Initial D has always been ridiculed for its poor character artwork, though for a series like Initial D it doesn’t matter too much as long as the races are sweet and intense and there’s Eurobeat playing, real or imaginary.

However, upon actually viewing some of the recent chapters, I’ve noticed that over the course of many years the character artwork in the manga has become much better, though only in specific moments. And I think you know exactly what moments those would be, i.e. those scenes which are considered most important to Initial D.

Here’s Takumi from an early chapter.

Now here’s one from a later chapter where he’s just standing around talking.

Not so bad, right? He’s pretty similar to the one from many, many chapters back, so why would there be anythi-

WHOOOAAAAA! Apparently now when Initial D characters get to a car, their entire designs become 10x more intense. And really, if you look at when they’re NOT in a car, they look like the previous image. It’s only when there’s a race on the line that the character artwork makes this dramatic jump to match the quality of the racing.

It’s the kind of thing that tells you exactly what the artist and the fans care about most.