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Initial D Third Stage: The Movie
Import VCD 2 Disc Set
Avex Group
OB Planning
A great anime movie to watch if you want to test the speakers of your home entertainment system. =)
Overall Rating:

Animefringe Reviews:
Initial D Third Stage: The Movie
By Ever Cheung

After taking a short break from the competition in the anime market, the Initial D series returned with its third installment following the First (26 episode) and Second (OVA / 13 episode) Stages. Initial D was among the first few anime series to actually use computer graphics as a major part of the production. Taking in the response and feedback from the fans, the quality in both the computer animated portion and the anime sequences were both upgraded significantly in the movie.

Based on the original manga series by Shigeno Shuichi, the story of Initial D Third Stage picks up where it left off in the Second Stage. It's nearing the end of the last semester of high school for young Fujiwara Takumi. For teenagers in Japan who have not yet figured out a future path for themselves, it can be a very harsh time. Different from most teens his age, Takumi faces not only the choices of picking the right path for himself academically, but also the choices he has to make as a street race driver. It was the beginning of the summer when Takumi raced openly for the first time, but he had already made a name for himself in the perfecture where he lives, drawing crowds from other towns who wanted to watch him race.

In Initial D Third Stage, other than the new sequences, old scenes from the previous two seasons were also remade with enhanced computer graphics and anime artworks. Compared to the first season, the difference in quality of the product is evident. If viewers watched close enough, the 2D quality of the characters on the sidewalk during races in the First Stage is as clear as daylight (sometimes you'd get the feeling that they're actually made of cardboard).

The opening sequence: starting with a short, slow beat intro, the camera swings around the Akina hill, following the snaking two-lane roads wrapped around the side of the hill. The song (Gamble Rumble by MOVE) then begins to pick up pace as the camera zooms in to the road with Takumi's Toyota AE86 Trueno racing by... its an opening that's so good it can be clipped and labelled as a music video all on its own. And it certainly helped with grabbing the attention of the audiences, back into the blood-boiling world of street racing. The only element in the entire movie that seems to be preventing it from reaching the highest level is the way that the story is laid out. It's certainly a great idea to follow the exact script of the manga series, but in the case of a racing anime, it proved to do more bad than good. By following the original storyline closely, the length of the movie was stretched out which in turn created a lot of gaps between races that tend to put the audience to sleep, even more so for those who have never seen the manga version at all.

However, putting aside the somewhat stretched out storyline, Initial D Third Stage is undoubtedly the best anime movie I've seen so far this year.

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