Initial D: Don’t Miss It

I recently took a six-hour Defensive Driving class to get a car insurance discount. The instructor spent the whole class telling me that driving would get me killed, falsely accused of statutory rape, and escheat my life savings to the nanny state. Those being my three greatest fears, I spent the next few days driving like an old bitch.

I got sick of it and decided the best way to regain my dignity would be to watch Initial D. I knew I made the right choice right from the opening lyrics.

uso sae safety

honto ga empty

Safety is empty. What a profound language.

Initial D is the manliest anime I’ve seen since You Are Umasou. It has fast cars, mountain training, practical haircuts, and, just for good measure, it fails the Bechdel test. It could only be manlier if one of the cars had a tendency to liberate women from their clothing, like the car from Daitarn 3.

Initial D is about an unbeatable driver named Takumi. You can tell he’s a winner just by fashion sense.

Jeans. Sneakers. Plain white t-shirt. No bullshit. Looks like I’ve been inadvertently cosplaying as Takumi for years. Nay, I am Takumi. He’s cheap, he’s apathetic, he frequently spaces out, he occasionally punches people in the face, and his default facial expression is one of not giving a fuck.

Speaking of punching people in the face, I just found out that one of my friends from high school punched Snooki. I had this guy on AIM back in the day! We were on the same football team! I sacked him in practice! We rode the same bus after school! I knew he’d make something of himself. I need to give this friendship thing another shot.

My one reservation about watching Initial D was the 3D graphics, which is parodied left and right. Considering how 3D can still be pretty cheesy in 2010, I assumed it would have to be cheesy back in 1998. Surprisingly, it was very easy to get accustomed to. The models were sufficiently detailed to look more like cars than simple polygons, the physics felt natural, and the blending of 2D and 3D rarely bothered me. However, keep in mind that animation quality isn’t as important to me as it seems to be for other anime fans. Also, I don’t give a shit about animation studios (post forthcoming), but if it means anything to you, Gainax did some work on the fourth season. Did you hear me? I said Gainax!


For those of us who aren’t mecha freaks, Gainax finally made something worth watching. There you have it. There’s no good reason not to watch Initial—wait, what’s this?

That’s usually a bad sign. Maybe you should avoid it after all—wait, what’s this?

Final Grade: ++