Initial D: Second Stage
The story of Fujiwara Takumi continues...
As stories of his battles against racers from the Red Suns, Night Kids, and even the great Takahashi Ryousuke spread, Takumi faces challengers with even more skill and cunning, including the Emperor team who exclusively use Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions. Will Takumi rise up to the challenge, or will the pride of past victories get to his (empty) head?
If you haven't gotten enough of Initial D, car racing or downhill drifts, then these thirteen episodes will stop the withdrawal symptoms for a while. The story continues where the first series left off, with Takumi facing a challenge from a member of Emperor. This team's main objective is to defeat the best racers in each district of Japan, and be the best team there is (it's the closest thing to world domination you can get in a racing anime). Takumi is once again thrown into race after race to defend his honor, record and the glorious name of the *ahem* Fujiwara Tofu Shop...
For fans of the original series, the most obvious difference would be the change in art style. The characters and scenery are slightly more detailed, but the art style detracts from the manga's original look. Usually detailed art is a welcome improvement, but in this case the characters look a lot dorkier and weirder than the original (which was already quite poor). The computer rendered cars still look the same, though, and the racing scenes are still carried out in the same way.
The plot expands a bit this time, involving things like defeat, betrayal of trust and love troubles that both Takumi and Natsuki experience. Although more effort was made to flesh out the characters, the theme is still welded, glued and nailed to downhill racing, so all this takes a backseat to the smell of burning rubber. Which is a good thing, because watering down the racing action would nullify the main appeal behind this title.
Being a direct continuation of the original's storyline, you would have to watch that first otherwise you will not understand what's going on. You really don't need background information to watch a car race, but knowing a bit about the characters or even the cars will help a lot.
Things do get a little dirty at one point when a horny guy gets itchy fingers, but other than that the only objectionable thing in this title would be dangerous driving. Suitable for almost all ages, but it appeals mostly to those who enjoy racing or can drive.
If you don't enjoy cars, racing, car talk or boyracers boasting about who's faster, then subtract two stars. If you do enjoy any of those, or have a deep conviction that gas pedals should stick to the floor, then this is the anime for you. — Enoch Lau
Recommended Audience: Only for racing fans or males in general. It might be suitable for younger viewers, but they probably won't be able to appreciate this title anyway.
Version(s) Viewed: AXN-Asia, Cantonese dub
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Initial D: Second Stage © 1999 Shuichi Shigeno / Fuji TV / avex
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