Even though this is a movie, its a perfect sequel to the existing 2 stages. It has a large focus on Takumi and Mogi's relationship and fills those little holes that you have in the heart from whats going on. I won't go into too much detail with this one being as its a movie, but what I can say is that its still as solid as ever in the categories given. The story is perfect in its move forward and patching of gaps in the first two stages, the animation in both the 2D and 3D is consistently good, the sound is still top notch and the characters are still brilliant. It keeps the maturity levels high, with no fan service still meaning this is a great sequel. It's a must watch for those who have seen the first 2 stages!
My reviews for the first two stages can be found here:
1st Stage: http://www.anime-planet.com/users/liamb1996/reviews/18907
2nd Stage: http://www.anime-planet.com/users/liamb1996/reviews/18908
The movie has a considerable amount of material to deal with and it does an excellent job of covering it. It transitions smoothly and takes one thing at a time and it’s well paced. Unfortunately, characters such as Itsuki, Iketani, and Keisuke are mostly in the back seat for all the right reasons, but still have presence. You finally get to see Takumi develop as a true well rounded racer and his other qualities also begin to develop in this movie as well. Not much else to say, but I say viewing the first 2 installments are a necessity since the movie is a continuation and a progression of the franchise.
Well, the art, resolution, and the cg continue to progress. The art is cleaner and more detailed, and the cg’s rendering also improves. The races as usual are exciting, but have more of a gimmick or twist behind them this time, which makes them fresh and original in addition of allowing the races to take place in a new environment. And you can never get bored of breath taking drifts. However, some problems I have in this movie are that the races this time tends to end more anti-climatically more than usual.
Fortunately for some, the tech speak is virtually non-existent this time so it’ll be easy to follow and just simply enjoy the races. But I say the tech speak in the previous sagas are always a big help in getting a professional understanding of how the cars and techniques work. But that’s just me.
Well, I can’t really add too much about the voice acting since anything I said in the previous reviews can be applied here too. However, the addition of Kai played by Canna Nobutoshi is a great one. He is very intimidating and hot blooded as Kai like other roles he has played such as Guts from Berserk, Tasuki from Fushigi Yuugi, and Knuckles from Sonic. The music is still the number one trait has always captivated me to Initial D, and is a great representative of the fast and fun nature of this anime. The opening theme Gamble Rumble by MOVE goes very well to the sequence and is always in tradition that MOVE is part of the soundtrack, and I love the insertion of Crazy for Love as well. The ending theme Jirenma adds a new kind of feel to this series as well that you have to watch to understand what I mean.
Like I said, to get into this movie, and understand and enjoy it, you have to see the first 2 seasons to understand a lot of things such as Takumi’s developing acquainting with Ryosuke, why Takumi is avoiding Natsuki and what ended their relationship, and the score he has to settle with the Emperors. To me, this movie is an extension of season 2 and transitions very well into the 4th stage. This movie does an excellent job of standing on its own by further developing Takumi’s character, and balancing his issues and resolving them.
This is the film installment of the franchise. While the film shows more and more of the downhill races now that our hero joins the touring racing team of Project D. It was very fitting to watch the film around this winter time of year due to the fact that the landscape of Akina is covered in snow and that our characters are celebrating their Christmas spirit.
The animation has not changed a bit since the second series, if anything, it has gotten a little worse. The CG is quite atrocious, looking like a drivers ed simulation.
After the constant viewing of the series the endless "Para Para" J-pop soundtrack really starts to grow on a person. It really makes me either want to drive fast myself or play dance dance revolution, I can't decide.
Characters have much more depth. This time the series focuses more intently into the dramatic relationship between Takumi and Natsuki. Even the side characters show more depth as the graduates high school and start to grow up into the real world.
Overall this quite the solid film. A must for the followers of the Initial D series.