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DVD Reviews:  Initial D  Battle 01: Akina's Downhill Specialist


The Final Say!

Feature Score:
8/10
DVD Extras Score
5/10


Reviewed by Tory Favro
Distributed by:
The AV Channel
Running Time: 150 Minutes

Take the king of car games, Gran Turismo, mix it with the cel shaded quality of Auto Modellista and then add a story to keep us going and that is what you can expect from Initial D. It's the story of a bunch of kids who street race on top of Mount Akina to see who is king of the mountain. With a wonderful animation style this DVD is good enough to keep all but the most jaded of viewers interested from start to finish.

The reluctant hero of this story is Tak Fujiwara who appears to not care less about the street racing scene or even cars for that matter. In fact he is so disinterested that it makes his friends crazy! Humour abounds in this fun title that explores fun, friendship and also the wonder of the street car scene and what it means to this bunch of impressionistic Japanese kids.

Racing and the cars that it is done in are talked about with a feeling almost akin to awe in this film and Tak's father who is respected for his driving prowess from years gone by, almost approaches the art of driving fast with a zen like quality. I think it's the sheer enthusiasm that is demonstrated so well by the creative team that sucks you into this series and makes it such an entertaining watch.

The DVD covers three episodes titled:

Act 1: The Ultimate Tofu Store Drift
Act 2: Revenge! The Rumbling Turbo
Act 3: The Downhill Specialist Appears

The title is shown in 4:3 Pan and Scan and looks great with a clean animation style that will appeal to almost everyone. The real nice parts of the movie are of course the car races, but that is to be expected. Transfer of the video is fine and there are no quality issues. Audio is handled with a 5.1 surround mix in both English and Japanese and there is the option of turning on subtitles if playing it in Japanese.

There isn't a great deal in the extras other than some "outtakes" which are just dubbed flubbs over the proper feature and they are cut way too soon to have any real comedic value. Other than that there is a showroom feature which shows more of the cars and what their specifications are which is worth a quick peek at.

I hope to review the rest of this series for you as it's extremely entertaining and in addition to that I believe we are going to get some solid character development happening next DVD. Recommended.

Initial D Battle 01: Akina's Downhill Specialist Features

  • Outtakes

  • Showroom #1

 

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