Taking place in Gunma prefecture in Japan, the story concerns a young tofu-delivery driver named Takumi Fujiwara. He trained from a young age and before he could drive to deliver tofu to the peak of Mt. Akina (Mt. Haruna in real-life). He had been trained to an incredible level of skill in taking on the five hairpin corners plus using the gutter techniques of Mt. Akina. The film chronicles his evolution from an uninterested delivery boy into a hardened tōge racer, showing how he learns techniques of racing without affecting his delivery load.
Takumi drives his father's (Bunta Fujiwara) Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX (AE86) which is seemingly unmodified but is perfectly suited for the downhill corners of Mt. Akina. This gains the attention of street racers across the prefecture. Some ultimately challenge Takumi to races on Akina's downhill, including Takeshi Nakazato who leads the NightKids team and drives a Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32). Ryosuke Takahashi, leader of the RedSuns team and a driver of the Mazda RX-7 (FC) helps out Takumi by giving him advice and teaching him about car mechanics. Takumi agrees to race Ryosuke in three weeks.
While following the path of a street racer, Takumi must deal with his alcoholic father and his girlfriend Natsuki Mogi (Anne Suzuki). She's with an older man (who drives a Mercedes-Benz S-Class) at a love hotel for two weeks as he takes on more difficult challenges.
With all the talk on Takumi's AE86, Takumi's close friend Itsuki Tachibana buys a new car after his Nissan Silvia gets totaled. He winds up swindled (mentioned by Itsuki's father) — getting an AE86 instead. Takumi was lured by Itsuki to teach driving down Mt. Akina. But halfway through, a member from the Emperor Team taunts them and almost makes them crash, which makes Takumi angry and successfully gets back at the Emperor Team's racer, where his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV crashed.
Takumi thus gains more fame, but the Emperor Team is mad. Afterward, his AE86 apparently breaks down mechanically after being bothered from a racer in the Emperor Team as payback, which led to Bunta dropping a new TRD 20-valve SilverTop racing engine and modifying the car. Takumi tests his new car, but is not used to the new mechanics, until Bunta teaches him how to drive right, and he becomes ready.
Takumi is bothered by Natsuki's absence. Despite a fight between Itsuki and him where Itsuki claimed he saw Natsuki coming out of a love hotel with her older partner, he impulsively declares Natsuki a slut (but apologizes). Takumi suspects something amiss about her. When Ryousuke and Takeshi arrive to pick him up for their duel, Takumi follows, but he briefly sees Natsuki with her older partner, which seems to confirm what Itsuki saw.
At the showdown, Ryosuke and Takumi race with the racer from the Emperor Team, Kyouichi. Ryousuke and Takumi handle their common opponent and work together. The Emperor Team loses when Kyouichi swerves to avoid hitting a car and refuses to listen to advice. The race then leaves only Takumi and Ryosuke; they take each other on. In the midst, Bunta explains the factors on Takumi's chances to win. Finally Takumi succeeds to win the event by beating Ryousuke at the last hairpin turn with the new car's mechanics that he learned.
After the race, at a convenience store Ryosuke offers Takumi a chance on a team composed of expert racers, of which Takumi has been undecided. He discovers his girlfriend being dropped off by the older partner. He confirms his suspicions of her and he runs away. She runs toward him. Outrunning Natsuki and back to his car, he tearfully drives away. He is upset and their relationship ends with Natsuki regretfully crying. Later Takumi apologizes to Itsuki and he joins Ryousuke's team as the film ends.Jay Chou as Takumi Fujiwara
Anthony Wong as Bunta Fujiwara
Edison Chen as Ryosuke Takahashi
Anne Suzuki as Natsuki Mogi
Shawn Yue as Takeshi Nakazato
Chapman To as Itsuki Tachibana
Kenny Bee as Yuichi Tachibana
Jordan Chan as Kyoichi Sudo
Will Liu as Seiji Iwaki (Kyoichi's partner)
Chie Tanaka as Miya (gas station girl / Itsuki's love interest)
Tsuyoshi Abe as Kenji (one of the gasoline boys / member of the Akina SpeedStars)
Kiyohiko Ueki as Kouichiro Iketani (one of the gasoline boys / member of the Akina SpeedStars)
Kazuyuki Tsumura as Mr. X (Natsuki's "papa")
The Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japanese, and American (assumed to be the same version in all other English-speaking countries) each have different soundtracks.
The film differs from the manga and anime in several distinct ways.
Initial D was released on 23 June 2005 in several Asian markets including Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China, where it topped the box office in its first week. The film made its North American debut at The Imaginasian Theater in New York City and was released on DVD soon afterward.
It went straight to DVD in Australia on 21 October 2005. It was released in the United Kingdom on 28 April, and the Philippines on 12 July 2006. Tai Seng Entertainment, the distributor of Initial D in the United States, released Initial D on Blu-ray on 22 January 2008. This is an exclusive release for the Blu-ray format.
Awards and nominations
Initial D won six awards out of 15 nominations from the 42nd Golden Horse Awards in 2005 and 25th Hong Kong Film Awards in 2006.
A sequel has been in discussion since the following year after the movie debuted. However, a concrete conclusion could not be reached due to obstacles that include the storyline, filming locations, casts, and safety reasons. As of March 2014, director and producer, Andrew Lau, once again reconfirmed in an exclusive interview that a sequel will surely follow but is tight-lipped on the release date. Jay Chou and Edison Chen will reprise their roles.
^ "Ch." and "Vol." are shortened forms for chapter and volume and refer to the appropriate sections in the Initial D manga:Shugeno, Shuichi Initial D. (in Japanese) 45 vols. Tokyo: 1995–2012.
Shugeno, Shuichi Initial D. (English version) 33 vols. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. 2002–09
Initial D (in Japanese). 1998–2014
Initial D Tokyopop. 2003–05
Initial D Funimation. 2010–11