Now, with Tron captured and a 24-hour deadline to either give up the Hybrid or have Tron tasting his own blood. Paradox has to make this difficult choice that could cost him to lose either one of his partners but as of recent, Hybrid has been acting like a spaced-out kid with ADHD and it’s been getting on his nerves so much, he’s actually thinking of just giving him to the unknown bosses within the trade of Tron and move on with his life, but considering that they might tried to screw him over and kill both of them and he’s being the next target, he’s not taking any chances.
So, 8 hours later, they met at this bridge of the facility where they are holding Tron in chains (yes, in chains for some reason) and Paradox announced to them that he agreed on their terms and will trade in the Hybrid for the safety of Tron, just as long as nobody does anything that’ll regret. The switch begins as Tron and Hybrid walk towards each other and when they pass each other, Tron gave a strange look to Hybrid and nodded his head as they are about to enter the other part of the Initial D stage – FOURTH STAGE or PROJECT D.
I’m starting to get why I don’t review series that last beyond 26 episodes (I watched them, mind you, but takes a lot of time to review) and as much as the first 2 editions of Initial D were pretty good and the third stage movie was…..okay to say the least but I starting to think like in any of the Dragon Ball series, the story and the races do tend to drag (no pun intended) as they go along.
This series focuses on the exploits of the new team founded by Ryosuke, Project.D, which is composed of Ryosuke (leader and strategist), downhill specialist Takumi, uphill specialist Keisuke, and a staff consisting primarily of members of the Akagi Red Suns. The team travels the region, challenging other teams and posting the results of the battles on their website. Each race is intended by Ryosuke to develop a specific area of his drivers’ skills. By this time, Takumi matures slowly into a more confident and knowledgeable street racer, while Keisuke improves on his technical driving skills.
In the series, the main drivers and their racing skills do develop as they race against the opponents they’re matched with and could make their better drivers, but as normal people and in my opinion, they are flawed (which is a good thing) but they are crazy to think that racing is the only thing that fulfill their lives. For example, Keisuke has this girl named Kyoko Iwase, who is a fellow Mazda RX-7 FD driver and uphill ace racing for the Northern Saitama Alliance, has a crush on him as she admires his racing techniques and he does like her but he doesn’t want her to interfere with his racing, even though she said she wasn’t going to. Look, I get not being distracted during your time of racing but are you seriously going to say that it’s more important than a girl who has some interest in you because of your talent? Okay, maybe it could be distracting but still after hearing enough crap about that “lonely driver” thing from Takumi’s crew (friends who we never see race anyone BTW) during the first three stages and soon they realize what they been saying is a bunch of bulls**t.
As for the main story, it’s the same as always. People think the Eight-Six can’t race worth jack squat, they challenge him, they race which lasts about 2-3 episodes, they think they are about to win until Takumi tries this stunt that makes it impossible for the opponents to believe, they do the same thing and mess up and Takumi wins……only this time, it also happens to the other racers on Project D. It’s basically the same story with a few different story elements thrown in and some of the other drivers in Project D doing the same thing.
As for the animation, it’s done by another anime studio. Remember Studio ACGT (or Adenine Cytosine Guanine Thymine), the same studio that did the formerly reviewed Koi Kaze? Well, of course in this series, the animation is still better than what it used to be and ACGT definitely animated this better than the other aforementioned anime. The music is slightly better with the first opening theme, “Dogfight” by move, which is the better opening theme in either one of the Initial D series but, however, that theme only lasts for 10 episodes and the other one, “Noizy Tribe” also by move, is very lackluster at best. The ending theme songs you can just skip to the next episode since there is no next episode clip as they do in most anime.
But before I get to the final verdict on this one, EXTRA STAGE 2 gets a brief check-out:
The plot of the sequel to the first OVA provides a closure on the relationship between Iketani and Mako. This story took place during the time Project D battled the Toudo school. Iketani finally met up with Mako Sato and apologized for not being able to meet her 6 months ago. Mako told Iketani she had something to tell him and asked him to meet her again.
It’s just like the first Extra Stage with the same elements that I mentioned in the first review of this only added-in more stupidity from the Akina Crew, especially in the end of it. Nothing new is added into this and maybe they should’ve added this into the 4th stage series because it would have edged up the racing monotony that it’s been suffering from.
FINAL VERDICT: 4th stage is the weakest of the series and it shows with shifting pace on storyline from turtle-like slow to roadrunner fast. At some parts, you will know what’s going to happen during the show. It’s becoming too predictable for its own good and doesn’t care about the other situations going on at the same time. The characters are merely just there and only motivate on one thing and make themselves look like robotic and stiff. I would say to watch it only to continue the saga but frankly, while doing that, just skip over the parts that you can guess already.
Judgment of both series:
FOURTH STAGE – 6/10
EXTRA STAGE 2 – 5/10
Both are very……VANILLA.
Oh, and as for the Battle Stage 1 & 2 and their rating…….An Acquired Taste – both 4.5/10
The Hybrid just reached the other side and as just as he was about to be taken prisoner, they had him in chains but he grabbed the chains and then whips the guards with them and it seems like the Hybrid has gotten his memory back but how did he gain it back?
When the exchange happened, Tron discreetly injected the vial inside him, which he stole behind the guards’ back while he wasn’t looking, and if you’re wondering how no one noticed that from the trade with guards watching by. Tron is a bit slick like that and now, Hybrid is busy beating down everyone with his 2 Chains and then he escaped out of there quick and jump into Paradox’s ride and speeded out of there.
However, this is only the beginning of what to be their impending doom as if you can guess that, it was one of the Anime Gods. As it turns out, he was only one to survive the Madhouse massacre and despite that no one knew his name and the other whereabouts of his others, he might become a dangerous force to be reckoned with and how will it affect the Hybrid and the others?
Well, that continues with the next review and this time, I’m reviewing a live-action movie that based on an anime……..and before you ask, it’s not THAT MOVIE, it’s one made in Japan and yes, it is Initial D…..with Jay Chou.
And until then, I’m MAK2.0 aka HybridMedia, bringing all the elements in one format.
INITIAL D: FOURTH STAGE & EXTRA STAGE 2 – animation by STUDIO A.C.T.G. / PASTEL & distributed by FUNimation Entertainment