I was but a young teen when I first read the Initial D series and was amazed how they took the world of drift racing and put it in manga form. They had some premiere details on each car and how they performed which would make any gear head or car enthusiast fall in love. Things became better when the premiere of the Initial D anime series was released and as always seeing the pages come to live was an adrenaline rush.
Initial D Legend 1: The Awakening takes us back in a digitally remastered full movie of the first few episodes of our Hero Takumi Fujiwara and his Trueno 86 taking on the Mt. Akina streets. This is nostalgia at its finest because seeing the original and this re-mastered somewhat abridged version is amazing. They cut out a few of the filler parts where Takumi takes time learning from his friends about the joys of racing and him being oblivious on what they are actually talking, but secretly he knew more about driving than they knew about breathing. His father Bunta who owns a tofu shop has been training Takumi since he was sixteen by giving him a simple cup of water while he delivers tofu up the mountain. Now the trick is that he has to rotate the water in the cup and if he spills a drop, he would know that he has damaged the tofu, but the real lesson was him to utilize the corners of the mountain by drifting. Its an old trick, but it is effective to learn how to handle your car problem with speed, balance and hitting the corners properly.
Takumi without knowing has made a rival with an advance racing team called the Red Suns who are on a quest to defeat racers in their own region. This team is led by the rotary engine brothers Keisuke Takahashi and Ryosuke Takahashi who both drive modified Mazda RX series cars. The oldest being Ryosuke drives the Savanna RX-7 Infini III also known as the white comet who has intimidated racers for years, but his brother Keisuke drives the Ẽfini RX-7 Type R. One night just testing out Mt. Akina Keisuke thought he was being taunted by a ghost and to his surprised he ended getting over taken by said ghost which was a panda painted Trueno ’86. In Japan it is known as a Trueno ’86, but in the states it is known as the Toyota Corolla and you should never under estimate this machine. However I am more of an American muscle kind of car guy, but I do respect the tuner cars and if I have to choose it would have to be the Nissan 240ZX.
This is by far the best racing animation on the market, because how it not only shows off some great drift racing action, but you can learn from the show as well. As I stated early how this is a digital re-mastered series made into a movie. They really kicked up the animation and gave it more of a manga feel with the tire streak effects and the intense camera angles that give you that high octane experience. However why am I just talking about it, here is a clip for you to enjoy.
Even though Initial D is known for showing off some top notch racing scenes, they also touch base on the dangers of mountain drift racing. There have been many episodes where they show the careless actions of some racers, especially amateurs that have no business performing such acts on open roads. The fiction in the anime series is always showing people being mildly injured or not harmed at all, but their cars are badly damaged. In the end just stay safe out there.
I hardly ever seen a review mention this, but the Initial D soundtracks are a must have and I have the entire collection. They are unique J-pop tracks that will get your pumped or just great for cruising, but ever since I have acquired them. I can’t play any racing game without an initial D soundtrack playing as the theme, because it puts you in a nice rhythm.
Initial D Legends 1: The Awakening gets 4.5 out of 5, but this is just the beginning with Legends 2 coming out in May 23 of 2015. I am looking forward to these reboots and reliving my memories of these races in a new format. If you are a veteran to the series of new please feel free to comment your favorite car that you would love to race with. If you would be so kind add your e-mail in the subscribe area to your right. Stay frosty!