Initial D (頭文字D, also known as Initial D The Movie, and as Initial D - Drift Racer in some parts of the world) is a 2005 Hong Kong film directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak. It is a film adaptation of the Japanese Initial D manga and anime series. It adapts up to when Takumi Fujiwara joins Project D, although it differs drastically from both the anime and manga.
Taking place in the Gunma prefecture in Japan, the film concerns a young tofu-delivery driver named Takumi Fujiwara, trained from a young age and way before he could drive to deliver tofu to the peak of Mt Akina and unknown. He had been trained to an incredible level of skill in taking on the five hairpin corners plus using the gutter techniques of Mt. Akina. The film chronicles his evolution from an uninterested delivery boy into a hardened tōge racer, also showing how he learns techniques of racing without affecting his delivery load.
Takumi drives his father, Bunta Fujiwara's Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX (AE86) which is seemingly unmodified but is perfectly suited for the downhill corners of Mt. Akina, which gains the attention of local street racers all across the prefecture. Some ultimately challenge Takumi to races on Akina's downhill, including Takeshi Nakazato who leads the NightKids team and drives a Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32). Ryosuke Takahashi, leader of the RedSuns team and a driver of the Mazda RX-7 (FC) helps out Takumi along the way by giving him advice and teaching him about car mechanics. Takumi agrees to race Ryosuke in three weeks.
While following the path of a street racer, Takumi must deal with his alcoholic father and his girlfriend Natsuki Mogi (Anne Suzuki) who's with an older man (who drives a Mercedes-Benz S-Class) at a love hotel for two weeks as he takes on more difficult challenges.
With all the talk on Takumi's AE86, Takumi's close friend Itsuki Tachibana buys a new car after his Nissan Silvia gets totalled. He wounds up buying but swindled (mentioned by Itsuki's father) getting a faulty AE86 instead. Takumi was lured by Itsuki to teach driving down Mt Akina, but halfway through, a member from the Emperor Team taunts them and almost made them crash, which makes Takumi angry and successfully getting back at the Emperor Team's racer, where his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV crashed.
Takumi thus gains more fame, but the Emperor Team is mad. Afterward, his AE86 apparently breaks down mechanically after being bothered from a racer in the Emperor Team as payback, which led to Bunta dropping a new TRD 20-valve Silvertop racing engine and modifying the car. Takumi tests his new car, but is not used to the new mechanics, until Bunta teaches him how to drive right, he becomes ready.
Though, Takumi is bothered by Natsuki's absence, and despite a fight between Itsuki and him where Itsuki claimed he saw Natsuki coming out of a love hotel with her older partner and he impulsively declares Natsuki a slut (but apologizes eventually), Takumi suspects something amiss about her. When Ryosuke and Takeshi arrive to pick him up for their duel, Takumi follows, but he briefly sees Natsuki with her older partner, which seemingly confirms what Itsuki saw.
At last the showdown on the Emperor Team, Ryosuke and Takumi race along with the racer from the Emperor Team, Kyoichi. Ryosuke and Takumi handle their common opponent from the Emperor Team and work together. The Emperor Team loses when Kyoichi swerves to avoid hitting another car and refused to listen to advice. The race then leaves only Takumi and Ryosuke where they take each other on. In the midst, Bunta explains the factors on Takumi's chances to win, and finally Takumi succeeds to win the event by beating Ryosuke at the last hairpin turn with the new car's mechanics that he learned.
After the race, at a convenience store Ryosuke offers Takumi a chance on a racing team composed of expert racers, on which Takumi has been undecided. Until he discovers his girlfriend being dropped off by the older partner he confirms the suspicions of her and he runs away from her, but she kept running towards him. Outrunning Natsuki and back to his car where he tearfully drives away, he is upset and their relationship ends with Natsuki regretfully crying. In the end Takumi apologizes to Itsuki and he joins Ryosuke's team as the film ends.
- Jay Chou as Takumi Fujiwara
- Anthony Wong as Bunta Fujiwara
- Edison Chen as Ryosuke Takahashi
- Anne Suzuki as Natsuki Mogi
- Shawn Yue as Takeshi Nakazato
- Chapman To as Itsuki Tachibana
- Kenny Bee as Yuichi Tachibana
- Jordan Chan as Kyoichi Sudo
- Will Liu as Seiji Iwaki
- Chie Tanaka as Miya (Gas station girl / Itsuki's love interest)
- Tsuyoshi Abe as Kenji (One of the gasoline boys/ Member of the Akina SpeedStars)
- Kiyohiko Ueki as Koichiro Iketani (One of the gasoline boys/ Member of the Akina SpeedStars)
- Kazuyuki Tsumura as Mr. X (Natsuki's "papa")
- Itsuki Tachibana vs Takeshi Nakazato
- Takumi Fujiwara vs Takeshi Nakazato (Impromptu)
- Takumi Fujiwara vs Takeshi Nakazato
- Takumi Fujiwara vs Seiji Iwaki (Impromptu)
- Takumi Fujiwara vs Kyoichi Sudo (Impromptu)
- Takumi Fujiwara vs Ryosuke Takahashi vs Kyoichi Sudo
Cars (In order of appearance)
- Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II (BNR32)
- Mazda SAVANNA RX-7 ∞ III (FC3S)
- Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX (AE86)
- Mercedes S-Class
- Nissan Silvia K's (S13)
- Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV RS (CN9A)
- Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III GSR (CE9A)
Andrew Lau, Alan Mak and Felix Chong previously worked with each other on the Infernal Affairs trilogy, which also features several actors who appear in Initial D, in particular Edison Chen, Shawn Yue, Anthony Wong and Chapman To.
The three creators had been talking about making an Initial D film for many years before they had the ability to. During an interview, Lau says that Media Asia spent two years negotiating (presumably with Kodansha) for the rights to make the film.
A majority of the car scenes in the film are done with no CGI, as the directors wanted an authentic feel. The directors also wanted the actors to drive the cars as much as possible in order to further this. During the filming of the movie, Jay Chou was the only actor to crash, but the accident was presumably minor.
The Hong Kong, Japanese, American, and British versions each have a different soundtrack.
The original Hong Kong version features a soundtrack composed by Chan Kwong Wing.
The U.K. release of the film features an entirely different soundtrack compiled by Richie Warren of Fuel.
At the 42nd Golden Horse Awards the film won two awards, Best New Performer for Jay Chou (Takumi Fujiwara) and Best Supporting Actor for Anthony Wong (Bunta Fujiwara). It was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song (Drifting by Jay Chou), Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound Effects.
At the 25th Hong Kong Film Awards the film won several awards, specifically Best New Performer for Jay Chou (Takumi Fujiwara), Best Supporting Actor for Anthony Wong (Bunta Fujiwara), and Best Visual Effects. It was nominated for Best Film, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song (Drifting by Jay Chou).
The film is often viewed negatively by fans of the series, especially in the west, for its large differences from the source material.
Changes from original versions
The film differs from the manga and anime in several distinct ways. Some changes are significant, while others are minor.
|Itsuki Tachibana is the spoiled brat and the son of Yuichi Tachibana, the Gas Station manager. He is the de facto leader of the Akina SpeedStars.||Koichiro Iketani is the leader of the Akina SpeedStars, while Itsuki Takeuchi (as he is named in the original series) is an employee like Takumi at the gas station, and is more of a comic relief. Itsuki is not related to Yuichi Tachibana.|
|Bunta Fujiwara is portrayed as an abusive, easily angered, alcoholic womanizer.||Bunta is portrayed as a wise and often secretive father, who nurtures Takumi's "gift" of touge racing. He likes to drink, but is not an alcoholic.|
|Team Emperor is portrayed as a Bōsōzoku gang.||Team Emperor is portrayed as a semi-professional street racing team.|
|Itsuki tells Takumi that Natsuki Mogi is cuckolding him after noticing Mogi in another man's Mercedes-Benz driving out of a hotel. Takumi then sees Mogi in the Mercedes on the highway and also when he goes to Mogi's estate in the end.||The daughter of the middle-aged man informs Takumi that Natsuki Mogi is engaging in enjo kōsai. Takumi sees Natsuki and the man leaving a love hotel.|
|Itsuki drives a Nissan Silvia K's (S13) which he crashes and later on he drives a Toyota Sprinter Trueno (AE86).||Itsuki mistakenly obtains a Toyota Corolla Levin SR (AE85), thinking it is a Toyota Corolla Levin (AE86), in contrast with Takumi's Trueno. Koichiro Iketani drives the Nissan Silvia K's (S13).|
|Both Takumi Fujiwara and Ryosuke Takahashi use the gutter technique on Akina to win against Kyoichi.||Considering that their races are on Akagi and Irohazaka respectively, the use of the gutter run in those areas would be impossible. Takumi and Ryosuke also had their separate races against Kyoichi. Takumi won in Irohazaka by performing a risky maneuver on the last bridge. Ryosuke uses Kyoichi's fear of right turns against him in order to win.|
|The engine, carbon fiber hood, tachometer, and light weight headlamps are installed all at once during the re-tuning after the AE86 breaks down.||The modifications are installed separately. The new engine and tachometer are installed first. Later, Project D install a carbon fiber hood and light-weight headlamps.|
|Bunta gave Takumi a cup of water to put it on the cup holder in the AE86 the following day after Takumi breaks the tofu in the AE86's boot. Bunta tells Takumi not to spill even a single drop of it or warned that he'll be thrown/kicked out of his house for the night.||Bunta simply gave Takumi a cup of water right on his very first day of his tofu delivery; Bunta filled the cup up a little more every time and just told him not to spill a single drop of it.|
|Takeshi Nakazato drifts when driving his R32, and his R32 is said to have 350hp||Takeshi Nakazato never drifts when driving his R32, as he prefers the "grip" style of driving instead, while his R32 has 380hp|
|'Papa' drives a Mercedes S-Class (although this is shown initially as a W220 and subsequently as a W140)||'Papa' drives a Mercedes 190E (in the Anime, Papa drives a Mercedes-Benz E-class)|
|Keisuke Takahashi, Ryosuke's younger brother, is not featured, although Ryosuke has the same dress style as Keisuke does in the manga, blending the characters into one person in way.||Keisuke Takahashi appears at the beginning of the series alongside his brother, Ryosuke, and runs the first race against Takumi while using his FD.|