Takumi is preparing for life after he graduates from high school when his former rival, Takahashi Ryousuke, confronts him with an offer. Ryousuke is assembling talented drivers in order to become the best racing group in history. He wants Akina’s famous Hachi Roku and its driver to be part of the team when they start racing in the spring. Takumi gets behind the wheel of his car once again and begins a journey hoping to find what he should do in life.
summary by Gatts
Highs: Provides closure
Lows: Suffers from Initial D‘s problems; boring race sequences
Initial D: Third Stage follows the trend of mediocrity that its predecessors began, and ends up being nothing more than a bigger, longer, and slightly prettier continuation of its television counterparts. For fans of the the series, this sounds like a good thing, but the movie actually falls short of Initial D in many respects.
My biggest complaint about the film is the pacing and length. One of the main goals is to provide closure for the numerous loose ends which both original series left untied. While it succeeds in answering these questions, an hour and forty-four minutes was not required to do it; a two-part OVA would have been more than sufficient. The remainder of the time is used to develop a rushed racing side plot, but for the most part it seems to have been used to make the racing commentaries even more long winded (if that’s even possible). Things really start to drag towards the middle which is full of pointless drivel and the melodramatic romance seen in the series.
Although I wasn’t expecting anything incredible, the racing scenes were very disappointing. There are only a couple battles, and they leave much to be desired. The Eurobeat OST which had worked so well in the past is still present, but it is only a mere shadow of its former self. The few songs that are used don’t set the mood of the races nearly as well as in previous installments; these tracks are used sparingly, instead opting for the sounds of engines revving and tires screeching as opposed to musical accompaniment. The one plus about this movie is that the animation is slightly better than that seen in the Second Stage. The horrid character designs return once again, but at least this time their movements are much more fluid.
All the problems of Initial D are present in its big screen endeavor. It even manages to create a couple of new ones. Casual viewers will most likely be counting the minutes until it’s over as there isn’t even much to keep fans interested.