Dec 19, 2009

Initial D: First Stage

Source taken from

Initial D (Inisharu Dī?) is a manga by Shuichi Shigeno which has been serialized in Kodansha's Young Magazine since 1995. It has been adapted into a long-running anime series by Pastel, Studio Gallop, and OB Planning, which premiered in Japan on Fuji TV and Animax, and a live action film by Avex and Media Asia. Both the manga and anime series were licensed for distribution in North America by Tokyopop; the Tokyopop version of the manga is out of print as of August 31, 2009.

The anime and manga focus on the world of illegal Japanese street racing, where all the action is concentrated in the mountain passes and rarely in cities nor urban areas, and the drift racing style is emphasized in particular. Keiichi Tsuchiya helps with editorial supervision. The story is centered around the Japanese prefecture of Gunma, (mostly Shibukawa where Takumi's home is) more specifically on several mountains in the kanto area and in and their surrounding cities and towns. Although some of the names of the locations the characters race in have been fictionalized, all of the locations in the series are based on actual locations in Japan.

The story begins when street racers called the Red Suns, a team from Mt. Akagi, come to challenge Mt. Akina's local Speed Stars team to a "friendly" race. After seeing how skilled the Red Suns are, the Speed Stars treat it as a race for pride, determined not to be humiliated on their home turf. However, the Speed Stars are left in a bind when their team leader and primary downhill driver Iketani has an accident during a practice run. They were desperate for a replacement, until Iketani learns from Yuuichi, the manager of the petroleum station he is working in, that the fastest car in Akina's downhill was a panda-colored AE86 owned by a Tofu store owner, and traces the car back to a local Tofu store. He discovers that the store's owner, Bunta Fujiwara, was a street racer of great repute in his younger days known as the "Ghost of Akina" .

Iketani appeals to the older man to take his place in the race against the Red Suns. Iketani is confident that Bunta will come to save the day. But when the race day comes, his son Takumi appears with his Trueno instead. Although at first reluctant to let Takumi race, Ikatani relents after it is revealed that he is actually the "Ghost of Akina," the one who outran Keisuke while on one of his delivery runs. Takumi proceeds to defeat Keisuke Takahashi and his Mazda RX-7 (FD3S), causing considerable astonishment in the local racing community and putting an end to the Red Suns winning streak.
Despite him being originally apathetic about the notion of racing, Takumi begins to grow more interested as he receives other challenges, and begins to understand the concept of a street racer's pride. He then proceeded to defeat drivers in more advanced and more powerful cars, such as the Honda Civic (EG6) hatchback, the Nissan Sileighty, and the Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32). He proceeded to defeat them in all sorts of conditions, mostly for the first time (Duct Tape Deathmatch, wet weather race, first race in a course other than Mount Akina), culminating in the battle between him and Ryosuke Takahashi, the so-called "White Comet of Akagi." Takumi handed Ryosuke his first defeat.


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