On July 23, a pop-up store celebrating the 25th anniversary of Initial D opened in Tokyo. It will be open for just over two weeks in the capital city before moving onto Osaka. The shop features a small gallery of illustrations from the manga and a ton of merch with Initial D branding. There’s no tofu, but here’s what you can expect to find inside.
The store is located on the sixth floor of the Loft department store in Shibuya, Tokyo and commemorates the initial (ha!) publication of Shuichi Shigeno’s underground touge racing masterpiece.
Initial D began on June 26, 1995 in Weekly Young Magazine, about a tofu delivery boy and his AE86. By the end of the decade, it had become an international phenomenon thanks to its deep (for a comic book) discussions about driving techniques and realistic depictions of popular tuner cars. It brought drifting into the limelight, took the culture of Japanese street racing worldwide, and transformed the Toyota AE86 into a highly sought-after collectible. The manga was eventually adapted into an anime and even a live-action film.
The pop-up store displays many illustrations from the manga itself, mostly of the characters and their cars. Sadly, they are not for sale. However, the shop will happily peddle a bunch of other items featuring designs based on those cars.
There are standard fare items like t-shirts, bags, and mugs. However, if you want to get something a bit more creative, there are keychains featuring speech and thought bubbles from memorable scenes, smartphone cases depicting the Takahashi brothers’ Mazda RX-7s or the Night Kids’ R32 Skyline GT-R, and a wallet in the iconic two-tone of Takumi’s AE86.
If you want to get even goofier, there’s a portable folding seat branded with the Fujiwara Tofu Shop’s logo, which you can sit on while wearing panda flip-flops. Or, you can opt for a team coin purse that features the AE86 (with a 10,000 rpm redline tach on the back) or the RedSuns team logo (with a Mazda rotor on the back).
Sadly, there are only two things we could find that could be used on an actual car. The first is a series of fake license plates from some of the notable cars in the series. The second is a wide mirror that you can clip onto your rear-view, if you want to constantly have an image of a sideways Hachiroku or a pair of Mazda RX-7s hounding you every time you look up.
There’s another series of items labeled “trading can badges” which have super kawaii illustrations of the main characters and their cars. We’re not sure what those are, but the asterisk on the bottom says these will be distributed at random.
Perhaps the coolest item is a $200 print done in sumi-e style, a traditional Japanese black ink and brush painting. Drawn by the artist Ozaku, it depicts a fierce touge battle between Takumi’s AE86 and Keisuke’s FD.
And, since Shuichi Shigeno has started another manga, MF Ghost, about an underdog Toyota 86 going up against modern machines, there is some related merch as well.
After the stint in Tokyo from July 23 to August 10, the Initial D 25th Anniversary shop will move to Osaka. There, it will be located on the fifth floor of the Loft Umeda department store from August 28 to September 13. Since these items will only be available in Japan, and because visitors from the US has been banned due to the coronavirus, the only way to get them is to have a friend there order them for you. You can browse the full inventory here.