The Entirety of Initial D Takes Place Over Two Years

I recently finished Initial D: Final Stage, which brings the story of teenager Fujiwara Takumi and his inhuman drifting skills to a satisfying conclusion. I had been keeping up with Initial D on and off for almost 15 years now, which is kind of crazy to think about, but what was even bigger shock for me was realizing (thanks to the show’s ever-present exposition) that all of Initial D, whether that’s over 700 manga chapters or its anime equivalent, takes place in the narrative over a span of two years.

It’s nothing to get worked up over, and there are series with even more drastic disparities between publication and in-story time frames (see Akagi and Megatokyo), but there’s something about Initial D which feels different. It’s almost as if there were indeed 15 years’ worth of racing action crammed into two.

Other facts I wasn’t even aware of are that the manga itself ran for about 18 years, and that the author Shigeno Shuuichi was born in 1958. Somehow he was able to maintain the racing manga for almost two decades, rendering his work about as timeless as the very Eight-Six Trueno that’s at the center of Initial D.

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4 thoughts on “The Entirety of Initial D Takes Place Over Two Years

  1. One funny effect is, since the setting is supposed to be the real world, the world around the characters changes according to the real world time. That means, for instance, that everyone uses walkie-talkie to coordinate events in the first two stages. Yuichi is the only person who has a cellphone… with a retractable antenna. But by the time of the Fourth Stage, everyone in the series uses a cellphone. Bet you never saw the miracle of technological progress occur that fast (outside of Gurren Lagann’s caves-to-spaceport in 6 years).

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  2. It’s the same for Captain Tsubasa. The timeline is so fucked up that the author is forced to use years like 19XX or 20XX.

    “Captain Tsubasa Road to 2002” was supposedly set some time before the 2002 world cup in Japan and Korea, but in “Kaigai gekitou hen in calcio” (which is the end of the Italian season started in Road to 2002), Italy has won the 2006 world cup.

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  3. Initial D’s dilated timeline only started to weird me out once Fifth Stage began. For some reason, the fact that the characters were still the same seven years after Fourth Stage ended was very odd to me, but I probably wouldn’t have felt like that if I had kept up with the manga during the hiatus between seasons.

    But yeah, the walkie talkie/cell phone thing is quite problematic. When we watch First Stage nowadays, it’s hard not to scream at Iketani to call Mako on her cell phone when he’s stuck in that traffic jam. If the new Initial D movies ever get to that arc, I wonder how they’ll work around that.

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    • I know this comment is incredibly late. But in initial D season 4 ep 13, itsukis love interest says he “matured in the past few years” but he didn’t meet her till season 2 or 3. So what’s up with that. She says it in the first 5 minutes of the episode

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