Tokyopop is an American company that distribute, licence and publish manga in English. They were the first company in the United States to maintain the original right-to-left format in all of their manga releases.
Tokyopop gained the rights to translate and publish the Initial D series in 2002.
Tokyopop released 33 volumes of the Initial D manga from 2002 to 2008, with a 34th planned to release in April 2009, this never saw light of day however as Kondansha let their license with the company expire in early 2009. This version of Volumes 1-33 were used in the ComiXology release of the manga.
Tokyopop created and released dubs of First, Second and Extra Stage. They had created a subtitled version of Third Stage and had reportedly screened it at the Big Apple Anime Fest in 2003, however it has never been released.
|Dave Wittenberg||Takumi Fujiwara|
|Crispin Freeman||Koichiro Iketani|
|Robbie Rist||Itsuki Takeuchi|
|Bridget Hoffman||Mako Sato|
|Kat Cressida||Natsuki Mogi|
|Kerrigan Mahan||Bunta Fujiwara|
|Lex Lang||Ryosuke Takahashi|
|Michael McConnohie||Yuichi Tachibana|
|Steve Blum||Keisuke Takahashi|
|Wally Wingert||Takeshi Nakazato|
|Quinton Flynn||Shingo Shoji|
Kazumi Akiyama (Second Stage 11-13)
|David Rasner||Kenta Nakamura|
|Neil Kaplan||Keiichi Tsuchiya|
|Grant George||Seiji Iwaki|
|Richard Cansino||Kyoichi Sudo|
|Melissa Fahn||Kazumi Akiyama (Second Stage 7-10)|
|Kirk Thornton||Masashi Suzuki|
Tokyopop commissioned the company Canopy Games to develop an Initial D branded game for them. The resulting game was called Initial D Mountain Vengeance. The game was poorly recieved, and has faced a lot of criticism from fans, a lot of which stems from its basis on the Tokyopop release of the series.
Trading Card Game
Tokyopop partnered with AEG to release a trading card game based on the series. Alongside purchasable starter sets and booster packs, cards were also included in certain volumes of the manga and in the DVD release of the anime. Around 231 cards were released.
When bringing Initial D to the west Tokyopop made many changes to the series to widen its appeal, these include:
A majority of the characters were given nicknames that were used instead of their names, with a couple of characters having their names completely changed. Unless stated otherwise, these names were present in both the manga and anime. Characters stopped being renamed after the Emperor Arc, with Kyoichi Sudo being the last character recieving a nickname. Most of the names were used in the localised versions of the Arcade Stage games, with aditional nicknames being given to those who had not recieved one. This is may be due to the length of the names, as some may have been too long to display properly.
|Original Japanese Name||Tokyopop Nickname|
|Kazumi Akiyama||Carrie (Second Stage only)|
|Wataru Akiyama||Aki (Second Stage only)|
|Atsuro Kawai||Junro Kawai (mistranslation)|
|Toru Suetsugu||Tohru Matsushi (mistranslation)|
As Tokyopop were trying to target Initial D to a younger audience than it was originally intended to be for, they had to censor several scenes, including all nudity present in the original.
The eurobeat soundtrack present in the original Japanese version was removed, instead being replaced with a rap and hip hop soundtrack created or curated by Stu Levy, Tokyopop's CEO, under the name "DJ Milky". Their subtitled version of Third Stage was reportedly unchanged.
Tokyopop's translation of Initial D had street slang added to it to make it appeal to younger audiences. Their translation also featured many errors when it came to car terminology. Some examples of this are the extra chapters Waste Gate and Waste Gate 2 (Featured in volumes 30 and 33) which were both mistranslated as "West Gate", and the motorsport event Gymkhana being misspelled as "Jim Carner".
Tokyopop made several edits to the anime, adding effects or cuts that were not present in the original version. This can be circumvented however, as the DVD release allows you to select the audio and visuals seperately.
Tokyopop made a deal with Jada Toys to create a line of licensed diecast cars and action figures based on the Initial D property. Toys included in the line are 1/64 scale models of the vehicles from the series and 1:24 scale vehicles including the AE86 driven by Takumi. The models even came with figures of the characters.