Shortly after graduating from high school, Takumi is approached by RedSuns leader Ryosuke Takahashi and offered to join him in forming a professional racing team. Before coming up with an answer to the proposal, Takumi seeks retribution by issuing a rematch to Emperor leader Kyouichi Sudou, who previously defeated him due to an engine failure. He is also challenged by Kai Kogashiwa, a second-generation street racer whose father was once a fierce rival of Takumi's father Bunta.
The movie has a considerable amount of material to deal with and it does an excellent job of covering it. It transitions smoothly and takes one thing at a time and it’s well paced. Unfortunately, characters such as Itsuki, Iketani, and Keisuke are mostly in the back seat for all the right reasons, but still have presence. You finally get to see Takumi develop as a true well rounded racer and his other qualities also begin to develop in this movie as well. Not much else to say, but I say viewing the first 2 installments are a necessity since the movie is a continuation
and a progression of the franchise.
Well, the art, resolution, and the cg continue to progress. The art is cleaner and more detailed, and the cg’s rendering also improves. The races as usual are exciting, but have more of a gimmick or twist behind them this time, which makes them fresh and original in addition of allowing the races to take place in a new environment. And you can never get bored of breath taking drifts. However, some problems I have in this movie are that the races this time tends to end more anti-climatically more than usual.
Fortunately for some, the tech speak is virtually non-existent this time so it’ll be easy to follow and just simply enjoy the races. But I say the tech speak in the previous sagas are always a big help in getting a professional understanding of how the cars and techniques work. But that’s just me.
Well, I can’t really add too much about the voice acting since anything I said in the previous reviews can be applied here too. However, the addition of Kai played by Canna Nobutoshi is a great one. He is very intimidating and hot blooded as Kai like other roles he has played such as Guts from Berserk, Tasuki from Fushigi Yuugi, and Knuckles from Sonic. The music is still the number one trait has always captivated me to Initial D, and is a great representative of the fast and fun nature of this anime. The opening theme Gamble Rumble by MOVE goes very well to the sequence and is always in tradition that MOVE is part of the soundtrack, and I love the insertion of Crazy for Love as well. The ending theme Jirenma adds a new kind of feel to this series as well that you have to watch to understand what I mean.
Like I said, to get into this movie, and understand and enjoy it, you have to see the first 2 seasons to understand a lot of things such as Takumi’s developing acquainting with Ryosuke, why Takumi is avoiding Natsuki and what ended their relationship, and the score he has to settle with the Emperors. To me, this movie is an extension of season 2 and transitions very well into the 4th stage. This movie does an excellent job of standing on its own by further developing Takumi’s character, and balancing his issues and resolving them.
IMO This anime had great potential, but imo it needs a graphics / art overhaul. Comparing this anime to some of the old animes like DBZ or Naruto which continued to improve their art overtime, you can see it. Whereas Initial D's art becomes stale as I felt the artist got lazy and decided not to improve on the overall graphic quality of the manga / anime. The original is a good standard to set, but comparing it to today's anime / art, it's just not appealing and won't cut it.
Story Telling: 7/10
The story telling is amazing. The plot pace moves along well when it
comes the main character and his car racing days. The character develops very quickly when it comes to the art of racing with his innate talent for it. However when it comes to expressing how the the character feels, I feel like he's matured very slowly in learning how to express himself.
One of the biggest issues I have with this manga/anime and multiple mangas/anime are when romance is introduced. The story focuses more heavily on action, but drops the romance in very suddenly and left hanging from time to time. I feel like there is a lack of balance and development in that area. I feel like there are 2 options when it comes to the romance department and that's to either go in-depth and not half-ass it, or to entirely not even put it in there. It's basically like Naruto where Hinata tells Naruto she loves him out of nowhere, and then many chapters or episodes later, not even mention it.
I consider Initial D to have great potential to be a well known classic like Spirited Away, Totoro, or Kotachi no koe with balanced elements of storytelling, soundtracks, and animation.
TLDR: Romance department is seriously lacking, character development on how he expresses himself can immensely improve.
I really can't complain much about the soundtrack. I think it's amazing and fits the theme of the anime well, it compliments the story, but the art doesn't do it as much justice as it could have.
My issue is that the art becomes stale. There are no improvements and quality stream hasn't improved much despite being a huge fan of the manga. I feel like a movie or anime is like a puzzle. You need all the right pieces of the puzzle for it to fit together. If the art continued to improve overtime, I'd be very happy for it to do the soundtrack and storytelling justice. I just felt like the artist got lazy and did not bother while being stubborn with its style.
If you're selling this anime to the older generation, it's considered a classic. I understand where they're coming from as I was born in the 90's as well going for game design and CG programming. If I were to advertise this anime to the audiences of newer generations, it won't be as appealing compared to the likes of Sword Art Online (1st Half of Season 1) or Fate Stay: Unlimited Blade Works where the art, music, and storytelling is stunning.
If Initial D is looking to become a known classic, I really feel like a reboot would really do the anime justice if the romance is taken out or rewritten and also better character development. Art is outdated and won't appeal to newer audiences. It's been almost 2 decades. Even Detective Conan, which is a year older, looks a lot better visually.
Enjoyment: Good for a first time watch, but leaves you hanging wanting more because you can see the potential it has and that makes it a little depressing.
Not as good as the series, but it answers all the question left to be answered, which were carried on from seasons one and two.
The story told is about Takumi's effort to tie all the loose ends from the past two series. So, we've got races, development of his craving for becoming the best driver and an emotional part involving Mogi.
Most of the races are as good as always, but there is one which due to the nature of the rival becomes even more interesting. From this race we will also hear some more of Bunta's story which is a very good thing.
Although Christmas and
snow fit love emotional story like nothing else, while watching that part of the movie I had the strange feeling that it was simply taking too long, especially that similarly to what we've seen before when it comes to emotions Takumi is definitely on the slow side.
The animation is better than in the second season. The races seem more realistic, the car models are more detailed and even the character animation stepped up a notch. It's a shame though that there is still such a wide gap between the quality of how the races and characters are animated.
When it comes to sound it is the same thing we have experienced before. So, once again will listen to good voice acting combined with eurobeat music. It seems that the Initial D style simply does not get old and sounds as good as always.
Most of the time we will be seeing characters, which Takumi has encoutered before. Two chracters are however worth pointing out.
First we have Takumi's greatest enemy in the movie, who all though plays a short part in the story is one of the most memorable characters from the movie.
Secondly, we have the guy who gets involved with Mogi. Since the Mogi part of the plot is way too long for my taste, the least would be to let the viewers know why the hell is he acting like that.
Concluding, it was a pleasent feeling to see the animation improve, but still as a whole the movie is not as good as the second season of the series, but mark my words when I say... 'You have to watch it!'.
Ryosuke has been putting together a racing team featuring the best racers of the Gunma prefecture, and would like Takumi to join. Takumi doesn't want to decide whether or not to accept the proposal until he settles his score with Team Emperor Leader Sudou Kyouichi, who had looked down on the AE86 because of the car's age and had seriously damaged Takumi's confidence in the AE86 after being defeated by him. Meanwhile, the drama between Natsuki and Takumi is at highs since he found out she was doing enjo kosai in order to make some extra money.
Now, on that latter subject, she did quit the
business and got herself a fast-food job in order to move away from her past and at some times, Takumi can be kind of a dick. Yes, she never told him about what she did then but she did gave it up to pursue a relationship with him and yet, he keeps on phasing her out and not bother to listen to her.
As for the main story, well, it’s the usual story as like the past entries. Somebody challenges Takumi to a race, thinks his car can’t handle their car, they race and eventually he will either win by doing what others thought he couldn’t do.
Also, it really felt like 4 ½ episodes condensed into one movie with their usual basics of the series.
The animation studios switched from Pastel, who did the work on Extra Stage and the past stages to Studio Deen, who contributed to the 3rd Stage and the animation is superior to its successors, which I said before, will happen every time and everything from the movement of the characters and the racing scenes are gradually more enhanced and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. The music…….well, it’s there and that’s it. It’s okay but I really don’t have anything interesting to say about it because it isn’t interesting. Some people will like this and most of it is just not my taste but it’s there.
FINAL VERDICT: This is still passable at the least but I really don’t consider them as being entirely different than each other. They are more of a rental than actually owning them.
Nothing gets the blood pumping like a high-intensity race, be it in a car, bike, or even mecha suit. Youthful passion and energy fuel these shows about drivers, pilots and athletes all striving for that #1 spot. As Ricky Bobby once famously said, "If you ain't first, you're last".
Initial D is the grittier anime equivalent of those adrenaline pumping fantasy car movies like Fast and Furious or Need For Speed. But one thing the movies and this series shares is a lineup of the sexiest cars around.