Initial D is a manga- and anime-series that focuses on street racing. It tells the story of a genius driver who conquers Japans mountain roads in an old Toyota AE86. Sounds cool? Well, the main character is not cool at all, he doesn’t even like to drive at the beginning. He seems to be unmotivated whatever he does and is constantly sleepy. He’s a thickhead, doesn’t talk much and isn’t really interested in cars at all.
Despite all this, this series is still damn cool.
So far, I’ve read every single chapter and execpt of the OVAs, I’ve seen the complete animeadaptation. I’ve never seen or read any other manga or anime about car races, but I highly believe this is hard to beat. This is one of the few series, where the anime is better, because it’s just cooler to see the cars actually moving instead of “just” being drawn. … And I’m saying this altough the CGI is horrible in First Stage , but when the Anime reaches Stage 4 it’s pretty good. Don’t let it discourage you, just because the CGI dosn’t look nice, First Stage is from 1998, you can’t expect anything better than the quality of an old racing game. The races are thrilling and exiting with an unsual but fitting soundtrack, it get’s you into the mood to see more and more, it’s really well done.
This Manga/Anime has always been praised that it’s research is very well done and the technical facs are always accurate and right. There’s so much technical stuff going on and they talk about it a lot. It’s an important part of the manga and really makes you fell as if you’re with some car-maniacs. On the other hand: for a street racer who tunes his car himself (more or less), it’s important to know how a car works and all this, so I think it’s good this part is so important in the manga, too.
If your’re searching for a manga/ an anime with a deep story and complicated characters… you’re wrong here. It’s all about street racing on mountain roads, lots of technical talk and the main character who grows as a racer. Most supporting characters are opponents the protagnist has to battle against and they more or less are gone after the race most of the time, but this is something I’m really thankful for. It’s not as if I don’t care about a good supporting cast, but in a story like this, it’s really easy to build up an enormous amout of side characters and it’s really difficult to handle so many characters, so it’s better to focus on a small about of people to support the protagonists and give those few supporters some traits, some character development and this is much better than a huge supporting cast with no elaborated characters.
What I have to point out in a negative way is the art in the manga. Well, the cars are drawn pretty damn good, but the humans look ugly, there are anatomical mistakes and so on and so on. Despite this, I still like it. I can deal with bad art as long as there’s something else that makes me like the series and I really have to admit that I enjoy the races and like to see the protagonist grow. While it seems like the manga is nearing it’s end, I hope the anime will get a new Stage, the Fith Stage. Many fans are waiting for this, but I think they’re probably waiting until the Manga is over to cover up what has not been done yet.