Kodansha Comics’ Announcements at Comic-Con International

Kodansha Comics announced at its panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego that it has released Volumes 39 through 48 of Shuuichi Shigeno’s Initial D manga digitally in English. ComiXology and Kodansha Comics released Volumes 1-38 of the manga in April 2019. The volumes are available for purchase through comiXology and Kindle, and Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and comiXology Unlimited subscribers can read the volumes at no additional cost.

The publisher also announced it will release four more shōjo manga digitally starting in August 2019:

  • Vampire Dormitory by Ema Toyama [debut date: August 20, 2019]
  • Atsumori-kun’s Bride-to-be (Atsumori-kun no Oyome-san [←Mitei]) by Taamo [debut date: August 27, 2019]
  • Smile Down the Runway (Runway de Waratte) by Kotoba Inoya [debut date: September 3, 2019]
  • Queen Bee (Seishun Otome Banchou!) by Shizuru Seino [debut date: September 10, 2019]

Source: ANN

Section23 Films Announces September 2019 Releases

Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its September 2019 slate of releases featuring Sentai Filmworks’ TV animation hit, Tada Never Falls in Love. Available on Blu-ray and special Limited Edition Premium Box Set.

Product details follow, in order of release

Coming September 2019

Title: THIS ART CLUB HAS A PROBLEM
Published by: Maiden Japan
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 9/3/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98

SYNOPSIS: A totally ordinary art club at the totally ordinary Tsukimori Middle School. There, Subaru Uchimaki squanders his artistic talent on his true passion and life’s mission: drawing the ideal “2D wife.” Club member Mizuki Usami finds herself with a crush on the hopeless Uchimaki. The seemingly uninterested club president is always sleeping, but he keeps a close eye on Uchimaki and Usami’s antics. Then there’s the mysterious Colette, who’s usually lost in her own little world. When this ragtag bunch gathers together as the Art Club, there’s sure to be some problems…

Title: BOOK OF BANTORRA BLU-RAY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 675 min.
Street Date: 9/10/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98

SYNOPSIS: In another time and place, on a world of pain and sorrow, when someone dies, their soul doesn’t go to Heaven or Hell – it becomes a book. A book that reveals the deceased’s innermost secrets and that can be read by anyone. Protecting these priceless treasures is the elite organization known as the Armed Librarians. It’s their job to keep the books and the knowledge within them safe from those who would misuse or destroy them. It’s a tough, dangerous job, so Chief Librarian Hamyuts Maseta recruits only the best and the brightest psychics to join her team of expert fighters. Even so, will they be able to stop the fanatics of the Shindeki Church from wreaking vengeance on the entire world? Only time will tell, but that book hasn’t been written yet. Don’t miss the non-stop action of The Book of Bantorra Complete Collection.

Title: DI GI CHARAT ULTIMATE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 320 min.
Street Date: 9/17/2019
Format: BD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $29.98

SYNOPSIS: What do you do after your parents spend all their money unsuccessfully trying to take over the planet Di Gi Charat? If you’re an Alien Princess with cat ears and a tail, and shoot ray beams from your eyes like Dejiko, you travel to Earth and try to become a famous singer, of course. That’s harder than it sounds however, and Dejiko, her sidekick Puchiko and their balloon-like protector Gema soon find themselves working in a game store in the only place where cat girls and living balloons seem completely normal: Akihabara in Tokyo, Japan. Now all they have to do is sell a few games, fend off various intergalactic invaders, outperform wannabe singers from other worlds and maybe learn about a strange little Earth emotion called love in the ultimate collection of Di Gi Charat.

Title: INITIAL D LEGEND THEATRICAL COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 180 min.
Street Date: 9/17/2019
Format: BD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $49.98

SYNOPSIS: When an unplanned street duel launches tofu delivery driver Takumi Fujiwara into the world of high stakes street racing, the competition isn’t going to know what hit them. The son of another legendary driver, the unassuming Takumi quickly becomes the downhill racing phenomenon to beat, with a line of challengers as long as the deadly Mt. Akina road itself. There’s no time to blink. No chance to second guess your strategy. The streets of Japan become a deadly arena for an incredible battle where if you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough. Hold onto your breath as the legendary series that introduced the sport of drift racing to the west is reinvented in a series of new feature films that will strip the surface from the blacktops in the New Initial D: Legend Theatrical Collection.

Title: TADA NEVER FALLS IN LOVE
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 9/24/2019
Format: BD, PBS
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $129.98

SYNOPSIS: Nothing lasts forever, so opportunities presented must be taken before they are lost. In Japan, this philosophy is symbolized by the brief bloom of the cherry blossom, and it is under the cherry blossoms that Tada, who dreams of becoming a famous photographer like his late father, meets a girl who has lost her way. As it turns out, Teresa is staying at the hotel next to café owned by Tada’s family and she and her companion Alexandra will be attending Tada’s school, where they even join his photography club. What Tada doesn’t know, however, is that Teresa is secretly a princess who’s come to Japan to experience normal life before returning to her own country and an arranged marriage. And that means that the attraction that they begin to feel for each other may be as ephemeral as the cherry blossom in Tada Never Falls in Love.

ComiXology and Kodansha Comics Release the Complete Initial D Manga in English

ComiXology and Kodansha Comics have announced that they have released Volumes 1 through 38 of Shuuichi Shigeno’s Initial D manga digitally in English. The release marks the first time that Volumes 34 to 38 have been released in English. The volumes are available for purchase through comiXology and Kindle. Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and comiXology Unlimited subscribers can read the volumes at no additional cost. Volumes 39 to 48 will debut later in 2019.

Tokyopop previously released the manga’s first 33 volumes in print in North America.

Shigeno launched the Initial D manga in Kodansha’s Young Magazine in 1995 and ended it in July 2013.

Source: ANN

HIDIVE to Stream the Third New Initial D Anime Film

HIDIVE has announced that it will stream the New Theatrical Movie Initial D Legend 3: Dream anime film beginning on September 10, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. EDT. Both the English-subtitled and English-dubbed versions will be available in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and other territories.

The first two films in the trilogy, New Theatrical Movie Initial D Legend 1: Awakening and New Theatrical Movie Initial D Legend 2: Racer, are already streaming on HIDIVE.

Sentai Filmworks licensed the trilogy and released all three films on home video.

Source: ANN

Initial D Film Trilogy to Screen in North American Theaters

Film distribution company Azoland Pictures has announced that it will screen the new trilogy of Initial D films in theaters in North America in partnership with Sentai Filmworks. New Theatrical Movie Initial D Legend 1: Awakening (Shin Gekijō-ban Initial D Legend 1 -Kakusei-) and New Theatrical Movie Initial D Legend 2: Racer (Shin Gekijō-ban Initial D Legend 2 -Tōsō-) will play as a double feature on February 23, 2018, while the third film, New Theatrical Movie Initial D Legend 3: Dream (Shin Gekijō-ban Initial D Legend 3 -Mugen-), will screen on March 9, 2018. Azoland Pictures will release more details on the screenings at a later date.

The films will be screened with Japanese audio and English subtitles. Theatergoers will receive an exclusive giveaway item.

Source: ANN

The First Initial D Remake Film to Screen at LA Anime Film Festival

Sentai Filmworks has that it will screen the first film in the new Initial D trilogy, New Theatrical Movie Initial D Legend 1: Awakening (Shin Gekijō-ban Initial D Legend 1 -Kakusei-), at the Los Angeles Anime Film Festival. Sentai Filmworks and LA-AFF haven’t yet announced if the screening will be subtitled or dubbed.

The first film in the trilogy opened in Japan in August 2014, the second film opened in May 2015, and the third film opened in February 2016.

The Los Angeles Anime Film Festival will take place from September 15-17, 2017.

Source: ANN

Sentai Filmworks Licenses New Initial D Anime Film Trilogy

Sentai Filmworks has announced that it has licensed the new trilogy of Initial D films: New Theatrical Movie Initial D Legend 1: Awakening (Shin Gekijō-ban Initial D Legend 1 -Kakusei-), New Theatrical Movie Initial D Legend 2: Racer (Shin Gekijō-ban Initial D Legend 2 -Tōsō-), and New Theatrical Movie Initial D Legend 3: Dream (Shin Gekijō-ban Initial D Legend 3 -Mugen-). The company has not yet announced release plans.

The first film in the trilogy opened in Japan in August 2014, the second film opened in May 2015, and the third film opened in February 2016.

SANZIGEN Animation Studio and LIDEN FILMS animated the films with Masamitsu Hidaka as chief director, Tomohito Naka as director, Mayori Sekijima as scriptwriter, Koji Haneda as character designer, and Akio Dobashi as composer. The cast included Mamoru Miyano as Takumi Fujiwara, Daisuke Ono as Ryōsuke Takahashi, Yūichi Nakamura as Keisuke Takahashi, Maaya Uchida as Natsuki Mogi, Minoru Shiraishi as Itsuki Takeuchi, Junichi Suwabe as Takeshi Nakazato, and Hiroaki Hirata as Bunta Fujiwara.

Source: ANN

Information on the New Initial D the Movie Legend 2: Racer Anime Film

It has been announced that the second film in the Initial D film trilogy is titled New Initial D the Movie Legend 2: Racer, and that it will premiere in Japan on May 23, 2015.

The cast from the first film will be returning, and some new cast members have also been announced:

  • Mamoru Miyano is Takumi Fujiwara
  • Yuichi Nakamura is Keisuke Takahashi
  • Minoru Shiraishi is Itsuki Takeuchi
  • Maaya Uchida is Natsuki Mogi
  • Hiroaki Hirata is Bunta Fujiwara
  • Hiroshi Tsuchida is Koichiro Iketani
  • Junichi Suwabe is Takeshi Nakazato

Source: ANN

Manga Review: Initial D Volume One

Initial D Volume 1 is a manga with the story and art by Shuichi Shigeno. Tokyopop had the North American rights to distribute the manga in the United States, and this manga volume was released in 2003. Unfortunately, since Tokyopop has gone out of business, this series is currently unlicensed in North America. This English adaptation, which is presented as an “unflipped” release, was translated by Dan Papia. Initial D is rated “T” for teens ages 13 and up.

Initial D Volume 1
Written by: Shuichi Shigeno
Publisher: Kodansha
English Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: May 21, 2002

Takumi Fujiwara (who goes by Tak for short) is the main character of Initial D. He’s a high school student who works as both a gas station attendant and as a delivery driver for his father’s tofu shop. Tak has good driving skills, which he uses when he drives his father’s modified Trueno Eight Six. While Tak really doesn’t show any interest in the race car driving scene that takes place at Mount Akina, his best friend Iggy, does. Tak’s more interested in Natalie, a girl in his class that he used to be in a club with before he quit. Cole, a co-worker of Tak and Iggy’s at the gas station, is involved with the racing at Mount Akina. One night, Cole takes Tak and Iggy up to the mountain to see the races, and Cole’s team (the Speed Stars) are approached by another racing team called the Red Suns. The Red Suns issue a challenge to race the Speed Stars the following week; the Speed Stars accept. Before the race, Cole is injured in an accident. Can the Speed Stars find someone who can take on the Red Suns and possibly win?

I have to say that I personally didn’t care much for the art style in Initial D. To me, the character designs look rather amateur. I also didn’t like how the character of Natalie looks almost out of focus in most of the panels that she appears in. The rest of the art also has a rather fuzzy look to it; I don’t know if this is how Shuichi Shigeno actually drew the manga, or if Tokyopop did a poor job when the company published this volume of the manga.

I have to admit that I’m not much into cars and racing, so when I finished the manga, I found that I really had no interest in continuing to read this series. I also found myself turned off by the portrayal of Natalie, the main female character in Initial D. I understand that the target audience for this manga is young men, so more emphasis is going to be put on the males and the racing, rather than on portraying strong female leads. However, readers who enjoy cars and racing may have a better appreciation for this manga series than I do. While the story in this first volume was decent, it just didn’t grab me personally.

I wrote this review after checking out a copy of this manga volume through the King County Library System.