Initial D Vol. #10 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Initial D

Initial D Vol. #10

By Chris Beveridge     March 02, 2005
Release Date: March 08, 2005


Initial D Vol. #10
© TOKYOPOP


What They Say
A new, dominant racing team shows up in the Gunma area: Team EMPEROR. With their troupe of unstoppable Lancer Evolution sports cars, they easily beat the Night Kids. It seems that no one can stop them, until they meet up with Tak and his 86 Trueno. But Tak's win feels empty and he vows never to race on his home turf again.

The Review!
Please Note:
For review purposes, the technical and content section will cover only the "Classic" version of the release. All grades listed above cover only the Classic Version. For thoughts on the "tricked out" version, please see the first volume review.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese, which is also encoded in 5.1 from the original Japanese release. The audio is a huge part of this show and it comes across beautifully here. While there doesn't seem to be a lot of sounds going to the rear speakers, they're used quite well during the race scenes. The 5.1 track is also very well used in providing forward soundstage directionality with the car engines and movements. Dialogue throughout this is crisp and clear and we had no issues with it at all. Add in the music mix to this and you've got one fantastic sounding release.

Video:
Originally airing back in 1999, Initial D's Second Stage transfer is pretty much the same as the first stage but the show makes out better in general with a better budget which means better animation as well as much better CG animation for the cars and races which helps a lot, particularly in the transition scenes or places where the two types cross over. There's a touch of cross coloration in a few scenes and a very light amount of aliasing. Colors look good if somewhat dull by design. The opening and ending sequences are left in their original form with the Japanese text and completely untranslated.

Packaging:
Though the artwork is different than the Japanese releases, the covers continue to feature different cars from the series with each volume. As Team Emperor is the big fish this time around, Seiji's Evo IV gets the nod this with its all white exterior looking sharp against the red filtered highway background. Images from the manga are lined along the bottom and we get the usual bar along the left for the TOKYOPOP logo. The front cover and the spine both sport the volume number, a plus in my book, and the back lists the episode numbers and titles. There are a few animation shots on the back cover as well as a brief summary of the series premise. The discs features and technical aspects are clearly listed, though it's impossible to really explain the two video versions included on the cover. The insert provides another shot of the front cover and opens to provide a panel on some in-character material about racing against Takumi as well as info on the Evo IV.

Menu:
The menus here are a really neat piece and in full 5.1 at that, courtesy of the excellent designs by Nightjar. Splitting up the screen a bit, the top three quarters of the screen has several race scenes from the show playing done in a colored filter that looks great while playing the sound effects to it as opposed to music. The bottom have provides a nice shot of the Eight-Six and provides the selections. Submenus load quickly and access times are nice and fast. When the disc first loads, it lets you choose which version you want to play (through a nice license plate style) and you can readjust it later in the settings menu, including the video choice.

Extras:
The extras are pretty similar to past volumes. The dub outtakes section brings a few more goofs and gaffes from the show though none are terribly amusing. We also get a new clean opening and closing sequence that started with the previous volume.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the irregular release pattern that TOKYOPOP uses for the series, the first episode of the second season was actually on the previous release and we get the next three episodes of the season here. The Team Emperor group is going to be the main focus of this season and it gets underway really well here, though as we've seen before, we do get more than just the race scenes in this series and that helps to flesh it out considerably.

In terms of the races, there is some really good material here. With Team Emperor's goals of sweeping all of Gunma, they've made their way to dealing with the Night Kids now and once again we see Takashi up against the wall as he takes on the Evo IV that Seiji's mastered. Takashi's continually burned bridges in the past with his attitude and style but even as he takes on the Team Emperor, he gets the locals who usually are against him rooting for him this time around since nobody likes this new team. I continue to really like Team Emperor's winning style however of taking the sticker of the defeated team and slicing it before slapping it upside down on their spoiler. With Takasahi's group, they even add in a bit more by saying that if anyone ever sees them on the road, they better pull over in deference to them.

A lot of the time on this volume is given over to Takumi giving in to taking on the Evo IV since he's been challenged and it looks to be one that will give him a run for his money. The downhill races on Akina are still as interesting and fun as they always have been, but with this race it is easy to see that Takumi is getting tired and bored of racing there. The Evo IV in the race does bring a different challenge to things as it looks continually as it Seiji were really straining hard to keep from just going full out. He wants to just blow the doors off of Takumi since he still can't believe he's having to race an Eight-Six, especially after the talk he had when he didn't know who Takumi was back at the lake.

A couple of subplots are slowly worked on here as well though they're both becoming more important overall. One of them goes to focus on the relationship Natsuki has with her "papa" that she dates for money and gifts. While she hasn't been completely upfront with Takumi about it, her explanations to "papa" are interesting and has a certain maturity and childishness to it at the same time. The other slow arc goes back to Bunta and a couple of his long time friends from when they all used to hit the road together. With one of them being a mechanic, Bunta shows off the new engine he wants to put in the 86 but only after Takumi learns a key lesson that's still left. I liked seeing the old friends not always reminiscing but being in awe of just what Takumi's able to do and their growing belief that he's going to far exceed his father in the long run. Watching them showing up at the races with all the young'ns is fun but so is their expressions when Takumi pulls out his bag of tricks.

In Summary:
Initial D continues to be a show that is very addictive and the three episodes by themselves are over far too quickly. The second stage of the series looks to be a bit more cohesive since it's giving us the main opposition quickly and matching them up fast. Though Seiji isn't the best of the bunch, the leader of the group does a really good job of talking with Takumi as someone who while below him, can learn from him and can provide him with a real challenge once he grows a bit more. Team Emperor has their own grand plans and are making sure they're sticking to them but it's always the quite ones like Takumi that don't seem to have any plans that shake the world.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Dub Outtakes,Clean Opening,Clean Closing

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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