Initial D

Rating: 1½ Rampages

Oooo, it's a CG car. Synopsis:
Initial D is a story about Takumi Fujiwara, an 18-year-old high school student and the son of the owner of the local tofu shop at Akina. Akina is a popular spot for car races as the roads are hardly used by other vehicles, and that there are plenty of tricky turns that will satisfy the experienced driver.
The story begins when the Akagi Red Suns team, who are led by the Takahashi brothers Ryousuke and Keisuke, challenges the Akina Speed Stars to a race. During the practice night, a mysterious AE86 Sprinter Trueno shows up and defeats Keisuke Takahashi's Mazda RX-7. Feeling humiliated by being defeated by a 10 year-old car, Keisuke vows to find the mystery driver and beat him in a rematch no matter what...

Takumi, looking bored. Review:
I don't know which came first, the Playstation game or the anime, but this whole show just screams "Road Racing Game." Right from the horribly animated opening, I could tell who this show was aimed at: the teenage delinquent road racer wannabees who spend their days glued to their Playstation racing games, dreaming of the day they can have a license of their own so they can kill themselves in a high speed collison on a mountain road. Since most of us don't fall into that rather miniscule category, you're probably not going to get a lot out of this show. The creators certainly tried hard though--the cast is really stacked with such famous voices as Shinichirou Miki, Yao Kazuki, Koyasu Takehito and Iwata Mitsuo, and the studio (obviously trying to re-create the Two-Mix phenomenon) went and hired a big name j-dance band for the soundtrack. Sadly, the stellar voices can't save this show from mediocrity; Blazing Beat (the aforementioned band) sounds decent enough...until that horribly ugly moron starts rapping in the middle of EVERY FRIKKIN' SONG! Sorry pal, but Ice-T you ain't. Put the mike down.

As for the show proper, the animation is pretty hideous in any form; whenever there is a car involved, it's done in really bad CG that looks like it was ripped from a game, and the people all turn into paper cutouts. When it's NOT a racing scene, the cel animation looks like it belongs in a Ping Pong Club episode. Really freakish character designs and sloppy line work turned me off pretty quickly. The CG driving scenes are just so incredibly boring to watch (not to mention ugly as hell) and yet make up such a huge part of the show that there is very little left to actually like about this show. While the story has some potential, it will probably continue along the lines of throwing in a bunch of plot devices as some stupid excuse to have as many racing scenes as possible per episode for 26 eps. Sorry, but I think I'll pass. And unless you're one of those rather pathetic few who actually dream of doing this stuff for real, I suggest you do too. Not recommended.

Has been acquired by Tokyopop; release date unknown.

Updated 07-02-02