The final chapter of the long running manga Initial D was released yesterday in Japan. After 18 years of publication the hugely influential story that introduced touge battles and the glory of RWD Japanese cars to a whole generation of enthusiasts has come to a close. Here’s how it ends (Warning: Spoilers ahead).
In the pages leading up to the grand finale, our hero AE86 driver Takumi Fujiwara is locked neck and neck in his last race. His opponent, a young racing prodigy in an AE86 coupe, reminds everyone of Takumi in his early days.
On the last curve Takumi, committing a rare mistake, blows his Formula Atlantic 4AG. His wheels lock up, sending both cars into a skid. But Takumi recovers quicker and uses his momentum to carry his AE86 hatch across the finish line, tail first. And with that, Takumi’s team has conquered all its rivals on their respective home turfs, various mountains of the Kanto region.
The timeline then jumps forward two weeks, to Takumi, the RX-7 driving Takahashi brothers and the rest of the team having a barbecue. There is mention of them receiving several offers from professional race teams.
As for the tofu delivery car that launched a million fanboys and created a worldwide increase on the price of AE86s? It was never seen again. Takumi said he was not interested in getting a new engine to repair it. The last scene of the nearly two-decade story is of Takumi driving through the hills in his father’s Subaru Impreza.
Fans have criticized the ending for being too abrupt. Compared to races interspersed with endless dialogue and exposition about driving technique, it does seem to lack resolution for the main characters, and the end of the AE86 seems ignoble at best. There does not appear to be enough material to fill a movie and another stage of anime, as has been reported, so perhaps readers will get more closure when those arrive.