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.