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Drift in History – White Space

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When she was at the Milan Games Week and Cartomex which took place between November 24-26, 2022, she appeared on the catwalk. J Boban old white Toyota AE86 – with a sporty but vintage design with retractable headlights, a black hood and Japanese ideograms attached to the white door – those who recognized it certainly smiled at the good news it brought.
to publish initial d by BD versions In fact, it fills an important gap in the Italian manga marketpartially repaired over the years from scanned copies, amateurishly compiled and made illegally available on the Internet for the benefit of a few enthusiasts.
but from A real mass phenomenon that exists in Japan initial dIt certainly cannot continue to be ignored by our market Considering the role of the ultimate hero manga currently occupies in the comic shop and in public libraries.

Here then the Italian version resumes issuing shinsōban Published between 2020 and 2021 for a total of 24 volumes on a bi-monthly basis with the support, in the role of editor, of famous YouTubers and cartoonists Dario Moccia. A marketing strategy that cleverly aims to generate hype. Not that it’s badly needed: if on the one hand it’s actually a manga Shuichi Shigeno It is a work whose artistic value can certainly be debated, but it is not at all questionable The cultural impact this had in Japan Since 1995, the date of her first appearance in the magazine Weekly Young Magazineto date and the huge success in sales: we are talking about 55 million copies in circulation in April 2021, making it an original franchise It has been crowned with many anime series, video games, an animated movie, and even a movie Live action or direct event Made in Hong Kong.

Then thinking about why this success always ends, in the manga field, with a name to mention Go nagai It is no longer surprising. If in fact the father of this kind of robots Mitsuteru Yokoyamathe idea of ​​driving robots from within Like they are cars is to be attributed to the creator Mazinger Z. Just like a car, that’s what happens initial d He reveals himself for what he really is: Like this remake mica It really exploded in the seventies. It is true that Toyota Trueno is not equipped with weapons, but in its symbiotic relationship with the protagonist one cannot fail to remember Tetsuya and Great Mazinger. Not to mention one Narrative Which, as in the case of Super Robots, favors vertical plot development such as making reader loyalty unnecessary to understanding manga that springs from self-contained challenges.

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Initial-D-bannerThis unified narrative scheme, which provides the protagonist engaged in facing increasingly stronger enemies/opponents, as in a succession of levels, has obvious video game overtones. initial d After all, this is also a big game that has been running since the first version a Guilty pleasure For a generation that spent afternoons immersed in arcade cabinets Deprived of social networks, she subsisted on word of mouth between the school desks. Shigeno’s manga has shaped the imagination of this generation of readers, standing as the opinion leaders regarding racing and sports cars that are the true lifeblood of any teen discussion. This was achieved thanks to the editorial supervision of Keiichi Tsuchiyaa professional driver and drift master make sure of that initial d It’s also marked with the use of correct car terminology to help represent the amazing races full of twists and turns but it’s not without realism.

In doing so, it has allowed young Japanese players to dream of a future as a professional in Japan Street racing. In fact, it cannot be hidden initial d It is a work aimed mainly at a male audience. Despite the attempt to include female pilots, there is neither that plurality of looks nor even that much interest in psychoanalysis and relationship dynamics that could have appealed to a female audience. The romantic implications are frivolous and devoid of conflict and tension and seem to be put there as if to tick the “present” box. Basically, Shigeno isn’t interested in scratching the surface of his story which is like the bodywork of a beautiful race car, flashy but lacking in content.

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Where is his hidden soul? initial d? Apparently in the hood of a Toyota AE86, the real hero, the car Takumi is delivering on behalf of his father and his tofu shop, whose name is featured on the door. A car already of old age, which has also managed to keep pace with modern racing cars, a car that, for a little economical effort, whatever can afford it.1 And this is exactly where Shigeno beats Nagai: The dream that the former gives his young readers has a certain degree of plausibility on his part. You don’t need to be past puberty to understand how stepping into the Trueno AE86 is definitely more rewarding than stepping into a cabin Mazinger.

Shigeno also guesses picking background for its champion, and not a professional driver or in any case destined for the racing world, like Go Mifune in speed racerbut he is a listless high school student with an apathetic air, who seems to suffer life rather than bite it. a otaku Just like her readers, who were thus able to get to know her without much effort. A boy is cultivated, unknowingly, with his talent by his father who, assigning him deliveries of tofu, trains his driving skills by forcing him to hold a full glass on the dashboard, being careful not to spill even a drop.

To wrap up the perfect recipe, the gang rivalry could not be missing and is in the manga, as a brilliant predecessor, a masterpiece. Katsuhiro Otomo Akira. But while in the latter gangs of young bikers battle it out on the dystopian streets of Tokyo, in the Shigeno manga, challenging terrains are mountain passes, such as the descent of Mount Akina in Gunma Prefecture. The strength of the story and its ability to engage also lies in a recognizable and accessible setting in reality. We are not in a city with a post-apocalyptic future or a circuit where only professional drivers can compete, but in shared urban and rural roads on which anyone can travel.

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initial d faces

Coming to the graphics, these are the cross and joy of manga. Glamor that’s it In Shigeno’s amazing ability to convey the idea of ​​\u200b\u200bthe speed and movement of cars Thanks to the skillful use of kinetic lines, shot selection and table angles. A talent he had already shown Barry Barry Densetsu Where, however, motorcycles were the champions. Because I always imagined Shigeno as a boy like this: at school enjoying scribbling cars in his notebooks where he should have done his homework instead. Now I don’t know if it really works like this, but it’s still clear that the Chinese are more comfortable with bodies and frames than with faces and expressions.

Indeed, if we were to attribute a cross to A initial d This is true of character design. The result is being generous and somewhat gullible. Elongated and ill-looking faces, narrow mouths with eyes and lips simplified to the point of stereotype. To get to know the characters, you should pay attention to their hair. The result was somewhat punishing, and I’m afraid especially alienating given the quality standards manga readers of today are accustomed to. We are talking about A business whose success must nevertheless be placed in the context of a period, the late 1990s, where today everything “new” is considered instead “obsolete” and I am curious as to whether its charm, now obsolete, will forge a way into the hearts of Italian readers. Only time will tell, but it would be foolish not to give a chance to the work that many say is inspiring The Fast and the Furious who devoted a cameo to the Toyota Trueno in its third chapter set in Tokyo.

We talked about:
Initial D. Vol.1
Shuichi Shigeno
Translated by Alessandro Colombo
BD Releases, March 2023
440 pages, paperback, black / white – € 12.90
ISBN: 9788834918944

  1. The success of Initial D contributed to the increase Great cost for used Toyota Trueno cars, a trend in the market that has been renamed the “tofu tax” in reference to the manga.

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