Monday, September 10, 2001

Initial D Extra Stage

Genre: Sports / Drama
Parental Guidance Recommended
Pastel, Fuji TV, Shuichi Shigeno

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Skysenshi's Description:
Impact Blue-You saw them in Stage 1 and now they're back!

The holday season has passed, but the uneasiness remains. Though the legendary '86 of Akina have won victory after victory, the Angels of Mt. Usui will not be left far behind. Other teams beware! These women are not only known for winning races... They are also known for winning hearts....

(2 episodes)

Not much of an IMPACT >>> by skysenshi
Before I begin with my opinion, I would just like to impart a little note to those who are not familiar with the Initial D series: Please see Initial D's 1st and 2nd Stages before attempting to watch this title. I will not take the blame if you got hold of this and didn't understand a thing about what is going on.

Since this is only an extra stage, don't expect to see Takumi Fujiwara, the central character of the entire Initial D series. Initial D: Extra Stage gives the floor to the Angels of Mt. Usui, drivers Mako and Sayuki, who have raced and lost against Takumi in the first season. Extra Stage is basically set somewhere in between the timeline of the 2nd Stage and the Movie, so you will notice that there are certain scenes here that overlap with the two titles I mentioned.

Two episodes make up the Extra Stage. The first one is actually a race between our angels and the conceited Emperors Team who made their debut appearance in the 2nd Stage. The second one is a bit more relaxed, as it is a romantic episode that centers on Mako.

Going to the meat of the matter, I found Initial D: Extra Stage rather lacking in impact compared to its predecessors. Perhaps this is because it only has two episodes and most of these are filled with flashbacks of Iketani's (Takumi Fujiwara's team mate) stupid blunder in the first season. One would think that there would be some resolution to painful issues in the last part, but this doesn't happen. The character design is quite weak as well, as scenes tend to jump from one situation to the other, giving less than satisfactory attention to the characters that could bring out the best in this anime.

All in all, I still think Initial D: Extra Stage is quite okay, considering it is a part of a wonderfully unconventional series. However, it still pales against the rest of the stages.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 4; Story 7; Characters 8; Sounds 10

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