Mania Grade: B+
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: C+
- 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. #12
By Chris Beveridge
July 09, 2005
Release Date: July 12, 2005
Initial D Vol. #12
What They Say
ACT. 34 – Dangerous Car
The Evo takes the lead from the FC! Everyone's excited, but the pressure is mounting on Kyle, who feels like he's being hunted down. Ry has figured out Kyle’s weakness! Back in Akina, Bunta is about to unveil the return of the Eight-Six.
ACT. 35 – The New Eight-Six
After test-driving the new Eight-Six, Tak is dissatisfied by the lack of horsepower. Meanwhile, Iggy's happy to find an Eight-Six Turbo in town. Aki, the owner of the turbo, learns that there's a legendary Eight-Six in Akina, and he begins to ponder the possibilities.
ACT. 36 – The Eight-Six Turbo
Aki finds out where Tak works and decides to meet him. Tak is still complaining about the new engine, but when Aki sees it, things begin to heat up!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. The cross coloration and aliasing picks up somewhat more heavily here as the show does a lot more panning scenes which results in both of those problems. It's more problematic early on in the volume but it does continue throughout. 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. Even though this has the race between the Evo and the FC and is labeled as that, we really only get the image of the Evo here but it looks really slick with the stylized lighting behind it and the clean detail look of the car itself. 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 two panels of information about the cars and their engines.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 as the only thing we get is the dub outtakes section which brings a few more goofs and gaffes from the show though none are terribly amusing.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the second stage getting closer to being over as it's well within the second half now, we get treated to what should be a killer race, the resurrection of a classic and the introduction of something new that could change everything. Unfortunately, one of them fails rather well while the other two work hard to keep the series flowing along.
The big item for this volume is the showdown race between Team Emperor and the Red Suns with Ryosuke finally getting out from behind his desk and calculations and getting behind the wheel of his car and taking to the road. We've seen precious little overall of him between both stages so far so when he does get behind the wheel, it's supposed to have a really intense feel to it. Unfortunately, this doesn't translate well into this race against Kyoichi. With Kyoichi heading out into the lead fast and early, it turns into a chase game where Ryosuke looks like he has no chance and Kyoichi goes on about how he's conquered his fear of the man since their last match.
Instead, what Kyoichi eventually learns as they race down the mountain, is that Ryosuke really is hunting him and knows his weakness but is simply waiting for the best time to take advantage of it when he can confirm it. Though the race between Kyoichi and Takumi wasn't truly counted as a real race but more of a "lesson", it did allow Ryosuke to see how Kyoichi has grown and changed in the last year since their previous race and to find out exactly what he needed to know. Kyoichi has indeed become a tough racer and is almost there at the top but Ryosuke finds exactly what it is that he fails at and takes advantage of it. With this really being just slightly longer than one episode and a very methodical race, it just didn't have the edge of your seat feeling that a lot of previous races did and it really felt like something of a disappointment.
For Takumi, his arc along these episodes plays out in two ways. One of them deals with Natsuki where he finally calls her on what he saw her doing with the Mercede's guy and it being the reason why he's avoiding her. This revelation is absolutely devastating to her and she can't believe he found out about it since he was the last one she wanted to know. While she has something of a small breakdown over it, Takumi's re-introduced to the Eight-Six after his father and friends put the new engine into it. The trial runs for it before it's given back to him show just what kind of a beast it really is and the changes necessary, such as putting in a roll bar and a bucket seat so that the driver can handle the g forces more easily. When Takumi gets behind the wheel, now part owner of the car, he's sent back to basic training in a sense with the cup of water in the dash and a need to re-learn how the car works. This is a fun and fascinating thing to watch since you feel like Bunta during it as you watch Takumi try to understand how it's different and trying to get it to do what he's done before. Takumi's frustration is something that a parent can definitely enjoy watching.
With Team Emperor pretty much out of the way, it's not surprising to see a new rival appear on the track but it is surprising to see it be another Eight-Six. The introduction of a brother and sister into the mix, the sister who ends up becoming good friends with Itsuki no less, is well done since as arrogant as the guy is, he's still someone who has respect for someone who drives an Eight-Six and he brings some valuable insights for Takumi about his new car, things his father has been hiding from him in effort to retrain him some to move to the next level. Thankfully the brother and sister pairing aren't both racers so we have the potential for a relationship for Itsuki at long last but also some really fun Eight-Six racing action to come. With the things Takumi's learning and the changes to the car, you really just want to see him go all out with it.In Summary:
While it opens with a somewhat weak race, the rest of the volume works towards providing a setup for the final episodes of the Second Stage in the next volume that should have some good racing to it and some hopefully interesting character moments. There's a lot of ground work laid out here and my favorite moments continue to be watching how Bunta trains Takumi without Takumi even knowing it. Even as weak as part of this is, it's still a solid volume and just a lot of fun to watch.
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Dub Outtakes
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.