Perhaps unfortunately, every single car manga is compared to Initial D. It cannot be helped. Initial D is the universal barometer, so I feel like I have to contrast against it when explaining what makes Over Rev! so good.
Initial D is highly enjoyable, but even it's biggest fans have to admit that some of the characters are poorly designed and the plot has more holes than Swiss cheese. Especially the girls in Initial D act in such irrational ways, it makes you question if the creator has ever even seen a female before.
Over Rev! has a female lead, as well as a diverse cast
of supporting characters. It's biggest strength is how real and well placed the characters are. On top of a great cast, Over Rev! sports a strong, coherent plot. The reader witnesses what it really looks like when a young prodigy enters street racing. Ryoko, the lead, is not invincible. She is a talented driver; and just like every talented driver, she loses sometimes.
This manga takes advantage of it's fun and lighthearted cast to comment on issues within the larger car community, from sexism to tasteless mods. It can become slightly preachy with repetitive messages about girl power or whatever, while simultaneously featuring way too much nudity for no reason at all. I mean, nudity on the cover of the volume. WHY???
More importantly than the humor or interesting character arcs, this manga features some severely cool cars and very accurate depictions of driving technique. Just to mention a few, Over Rev! features an RX-3, Honda City, and an e36 M3. Not your typical cars and not your typical car manga. This is a strong contender that is slowly growing on me and may even dethrone Initial D as my favourite.