Initial D: The Movie

Waiting with absolute anticipation for the Initial D live action movie (check out the second trailer for some awesome Tokyo pop tunes and Japanese popular culture outside the regular fetished ‘other’ we see on popular current affairs shows!) to come out on DVD in Australia this week. Initial D has a massive following in Japan and around the world. It was originally a manga, that became an anime tv series and is now a live action film.

Plot Summary: High school student Takumi Fujiwara is a gas boy by day and delivery boy by night, transporting tofu uphill on the twisting Mt. Akina highway in his father’s Toyota Sprinter AE86 Trueno. Street racers Ryousuke Takahashi and Takeshi Nakazato take notice of Takumi’s outstanding drifting skills after he overtakes Nakazato on his way home. Soon, other racers like Kyouichi Sudou and Seiji Iwaki of the team Emperor challenge Takumi to see who the best street racer is in the Gunma Prefecture.

The interesting thing about the Initial D franchise and central concept is that the main character, Takumi, has the skills of street racing before he becomes a street racer. His habitus has already incorporated the necessary gestures and apparatus of perception for motor racing. What is absent is an enthusiasm for racing. This is the inversion of the normal “regime of passage” for the precipitation of the ‘enthusiasm-event’. The enthusiasm is normally manifest first in a desire to inhabit a world constructed through images, fantasy and an actual reality to which one doesn’t belong. Thus forcing one to be part of a new world, which includes oneself as an enthusiast.

In Initial D, Takumi is suffering from a bout of nilhism. He doesn’t understand what is so exciting about street racing or driving in a certain way because he has been doing it for a long time. He can already inhabit the world of street racing enthusiasts as a ‘god’ (yes, very Japanese!), but he doesn’t understand why he should…