Friday, November 14, 2008

Initial D

"Initial D" started out as a Japanese manga created by Shuichi Shigeno in 1995, which was eventually turned into an anime 1998 and later a live-action movie in 2005. My post will focus only on the live-action movie. "Initial D" is Jay Chou's acting debut movie, which sees him play Takumi Fujiwara, a 18-year old who delivers tofu every morning for his father, Bunta Fujiwara (played by Anthony Wong) to a hotel at the peak of Mount. Akina (Mount. Haruna in real-life) in the panda-coloured Toyota Trueno GT-Apex (AE86) since 2nd grade. Unknown to him, Takumi had actually perfected his own drifting skills in the process. When a racing team called 'Night Kids' from Myogi comes to challenge the local 'King of Mount. Akina', the Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II (BNR32) of team leader of 'Night Kids', Takeshi Nakazato (played by Shawn Yue) was outrun by an AE86 (which was driven by Takumi on his daily routine of tofu delivery) during a leisurely drive in the wee hours of the morning. Upon hearing the news, the leader of the local team, Itsuki Tachibana (played by Chapman To) who was told it was Takumi's father who drove the AE86, requested Bunta's help to challenge 'Night Kids' team. But Bunta did not show up during the race night, and instead it was Takumi who appeared in the AE86. An unconfident Itsuki advises Takumi not to race him, but Takumi replied that he had actually beaten Nakazato before. Takumi then went on to race with Nakazato in a race which he eventually won. The race was witnessed by Ryousuke Takahashi, team leader of 'Red Suns' and driver of the famous 'White Comet' Mazda RX-7 Efini GT-X (FC3S) based at Mount. Akagi, who was surprised by the gutter technique used by Takumi to win Nakazato. Ryousuke challenges Takumi, who refused, saying it was under his father's order to race with Nakazato. Then, on one fateful night, Itsuki and Takumi, in the former's car (a similar AE86) went for a practice at Akina when a white Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV RS (CN9A) driven by Seiji Iwaki (played by Will Liu), the 2nd driver of 'Emperor' racing team, crash into Itsuki's car on purpose. Seiji then runs away, leaving Takumi, who now takes over the wheel from Itsuki starts chasing him, forcing Seiji to crash his car. This prompts Seiji to take revenge, who with his partner and team leader, Kyouichi Sudou (played by Jordan Chan) causes the engine of the AE86 to get blown when Takumi was deliering tofu on one morning. After that incident, Bunta changes the engine of the AE86 for a racing-spec unit, which is much more powerful than before. Soon, Ryousuke challenges Takumi again, this time with Sudou in tow. While many thought Ryousuke would win the race after overtaking Takumi near the end of the race and with Sudou crashed out early in the race, Ryousuke's FC lost grip at the final turn, allowing Takumi to regain the lead, win the race and given the 'King of Mount. Akina' moniker. However, Takumi has to deal with his girlfriend, Natsuki Mogi (played by Anne Suzuki) who is claimed by Itsuki to be engaging in some 'secret activities' with a middle-aged man.

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