Initial D

From Academic Kids

Initial D (頭文字D Inisharu Dī) (pronounced i-'ni-sh&l 'dE) is an anime series published by Avex, based on the manga.

The anime and manga focuses on the world of illegal Japanese street racing, where all the action is concentrated in the mountain passes (called Tōge) and never in cities nor urban areas, and the drift racing style is emphasized in particular. The manga is drawn by artist Shuichi Shigeno, who started publishing the manga in 1995, featured in Kodansha's Young, on a weekly basis. The manga and anime has also been licenced by TOKYOPOP for an English release. The company drew complaints from anime fans when it changed some characters' names and gave others Americanized nicknames while not changing other names. For instance, main character Takumi became Tak and his best friend Itsuki became Iggy, while Takumi's father Bunta retained his name and so did an opponent by the name of Shingo. In addition, TOKYOPOP cut out a character's enjo kōsai relationship with another character and edited sex scenes in manga. They also changed the music from the series' staple eurobeat. (See: [1] (

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 First Stage - 26 acts
  • Initial D Second Stage - 13 acts
  • Initial D Battle Stage - 45 minute movie of every major battle from 1st, 2nd and 3rd stage. The graphics have been redone and polished in this stage.
  • Initial D Third Stage - 2 hour movie
  • Initial D Extra Stage OVA - 2 hour side-story movie
  • Initial D Fourth Stage - 16 episodes aired so far, as of June 18th, 2005.
  • Initial D The Movie - a movie that is being filmed that features Taiwanese star Jay Chou as Takumi. This film will be the first Initial D that contains real actors and cars instead of anime.


Set in the late 1990s, it follows the adventures of Takumi Fujiwara (Who has the nickname "Tak" in the English adaptations), an eighteen year old who helps his father run a tofu shop by delivering every morning to a hotel over Mount Akina in Gunma Prefecture with his father's Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX. Having driven the mountain pass every morning for five years before his first race, Takumi's racing skill is highly developed.

In mountain pass racing, power is not the key to winning. Balance, skill, techniques are what is need to win. Mountain pass racing, is divided into two concepts, either Downhill or Hillclimb (Uphill). NA (Natural Aspiration) cars have the advantage on the Downhill but Turbo equipped cars have more power going Uphill.

The story begins when racers of the Red Suns (a team from the neighboring city of Akagi) come to challenge the local Speed Stars into a "friendly" race. Not wanting to be humiliated, the Speed Stars take this as a challenge and decide it to be a race for pride; however, when the Speed Stars' team leader Iketani (known as Cole in the English adaptations) has an accident during a practice run, they are immediately in a bind for a new racer on the downhill.

After appealing to the man known as Bunta Fujiwara (Tak's father) to take his place, Iketani is confident that the old man (who was known as the legend of Akina) will come to save the day. But when the race day comes, Takumi appears with the eight-six (the Trueno) instead. And so begins the new legend of Akina's legendary eight-six.


These are the protagonists from the Initial D Manga/Anime Series. Their biographies are mostly manga based.

Takumi Fujiwara

CarToyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX (AE86)
Japanese SeiyuuShinichirou Miki

Nickname in English adaptations: "Tak"

18 years old, Takumi Fujiwara (藤原拓海 Fujiwara Takumi) is the son of Bunta Fujiwara, the owner of a tofu shop in his hometown Akina. He hardly shows much emotion on his face. His best friend is Itsuki Takeuchi, who is a racing fan.

Takumi works part-time at a gas station with Itsuki, along with Iketani, who is a member of the local racing team, the Akina Speed Stars. In the first few episodes, both Itsuki and Iketani think that Takumi is totally ignorant about cars and racing, judging by Takumi's statements on his lack of interest on the subject.

The only one who suspects that Takumi has a great deal of knowledge on cars and racing techniques is the owner of the gas station, Yuuichi, as seen in the episode where Takumi discusses the drifting technique with Iketani and Itsuki. In fact, Takumi has far more experience with downhill racing than Iketani and Itsuki, as Takumi has been driving his father's AE86 Trueno for five years (in his first year of junior high school), delivering tofu to a hotel at 4 a.m. every day.

Takumi's driving technique is regarded among the best in Akina; the very fact that he has managed to win races against more powerful cars with his AE86 Trueno is testament to his driving skills.

Officially, Takumi is part of no team, but later, Takumi joins Project D, a super-team created by Ryosuke Takahashi aimed at capturing all the time records in Japan.

Bunta Fujiwara

CarSubaru Impreza WRX Type R Version V
Japanese SeiyuuUnshou Ishizuka

Bunta Fujiwara (藤原文太 Fujiwara Bunta) is the owner of a tofu shop in Akina, and the father of Takumi. He is the best driver in the series, but he'd rather just have more of an indirect hand in Takumi's racing development. He is the original driver of the mysterious AE86 that holds the record of the fastest downhill time at Akina.

Bunta has a unique way of training his son to drive; every morning when Takumi has to go on his tofu delivery route, Bunta will give Takumi a cup of water. The cup of water is placed in the drink holder; Takumi must not spill even a drop of it while he is driving

Since later in the series, Takumi has been using the Trueno more than Bunta has, he agrees to have Takumi own the car and pay for its shaken(car tax). Not known by Takumi until recently, (Fourth Stage, 12th episode) Bunta got a new car, a Subaru Impreza WRX Type R Version V. To test his new car, Bunta drove it down Akina, and raced his son who just finished doing his deliveries.

Minor characters

  • Natsuki Mogi (茂木 夏樹 Mogi Natsuki) / Natalie Mogi - Takumi's love interest.
  • Yuuichi (祐一 Yūichi) / Boss - The boss of the gas station that Takumi worked in. An old friend of Bunta's, and a racer in his youth.
  • Tsukamoto (塚本) / Sid - A driver in a purple 180SX who has very little skill.
  • Miki (御木) - A senior in the football club of the school that Takumi attended. Was Natsuki's ex and drives a Celica GT-Four.
  • Ken Kogashiwa (小柏 ケン Kogashiwa Ken) - Kai's father. Bunta's life-long rival.


These are the teams from their respective prefectures.

Akina SpeedStars

A team made up from a bunch of friends who like to race in their leisure time. Based in Gunma, their home course is Akina.

Iketani Kouichirou

CarNissan Silvia K's (S13)
Japanese SeiyuuKazuki Yao

Nickname in English adaptations: "Cole"

One of Takumi's friends, Iketani works at a local gas station with both Takumi and Itsuki. Itsuki admires him, as Iketani is leader of the local racing team, the Akina Speed Stars. Iketani drives a Nissan S13 Silvia. At first, Iketani thinks that the Speed Stars are the best drivers in Akina but later his boss Yuuichi tells Iketani of the mysterious driver of an AE 86 who was the fastest driver in his time, and that he suspects that the driver is the owner of the local tofu shop.

He is an average racer at best, but he is decently skilled enough to be leader of the Speedstars.

Itsuki Takeuchi

CarToyota Corolla Levin SR (AE85)
Japanese SeiyuuMitsuo Iwata

Nickname in English adaptations: "Iggy"
Name in the movie: "Itsuki Tachibana"

Itsuki is Takumi's best friend; he provides the comic relief in the series but quite loud and obnoxious. Itsuki works part-time at a gas station with Takumi and Iketani; Itsuki plans to use the money he earns to buy an AE86 but was tricked into buying a low powered AE85 Levin. With a car, he is a self proclaimed member of the Akina Speedstars. In Fourth Stage, it is revealed that Itsuki has installed a turbo for his 85.


AgeUnknown, but probably 21
CarNissan 180SX (RPS13)
Japanese SeiyuuWataru Takagi

A member of the Akina Speed Stars and Iketani's best friend, Kenji drives a Nissan 180 SX. He hangs out at the gas station where Iketani, Takumi and Itsuki from time to time, usually discussing cars and driving techniques with Iketani and Yuuichi. He has respect and admiration for Iketani and Takumi; Iketani since he's the leader of the Speed Stars and Takumi for his driving skills.

Kenji seems to be a decent enough driver; when Iketani wasn't able to race against Keisuke due to his accident and the Speed Stars weren't sure if the AE86 driver was going to show up, it was Kenji who was chosen to race against Keisuke.

Akagi RedSuns

A very highly skilled team lead by Ryosuke Takahashi. They often prefer to race on other team's home course and have a rule about not racing on their home course. Based in Gunma, their home course is Akagi.

Ryosuke Takahashi

CarMazda Savanna RX-7 (FC3S)
Japanese SeiyuuTakehito Koyasu

Nickname in English adaptations: "Ry"

One of the more highly skilled drivers in the series(he is the Red Sun's fastest member as well as their leader); he and his younger brother Keisuke have been featured in racing magazines and is regarded highly by other drivers. Ryousuke drives a Mazda FC3S RX-7 and has never been defeated in a race before until he met Takumi Fujiwara. Ryosuke is very serious about racing; he pores over technical data just like any professional driver and he's one of the few drivers who are just as good at mechanics as well as driving skills. He is known to be 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.

His only rival would be Kyouchi Sudou, since they had an argument about racing theories when Ryosuke ended Kyouichi's winning streak a year before the series' start. Currently, he is enrolled in college studying medicine, and planning to become a doctor to work at his father's clinic. He has only one year of racing left, he estimates, and assembles a new team (named Project D) aimed to capture all of the records in Japan.

Keisuke Takahashi

CarMazda Enfini FD3S RX-7
Japanese SeiyuuTomokazu Seki

Nickname in English adaptations: "K.T."

Keisuke is the number two driver for the Red Suns. Keisuke drives a Mazda FD3S RX-7 and is a skilled driver, second only to his brother. Keisuke is a rather hot-headed young man and does not like losing. He joins his brother's new team and has a rivalry with Takumi. Keisuke races the Hillclimb (Uphill) on most races, while Takumi races the downhill.

Keisuke isn't quite as analytical as his older brother, and Ryosuke's ability to compute and analyze amazes Keisuke. But at the same time, Keisuke's ability to think less while he's driving, and to do only what he feels amazes Ryosuke. While Ryosuke has decided that he wasn't going to be racing much longer, and that he was gong to become a doctor in the future, Keisuke has dedicated his life to racing, setting his goal as becoming a professional racer.

Kenta Nakamura

CarNissan S14 Silvia Q's
Japanese SeiyuuKousuke Okano

One of the youngest members of the Akagi Red Suns, Kenta absolutely adores Keisuke Takahashi and is always eager to prove himself to Keisuke. Kenta was recognized by Keisuke himself for his driving skills, and has been somewhat taken under Keisuke's wing. Kenta specializes in rain conditions, because he had a habit of practicing in the rain since the wet roads wouldn't wear his tires down as much.

Myogi NightKids

A average skilled team lead by Takeshi Nakazato. Even though the team is united under Takeshi, there seems to be two factions fighting for leadership, Takeshi and Shingo. Based in Gunma, their home course is Myogi.

Takeshi Nazakato

CarNissan Skyline GT-R BNR32 V-Spec II
Japanese SeiyuuNobuyuki Hiyama

Nickname in English adaptations: "Zack"

Takeshi Nakazato of the Myogi NightKids, who is also known as the Black Lightning, first makes his appearance at the race in Akina where Keisuke Takahashi of the Red Suns is to race against Takumi. Surprised that Takumi could defeat Keisuke, Takeshi decides that he's going to be the one to challenge the 'Akina downhill specialist', and that the Red Suns are next on his list.

He is skilled but his downfall is his throttle control. He is very good at acceleration and is known for his grip driving philosophy. Even since he was beaten by a White Skyline, he has always thought grip driving techniques are faster than the weak drifting techniques.

Shingo Shouji

CarHonda Civic SiR II EG-6
Japanese SeiyuuKeiji Fujiwara

A member of the Night Kids, Shingo drives a red Civic EG-6. Shingo is a dangerous driver; not because of his driving skills, but because he races dangerously - Shingo will nudge his rival's car in order to make the other driver lose control. He will also challenge another driver to a 'Duct Tape Death Match'- in which each driver tapes his right hand to the steering wheel for the duration of the race, limiting the steering capabilities of the driver. He also has been seen undermining Takeshi's leadership.

Impact Blue

This team is more of an partnership between its two members, Mako and Sayuki. Their home course is Usui.

Mako Satou and Sayuki

AgeBoth 20
CarNissan SilEighty
Japanese SeiyuuMichiko Neya and Yumi Kakazu

Hailing from Usui, Mako Satou is the driver of the Usui combination; Sayuki is her co-driver/navigator (just like in the WRC). Driving a blue Nissan SilEighty, the duo are the fastest in their hometown and first make their appearance in Akina at Keisuke and Takumi's race.

Sayuki (Simone in the English version) is a cheerful girl and she's always looking for good looking guys like the Takahashi brothers. As navigator, she gives out instructions to Mako when they're racing (when to brake, what drifting technique to use etc.).


A high skilled team lead by Kyouchi Sudou. The entire team is made of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions, claiming their cars are the king of the mountains. Based in Tochigi, their home course is the one way road of Irohazaka.

Seiji Iwaki

CarMitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV RS
Japanese SeiyuuKazuya Kawahara

Nickname in English adaptations: "Hawk"

The Number two driver in the Lancer Evolution-only Emperor team, Seiji Iwaki drives the Lancer Evolution IV. Seiji is a driver with good racing skills, but he is rather arrogant and overconfident. He has won many races driving for Emperor against other teams, including against Takeshi Nakazato of the Night Kids.

After defeating various teams in Gunma, the Emperor team then set their sights on the Akina Speed Stars, aiming to beat the infamous AE86 Trueno. Seiji volunteered to race for the Emperor team in his Evo IV against Takumi's AE86, but his overcomfidence and impatience lead to his downfall, causing Kyouichi, the team leader, to have to race the AE86 before the team can move on to the next opponent.

One habit Seiji has fallen into is to take the team stick of the team he defeated, cut it in half, and stick it on his bumper; somewhat akin to the decorating of a football helmet.

Kyouichi Sudou

CarMitsubishi Lancer Evolution III GSR Misfiring System-Equipped
Japanese SeiyuuMasahiko Tanaka

Nickname in English adaptations: "Kyle"

From Nikko, Tochigi and rated as one of the best drivers in the series, Kyouchi Sudou is the team leader and driving ace of the Lancer Evolution-only Emperor team, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III.

An old acquaintance of Ryousuke Takahashi of the Akagi Red Suns, Kyouichi is much like Ryousuke - he is a calm and composed driver, compared to his teammate Seiji. Eager to show Ryousuke that he and his team are the best, Kyouichi and the Emperor team goes on to beat the various teams of Gunma, including the Night Kids. Unlike Ryosuke, Kyouichi is a little closed-minded regarding the technique and skill required to touge race. But although they have their disagreements regarding racing, both men are among the top five racers in the series.

He is also a graduate of the racing school, the Toudou Juku.

Seven Star Leaf

Another average team. They are the first team in Fourth Stage to face Project D. Based in Tochigi, their home course is Momiji.

Tohru Suetsugu

CarMazda NA8C MX-5 Eunos Roadster
Japanese SeiyuuDaiki Nakamura

Driving a red MX-5 Roadster, Tohru is the downhill racer for the S.S.R team. Tohru is also the only driver in the series who actually has a decent relationship; he has a girlfriend called Nao. Nao cares for him very much and she doesn't really approve of him racing. Especially when he's practically broke almost all of the time and borrows money from her often.

From the Tochigi Prefecture, the S.S.R team is the first team to race against Ryousuke's Project D. Tohru is slated to race against Takumi.

Atsuou Kawai

CarNissan Skyline 25GT Turbo ER34
Japanese SeiyuuSeiji Sasaki

Atsuou is the hillclimb racer and the leader of the Tochigi-based S.S.R team. He seems to be a decent enough driver. His car is powered up to 400 hp.

From the Tochigi Prefecture, the S.S.R team is the first team to race against Ryousuke's Project D. Tooru is slated to race against Takumi, while Atsuou is to race against Keisuke.

Todo Juku

A racing school run by a Performance Shop owner and an ex Rally Driver. They are very highly skilled, with much of their graduates going semipro/professional. Also their favorite make is Honda, using the Civic Type R as their best "Demonstration" car. Based in Tochigi, their home course is Enna.

Daiki Ninomiya

CarHonda Civic EK-9 Type R
Japanese SeiyuuToshiyuki Morikawa

Nickname in English adaptations: "Dice"

The ace and current student of Toudou-Juku, Daiki is one of better drivers of the series. Driving a yellow Civic EK-9 Type R, Daiki races against Takumi of Project D in a downhill battle. The area of skill he excels in is Braking.

Smiley Sakai

CarHonda Integra DC2 Type-R Turbo
Japanese SeiyuuAkimitsu Takase

Nickname in English adaptations: "Smiley"

Another driver and current student of Toudou-Juku, Sakai is one of Daiki's friends and drives an Integra Type R. Sakai races against Keisuke of Project D in a hillclimb battle. He uses two techniques to race, first, using high speeds to enter a corner to get the other person to do the same, but Sakai can somehow fix his speed during the turn. The other trick is to brake-test his opponent, forcing them to back off while he speeds away. His face tenses up when he is racing to make him look like he is smiling, hence his nickname, Smiley Sakai.

Tomoyuki Tachi

CarHonda Civic EK-9 Type R
Japanese SeiyuuKazuhiro Nakata

Nickname in English adaptations: "Touch"

Toudou Racing School could not live with their team being completely annihilated by outsiders, so they invited Tachi, a graduate of the school who is now a professional racer, to have a rematch against Project D on Happogahara. Tachi took Ninomiya's EK9 and beat Takumi's downhill record in one try, without pushing the car to the limit. Tachi agreed to use the school's top car, the Demonstration EK9, at Happogahara, which is a course that consists of both downhill and hill climb sections. Tachi tuned the Civic the best he could to be able to compete with the FD3S on the straights, but surprisingly, Ryosuke decided to send out the AE86.

Northern Saitama Alliance

An racing group made of teams located in the Saitama Prefecture. Included in this alliance, is Nobuhiko's Team which remains unnamed, and includes Wataru.

Wataru Akiyama

CarToyota Corolla Levin Turbo (AE86) (Later Super Charger)
Japanese SeiyuuYasunori Matsumoto

Nickname in English adaptations: "Aki"

One of the first racers from Saitama to actually race against Takumi, he appeared at the latter episodes of Stage 2. Wateru is a skilled driver who honed his skills on the treacherous Shomaru Pass. He came to Gunma in hopes of facing new racers to challenge and to watch over his sister Kazumi, who just gotten a job at a hotel with her aunt. Wateru reappeared in episode 9 of stage 4 as the Nobuhiko's cousin.

Nobuhiko Akiyama

CarToyota Altezza RS200
Japanese SeiyuuJin Hosokawa

The leader of a team within the Northwest Saitama Alliance, Nobuhiko is very intelligent and analytical. His skills as a driver, however, are not very profound. Because of this, he usually recruit other highly skilled drivers and uses his technical data to further fine tune their cars according to each course. Nobuhiko did race against Takumi once on the downhill, but was left behind after the first hairpin.

Kyoko Iwase

CarMazda Enfini FD3S RX-7
Japanese SeiyuuMegumi Oguchi

A skilled uphill driving ace for Nobuhiko's Team. Kyoko was originally the fastest on Nobuhiko's team, but after racing against Keisuke Takahashi, she has fallen in love with the blonde racer, and that creates a conflict of interest between defeating Project D, or support her love. Unfortunately for her, Keisuke doesn't share her feelings.


CarSuzuki Cappuccino
Japanese SeiyuuYasuyuki Konno

Part of another team within the alliance, the professional rally racer, Sakamoto is trained almost exclusively on mountain passes. He has the uncanny ability to take any car and put it in a drift on a mountain pass, usually to figure a car's characteristics and limitations. He's recruited by Nobuhiko as the downhill racer to take on Takumi Fujiwara of Project D. His speciality is driving FR cars. The anime reveals his age in Episode 13 of 4th Stage.


There are several games that is based on the anime. The most famous is probably Initial D Arcade Stage published by Sega, which is for arcade. Currently, it is in its Third Version, though there are constant rumors of a Fourth Version. Sega also released Special Stage for home use on the PlayStation 2.


There is a currently a live-action movie based on the series of Initial D currently in production. The movie, jointly produced by Japan's Avex Inc. and the Hong Kong Media Asia group will be directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, whose credits include the 2002 smash hit Infernal Affairs and 1999's The Legend of Speed, a previous street racing melodrama.

Most of the characters will be portrayed by major Chinese film stars. Rumor has it that the "Drift King" Keiichi Tsuchiya has signed on to coordinate the movie's drift sequences.


See also

External links

de:Initial D zh:頭文字D


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