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Initial D


Initial D

Initial D
The cover of the first tankōbon volume, released in Japan on November 6, 1995
(Inisharu Dī)
Genre Drama, Sports (Car racing)
Written by Shuichi Shigeno
Published by Kodansha
English publisher
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Young Magazine
Original run 19952013
Volumes 48
Anime television series
Initial D First Stage
Directed by Noboru Mitsusawa
Produced by Ren Usami
Music by Atsushi Umebori
Dave Rodgers
Studio Studio Comet, Studio Gallop
Licensed by
Network Fuji TV, Animax
English network
Cartoon Network (Adult Swim)
Original run April 18, 1998December 5, 1998
Episodes 26
Anime television series
Initial D Second Stage
Directed by Shin-ichi Masaki
Produced by Ren Usami
Music by Atsushi Umebori
Dave Rodgers
Studio Pastel
Licensed by
Network Fuji TV, Animax
English network
Original run October 14, 1999January 6, 2000
Episodes 13
Original video animation
Initial D Extra Stage
Directed by Shishi Yamaguchi
Music by Atsushi Umebori
Dave Rodgers
Studio Pastel
Licensed by
Released February 22, 2000February 29, 2000
Runtime 25 minutes (each)
Episodes 2
Anime film
Initial D Third Stage
Directed by Noboru Mitsusawa
Music by Atsushi Umebori
Dave Rodgers
Studio Studio Deen
Licensed by
Released January 13, 2001 (2001-01-13)
Runtime 114 minutes
Original video animation
Initial D Battle Stage 1
Directed by Shishi Yamaguchi
Music by Atsushi Umebori
Dave Rodgers
Released May 15, 2002 (2002-05-15)
Runtime 45 minutes
Anime television series
Initial D Fourth Stage
Directed by Tsuneo Tominaga
Produced by Ren Usami
Music by Atsushi Umebori
Dave Rodgers
Studio A.C.G.T
Licensed by
Network Animax PPV
Original run April 17, 2004February 18, 2006
Episodes 24
Original video animation
Initial D Battle Stage 2
Directed by Tsuneo Tominaga
Produced by Ren Usami
Music by Atsushi Umebori
Dave Rodgers
Studio A.C.G.T
Released May 30, 2007
Runtime 45 minutes
Original video animation
Initial D Extra Stage 2
Directed by Tsuneo Tominaga
Music by Atsushi Umebori
Dave Rodgers
Studio A.C.G.T
Released October 3, 2008
Runtime 55 minutes
Anime television series
Initial D Fifth Stage
Directed by Mitsuo Hashimoto
Produced by Ren Usami
Music by Atsushi Umebori
Dave Rodgers
Studio SynergySP
Network Animax PPV (Perfect Choice Premier 1)
Original run November 9, 2012May 10, 2013
Episodes 14
Anime television series
Initial D Final Stage
Directed by Mitsuo Hashimoto
Produced by Ren Usami
Music by Atsushi Umebori
Dave Rodgers
Studio SynergySP
Network Animax PPV (Animax Plus)
Original run May 16, 2014June 22, 2014
Episodes 4

Initial D (Japanese: 頭文字D(イニシャル・ディー) Hepburn: Inisharu Dī) is a Japanese sports manga series written and illustrated by Shuichi Shigeno. It was serialized in Young Magazine from 1995 to 2013, with the chapters collected into 48 tankōbon volumes by Kodansha. The story focuses on the world of illegal Japanese street racing, where all the action is concentrated in the mountain passes and rarely in cities or urban areas, and with the drift racing style emphasized in particular. Professional race car driver and pioneer of drifting Keiichi Tsuchiya helped with editorial supervision. The story is centered on the prefecture of Gunma, more specifically on several mountains in the Kantō region and in 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.

Initial D has been adapted into several television anime and original video animations series by OB Planning, Studio Comet, Studio Gallop, Pastel, A.C.G.T and SynergySP. A live action film by Avex and Media Asia was released in 2005. Both the manga and anime series were initially licensed for English-language distribution in North America by Tokyopop (2002–2009),[1] however, the anime license has since been picked up by Funimation Entertainment, while the manga is no longer available in English.


  • Synopsis 1
  • Characters 2
  • Media 3
    • Manga 3.1
    • Anime 3.2
    • Games 3.3
    • Feature film 3.4
  • Reception 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The first battle of the series, Keisuke Takahashi (RX-7) vs Takumi Fujiwara (Trueno), as seen in the anime.

The protagonist, Takumi Fujiwara, is a gas station attendant working with his friend Itsuki to buy a car, which they plan to drift on the twisting roads surrounding nearby Mount Akina. Unbeknownst to his colleagues, Takumi moonlights as a tofu delivery driver for his father's store before sunrise each morning, passively building an impressive amount of skill behind the wheel of the family car, an aging Toyota Sprinter Trueno.

Shortly after the story begins, the RedSuns, an amateur racing team from Akagi Prefecture, challenge the local Speedstars team to a set of races on Mount Akina. Dispirited after watching the RedSuns' superior performance during a practice run, the Speedstars expect to lose. Later that night, the RedSuns' #2 driver, heading home after the last practice run, is defeated soundly by a mysterious Sprinter Trueno, despite driving a much more powerful car. An investigation into the identity of the driver leads to Bunta Fujiwara, Takumi's father. The Speedstars beg Bunta to help them defeat the RedSuns, and he initially refuses, later relenting to "maybe" show up at the race. At the same time, Takumi asks Bunta if he can borrow the car for a day to take a trip to the beach with a potential girlfriend, and Bunta seizes the moment by granting permission (plus a full tank of fuel) on the condition that Takumi defeats the RedSuns driver.

On the night of the race, the Trueno does not show up, and the Speedstars enlist a backup driver for the first run. At the last moment before the race starts, the Trueno arrives. Takumi steps out of the car to the bewilderment of the Speedstars, who were expecting Bunta. He easily defeats the RedSuns driver by utilizing a dangerous technique on the mountain road's hairpin corners.

The RedSuns' embarrassing defeat sets up the plot for the rest of the series: drivers from neighboring prefectures come to challenge Takumi and the "Legendary Eight-Six of Akina" and thus prove themselves as racers. Eventually, the plot moves away from Mount Akina as Takumi becomes bored with racing solely on that road. He joins an experimental racing team formed by the disbanded RedSuns and challenges more difficult opponents on their home courses in the pursuit of his dream to be "the fastest driver out there".


  • Takumi Fujiwara (藤原 拓海 Fujiwara Takumi, "Tak")
The main character of the series, Takumi develops his racing skills to be one of the fastest drivers in Kanto while driving an old Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86. This is due to Takumi's job delivering tofu to Lake Akina every morning for 5 years (since 7th grade). Although Takumi believes this to be just a job, he had actually been manipulated subtly by his father into developing driving skills, without being fully aware of Bunta's intent.
Voiced by: Shin-ichiro Miki (Japanese), Dave Wittenberg (Tokyopop dub)/Joel McDonald (Funimation dub) (English)
  • Bunta Fujiwara (藤原 文太 Fujiwara Bunta)
Bunta is the owner of the Fujiwara Tofu Shop and is the father of Takumi. He used to be the No.1 downhill racer in Mt. Akina years ago, but now guides Takumi's racing development. He is the original driver of the mysterious "Ghost of Akina" AE86 Sprinter Trueno that holds the record of the fastest downhill time at Akina. Later in the series, as Takumi used the Trueno more than Bunta, he buys a Subaru Impreza WRX, which Takumi alternates between the Impreza and his Eight-Six for deliveries.
Voiced by: Unshō Ishizuka (Japanese), Kerrigan Mahan (Tokyopop dub)/Kent Williams (Funimation dub) (English)
  • Ryosuke Takahashi (高橋 涼介 Takahashi Ryōsuke, "Ry")
Ryosuke is one of the most skilled drivers in the series as RedSuns/Project D's leader and older brother to Keisuke. He drives a Mazda Savanna RX-7 FC3S. Ryosuke is a very cerebral driver as he pores over technical data and is able to tell what kind of modifications have been made to a car just by hearing it, and what a driver is capable of just by watching the car drift. He is also referred to as "Akagi's White Comet" (赤城の白い彗星 Akagi no Shiroi Suisei) in reference to his early racing days.
Voiced by: Takehito Koyasu (Japanese), Lex Lang (Tokyopop dub)/J. Michael Tatum (Funimation dub) (English)
  • Keisuke Takahashi (高橋 啓介 Takahashi Keisuke, "K.T.")
Keisuke is the number two driver for the RedSuns and the hillclimb ace for Project D. Keisuke drives a Mazda RX-7 FD3S, and is a skilled driver second only to his brother. Keisuke is a rather hot-headed and does not like losing. He isn't analytical like his older brother, but his ability to think less while he is driving, and to do only what he feels amazes Ryosuke. Because of his initial encounters with Takumi, he is Takumi's main rival.
Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki (Japanese), Steven Jay Blum (Tokyopop dub)/Todd Haberkorn (Funimation dub) (English)


The Initial D franchise logo.


  • Initial D Manga Japanese Release — 48 Volumes (1995–2013, Vol. 48 released in November 2013)
  • Initial D Manga Tokyopop Release — 33 Volumes (2002–2009, expired license)

The first Initial D volume was released in Japan on November 6, 1995 and concluded on July 29, 2013.[2] The manga has been translated officially into Chinese, French and English over its publication run. As of 2013, 48 volumes have been published.

The manga and anime were originally licensed for English releases in North America by Tokyopop. The company changed the names of the characters in the anime edition, and subsequently changed them in the manga to match.[3] These name changes were to reflect the name changes that Sega implemented into the western releases of the Initial D A Stage video games {see below} due to name length limits. Tokyopop also cut out a character's enjo kōsai relationship with another and edited sex scenes, appearing in volumes 1 and 9 in the original manga. In addition, "street slang" was interlaced in translations (a drift was described as "slammin'", for example).

The manga also had some translation errors. One example was the technical term "Wastegate" (which is a mechanism used to regulate the boost pressure generated by a turbocharger) that was translated as "West Gate". Another was an inaccurate explanation of how an engine's displacement is calculated (the explanation given is how a ship's displacement is calculated, which is totally different). Many of the explanations of automotive design and function, as well as the specification sheets of the various cars, were incorrect.

In August 2009, Kodansha announced that they would not be renewing their licensing agreements with Tokyopop, citing "tense relations" between the two companies. This meant that Tokyopop could no longer release new volumes of Kodansha manga properties, nor re-release Kodansha titles that were already printed. Tokyopop ceased the release of Initial D after volume 33, which was released on December 30, 2008. Volume 34 had a scheduled street date of April 7, 2009, but never released.[4] There have been no announcements as to a new distributor in North America for continuing or restarting the manga.


Avex has released the anime in several parts called Stages. One noticeable feature is that it uses Eurobeat music as background music in race scenes.

  • Initial D (referred to retroactively by fans as "First Stage") — 26 episodes (1998)
  • Initial D Second Stage — 13 episodes (1999)
  • Initial D Extra Stage — 2-episode OVA side-story focusing on Impact Blue (2000)
  • Initial D Third Stage — a 114-minute movie (2001)
  • Initial D Fourth Stage — 24 episodes (2004–2006)
  • Initial D Extra Stage 2 — a 50-minute OVA side-story focusing on Mako and Iketani (2008)
  • Initial D Fifth Stage — 14 episodes (2012–2013)[5]
  • Initial D: Final Stage — 4 episodes (TV), compilation movie (DVD/Blu-ray) (2014)
  • New Initial D the Movie - Legend 1: Awakening — feature movie (2014)
  • New Initial D the Movie - Legend 2: Racer — feature movie (2015)
  • New Initial D the Movie - Legend 3: Dream — feature movie (2016)

The Battle Stages are Musical Films serving as a compilation of the racing action scenes in the preceding series reanimated and remastered with more advanced CGI and stripped of all but minimal character dialog.

  • Initial D Battle Stage — a 50-minute movie (2002)
  • Initial D Battle Stage 2 — a 1-hour movie (2007)

In 1998, Initial D was adapted into an animated television series produced by OB Planning and Prime Direction. The first episode premièred on Fuji TV on April 8, 1998. The initial series ran for 26 weekly episodes with the finale airing on December 5, 1998.

The second series, named "Second Stage", aired from October 14, 1999 to January 20, 2000 with a one-week break over the New Year period. This was followed by animated feature film in 2001 and an OVA documenting all battles from the previous three stages, with the battles from First Stage being re-animated.

Initial D: Third Stage was a feature film covering the story arcs between the second and fourth stage, released in Japan on January 13, 2001.

In 2004, Initial D: Fourth Stage aired on SkyPerfecTV's pay-per-view service, airing two episodes back-to-back every two months. 24 episodes were made until the final episodes were aired in February 2006.

Following Second Stage in 2000, Initial D: Extra Stage was aired as a spinoff to the original series. This story focused on the all-female Impact Blue team of Usui Pass and their point of view of the recent events of Second Stage and the upcoming Third Stage movie. This was followed by Extra Stage 2 in 2008, which look at the relationship between Impact Blue's Mako Sato and Iketani of the SpeedStars (following on from the original side-story in the manga).

Following 8 years after the release of "Fourth Stage" in 2004, Animax airs "Initial D: Fifth Stage". Animax has aired the series on a pay-per-view basis on SKY PerfecTV!'s Perfect Choice Premier 1 channel.[6] The first two episodes aired on November 9, 2012. The rest of the episodes were broadcast two per month till May 10, 2013.[6]

In 2014, "Initial D: Final Stage" became the latest installment in the anime series. Animax has aired its first two episodes on a pay-per-view basis on its own brand new ANIMAX PLUS channel, on May 16, 2014, on its new subscription VOD (Video On Demand) service, which allows subscribers to watch all the latest anime series. Initial D Final Stage will start right after where Fifth Stage left off. There are a total of four episodes that makes up this mini stage.[7] The final two episodes were broadcast on June 22, 2014.

Since the anime's original run, Japanese musical group m.o.v.e has performed all of the opening and some ending themes of the series. This followed on from the success of one of their first hits, "Around the World", which was used as the first opening of First Stage. Their latest single to be used in the series is called "Outsoar The Rainbow" and it is used as Final Stage's opening.[8] They had another recent unreleased song, "Days". It was played on the finale of "Final Stage".

Like in the manga, Tokyopop change elements of the anime to suit Western audiences. As well as changing the names and used western slang, the company also changed the anime's music from the series' staple eurobeat tracks to originally developed tracks of rap and hip-hop via Stu Levy (DJ Milky), the Tokyopop CEO and an in-house musician.[9]

In 2006, Funimation Entertainment announced that it would be distributing the DVDs of the anime (since Tokyopop's original distributor went bankrupt). This new distribution was marked by slightly revised packaging and two box sets corresponding to the licensed seasons Tokyopop had dubbed, although the DVDs themselves were exactly the same as the original Tokyopop release.

Tokyopop had completed an English dubbed version of Third Stage, and reportedly screened it at the Big Apple Anime Fest on August 29, 2003.[10] They briefly mentioned that their version of Third Stage would retain the original Japanese soundtrack, in contrast to their treatment of the anime series. This version of the film was never released on DVD, nor was it ever mentioned by Tokyopop past the original announcement.

At the New York Anime Festival 2009, Funimation Entertainment announced that it would be re-releasing and re-dubbing Initial D: First Stage, Second Stage, Extra Stage, Third Stage, and Fourth Stage. Their release included a brand new English dub and retained the original music from the Japanese in an uncut format. Funimation released the series out of order, with the Third and Fourth Stages releasing before the First and Second Stages.[11] Funimation has not specified whether or not they will dub and release Extra Stage 2 (the first Extra Stage was included in the Second Stage box set) or either of the Battle Stages, nor have they made a decision about 5th Stage and Final Stage.

In July 2013 it was announced that another feature film titled New Initial D the Movie and a last anime series, Initial D Final Stage, will be produced.[12] The movie is a retelling of the early Stages with a wholly new voice cast and will be separated into three parts, with the first part released on August 23, 2014.[13]


Numerous arcade and other platforms video games have been released (note: The U.S. versions of the arcade titles are called simply "Initial D"). In the loading section after you pick the rival, you could see pictures from the Initial D manga. In Ver. 3, it basically has a picture of Natsuki Mogi in a bikini, this is cut in the U.S. version.

Feature film

A live-action movie based on Initial D was released on June 23, 2005 in Asia. The movie was jointly produced by Japan's Avex Inc. and Hong Kong's Media Asia Group. It was directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, whose credits include the 2002 Hong Kong blockbuster Infernal Affairs. The adaptation featured Taiwanese singer Jay Chou as Takumi Fujiwara and Hong Kong stars Edison Chen as Ryosuke Takahashi and Shawn Yue as Takeshi Nakazato. Despite many changes to the original story, the movie was met with critical acclaim and was nominated for multiple awards, including Best Picture, at the Hong Kong Film Awards and Golden Horse Awards, winning many of them.


Some fans of Initial D reacted negatively to the Tokyopop's extensive editing and changes made in the English-language version of the manga. Similar reactions were made towards their English dub's script and voice acting, and the removal of the original music from the anime series. Tokyopop said that it was trying to Americanize the series so it could be aired on television, while at the same time keeping the Japanese spirit of the series.[14]

According to Funimation officials, the re-release of the anime has "done well".[15] Reviews of the series note a marked improvement from the Tokyopop iteration, with most complaints leveled against the lack of anamorphic widescreen on the DVDs.

See also


  1. ^ "TOKYOPOP Inc. Out of Print Titles." Tokyopop. 1." Retrieved on September 10, 2009.
  2. ^ [1] Retrieved August 2, 2013
  3. ^ "Editors Note. Name Changes in Initial D, English Language Version." Initial D Volume 2. Tokyopop.
  4. ^ Tokyopop Confirms its Kodansha Manga Licenses Will End. August 31, 2009. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^ [2]. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  9. ^ Open letter from Tokyopop. Retrieved 3 June 2006.
  10. ^ BAAF to Screen Initial D Third Stage March 17, 2003. Retrieved March 27, 2012
  11. ^ 2009 press release. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  12. ^ Initial D Car-Racing Manga Gets New Anime Film & Final Stage Anime. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  13. ^ New Initial D Car-Racing Anime Teaser Reveals Film Trilogy. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  14. ^ "Tokyopop Open Letter regarding Initial D." Tokyopop at Anime News Network. July 13, 2002. Retrieved on September 28, 2009.
  15. ^ "Funimation's Live Feed from Otakon 10." July 30, 2010. Retrieved on March 27, 2012.

External links

  • at Kodansha's official siteInitial D (Japanese)
  • Initial DAvex webpage for (Japanese)
  • Initial D Fifth Stage Official Website - Animax (Japanese)
  • Initial D Arcade Stage Version 3.0
  • Initial D Games Official Website - Sega
  • Initial D Games Official Website - Sega (Japanese)
  • filmInitial DNorth America Premier of the Live-action
  • Initial D (manga) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
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