Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 19, 1998 to Dec 6, 1998
25 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.171 (scored by 21184 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
cars drama racing sports
SynopsisHigh school student Takumi Fujiwara works as a gas station attendant during the day and a delivery boy for his father's tofu shop during late nights. Little does he know that his precise driving skills and his father's modified Toyota Sprinter AE86 Trueno make him the best amateur road racer on Mt. Akina's highway. Because of this, racing groups from all over the Gunma prefecture issue challenges to Takumi to see if he really has what it takes to be a road legend.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Initial D
Sequel: Initial D Second Stage
Summary: Initial D Battle Stage, Initial D: Project D to the Next Stage - Project D e Mukete, New Initial D Movie: Legend 1 - Kakusei
Characters & Voice Actors
I like watching sports anime. People who know me and have accepted the fact that I am a hardcore couch-potato find this hilarious. But the irony doesn't end there. I am a member of minority who does not possess a driving license nor has the faintest clue about driving.
After my Yawara "Brain-Imploding-Annoyance-Rage" I was rather desperate. There were very few sports animes left I hadn't watched yet. And I was - still am actually, I can't take bludgeoned faces!- digging my heels in not to watch Hajime no Ippo.
Barring any alternatives I gave in to desperation and started watching Initial D though in my couch potato opinion Street-Car-Racing is no sport.
The art took some getting used to. Every time I saw one of those "fish-on-land-gasping-for-air" mouths I just wanted to smash my fist into it. But then pretty soon something weird happened. I got sucked into the Takumi-Bunta duo.
The story itself is nothing world-moving; the synopsis tells it perfectly accurate.
Like ParaParaJMo says, this anime's hook for me was and is Takumi. He is not only a reluctant hero, but rather a lethargic hero. He breaths, he talks and he walks and he helps out his father with the tofu shop by driving out the goods but driving, it is a chore, that must be done. His heart is not in it. It is not that he is lazy but he has no passion nor any direction in life. Enter the "woman" and the rock starts rolling.
God knows, I would have been as much interested if not more if this was Bunta's -Takumi's father- story, because Bunta is a character like Hiruma & Co (Eyeshield 21). He does things with a purpose even if the main character doesn't have the dream of a clue why. In that manner, Bunta started his son on driving 5 years ago, when he was barely out of diapers and from what we understand he was a strict master. And the fruits of that are now very visible in Takumi.
I like an anime if I like the characters. I have watched and liked animes, anime-lovers would diss. I watch sports animes; yet I barely know the rules of any of the sports; just because I like the characters. The characters here grew on me too. Well most of them anyway. And in Itsuki's case (Takumi's best friend) it was rather like fungus. The development and growth of the characters drives the story on. Even though it is a repeated plot reel, - there is a challenge, Takumi drives, Takumi wins- weirdly it never gets old and you find yourself engaged time and again.
The music is just awesome. It had me wiggling around on my couch so much so that I had a b.tt-print on it every time I watched it.
I would have enjoyed it to the max if the female folk wasn't in there. And that is my only gripe about this anime. Honestly, I think the Mangaka needed to get laid really bad, or may be I am too outlandish but the female folk of this anime is just horrendous. Here is a summary of the female cast in this anime
Takumi's first love interest: A teenage prostitute. Literally. Also rather "I haven't exposed myself in the last 30 seconds so let me show you my panties" type. Color me stiff but if my girlfriend is ok with showing her panties to my father, I'd be rather "peeved"!
Mako: a challenger, also a love interest to Iketani, one of Takumi's friends/Sempai; here is what she says to Iketani: If you make the race happen between me and Takumi I will sleep with you.
Kyoko, a love interest to Keisuke: 3 Seconds after she sees him, he is her "Darling" and she is a whiny, clingy, .... something.
Oh and the mother is not even mentioned.
The art does get better, And by that I mean, thank God they do lose their utmost annoying fish mouths. And the girls are not always there so my annoyance was kept in check, which is why Initial D gets 9 Enjoyment points and 8 overall.
I recommend trying out Initial D. And extend the 3 episode rule to 4 if you are still undecided because Takumi doesn't officially race before the 4th episode. Initial D is worth at least that much of your time.
I never thought a story about street car racing would be this entertaining. And if I had known what I would be watching when my friend made me watch the first few episodes, I would have said thanks, but no thanks. ...Boy, am I glad I didn't know.
Story: On the surface, it's about a pretty bland high school guy who's got a bunch of car-crazy friends... and turns out to be the 2nd fastest driver in Akina. (Who's first? Ooooh, don't you wanna know?) Below the surface...? Okay, pretty much the same thing. ;) Most of the "story" is just a bunch of kids in cars racing through dark mountain passes ...or talking about racing through dark mountain passes. I know it doesn't sound interesting if you're not into car races, but it was. There's something about the speed and the pressure and the tension that sucks you into the show. And of course, there's also your normal sports anime type general plot of competition and desire, rising to the challenge, overcoming obstacles, etc.
Art: I have to say, this is the biggest downside of the show. Especially in the first season. Thankfully, by the fourth season, there's a remarkable improvement overall in animation quality. One of the most jarring things is the awkward usage of computer graphics for the racing scenes in the first season. There's kind of an old-school feel to the way the people look and the brightness of the show... and then all of sudden out of no where, there's a cgi car that looks like it's from a different decade than the guy driving it. I don't think I ever got used to that.
Sound: Personally, I always prefer subs to dubs. Here, I would really suggest the subs... the voices for English dub didn't feel anywhere near as "right" as the Japanese actors. Whenever I heard the dub, I felt like the voices made me like the characters less. The downside of watching the sub, however, is the Japanese soundtrack. Maybe it's my close-minded American taste, but I would have preferred hearing the hip-hop on the dub to whatever that was used originally.
Character: The main character, Takumi, was somewhat atypical for this genre, I think, and I liked it. Unlike the normal archetypes like the loser who tries really hard or the cocky natural-born genius, Takumi is sort of actually unique: he doesn't know anything about cars and doesn't even really like driving. It was a nice way for the series to start because I didn't care about street racing when I started the show either. So, even though they toss around a little bit of racing lingo, I was never more behind than the main character was... and, as a viewer, I got a chance to become interested in street racing while Takumi got interested in it. I really liked that his development on the show kind of went down the same road that mine did as a viewer. So I thought they did a great job on his character design and development because his attitude and experience is what hooks you and reels you in to what I assume would be an otherwise complicated and technical world of street racing.
Enjoyment: I think you can tell I enjoyed it, right? I had to make mental notes to slow down while driving for a bit after watching the show. Thankfully, I'm too cowardly to try drifting for real! ...And let me tell you, my Corolla never drove like the 86. ;) I think it was also really appealling because Takumi starts off the show as what seems like a normal, typical driver -- it made me feel like there was an inner Takumi just waiting to be woken up buried somewhere in me. (There's not, unfortunately, but I like to delude myself sometimes.) read more
While the other characters aren't similar, both of the main characters are boys in high school who are talented in riding a particular vehicle (car in Initial D and bike in Yowamushi Pedal). Despite showing no interest in the sports of their respective vehicles, they have used them frequently and gained a natural talent for riding them, due to doing a certain activity constantly from a young age (delivering Tofu at night and riding to Akihabara). Eventually, they race against someone else, revealing their true potential despite their outdated/unprofessional models (AE86 and a mommy bike). Other racers are then attracted to their skill. However, Initial D has a more serious tone while Yowamushi Pedal has a lighthearted one.
The focus on competitions and getting into the technicality of driving or riding in both Initial D and Yowamushi Pedal both have nice balances. Both main characters initially never were involved in the sport and become interested early in the series. Seeing that sort of excitement was fun in both. The excitment developed during races are also very similar. I'd have to say in terms of differences, Yowamushi Pedal is bit more light-hearted and innocent due to the main character and settings but overall the feelings and shining parts of both series are very similar and will be enjoyed with both series.
Initial D and Yowamushi Pedal takes the idea of competitions and brings it to a level like never before. The competitive atmosphere of both series are astonishing as we witness the main characters compete against one another. They strive to do their best and improve through experiences while learning from mistakes.
Both series focuses on different sports but involves the usage of a vehicle. Among them are various brands that characters use/adjust to give them an edge in the competition. Additionally, each character has their own style in operating their vehicles that brings out the shows' uniqueness.
One has bikes, one has cars. More power of friendship in yowapeda. There might be a few other differences, though.
Both are about 2 highschoolers who are talented at using vehicles for speed one with a bike and with a car. In Yowamushi the main character isn't interested in sports and cycling but has cycled everyday to his favorite anime shop 45km away since the 4th grade. In Initial D the main charater isn't interested in street racing but had to deliever tofu for his father and drive up and down the mountain pass since the 7th grade. Also they both use very out dated vehicles, in Yowamushi the main character uses a Mommy Bike and in Initial D the main character uses a car from 1986.
Similar art style, both about sports, although one is boxing the other is street racing. Follows the story of shy underachiever, with a unexpected talent for their sport. Both have romantic side plots and sprinkles of comedy.
Initial D and Hajime no Ippo explore a competitive atmosphere filled with rivalries, intensity, and respect. Both series explore characters in a concrete way. The main character is an underdog that gets himself involved with powerful adversaries that bring out his natural abilities to test. The two series may appeal to different sports, but they retain the competitive style related to their activities.
Plot-wise, both series are easy to follow and involve some strategy. At the same time, within these plots, there are character developments, dynamics, and relationships that are explored in a realistic format.
Similar in concepts. Both are about sporting and rising to the top against all odds. Hajime No Ippo focuses on Boxing and Initial D on racing. Both involved highly intense action sequences which will get your blood pumping and have you riding on the edge of your seats.
Both Ippo and Takumi are similar in personalities and their rise to the top both involved training and spirit. Initial D is not something to be missed.
Although one is about street racing and the other about boxing, these two pretty much have the same "aura" around them. Both protagonists develop a talent for a certain sport through their daily job. Without any intention of being a pro, they end up climbing up the ladder, battling different opponents and ending up loving the sport. Besides that, there's also small details: both Ippo and Takumi only have one parent, both end up falling in love and have flash backs of violence. Also, the great use of music and the intensity is about the same. If you couldn't stop watching Hajime No Ippo, you'll possibly be just as glued to Initial D.
Opening Theme#1: "Around the World" by Move (eps 1-19)
#2: "Break in 2 the Nite" by Move (eps 20-26)
Ending Theme#1: "Rage Your Dream" by Move (eps 1-14)
#2: "Kiseki no Hana (Flower of Miracles)" by Galla (eps 15-26)
Which fansubbers do you like the best? Click + to approve of their subs for this show. Click - if you don't think they did such a great job.
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