Initial D Second Stage

TV (13 eps)
1999 - 2000
Fall 1999
4.139 out of 5 from 7,409 votes
Rank #473

The Gunma region is being invaded by the fearsome Emperors, a street racing team who drive nothing but powerful Lan-EVOs. With the ambition to conquer the entire region in one month and the most powerful 4-wheel-drive cars at their disposal, Kyoichi and the Emperors have set out to get their long awaited revenge on Takahashi Ryousuke, their archnemesis. Together with the undefeated downhill hero Takumi, Ryousuke is all that stands in the way of Kyoichi and his gang. But winning will be a difficult task -- do the Gunma region's drivers really stand a chance?

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Though this series is much shorter than the previous season, it does cover a lot of ground. What I really liked about 2nd Stage is that it focuses more on character development and the relationships of the characters. Specifically the main ones like Itsuki and Takumi. Iketani and Kenji are still around, but they play their uses, but they aren’t really that central or given the same screen time like in season 1. You get to see more of how emotional and passionate Takumi can really be at times, and I like how Itsuki is not just really a comic relief character and has his good side to him.Once again, the technical jargon is still present. If you did not see my review of season 1, I will once again state it may be difficult to understand, but once everything is applied, you’ll understand it better. I feel it needs to be present so it can educate the viewer. Plus, I still stand by regardless of being able to fully understand, I feel that the tech speak is what help makes it more distinctive and aims to be realistic.Sadly, as a Keisuke fan, though he is used, he’s not useful in the way that I want him to be, but with Ryosuke being my number one favorite character, well, check out the series to find out what I mean because it’d only be a spoiler with what his character does.Not only do the characters and the relationships develop, the art and animation tremendously improve from season 1 as well. The coloring is more shiny and glossy, there is more detail to the hair, the proportions are more even, and the cg is much better rendered. There aren’t much races in this season, but what’s good is that the races aren’t exclusive to Akina anymore and only one race happens there so it prevents itself from getting repetitive. You finally get to see the Red Suns’ home turf of Akagi, and we also get a brand new course of Shomaru as well. However, the outcome of the final race in this anime does differ significantly from the manga version which may either disappoint you, or something you can embrace since it is something different and it’d be boring just to watch something when you already know the outcome. Anyway, new factors such as a combination of psychological and environmental come into play still, but in a whole new approach in comparison to season 1 in ways you wouldn’t expect.Once again, the cast from season 1 that return are still present. I really love how Itsuki is portrayed as more sensitive and emotional and Iwata does a great job of that. I also love Tanaka Masahiko, who I recall as the voices of the Kazekage from Naruto and Mashiba Ryo from Hajime no Ippo as Kyoichi. He’s a total asshole you want to see get his ass handed to him. And the best addition to this season is Wataru’s seiyuu, Matsumoto Yasunori, the voice of Gourry from Slayers, Jacky Bryant from Virtua Fighter, and many others. He does a great job of playing someone who is distant and has a short temper and it makes him oblivious, so I like that portrayal. Nothing really to complain with voice acting.And the music only gets better, the perfect example, the ending theme Kimi Ga Iru by Galla. It’s so beautiful, well toned and pitched, and excellently paced. It really captures you and reflects the character relationship nature of this show on my impression. And you can’t have Initial D without the good ol’ Eurobeat. We got 100 by Dave Rodgers and we also got Burning Desire, also from the Para Para Paradise games. So pretty much everything I could say about music and voice acting from season 1 can be said here. Well, to watch this season, I strongly recommend season 1 first. Yes, I still also say that Initial D isn’t an anime for everyone, but this season has more traits that most anime fans would want in an anime, but to understand the characters and how they developed to that point and how they further develop, you have to watch season 1 first and to get a better understanding of the cars as well. Granted it does have some significant changes if you are at all familiar with the manga, but the changes are done for all the right reasons and is still an enjoyable anime. 

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