After defeating every racing team in the prefecture, everything comes down to one last race. Takumi Fujiwara has never lost a race, but when his opponent is also using an AE86, it turns into a battle of the AE86. Will Project D succeed in the final and most difficult race of Initial D?
I'll be the first to review this, which brings me to my first point. Initial D is not as popular among people on the mal community (probably everyone outside of japan) as it used to be. I can't be sure how popular it is in japan now, but the subs for the final stage took a very long time to come out. As of now it has a little over 2,000 members. Initial D never was extremely popular (I'm generally speaking for the mal community, Its seems to be more popular in Japan) but as it has been airing through about 15 or so years it has lost some of its members. So to start of I want to say that I don't think this is because the series has been declining. I also don't believe that the reason it is rated 8,24 (as of now) is because only the people who really like it are still watching.
Initial D has always been a very straightforward series that is mainly focused on racing. The main character, Takumi, has always been somewhat shallow. He doesn't have any strong moral convictions, or anything like that, but regardless he develops in a different way than what is done in other anime. I am not saying it is bad or good as it is more of an opinion thing. In Takumi's final battle not much character development is seen. I know your thinking "Well its four episodes long and he's in a car the entire time". Well that is true for the most part, but the problem I had is that I feel that they didn't convey takumi's feelings as to the results of his greatest challenge yet and didn't show how this effected him. This isn't necessarily a big deal and alot of people wont be bothered by it but as it is the last adaptation of initial D and essentially its end it is something I would have liked to see.
In terms of the race, I can't give spoilers, but overall I was pleased with how it all ended. It wasn't really what I was expecting and that made it all the better.
OVERALL I enjoyed this as the ending of initial d and feel as if this was stepped up a small notch from the rest of the series. I am disjointed that is the end, but I believe a decent job was done in wrapping it all up. Personally I believe that large series have a lot to wrap up and should spend more time doing so, but initial D isn't really that kind of anime. It's all about the racing, not a strong story line, simple plot, but strong races, and that's how they finished it.read more
Taking place where fifth stage leaves off, Takumi will have the his final race as a street racer. His opponent this time is like no other opponent he has ever faced. He is now racing a fellow AE86 Trueno model driver, Inui Shinji. Not only that, he happens to be younger than Takumi who usually tends to be the youngest in his social circle. Also, the difference between their cars is that Takumi is the hatchback model while Shinji has the sedan model. And as the race progresses, we will also learn about Shinji and his background and many characters return to see if Project D can become the greatest street racing team in Japan.
The last volume of the manga came out in November 2013 which is why this part was delayed for awhile. I have never bothered reading the manga for reasons which I will get into as my review progresses. Since it was only 4 episodes long, I think it could have served better as a movie though the reboot movie I assume ruined that.
So this series is what it is. It is mostly concentrated on the race between Takumi and Shinji and how they compare and contrast as people along with their cars. It is also a great way to demonstrate Takumi’s development as a racer and also gives Shinji some fleshing out. The relationships have come full circe as well. Many of the characters that return give their input in what can happen giving them some kind of contribution.
Some parts of the series may seem ridiculous, but the series does an excellent job of making it make sense. Though some people prefer the story telling method of showing over telling, this series does a great job of making them go hand in hand. The explanations are technical but very necessary. The explanations does a very, very, very excellent job of making everything make sense and not seem ridiculous. Mostly from Ryosuke and his team. The series does a very effective job on how Takumi and Shinji’s hachi-roku models are different and are effective in rally racing (the sedan model) and circuit racing (the hatchback model).
Shinji is a very interesting character and I think he isn’t exactly an anti-Takumi, but like Takumi was before but just needed the development that Takumi needs. He has very interesting similar qualities to him but some things that are different which make him distinct. Granted it is very focused on the race, a lot is given and the series comes full circle in its own way, but can be open to a potential sequel. Also, the series finally explains what the D in Project D means and the meaning is what a good fraction of the fans have speculated since the beginning.
The quality of the cg of the races and the resolution and design is unchanged from 5th stage. I pretty much call this series the last 4 episodes of 5th stage anyway. Ryosuke’s hair is still long and a little shaggy which is my only issue. This sole race is very long paced but also shows the patience and concentration necessary to do this. It’s night time, the weather could change, and their could potentially be oncoming traffic. As the series progresses, the series does have an increase danger factor which I thought was the most underused quality needed to make this series complete. Takumi uses many of the techniques he has been developing since 4th stage and they finally develop the line attack that he was trying to learn since the end of 4th stage to some degree.
The drifting is pretty cool and the techniques and the performances of the car are very believable when it is explained. The way it ends is pretty exciting and ballsy. It will seem ridiculous the first time but they do find a perfect way to explain how it ends the way it does.
Well anything I can say about the music has already been said in previous reviews of Initial D (with the exception of Legend). The Eurobeat tracks and MOVE makes up most of the reasons why I love this anime and why I got into it and is a crazy reason why I don’t read the manga because the music isn’t just there. MOVE’s opening song, Outsoar the Rainbow is very intense and the first 3 episodes using Gamble Rumble, the opening theme from 3rd stage. And the ending theme of the 4th episodes perfectly gives the series full circle and explains what the D stands for. The voice actors are back and give great performances as they always do.
Still, I think this installment could have worked fine as a movie. I think the length would have worked perfectly with it. But as I said, the reboot movie which I reviewed a couple of weeks prior to this installment I think got in the way of that. But anyway, I love the consistency that this anime installment of Initial D has to this point despite changes to the character designs, specifically Ryosuke here and there but Takumi, especially from 4th stage, demonstrates that development and so does Keisuke in this series. All other characters are there but they do contribute in their own way. I hope Shigeno-sensei somewhere down the line continues the series in some way. read more
*SPOILER-FREE Short and Cute ^_^ Review for the Initial D series*
(If you haven't watched fifth stage you should! just to get to these four episodes!! >_<)
Also pardon my Exclamation marks use but that's how much I liked this season!!
Fifth Stage left me a little demotivated and I had to force myself to begin Final Stage. And Thank God! If you love the Initial D series, please sit through Fifth Stage just to get to this one.
+++This race is unlike any other I've seen and that's all I will say about it! Just when Fifth season made me forget about Takumi, he entered from a corner and made me remember what I had missed and showed me how much he has changed!
For two episodes my heartbeat got so weird - it literally beat fast but kept sending so much chills throughout my torso I had to clutch myself the whole hour!
+The emotional ups and downs that both drivers go through within the most unpredictable race's span is shown very nicely.
Even though Takumi is the one we root for, you still feel for the kid cause both are so alike. (Also I wished he would've been the main character cause he is so much cuter! and Takumi is like...meh)
- I guess the only part I dislike was how the characters spoke as if they were conversing for the first time just in order to give the viewers exposition.
Did I enjoy this show? It's been two hour since I finished watching and I'm still feeling cold in a 33 degree environment...sooo....pretty much a lot more than any thing I've ever watched!!!
(Also I think a health check-up is due now....read more
Initial D Final Stage: It has been 16 years since the Initial D series first graced us with its underground racing excitement. However, there comes a time when things have to end, and unfortunately that time is now for Initial D. Final Stage shows the conclusion of Initial D with the battle between our protagonist Fujiwara, Takumi, and the “The Strongest Enemy” Inui, Shinji. Was it worth the wait? Well let’s see…
Final Stage’s storyline looks at the last battle in Kanagawa to determine if Project D can capture every time attack record in Japan. The final person that stands in their way is Inui, a prodigy in his own right. It’s up to Fujiwara to bring home the win for Project D. This will be his toughest fight, and will push him to the limit.
As standard with Initial D the storyline is a breeze to follow. They aren’t many twist and turns (except for on the roads of course), so that a viewer can easily pick it up. However, when it comes to immersion Final Stage lags behind the rest of the series. The reason why it lags behind is mainly due to building up Inui’s character. There is far too much time taken away from the actual race to focus on him, and it becomes very apparent through each episode.
This in turn takes a toll on progression and makes Final Stage feels a bit boring. A viewer will become very aware on how much action he or she is missing from the racing. Now this would have been ok if Final Stage was longer (like Fifth Stage), but given that it’s only 4 episodes using most of Final Stage to flesh out Inui’s character wasn’t a good idea. Also this leads to question how shallow the last part of Initial D is, which will be talked about later on.
As I said in my review for Fifth Stage things become predictable throughout the series, and Final Stage suffers from this as a result. Most people familiar with Initial D already know how it is going to end, and that’s a bummer. One thing I will give credit for is that the race itself is setup quite nicely, and gives a great sense of desperation at many moments. Final Stage’s storyline isn’t as solid as the rest, but in the end it’s worth seeing how Shigeno, Shuichi ended this great series.
+ Easy to follow
- Lack of Immersion
The art/animation is exactly the same as Fifth Stage. This seems somewhat odd since we usually see a boost in art/animation quality when a new stage comes out. A first I thought this could be down to time constraints because of the short production time between Fifth Stage-Final Stage, but when looking at Initial D’s history the production time between First Stage-Second Stage, and Second Stage-Third Stage is about the same (1 year).
With that aside, Final Stage still exhibits that HD crispness in car models/environments. Character models still look good overall, but they still don’t look as good as they were in Forth Stage. Animation is also still very fluid. All in all, if a viewer enjoyed the look of Fifth Stage, they will also enjoy the look of the Final Stage.
+ Car Models/Environments
+/- Character Models
Initial D is a series that prides itself on producing great sound. Here in Final Stage it is no different. Both engine noise and tire screeching sound very realistic and satisfying. There’s nothing like hearing that 4A-GE revving to 11,000 rpm. It just brings a grin across a viewer’s face.
Initial D’s iconic music is also present, and still gets a viewer pumped. m.o.v.e once again creates two new tracks for Final Stage, “Outsoar the Rainbow” the opening theme, and “Days” the second ending theme, at which both fit very well in the series. The first ending theme is actually the opening theme to Third Stage, “Gamble Rumble”. Even “Rage Your Dream” is heard at the end of the Final Stage signifying that this series has come full circle. Both bring back a rush of nostalgia as they are played.
Finally, character’s voice actors still sound as great. Each VA conveys their feelings extremely well, and gives each character a solid performance, just as they have been doing for years. Final Stage shows us the dedication the sound team has for this series. It’s great that a viewer can still be filled with much excitement when just hearing Initial D a decade+ later.
+ Sound effects
+ Character Voice Acting
Initial D is known for its strong cast of characters. All our main characters are here but only two get the “spot light”. These characters are our main protagonist Takumi and a new character Inui.
Takumi hasn’t changed much throughout the series, and this usually isn’t a problem. However, in Final Stage this manifests itself as a lack of emotional development. This lack of emotional development hinders his ability to properly express his state of mind during this last crucial race. Sure he gets stunned and angry at some points during the race, but for the most part it seems like he brushes it off completely. This could be seen as either good or bad, but in terms of the situation Takumi is in his character could have showed more emotion.
Inui is given most of the spot light in Final Stage. Most conversations and interactions diverge into explaining his backstory, with little emphasis of the strategies going on between each racer. Sadly, this is where things begin to fall short. Inui isn’t a character that is worth exploring. Compared to all other characters in Initial D, he isn’t as strong or devoted to racing. With that said, this leads him down the path of being a weak and unlikable. Final Stage also painted his personality as one with an identity crisis. First, he was likened to a cocky “rebel”. Next, he was likened to a scared child. After that his identity bounced back and forth between the two. This ended up failing because Inui was ultimately left in a very shallow state, which in turn worked against Final Stage.
Usually, Initial D gets its characters correct but in Final Stage Inui character feels as if they made a mistake. Fans may have mixed reactions toward him, since he doesn’t fit to well with the older crowd.
+/- Character Interactions
- Lack of emotion with Takumi
- Inui’s character as a whole.
Even though, Final Stage has significant flaws it can still be enjoyable for most. Thankfully the race isn’t as predictable as one may think, and has some pretty decent twist. Some may find it boring simply because the racing takes “somewhat” of a back seat to developing Inui’s character. However, as I said before it is well worth to see how it all ends.
Final Stage gives us the end to a legacy. We have all been along for the ride, and it was fun while it lasted. I’m hoping we’ll see another manga/anime that goes into detail of what happened after Initial D. Personally, I feel that Final Stage is a decent entry into the series, but objectively it did a good job in closing out the storyline.
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".