/left tires into the gutters to gain speed) technique on the mountain road's hairpin corners.

The Red Suns' embarrassing defeat sets up the plot for the rest of the series: drivers from neighboring prefectures come to challenge Takumi and the "Legendary Eight-Six of Akina" and thus prove themselves as racers. Eventually, the plot moves away from Mount Akina as Takumi becomes bored with racing solely on that road. He joins an experimental racing team formed by the disbanded Red Suns and challenges more difficult opponents on their home courses in the pursuit of his dream to be "the fastest driver out there".

Media[edit]

The Initial D franchise logo.

Manga[edit]

  • Initial D manga Japanese release: 48 Volumes (1995–2013, Vol. 48 released in November 2013)
  • Initial D manga Tokyopop release: 33 Volumes (2002–2009, expired license)

The first Initial D volume was released in Japan on November 6, 1995 and concluded on July 29, 2013.[4] The manga has been translated officially into Chinese, French and English over its publication run. As of 2013, 48 volumes have been published.

The manga and anime were originally licensed for English releases in North America by Tokyopop. The company changed the names of the characters in the anime edition, and subsequently changed them in the manga to match.[5] These name changes were to reflect the name changes that Sega implemented into the western releases of the Initial D A Stage video games {see below} due to name length limits. Tokyopop also cut out a character's enjo kōsai relationship with another and edited sex scenes, appearing in volumes 1 and 9 in the original manga. In addition, "street slang" was interlaced in translations (a drift was described as "slammin'", for example).

The manga also had some translation errors. One example was the technical term "Wastegate" (which is a mechanism used to regulate the boost pressure generated by a turbocharger) that was translated as "West Gate". Another was an inaccurate explanation of how an engine's displacement is calculated (the explanation given is how a ship's displacement is calculated, which is totally different). Many of the explanations of automotive design and function, as well as the specification sheets of the various cars, were incorrect.

In August 2009, Kodansha announced that they would not be renewing their licensing agreements with Tokyopop, citing "tense relations" between the two companies. This meant that Tokyopop could no longer release new volumes of Kodansha manga properties, nor re-release Kodansha titles that were already printed. Tokyopop ceased the release of Initial D after volume 33, which was released on December 30, 2008. Volume 34 had a scheduled street date of April 7, 2009, but never released.[6] There have been no announcements as to a new distributor in North America for continuing or restarting the manga.

Anime[edit]

Avex has released the anime in several parts called Stages. One noticeable feature is that it uses Eurobeat music as background music in race scenes.

  • Initial D (referred to retroactively by fans as "First Stage") — 26 episodes (1998)
  • Initial D Second Stage — 13 episodes (1999)
  • Initial D Extra Stage — 2-episode OVA side-story focusing on Impact Blue (2000)
  • Initial D Third Stage — a 114-minute movie (2001)
  • Initial D Fourth Stage — 24 episodes (2004–2006)
  • Initial D Extra Stage 2 — a 50-minute OVA side-story focusing on Mako and Iketani (2008)
  • Initial D Fifth Stage — 14 episodes (2012–2013)[7]
  • Initial D: Final Stage — 4 episodes (TV), compilation movie (DVD/Blu-ray) (2014)
  • New Initial D the Movie - Legend 1: Awakening — feature movie (2014)
  • New Initial D the Movie - Legend 2: Racer — feature movie (2015)
  • New Initial D the Movie - Legend 3: Dream — feature movie (2016)

The Battle Stages are Musical Films serving as a compilation of the racing action scenes in the preceding series reanimated and remastered with more advanced CGI and stripped of all but minimal character dialog. It also features hidden battles that were only featured in the manga and not in the anime such as Keisuke's race against Smiley,

  • Initial D Battle Stage — a 50-minute movie (2002)
  • Initial D Battle Stage 2 — a 1-hour movie (2007)
  • Note that Battle Stage 2 is a compilation of races from Fourth Stage with unchanged CGI, even for the hidden battles.

In 1998, Initial D was adapted into an animated television series produced by OB Planning and Prime Direction. The first episode premièred on Fuji TV on April 8, 1998. The initial series ran for 26 weekly episodes with the finale airing on December 5, 1998.

The second series, named "Second Stage", aired from October 14, 1999 to January 20, 2000 with a one-week break over the New Year period. This was followed by animated feature film in 2001 and an OVA documenting all battles from the previous three stages, with the battles from First Stage being re-animated.

Initial D: Third Stage was a feature film covering the story arcs between the second and fourth stage, released in Japan on January 13, 2001.

In 2004, Initial D: Fourth Stage aired on SkyPerfecTV's pay-per-view service, airing two episodes back-to-back every two months. 24 episodes were made until the final episodes were aired in February 2006.

Following Second Stage in 2000, Initial D: Extra Stage was aired as a spinoff to the original series. This story focused on the all-female Impact Blue team of Usui Pass and their point of view of the recent events of Second Stage and the upcoming Third Stage movie. This was followed by Extra Stage 2 in 2008, which look at the relationship between Impact Blue's Mako Sato and Iketani of the SpeedStars (following on from the original side-story in the manga).

Following eight years after the release of "Fourth Stage" in 2004, Animax airs "Initial D: Fifth Stage". Animax has aired the series on a pay-per-view basis on SKY PerfecTV!'s Perfect Choice Premier 1 channel.[8] The first two episodes aired on November 9, 2012. The rest of the episodes were broadcast two per month till May 10, 2013.[8]

In 2014, "Initial D: Final Stage" became the latest installment in the anime series. Animax has aired its first two episodes on a pay-per-view basis on its own brand new ANIMAX PLUS channel, on May 16, 2014, on its new subscription VOD (Video On Demand) service, which allows subscribers to watch all the latest anime series. Initial D Final Stage will start right after where Fifth Stage left off. There are a total of four episodes that makes up this mini stage.[9] The final two episodes were broadcast on June 22, 2014.

Since the anime's original run, Japanese musical group m.o.v.e has performed all of the opening and some ending themes of the series. This followed on from the success of one of their first hits, "Around the World", which was used as the first opening of First Stage. Their latest single to be used in the series is called "Outsoar The Rainbow" and it is used as Final Stage's opening.[10] They had another recent unreleased song, "Days". It was played on the finale of "Final Stage".

Like in the manga, Tokyopop change elements of the anime to suit Western audiences. As well as changing the names and used western slang, the company also changed the anime's music from the series' staple eurobeat tracks to originally developed tracks of rap and hip-hop via Stu Levy (DJ Milky), the Tokyopop CEO and an in-house musician.[11]

In 2006, Funimation Entertainment announced that it would be distributing the DVDs of the anime (since Tokyopop's original distributor went bankrupt). This new distribution was marked by slightly revised packaging and two box sets corresponding to the licensed seasons Tokyopop had dubbed, although the DVDs themselves were exactly the same as the original Tokyopop release.

Tokyopop had completed an English dubbed version of Third Stage, and reportedly screened it at the Big Apple Anime Fest on August 29, 2003.[12] They briefly mentioned that their version of Third Stage would retain the original Japanese soundtrack, in contrast to their treatment of the anime series. This version of the film was never released on DVD, nor was it ever mentioned by Tokyopop past the original announcement.

At the New York Anime Festival 2009, Funimation Entertainment announced that it would be re-releasing and re-dubbing Initial D: First Stage, Second Stage, Extra Stage, Third Stage, and Fourth Stage. Their release included a brand new English dub and retained the original music from the Japanese in an uncut format. Funimation released the series out of order, with the Third and Fourth Stages releasing before the First and Second Stages.[13] Funimation has not specified whether or not they will dub and release Extra Stage 2 (the first Extra Stage was included in the Second Stage box set) or either of the Battle Stages, nor have they made a decision about 5th Stage and Final Stage.

In July 2013 it was announced that another feature film titled New Initial D the Movie and a last anime series, Initial D Final Stage, will be produced.[14] The movie is a retelling of the early Stages with a wholly new voice cast and is split into three parts, with the first part released on August 23, 2014.[15]

Games[edit]

Feature film[edit]

Fujino Store Tofu Shop in Gunma, which was renamed and modeled to Fujiwara Tofu Shop for the live-action film.[16][17]
A replica of Takumi's AE86

A live-action movie based on Initial D was released on June 23, 2005 in Asia. The movie was jointly produced by Japan's Avex Inc. and Hong Kong's Media Asia Group. It was directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, whose credits include the 2002 Hong Kong blockbuster Infernal Affairs. The adaptation featured Taiwanese singer Jay Chou as Takumi Fujiwara and Hong Kong stars Edison Chen as Ryosuke Takahashi and Shawn Yue as Takeshi Nakazato. Despite many changes to the original story, the movie was met with critical acclaim and was nominated for multiple awards, including Best Picture, at the Hong Kong Film Awards and Golden Horse Awards, winning many of them.

A sequel has been in discussion since the following year after the movie has debuted. However, a concrete conclusion could not be reached due to several obstacles which includes the storyline, filming locations, casts, and safety reasons. As of March 2015, director and producer, Andrew Lau, has once again reconfirmed in an exclusive interview that a sequel will surely follow but is tight-lipped on the release date. Jay Chou and Edison Chen will reprise their roles in the sequel.

Reception[edit]

Some fans of Initial D reacted negatively to the Tokyopop's extensive editing and changes made in the English-language version of the manga. Similar reactions were made towards their English dub's script and voice acting, and the removal of the original music from the anime series. Tokyopop said that it was trying to Americanize the series so it could be aired on television, while at the same time keeping the Japanese spirit of the series.[18]

According to Funimation officials, the re-release of the anime has "done well".[19] Reviews of the series note a marked improvement from the Tokyopop iteration, with most complaints leveled against the lack of anamorphic widescreen on the DVDs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Initial D". Funimation. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  2. ^ "Initial D Street-Racing Manga Approaching Finale". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  3. ^ "TOKYOPOP Inc. Out of Print Titles". Tokyopop. 1 Archived 2007-10-13 at the Wayback Machine.." Retrieved on September 10, 2009.
  4. ^ [1] Retrieved August 2, 2013
  5. ^ "Editors Note. Name Changes in Initial D, English Language Version." Initial D Volume 2. Tokyopop.
  6. ^ Tokyopop Confirms its Kodansha Manga Licenses Will End. August 31, 2009. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  7. ^ "Initial D Fifth Stage #07 (13 story, 14 Story)". Perfect Choice. Archived from the original on 2013-04-25. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
  8. ^ a b "「頭文字D」新アニメはアニマックス presents PPVで放送". Comic Natalie. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  9. ^ "「頭文字D」イニシャル". Animax. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  10. ^ [2]. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  11. ^ Open letter from Tokyopop. Retrieved 3 June 2006.
  12. ^ BAAF to Screen Initial D Third Stage March 17, 2003. Retrieved March 27, 2012
  13. ^ 2009 press release. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  14. ^ Initial D Car-Racing Manga Gets New Anime Film & Final Stage Anime. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  15. ^ New Initial D Car-Racing Anime Teaser Reveals Film Trilogy. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  16. ^ "Initial D World - Discussion Board / Forums – History of Fujiwara Tofu Shop". Initial D World Forums. October 20, 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  17. ^ "The Real Life Initial D On Display - Speedhunters". Speedhunters. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  18. ^ "Tokyopop Open Letter regarding Initial D." Tokyopop at Anime News Network. July 13, 2002. Retrieved on September 28, 2009.
  19. ^ "Funimation's Live Feed from Otakon 10." July 30, 2010. Retrieved on March 27, 2012.

External links[edit]