So for starters I have zero interest in cars. I haven’t watched any numbered fast same number of furious movies. Also I keep thinking my Rav 4 is made by Honda sometimes instead of Toyota. Although I enjoy Speed Racer that doesn’t really count there are buzzsaws and jumps and spies and stuff. So really the only thing I care less about than street racing should be animated street racing. I couldn’t be more wrong.
The show largely focuses on Takumi Fujiwara. A lazy unmotivated highschool student who helps out with the family tofu shop running deliveries before school. Then after school working at his dad’s friend’s gas station. He has been secretly driving for about 5 years now, and well he sorta hates it. Maybe not hate it, but it doesn’t interest him. So he spends his mornings driving faster and faster trying to just get home as quickly as possible. See where this is going?
That’s right it’s a romance anime! I mean as if. He initially takes the bet to race to win a full tank of gas so he could go on a date with his middle school crush who after a year or so of silence started talking to him again. Oh wait the bet. See there are these guys, the Takahashi brothers, they have a racing team called the Red Suns.
So Takumi’s friend/co-worker has a small time group that got stomped by the Red Suns, but Takumi just smoked one of them just doing his delivery runs. So he gets everyone looking for this legendary driver called the Ghost of Akina. So he ends up running that race. Winning the gas. Going on his date and everything should be fine right? Just the whole time he is more focused on why he can’t stop thinking about that race. It gets under his skin. Before to long he starts racing more and more not really admitting he likes it. It’s just a thing he does to get a chance to use the car. His life isn’t super interesting either. You just get to watch along as he starts to discovering more about himself, his father’s past as a street racer, a growing interst in cars, and ultimately having to ask himself if this is what he wants. Is he a street racer, does he want to go pro, does he want to focus on his hobby or Perhaps start a real life and settle down. You watch a rather believable slice of life story centered around a few main characters and how some grow apart, others grow closer and how you can find purpose in the most unexpected places. Yeah it can seem a bit silly from the outside.
That is until you are invested in the show. Once that happens you just buy into all of it. The art style isn’t very um, good. It is stylistic and that’s a good thing. The races are all motion captured and CG rendered so it has a very charged and engaging visual presence. For better or worse the art gets better each season. Until the final seasons look just flat out stunning. I have to say I prefer the older stuff. It just feels right to me. Regardless it from episode 1 onwards it always has something sweet going on.
They show the foot work, the steering, in car dashboards, and even the authentic indicator beeps for each car. These cars are all real after all. They even give run downs on how every aspect factors into a race. When at no time is does it seem annoying or fanboyish. They just talk matter of factly about it. The show plays off like you are, for lack of a better term, along for the ride. It lets you see what’s it’s like to be close friends with a group of race nuts and see what, again sorry, drives them to keep going. The most impressive thing is it stays engaging without being something I am overly interested in and about characters who aren’t artificially interesting. That’s it’s charm it’s real people. The show is pretty easy to find streaming so I definitely say give it a watch. Perhaps not the live action movie. It’s not the same. It’s just your go to adaptation of something creative and popular just for money and keeping the brand alive. So you should take a weekend, give it atleast just 5 episodes. If you aren’t hooked by then, feel free to walk away.