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Initial D 

Initial D: First Stage (original title)
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The story of a young delivery boy who becomes a drift-racing legend.

Creator:

Shuichi Shigeno
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1  
1998  

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More Like This 

Initial D: Second Stage (1999–2000)
Animation | Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Picking up right after the events of 'First Stage', 'Second Stage' continues to follow the underground Road Racing career of high-school student/delivery boy Takumi Fujiwara and friends as ... See full summary »

Stars: Chris Ayres, Greg Ayres, Christopher Bevins
Animation | Action | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

More races and challenges for soon-to-be-graduate/drift racer Takumi Fujiwara. Of course, with all the bells and whistles of a big screen production.

Directors: Shin Misawa, Noritsugu Yamaguchi
Stars: Chris Ayres, Greg Ayres, Christopher Bevins
Initial D: Fourth Stage (TV Series 2004)
Animation | Action | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Takumi Fujiwara continues his undefeated racing streak, touring the mountain passes of Japan with rival driver Keisuke Takahashi as a part of ex-racer Ryosuke Takahashi's racing team: "Project D".

Stars: Stephen Hoff, Chris Cason, Todd Haberkorn
Initial D: Fifth Stage (2012–2013)
Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The final stage of Project D's expeditions is coming, and is to be the hardest yet.

Stars: Takehito Koyasu, Shin'ichirô Miki
Animation | Action | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

After defeating every racing team, everything comes down to one last race. Will Project D succeed in the final and most difficult race of Initial D. And what is going to be the future of Project D after this final race.

Stars: Atsushi Abe, Yuka Hirose, Osamu Hosoi
Initial D: Extra Stage (TV Mini-Series 2001)
Animation | Action | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An Initial D side story OAV which follows the lives of Mako and Sayuki, the "Impact Blue" SilEighty team from Usui and their troubles with racers and romance.

Stars: Michiko Neya, Yumi Kakazu, Keiji Fujiwara
Initial D (2005)
Action | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After winning his first competition, Takumi focuses his attention on drift racing, a sport he has unknowingly perfected while delivering tofu in his father's Toyota AE86.

Directors: Andrew Lau Wai-Keung, Alan Mak, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Shawn Yue, Edison Chen, Jay Chou
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: Tsuneo Tominaga
Stars: Yumi Kakazu, Michiko Neya
Animation | Action | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The first part of a trilogy depicting Takumi Fujiwara's rise from delivery boy to Mt. Akin's downhill racing legend, focusing on the battles against the Takahashi brothers.

Directors: Masamitsu Hidaka, Tomohito Naka
Stars: Joel McDonald, Eric Vale, Gray G. Haddock
Animation | Action | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Mt. Akina's new downhill racing hero Fujiwara Takumi prepares for the final showdown against Red Sun's unbeaten leader and Akagi's fastest driver, Takahashi Ryosuke.

Director: Masamitsu Hidaka
Stars: Christopher Ainley, Christopher Bevins, Ryan Bosquez
Animation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After his unexpected victory over Red Sun's Keisuke, Takumi newfound fame brings forth a formal challenge from the Myogi NightKids leader, Takeshi Nakazato.

Director: Tomohito Naka
Stars: Christopher Bevins, Adrienne Branz, Charles C. Campbell
Wangan Midnight (2007–2008)
Animation | Action | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

After a surprise loss to the Wangan ('Bayshore' road) king, Asakura Akio comes across a Nissan S30 at a junkyard and finds out what this particular car is all about. Soon more cars, more ... See full summary »

Stars: Shun Oguri, Reiko Suhô
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Cast

Series cast summary:
Greg Ayres ...  Kenta Nakamura 26 episodes, 1998
Christopher Bevins ...  Kenji 26 episodes, 1998
Steve Blum ...  Keisuke 'K.T.' Takahashi 26 episodes, 1998
Z. Charles Bolton Z. Charles Bolton ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Jonathan Brooks ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Charles C. Campbell ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Richard Cansino ...  Hiromichi 26 episodes, 1998
Chris Cason ...  Hiroshi Fumihiro / ... 26 episodes, 1998
Colleen Clinkenbeard ...  Mako Sato 26 episodes, 1998
Cynthia Cranz ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Roland Angelo Crisolo Roland Angelo Crisolo ...  Itsuki 26 episodes, 1998
Terri Doty Terri Doty ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Quinton Flynn ...  Shingo Shoji 26 episodes, 1998
Crispin Freeman ...  Kouichiro 'Cole' Iketani 26 episodes, 1998
Cris George Cris George ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Grant George ...  Hawk / ... 26 episodes, 1998
Josh Grelle ...  Itsuki Takeuchi 26 episodes, 1998
Todd Haberkorn ...  Keisuke Takahashi 26 episodes, 1998
Kyle Hebert ...  Additional Voices / ... 26 episodes, 1998
Kate Higgins ...  Natalie 26 episodes, 1998
Bridget Hoffman ...  Maya 26 episodes, 1998
Chuck Huber ...  Yuichi Tachibana 26 episodes, 1998
Jeremy Inman ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Lex Lang ...  Ryosuke 'Ry' Takahashi 26 episodes, 1998
Kerrigan Mahan ...  Bunta Fujiwara 26 episodes, 1998
Michael McConnohie ...  Yuichi 'Boss' Tachibana 26 episodes, 1998
Joel McDonald ...  Takumi Fujiwara 26 episodes, 1998
Scott Menville ...  Goro / ... 26 episodes, 1998
Vic Mignogna ...  Shingo Shoji 26 episodes, 1998
Anastasia Munoz Anastasia Munoz ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Colleen O'Shaughnessey ...  Saori 26 episodes, 1998
Brina Palencia ...  Natsuki Mogi 26 episodes, 1998
Ben Phillips Ben Phillips ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Orion Pitts Orion Pitts ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Derek Stephen Prince ...  Hayao 26 episodes, 1998
David Rasner David Rasner ...  Kenta Nakamura / ... 26 episodes, 1998
Monica Rial ...  Sayuki 26 episodes, 1998
Tyson Rinehart Tyson Rinehart ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Robbie Rist ...  Itsuki 'Iggy' Takeuchi 26 episodes, 1998
Ian Sinclair ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Jason Spisak ...  Kenji 26 episodes, 1998
J. Michael Tatum ...  Ryosuke Takahashi 26 episodes, 1998
Elias Taylorson Elias Taylorson ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Austin Tindle Austin Tindle ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Eric Vale ...  Koichiro Iketani 26 episodes, 1998
Laurent Vernin Laurent Vernin ...  Takumi Fujiwara 26 episodes, 1998
Maxey Whitehead ...  Additional Voices 26 episodes, 1998
Kent Williams ...  Bunta Fujiwara 26 episodes, 1998
Wally Wingert ...  Takeshi 'Zack' Nakazato 26 episodes, 1998
Dave Wittenberg ...  Takumi 'Tak' Fujiwara 26 episodes, 1998
Barry Yandell Barry Yandell ...  Narrator 26 episodes, 1998
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Catch it, if you can. See more »


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site [Japan] | Tokyopop

Country:

Japan

Language:

English | Japanese

Release Date:

18 April 1998 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Initial D See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Prime Direction See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(26 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Dolby Stereo (Japanese version)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the series first aired in America, the popularity of imported JDM cars skyrocketed. Vehicles like the Mazda RX-7 and the Nissan Silvia became extremely popular with tuners and drifters alike. Most JDM vehicles gained in price, and nowadays this is called "Drift Tax". See more »

Goofs

During the duct tape death match against Shingo, Takumi binds his right hand to the steering wheel, however, as he takes a corner, about halfway through the race, a shot of the steering wheel shows both hands free. See more »

Quotes

[Before getting out of the car, Natsuki Mogi calls the Eight-Six Trueno 'cute']
Takumi Fujiwara: [to his car] 'Cute', she said... What do you think?
See more »

Alternate Versions

In Tokyopop's American DVD release, there are two versions of the show. One is the original ('Import Version'). One is a new version ('Tricked-Out Version') which has an english dub and various other changes such as:
  • Japanese character names dropped in exchange for more English sounding names (i.e. Natsuki becomes Natalie, Iketani is Cole, Itsuki is Iggy, Ryosuke is Ry, Keisuke is K.T., Nakazato is Zack, Kenta is Kyle, Mako and Sayuki become Maya and Simone, and Takumi goes by Tak).
  • The 'Eurobeat' Japanese-techno soundtrack is replaced with a mix of rap and garage-indie-punk music.
  • The opening and ending themes change, as well as the footage shown in the ending credits.
  • Various video effects, such as inverse colors, mirrors and wipe transitions are added to the CGI race scenes.
  • The original, authentic engine/exhaust noises are replaced with louder, more aggressive race noises.
  • Scenes involving Natsuki's shady, sexual dealings with the character referred to as 'Papa' were either cut down, or re-written (even the translation in the subtitled version was altered on the Tokyopop release).
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lucky Star: Natsu no teiban (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Heartbeat
Performed by Priscilla
Episode: {"Dangerous Five Hairpins" (1998) (ep. #1.10)}
See more »

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User Reviews

Road racing anime series is surprisingly gripping
4 September 2004 | by BrianDanaCampSee all my reviews

"Initial D: First Stage," which first aired in Japan in 1998, is a consistently exciting and compelling anime series based on Shuichi Shigeno's popular manga (comic book) about downhill mountain road racing in Japan's Gunma Prefecture. The protagonist is high school boy Takumi who, unbeknownst to his classmates and buddies at the gas station where he works, has been honing his downhill driving skills for the past five years by speeding up and down Mt. Akina making early morning deliveries for his father's tofu shop. When Takumi just matter-of-factly beats an area road racing star on an impromptu downhill race, he finds himself thrust, somewhat reluctantly, into the world of "touge" (mountain) racing and the various teams from neighboring mountains. His close buddies, Iketani and Itsuki, who are tied to the local Akina Speed Stars, are stunned to learn of Takumi's secret skills and are somewhat infuriated by his nonchalant attitude. Takumi's single father, once a downhill champ himself, has made a point of nurturing this attitude by guiding his son, not by example or instruction, but by letting him find his own way.

Once the secret is out, as quick as you can say, "Draw!," Takumi finds himself challenged by an increasingly sophisticated group of rivals and also finds himself attracting the attentions of Natsuki, a girl at school who has secretly been involved in a bit of "subsidized dating" with an older man. Much attention in this series is paid to the characters, their development, and their sometimes turbulent interaction with each other. We care for these kids because, quite simply, they're believable human beings.

The look of the series draws closely on that of the manga with somewhat simple, almost cartoonish (but surprisingly effective) design for the characters, created in 2-D animation, contrasting noticeably with the technically detailed look of the cars and races, which are recreated with 3-D CGI for the anime. While the integration of 2-D and 3-D is somewhat awkward in the early episodes, it improves greatly as the series progresses. The character design gets better also, with more detailed, expressive facial features becoming quite evident by the fifth volume in the series (eps. 16-18).

The races are edited and designed with great skill and thought. These sequences are genuinely exciting even to those of us who never followed any kind of auto racing outside of "Speed Racer" and action movie car chases. And, besides, the technical aspects of this form of racing, particularly the all-important practice of "drifting," are adequately spelled out for novices--to the point where the series might even be called educational.

The music track deserves singling out for its lively collection of pulsating, catchy songs in the "Eurobeat" style popular in Japan (a mix of rock, hip hop, and techno). The songs come into play in the opening and closing credit sequences and during the racing sequences (where they work perfectly). The instrumental tracks during the quieter scenes are expertly done as well. (Warning: the English dubbed tracks on the U.S. DVD releases have completely new music soundtracks. Stick with the "Classic" version option.)

As anime series go, at least for fans in the U.S., this one is quite unlike any other this reviewer has come across in the U.S. (after a decade of reviewing anime) and has proved to be among the most rewarding. This review covers the first season (First Stage), which was followed by a second series (Second Stage), a movie (Third Stage), and yet a third series (Fourth Stage). There are also video games based on the series. Let's hope it all continues.


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