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Watch & Learn: INITIAL D: SECOND STAGE #1

Kraft couldn't make something this cheesy.

 The doo-rag should've been the tip-off.
 The doo-rag should've been the tip-off.

Should I find it comforting that the kind of cheese you'd normally only see in an 80s sports movie can also be found in Japanese anime?

Watching INITIAL D: SECOND STAGE reminded me of observations I had when the first couple FAST & THE FURIOUS movies came out. Most times, when you call a show exploitational, it’s exploiting things like sex, gore, martial arts or any number of lurid subjects. Maybe it should have been obvious, but I didn’t immediately think that cars could be exploited like that, as well.  I always remember this Russian kid in high school, who had really no interest in movies otherwise, going on about how rad those movies were. Not because he thought Vin Diesel was cool or that Michelle Rodriguez was hot - - it was strictly because of the cars.

“Seriously, if you’re into cars, you need to watch this movie.”

And I imagine the same applies to INITIAL D. Actually, I first heard of this series from another kid from high school (he was also a hardcore asshole, but that’s unrelated.)  He was a car nut too and I doubt he’d ever touch another manga aside from POKEMON, but he loved INITIAL D.

Myself, I like to drive my Honda Civic and I’ve enjoyed blazing along on at high speeds at Go Carts, but my interest in cars only extends that far. So I look at this show with these tough guys who are so deathly serious about downhill drift racing and it cracks me the hell up. Like laughing out loud. And the chortles just get more and more hysterical when the pump-up music breaks out for the racing scenes with the Playstation One-era graphics.

I’m going to put up reviews of the rest of the number ones for series I received, and I'll let you Anime Vice lunatics decides which one I'll watch all the way through, but I’m exerting my executive powers and vetoing INITIAL D. I can’t watch another episode of awkwardly-crosshatched dudes and their love affairs with their vehicles.

Watch this episode below and decide for yourself...    

  

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here  &   here .  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk

Roldanon Jan. 18, 2011 at 12:04 a.m.
shouldn't you watch Initial D: First Stage?
EquitasInvictuson Jan. 18, 2011 at 12:10 a.m.
@Roldan: He probably didn't have a choice on which Initial D series he was sent - it was one among several of anime series Funimation sent him for free. He said on the previous Watch & Learn that he'd write something up on each of them and have us decide what he would commit covering entirely.
 
Either way, this is definitely far from what I'd want for a full Watch & Learn experience. Cheese makes for good eating, but not good viewing. 
sickVisionz moderator on Jan. 18, 2011 at 8:58 a.m.
Ahh, Initial D rocks.  Different strokes for different folks I guess.
zaldaron Jan. 18, 2011 at 9:38 a.m.
Yea.  This one is terrible.  Definitly not worth eating, watching or anything at all unless you are VERY much into cars and drift racing.  Both being popular in Japan it didn't suprize me when they made an anime that included it.  It DID suprize me how utterly terrible it was.  I mean GAH character development...yea DZ has more....(and I hate DZ)
dagason Jan. 18, 2011 at 10:23 a.m.
One of my favorite anime for sure. But then I love all that car talk about AE86, R32, S13 and FD.
 
 I literally think that Tokyo Drift is one of the all time classics when it comes to movies, which should tell you how much I'm into Japanese cars. Driving a polished FD on the highways of Tokyo with the neon lights reflected on my shining car...that is one of my dreams for sure. 
 
If anyone know of an anime like Initial D, but for highway battles instead of mountain driving then please tell me.
Count_Zeroon Jan. 18, 2011 at 10:48 a.m.
@Roldan said:
" shouldn't you watch Initial D: First Stage? "

Theoretically, if you are going to watch Initial D, it probably wouldn't hurt to watch season 1 first, particularly if you know nothing about drifting, street racing and the Japanese scene thereof. Oh, and it also introduces the characters.

Tom - if you could find it on DVD (and if season 2 was licensed either for DVD release or streaming), I think you'd would really like Hajime No Ippo/Fighting Spirit.

@dagas said:

" One of my favorite anime for sure. But then I love all that car talk about AE86, R32, S13 and FD.  I literally think that Tokyo Drift is one of the all time classics when it comes to movies, which should tell you how much I'm into Japanese cars. Driving a polished FD on the highways of Tokyo with the neon lights reflected on my shining car...that is one of my dreams for sure.  If anyone know of an anime like Initial D, but for highway battles instead of mountain driving then please tell me. "

It's not licensed, but Wangan Midnight has a focus on highway battles, though it's not as gearhead focused as Initial D - the main character's car is almost the Street Racing equivalent of Christine.

Dunchadon Jan. 19, 2011 at 10:45 a.m.

I really enjoyed this series. I just loved the main character - the way he does some insane downhill racing and beating everyone despite their better and more powerful cars, while looking mildly bored and steering with a one hand. 
 
But then they kept adding on seasons and stretching the "battles" to a degree that made it somewhat boring. I did end up watching all of it, but the first season was the best. I really wish they would've wrapped up the Project D storyline much faster. Now that I think about it - did they even ever wrap it up in the anime? Can't seem to remember there being any resolution. 
 
EDIT: Oh, and I really liked the music despite the horrible engrish in it. Just the right stuff to get your blood pumping, I thought.
Om1kronon Jan. 19, 2011 at 11:33 p.m.
I'm into cars and I refuse to watch initial D. It's everything I hate about owning a nissan 240sx lol all of the stupid kids and their jdm tyte yo attitudes and street drifting, and mountain togue runs.  
 
All because of this cartoon. 

Dig Deeper into Initial D: Second Stage

Street racing has its own special requirements.....

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