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?
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.
If you haven't already, here's my review for the first Initial D: http://www.anime-planet.com/users/liamb1996/reviews/18907 As a comeback, Initial D second stage continues the fantastic story of Takashi in his AE86. But how well does this do? Story: 10/10 the continuation from the first stage is fantastic. It now focuses not only on the racing, relationships of people, but also the relationship with people and their cars. the continuing story line from the last series is perfectly done, and is definitely a worth while watch for those who watched the First Stage. Animation: 10/10 The 3D has been greatly improved and the 2D visuals are more vibrant and give each characters a more distinctive look. They make the mouths seem a little more natural in this one too. A perfect improvement for a second series. Sound: 10/10 As the same as the first stage, the cars sound nice and have distinctive sounds, Characters still have their memorable voices, and hell-to-the-yeah Eurobeat is still existent. top tracks! Characters: 9/10 Same as the first, the characters are nice additions to the series and make it worth while for the series, that make it continue smoothly. The extra girls are cute, i especially like Mako Sato and whats nice is they dont try and ruin any characters with Fan service. So the little to no fan service continues, the relationships and cars make huge impacts on the series and its flows beautifully. A perfect sequel to the first stage and a definite must watch to those who watched the first stage. Overall a nice 9.75 again!
Initial D Second Stage With only a 13 episode run this time of the Initial D franchise. What it may lack in episodes makes up for itself with better quality. You thankfully see the story go a little further than just its racing story line from the original series. While the racing plot becomes a little more intense ( 86 vs 86! ). More drama ion the storyline shows up with more "twists and turns" than it predecessor. Along with a more successful plot line the animation cleans up with sharper edges and crisper lines. A better budget for the anime team of Pastel gives Initial D Second Stage a well deserved "overhaul". Sadly though CG still looks amateur. I guess you can only beg for so much. Opening theme and background racing soundtrack remains the same J-pop, sugarcoaed ParaPara ever!.Interestingly, I found the English translation to come off extremely "engrish". End theme is a nice soft ballad still in J-pop fashion,but much more bearable. Characters become quite compelling. As you dive further into the Fujiwara family, mostly the father, Bunta stands out among the the rest. Team "Takumi" shows their range in the world of Anime side characters. Especially Itsuki. The real interesting part is the turmoil between our hero and his love interest. A "tune-up" well deserved. JDM keep rejoicing. Can't watch this one if you haven't watched the first one, Sorry ;__;. Oh yeah. This when you review the first one. Now you can use puns. PandaBeard!
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