Takumi Fujiwara is an average 18-year old high school student with an average job as a gas station attendant, and a not-so-average hand in the family business. To help his father's tofu shop, Takumi has been delivering tofu in his father's 'Eight-Six' Trueno (known as the Toyota Corolla GT-S in the US) to a hotel at the peak of Mt. Akina (the local mountain), every night at 4 a.m. In doing so, Takumi has been unknowingly training to be the greatest mountain-pass drift-racer in all of Japan. After a freak late-night encounter with Keisuke Takahashi, the number two driver of the infamous RedSuns team, Takumi is quickly, and unwillingly plunged into a high-speed world of white-knuckle contests on the most dangerous mountain passes in the Gunma prefecture. Assisted by the local Akina Speedstars team, his slightly obnoxious friend Itsuki, his somewhat shady girlfriend Natsuke and the sage-like words of his chain-smoking, ex-racer father Bunta, he'll need all the help he can get to outwit ... Written by
Nathan J Rossberg
It's a bit strange being a car freak and NOT having seen much of Initial D until recently. Still, I already knew quite a lot of it, thanks to the manga issues I scrounged up. Really amazing what one can achieve with my old car. That's right, I've been a lucky sod who drove a "Hachi-Roku". The car was a Red and Black Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86, badged as Corolla GT-S. I acquired it in Belgium. Actually, I was looking fer the Sedan version, which was quite common there. But I just HAD to try out that little souped up hatchback and I was won over immediately. As I live in a region with a lot of twisty backroads and hills, (alas, no mountain pass here :( ) I had a lot of fun with it for a few years. Then a friend came over with a tape he bought (yes we're talking nineties here folks) "Isn't that your car?" he said, while showing me a vicious race between a Honda Civic (beg ya pardon, an EG6) and Takumi's AE86. The CGI action, the races, the music by M.o.v.e. All excellent! "Then how could you be so stupid and FORGET ALL ABOUT IT!?" Itsuki would ask in his overacting voice. I really don't know that. But after I coïncidentially saw the reasonable Chinese live-adaptation, I decided ter go look for it again. As with Zipang, one of my other favorite Manga/Anime's, I got lucky: I found First, Second and Extra Stage in Japanese language with English subs and that fantastic Eurobeat soundtrack. I'm still looking for the rest, which is a bit harder, because I'm trying to avoid all the dub overs with those slipshod hip-hop-songs DJ Milkyway (or something' like it ) cooked up. It might be a bit older now, but First Stage is still a lot better then all the F&F movies together.
Oh, and what did I do with my "Hachi-Roku?" After 5 years of service it was traded for a black front-wheel driven Corolla AE92 GTS, which also was a lot of fun, but I'll always have fond memories of that little red and black hatchback. Even now, while I drive a MINI Cooper.
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