The anime that brought touge culture to US screens is coming to an end. Initial D, in manga form, concluded its 18-year run last summer. Now, the animated account of the story is following suit. Animax will air a total of four 30-minute episodes wrapping up the story of the humble tofu delivery boy who became a mountain racing legend in his Toyota AE86.
The first two episodes, or “acts” as the producers like to call them, aired Friday. “Act 1: The Natural” has now been subtitled in English. In it, the battle between Project D’s FD3S Mazda RX-7 and an Honda NSX concludes, while our hero Takumi meets the challenger that will determine the fate of his beloved hachiroku. Minor spoiler alert: It’s another hachiroku, but a coupe. “Act 2: The Strongest Enemy” is still awaiting translation.
Though Initial D may have launched a million fanboys, may be cheesy in parts, and definitely has the worst taste in music, this cartoon nevertheless has (and provides) a greater understanding of automotive physics than 99 percent of Hollywood productions. More importantly, it helped turn the attentions of US-based import enthusiasts from front-wheel-drive drag racing to drifting and touge. That, in turn, put the spotlight on rear-wheel-drive cars like the AE86, fueling the interest in Japanese nostalgic cars.
Still, if you’re getting choked up at the thought of bidding sayonara to Initial D, fear not. A feature-film re-adaptation of the series coming to Japanese theaters August 23, 2014. You can keep up with all Initial D Final Stage news in this thread at Initial D World forums.