Initial D: Fourth Stage, Part 2

3.0 out of 5 stars Fast cars and slow people (the animation that is)

Initial D: Fourth Stage, Part 2

This is the follow up to Initial D: Fourth Stage, Part 1, and continues Funimation’s re-dub of the popular series. Like with One Piece, “Initial D” was dealt with poorly by editors hoping to “Americanize” the series and re-package it to catch the wave of films like Tokyo Drift that brought Street Racing to the popular consciousness. Funimation’s “Initial D: Fourth Stage, Part 2” restores the original soundtrack and has created a more authentic dub and subtitle track. This box set contains episodes 13-24, and is the last of the “Initial D” television series released so far.

In these episodes, Takumi and Project D have established their reputations as serious competitors, bringing new rivals to the scene. Takumi continues to struggle with his Eight-Six, the rain giving him trouble against a rival Impreza’s 4WD capability. The Lan Evo team is pulling out dirty tricks to win in the Hillclimb Challenge as well, but Project D is pulling through. Into the picture comes two mystery cars, known as the Purple Shadows driven by the legendary Godhand and Godfoot who aim to show that they are still the kings of the road. Takumi still has a lot to learn if he is going to win against these two, and so the serious training begins.

“Initial D” is a totally fetishist anime. You are either a car fiend or you are not. If you are, then this is your heaven, but if you are not then there isn’t too much story here to keep you interested. Even the animation is focused solely on the cars. The cars themselves are rendered lovingly in 3D computer animation, while the human characters are poorly drawn.

Personally, I am not enough of a car freak to dig this series. I love the racing scenes, but the human animation is so badly done I can’t get past it. The frame rates are slower than anything I have seen in a modern animation, leaving jerky characters and stagnant images that only have the mouths awkwardly moving up and down while the rest might as well be statues. This is Clutch Cargo-era animation, not something I would expect to see on my DVD player nowadays. I am really shocked to see animation this bad.

But if you are enough of a car freak, and already love the “Initial D” series, then here is another box of goodness for you.

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