The Legend of INITIAL D Finally Ends But My Decade-Long Fandom Remains

And so Initial D has finally ended.  Did you hear?  Of course you did.  What?  You have no idea what Initial D is?  Seriously?

Initial D (頭文字D) is an anime series based on the manga by Shigeno Shuuichi ( しげの 秀一).  It’s about street racing on mountain passes, which is super illegal (but who cares? It’s anime), with these cool cars performing awesome drifts.

I fell in love with Initial D the first time I watched it more than a decade ago.  The art style of Initial D:  First Stage wasn’t the greatest—just look at the image below—but they used some cool 3D effects on the cars during races, and that’s when I got hooked.

itsuki takumi iketani at gas station - initial d

I don’t know much about cars—heck, I don’t even like driving—but that doesn’t stop me from getting excited whenever I watch this series.  I remember the anticipation, as I waited for each and every stage of the anime to come out.  As I just mentioned, the art style of First Stage was nothing to be impressed about, but it drastically improved when Second Stage came out.  The art and animation style just kept on improving until Fourth Stage, but when Fifth and the Final Stages came out, I was disappointed.  They were still better than First Stage, but they couldn’t even compare to Fourth Stage.  Perhaps it’s because they changed animation studios.  Hmm.  Maybe.

I have mixed feelings now that it finally ended.  I’ve been following this series for more than a decade.  I’m happy that I finally know how it ends, but at the same time I’m sad that it’s over.  I love so many things about this series:  the bad-ass theme songs and soundtracks, the adrenaline-pumping car races, those awesome drifts, and most especially the charismatic characters.

I would say that my favourite is First Stage because that’s where everything started.  This is where the legend of Mt. Akina’s AE86 with its driver, downhill specialist Fujiwara Takumi, was born.  The art style and animation style are the worst among all the stages, but I think that this stage has the majority of my most favourite car races in the series.

fujiwara takumi - initial d

As for the ending, I’m a little disappointed.  I think that the battle between the two 86 was anti-climactic.  It wasn’t as awesome as I expected, but perhaps my expectations were too high.  No.  I really think that the earlier Project D battles were more exciting than the final battle.

Nevertheless, I’m satisfied that Project D accomplished its goal of winning every race all over Japan.  And most importantly, the meaning of “D” is finally revealed.  It stands for “Dream”, which I already suspected.  My other guesses were “Destiny” and, wait for it, “Drift”.   I know, I know.  How original.  (mutters:  Now I can’t wait to know what the “D” stands for in ONE PIECE.  I just hope that it’s not “dream” or “destiny”.  Heavens forbid that it stands for “drift”.)

Now Initial D is over.  Over.  OVER!!!  I want to cry and laugh at the same time.  I invested half of my life for this series, and it feels odd that it’s finally over.  But I’m happy that I watched it from the beginning until the end.

I only have one request.  I wish Shigeno-sensei would draw an epilogue showing Fujiwara Takumi’s life after Project D.  Did he manage to break into the professional car racing world?  Is he successful?  Did he marry?  Does he still meet up with Takahashi Ryousuke and Takahashi Kyousuke?  How about those brothers?  What happened to them?  I want to know!  Shigeno-sensei, onegaishimasu!

I still have so many things I want to say about this series—it’s so awesome—but I will reserve those for another post.  Even though Initial D has officially ended, my interest in it will never go away.  I still watch the earlier stages now and then.

How about you?  Have you watched Initial D yet?  If so, what do you think?


Uploaded by:  fenix17


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19 thoughts on “The Legend of INITIAL D Finally Ends But My Decade-Long Fandom Remains”

  1. Lol I remember watching this anime when i was kid on the anime channel Animax. I’ve watched first and second stage but have’t really got over to watch the other stages. But this anime is really good, love the drifts.

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    1. High-five! I was a kid, too, when I first watched this. Had really no idea about mechanics of cars, but watching the car races were exciting. I suggest that you watch the rest of the stages. 4th stage was really good. The finals stages were, er, kind of a disappointing though but still good. But my favourite will still be 1st stage despite the old animation. Hope you get to watch the rest of the anime. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yah the battle scenes are the best. Especially with the EuroBeats soundtrack it was awesome. Though I saw the latest movies and they had the soundtrack replaced with some other Japanese music. It’s OK but it isn’t nearly as good as the EuroBeats. And yh I plan on watching the rest of the series. I wanted to read the manga too but I’m really good with long series so I watch a whole season in one go and then drop it and pick it up after a while.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know, right? The soundtrack they used in this series are just awesomely bad-ass. I have all of them on my playlist and like to use them as my work-out music. I like the ones by EuroBeats but I prefer the one by Japanese electronic band m.o.v.e.

        I see. I can understand. I read the manga before but dropped it because I figured I’d rather watch the anime filled with actual action and bad-ass music than read it. Anyway, nice talking to you about Initial D. You don’t know how rare it is for me to find others who like this series. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh I see. I think I’ll try listening to m.o.v.e . But the EuroBeats were really good. Actually when I get bored from doing my coursework in college I tend to listen to it to get myself worked up. And true reading about the drifts and everything is not great as watching it with the awesome soundtracks. It is rare to see another Initial D fan. Probably due to how old the series is.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. When you get to watch Initial D again, you’ll end up listening to m.o.v.e. anyway since they sang almost all of the opening and ending theme songs of the stages. Some are meh but some are seriously great. I hope that you get to watch it again soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My younger sibling who hates anime watched this and keeps harassing me to watch it and learn how to drive a manual car, because it’s apparently the only way to drive lol. Maybe during a holiday I’ll power through a few seasons of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahaha. I get why your younger sibling feels that way. This series is that awesome. It’s realistic in a way that it makes you want to do all the stuff shown. It feels like you can do them, too. I don’t like driving, but in my mind, I’m rocking manual cars and racing in them. Hahaha. Anyway, I hope that you do get to watch this series. Thanks for dropping by. Cheers!

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  3. Haha! I feel the same! I’m not a great driver either, but I always anticipated what would happen next in this series. And you’re right, there should be an epilogue! When it ended, I was like, “That’s it?! O.o” LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah. I know, right? The anticipation waiting for the next stage to come out. . .those were torture (in a good way). And when they finally came out. . .the joy. “Initial D” just rocks. Not everyone knows about it, but the ones that watched it and liked it become loyal fans.

      Yes! I’m still optimistic that Shigeno-sensei will answer our hopes with an epilogue. Anyway, thanks for dropping by. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I once watched a scene from this anime when I was little. That was when my uncles were watching it in local dub and I had to watch it since they control the television channel (the remote control was in their hand all the time).

    They were watching it enthusiastically when my father ruined their experience by saying “that’s not logic at all! How can the audience see them drifting behind the mountain?” not in English of course.

    And then well, that’s all I can remember haha! Love your post. Now I kinda feel like I want to watch this anime. By the way, at that time, we had a family gathering of some sort at my grandparents house so almost every family members were there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahaha! That was entertaining. I know what you mean. You just mentioned one of the downsides of being the kid in the family—you don’t control the remote control! XD

      At least even if you can’t remember most of the plot line of this series, you remember the fond memories of your uncle & father watching it. That’s good enough.

      Thank you very much. “Initial D” is one of my favourite series. It’s so exciting for me, and it’s one of those series that feels more realistic than the other ones. I think that’s one of the charms of this series. Anyway, thanks again for dropping by. Hope you watch “Initial D” soon. Cheers!

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  5. “I don’t know much about cars—heck, I don’t even like driving”

    A friend of mine likes this kind of racing. The idea here is to “drift” as best as possible around the curves. A racer proves his (or her) skills the better their drift are.

    Liked by 1 person

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