Fourth StageFor those who don’t know about Initial D 4th Stage or Initial D in general, it was originally a manga by Shuuichi Shigeno which was turned into an anime and shot up into greater fame thanks to CG car animations mixed with hand-drawn animation. The story is about Takumi Fujiwara (main protagonist and driver of the popular Panda Trueno with the Fujiwara Tofu Shop sign on the side) who is the son of Bunta, a tofu store owner who started the legend of Akina’s 86. Unlike the others racers who were circuit trained or learned driving because they were into racing, Takumi grew in Akina’s highways delivering tofu for his father. He can drive through the winding roads of Akina and keep the tofu intact primarily because his training involved going through Akina without spilling a single drop from a glass of water mounted on a cupholder inside the car. Basically, Fourth Stage covers Takumi’s battles as a member of Project D, a racing team put up by the leader of the Akagi Red Suns – Ryosuke Takahashi. The team comprises of three support cars, the AE86 Trueno and the RX-7 FD, and its two aces: Takumi for the downhill races and Keisuke Takahashi for the uphill races. If the previous battles showed Takumi’s raw skill and awesome luck with regards to driving conditions, 4th Stage covers more technical stuff like weight shifting, weight reduction, other types of drifting as well as driving techniques. 4th Stage also delves into the differences of FRs, FFs and 4WDs.
Why Expect A 5th Stage?The main reason is that 4th Stage showed a lot of growth for Takumi but the end of 4th Stage didn’t exactly reveal the end of Project D itself. Meaning there is still much to know about Takumi and his driving skills and experiences. Besides, I don’t think that Takumi will be driving that Panda Trueno for the rest of his life – something even his father was well aware of. I recall Bunta mentioning in 4th Stage that at some point, Takumi has to recognize that there are better cars out there. For Takumi, the Trueno is his image of the perfect car because it’s the car that has won him so many races despite everyone criticizing him for driving an underpowered racing car. But Bunta also believes that unless Takumi gets out of his shell as a Trueno specialist, he’ll never grow as a racer/driver. He doesn’t even think the Trueno will live through another year given its age. For Bunta to point that out means that there is a high possibility of Takumi being seen with a new car. It may not be a 4WD like the one his dad picked but it could be a more powerful FR that can allow him to improve his already supernatural driving skills. So yes, I am anxiously waiting for the producers of Initial D to announce that they will be making a 5th Stage. I’ve read in forums that the manga is still running so there’s still a high possibility of it being animated. I hope it’s soon!