Miscellanea and Ephemeron
05/15/2005 Archived Entry: "DVD review: "Initial D 11" and "Street Fury: Envy""
These two DVDs are both aimed at car enthusiasts. Initial D is an anime about Japanese street racing culture. It is somewhat like The Fast And The Furious, with rival car clubs racing for glory at night on twisting Japanese mountain roads. In this episode, Kyle's turbocharged 4WD Mitsubishi Evo III takes on Tak Fujiwara's old-school 2WD Toyota AE 86. The Evo has the clear advantage in power, but the lightness and handling of the 86, combined with Tak's driving skills, may just keep him in the race.
Initial D's characters discuss subjects like the difference in cornering strategy between turbocharged vs. normally aspirated cars, and the "misfiring system" used by WRC cars to eliminate turbo-lag. Racing fans will love this, but it may be a little arcane for the casual viewer.
The cars are made with 3D computer-generated art, and come out looking like something from Grand Turismo 4. The rest of the art, however, uses traditional animation. Though both types of visuals look great, they never blend quite seamlessly, which can be distracting until you get used to it. I kept wondering if this might work better without the 3D, but ultimately I got swept up in the excitement of the races, and it made me want to go out for a drive.
Street Fury: Envy is a live-action, nonfiction series about the import car scene. It shows what happens when Japanese car culture meets the multicultural mix that is West Coast style. Host Big C travels to the Fast and Furious tour in Mexico, the SEMA show in Las Vegas, and the Japan GT race in Los Angeles. There are also a few fashion segments and appearances by a variety of pretty Asian models. This DVD works as a good companion to Initial D, because part of it shows a restoration of an AE 86, which happens to be owned by an associate producer on Initial D. The team completely dismantles the 86 and starts to work on improving it. Unfortunately, this DVD only contains the first half of the project, so the finished car will not appear until the next episode. If you like import cars, both of these DVDs are worth viewing.
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