The anime industry sure likes to reuse content, huh?
Initial D's movie retelling- itself an adaptation of an adaptation- is not one that aims to reinvent the series it is based on. It is yet another sort of compilation movie, an inferior version of the TV series that came before. Does that mean the movie itself sucks? Not necessarily, though it is beyond any doubt a disappointment.
I'm not entirely sure why Initial D is being remade since 1998 isn't exactly what I would consider to be 'old'. I suppose it exists as a way for anime fans who detest anything from before the 2000's (you have my condolences) to get into the series with its pretty new visuals. And look nice it does, although the movie has lost far more than it has gained.
Let me first mention the positives before I start complaining: Initial D Kakusei looks fantastic. First Stage was admittedly pretty rough-looking with its cheap CG during the races, which often detracted from the experience and made it resemble some sort of weird PS2 game. The CG in Kakusei, on the other hand, is thankfully kept to the bare minimum. I can hardly fault the original series for its CG considering the money situation is very different between TV series and movies, but it is still an upgrade nonetheless. Speedlines are far more effective than bouncy bouncy CG cars rolling around.
Takumi's new voice actor is also a far better fit. Takumi sounded like a 40-year-old man in the original series (really, what the hell was up with that?), whereas here he actually sounds like a teenager. Miyano Mamoru makes Takumi seem more alive and human, less lethargic, especially when you consider the same voice actor also played Okabe from Steins;Gate. It's a nice change, since in the original series it was like Takumi just didn't give a damn about much of anything. It is a bit strange to hear such a popular voice actor in his role, though. I've heard him in so many different anime now that I just can't identify him with Takumi.
Others do not fare nearly as well, with Keisuke being robbed of all personality by his new seiyuu. Depending on your tastes, you might also find the story to be lacking in emotion or humanity. And you would be correct, as this has been (at least for me) the main issue with the franchise. There's a lot of cool moments to satisfy both action and racing fans, but there's nothing to really make you care about the characters. The romance here feels even more tacked on and superficial than usual, considering the movie removes important scenes like an enraged Takumi punching Mogi's ex-boyfriend. Here, Mogi is just eye-candy and Takumi a quiet badass. Yawn.
The decision to use (generic) rock music rather than Eurobeat, the series' staple, is beyond disappointing-- it's actually baffling. There is a major lack of intensity during the races as a result of this stupid decision. Whereas tracks like 'Heartbeat' or 'Don't Stop The Music' blasting would often make the entire race, here the songs merely accompany it. The rock music has its place in anime, but Initial D is not where it belongs; it feels like something you'd find in a show like Kuroko no Basket instead. I don't necessarily wish the same tracks from First Stage were reused here ad-nauseum (the entire thing would reek of laziness), but certainly it could have at least tried to preserve the same mood and atmosphere from the original series. Maybe people new to the series won't care all that much, but it's a bummer to see the Eurobeat gone. It was by far the best thing about the series. Initial D was the music.
The pacing is also very strange since it's trying to tell a story in movie format while moving at the speed of a TV series. If the bigwigs behind the anime wanted to go for the movie approach, they should have tightened up the pacing and covered a much larger amount of content. It doesn't use the medium to its advantage; it just feels like a compilation with pretty visuals rather than an actual movie.
People new to Initial D should be aware that, like the original series, there's a bit of car and racing terminology that is pretty much gibberish to anyone who doesn't follow the scene. It doesn't really impede the enjoyment, though, since the spectacle is still more than enough. Most of it simply boils down to Takumi being a drifting god, anyway.
Should you watch Initial D Kakusei? I can't say I recommend it. It's simply an inferior version of the original series with prettier visuals. If visuals are all that matter to you, then hey, I suppose you'll have a pretty good time. But if you value characters, music and mood to any extent, you would be better off just watching (or rewatching) First Stage instead. There are much better things you could spend the hour with instead. You could watch three episodes of Aikatsu, for example!read more
This movie is a retelling of the first fifth of the original series, specifically the base rivalry between Takumi and Keisuke.
The pacing of this movie works for the way it is. Nothing feels to rushed but the specifics of Natsuki's story is more hidden this time. Other than that, fans of Initial D who have prior exposure know what to expect. As for the final race, if you play the arcade games, the pace of the race works in accurate conjunction to that so I can't really make an excuse it feels to rushed. I mean, most players can beat Akina in about 3 minutes.
As fans of the original TV series are aware, the voice cast has entirely changed and I felt it was unnecessary. I mean, Gundam for the most part very rarely changes the cast and neither has the new Evangelion series. The cast are still active and can still play. The only name I can recognize is Miyano Mamoru, most famous as the voices of Light from Death Note and Setsuna from Gundam. I say his performance works for what it is but I think it is the voice direction as opposed to his abilities as a performer is what I have an issue with. There are instances where you can get a reaction out of him as opposed to saying you fucked Natsuki or whatever. I felt there were instances where his reactions were completely out of character, or at least what I am used to.
Bunta's voice feels weak compared to Ishizuka Unshou's original performance. The rest of the cast to me lacks the personality of the original TV series voice actors.
And in other sad news that I find criminal. The Eurobeat and MOVE are no longer part of the soundtrack. Try to imagine a Cowboy Bebop reboot/remake without the jazz and that's how some Initial D fans probably feel. Half of the music is heavy bass with weak techno cords and the other half is generic J-Rock. I say viewers who have no prior exposure to the original series will have no issue with this factor but to me, the Eurobeat and MOVE is part of the identity of Initial D.
As for the character design, it is sharp and crisp and more in tune with that of 4th to Final Stage. As for the races, I felt it was too over reliant on above and below angles and close ups. I felt this ruined Takumi's inertia drift he did against his first race against Keisuke. In the 1998 series, granted the quality is not that great, but the set up and execution made it exciting. I felt this series lacked that. There are instances it works, and instances it doesn't. Another issue is the frame rate. With the upper angles, the frame rate felt rough but the lower angles the frame rate was much smoother.
Overall, I say long time fans of Initial D will have mixed feelings for the right reasons. I say viewers with no familiarity will be more open minded to the changes and may enjoy it. read more
When I heard Initial D was being remade, I was excited. Sure it was fixing something that wasn't really broken, but I knew the first stage had a few flaws. This movie improved on some points but completely missed the mark on others. As this is a remake of Initial D, I thought I would do a bit of old vs. new.
STORY- 5/10 DRAW: Initial D always represented a bit of a paradox in story terms to me. The plot remains simple and consistent throughout, but I could never really follow it. I know what happens, but it usually ends up becoming a big blur in my head. It by and large follows Character X races main character, main character wins in a very cool way. The story is a copy/paste from the manga and anime, but with a few differences. 1, Mogi is downplayed. 2, A lot of the 'meat' is trimmed off to make the story fit into an hour length package. 3, In the anime and manga, a character almost causes a head on collision and wrecks his car. In the movie, the same accident is caused not by another car, but a bump. and 4, In the anime and the manga, the main character goes straight home after the Akina race, but in the movie, a rival character confronts the main at the bottom of the mountain in order to have an important conversation that would not have fit elsewhere. I think that these differences are small enough to call this category a wash.
ART- 9/10 NEW WINS: Holy crap. This is where the first stage needed this remake the most. In first stage, the animators used a CGI tool that they clearly did not have the hang of. Not only did it look like a PSone was rendering the frames, but the cars never really moved right, especially at low speeds. Now, the cars all look stunning, the action is fast-paced and crisp, and the cars are moving more or less like they actually would. There are a few jarring moments, like when a car does a J-turn, but the animators never got the hang of J-turns anyway. I am not a fan of some of the screenplay, for example, where the POV will be a wide angle, then suddenly moves forward an absurd amount to emphasize the action and goes back to wide angle to appear artsy. Fortunately, the wonky cinematography is the exception and not the rule, and I found myself enjoying many of the moving shots. The actual human characters look cleaner and sharper. by far the biggest improvement is Itsuki, who looks significantly less like a giant-faced mutant. All things considered, the new version has better art in nearly every way. The old just can't compare.
SOUND- 3/10 OLD WINS: Betrayal is a pretty weak word to describe my feelings on the background music in the movie. Initial D always had fast, energetic, and catchy eurobeat music in the background for a sample, look up "Space Boy Initial D" or "Don't Stop the Music Initial D" on Youtube. It seems like a stupid combination at first, but it just 'clicks' in the most satisfying ways. The movie on the other hand, ditches the eurobeat in favor of the most generic rock music on the planet. Initial D First Stage relied less on the animation to convey speed and more on the eurobeat to draw the viewer into the race. This new version is quite the opposite. It ends up being so tragic, because if the producers had decided to keep the eurobeat and update the animation at the same time, the result would have been magnificent at worst. Like the Star Wars prequels with better acting... and no Jar-Jar.
CHARACTER- 6/10 OLD WINS: Not much to talk about, both the anime and the movie have identical characters with identical stories, but the anime just had so much more time to develop them. An hour is really short for a feature length film, and the movie does its best and does a good job of character development, but it is not quite enough.
ENJOYMENT- 7/10 OLD WINS:I wanted to like the movie more than the series, but I enjoyed the old anime series more than the new movie. The eurobeat is too good, the nostalgia too strong, and the QUALITY animation gives its share of laughs.
OVERALL- 6/10 OLD WINS: The important part here is the movie COULD have been better than the original series if it had about 20 more minutes of hardcore supporting character development, and had the glorious eurobeat soundtrack. But the fact is, it doesn't. I just wish it did.read more
So i watched this Anime, i already liked Initial D years ago. But what i can tell is, that the Producers try with this new Movie to find more Fans maybe some who never Watched it before because the graphics where absolutly bad in past. What i liked is that some Details changed, changed maybe in the better way.
The Characters changed a bit, but they see like they are more Mature. Also the drawing Style is super, thats why i think that Initial D will have new Fans. The old ones most of them probably will stay.
What i didnt like is that there is no more Eurobeat, they changed it too. What for me was bad is that the time was a little bit short.
Also what i can say for people who want to watch this Movie but didnt watch the first stage, watch the first stage you will really enjoy it. Watch all the stages before and than this movie, than you can better relate is this movie better or not.
What i like at most is that they still go on with this Serie and i hope they dont stop with it!read more
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".