Archives for : Sanzigen

Initial D Legend 1 Awakening (anime review)

Title: Initial D Legend 1 Awakening

Director: Masamitsu Hidaka, Tomohito Naka (co-director)

Studio: Sanzigen & Liden Films

Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

Release Date: Dec. 5th, 2017

Format: Blu-ray / Feature Film / 60 minutes

Genre: Car Racing, Coming of Age

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B


In Initial D Legend 1: Awakening, when aspiring racer Koichiro Iketani witnesses an unplanned street duel between Keisuke Takahashi, a member of a rival race team, and a mysterious Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86, Koichiro’s totally blown away by the skill of the 86’s driver. What Koichiro doesn’t know is that the driver is fellow gas station attendant Takumi Fujiwara, who was making a late-night tofu delivery for his father, a legendary Mt. Akina driver himself.

Unforeseen events are about to springboard Takumi into the center of the street-racing world, turning the rivalry between Iketani’s Akina Speedsters and Takahashi’s Akagi Red Suns into an all-out street war! The legendary series that introduced the west to the sport of drift racing is reinvented in an all new feature film that’s even faster and more furious than ever before: NEW THEATRICAL MOVIE INITIAL D LEGEND 1: AWAKENING!


Initial D is one of those series that has lasted the test of time even though the cars have shown their age there is something very real about teenage boys and cars. That is really the only thing that Initial D Awakening has going for it. I know that if I were still in my 20’s or even my 30’s I would be all over this film, but I found it rather single minded and lacked a depth that I was hoping for. The fact that the natural racer (Takumi) doesn’t really care about racing and is just doing it to get home faster. There is also the connection between Takumi’s father and his racing history that is way to easy and somewhat disappointing.

The plot does hold up and Awakening does a great job of setting us up for the second film. The animation is good and the work that went into the races really paid off. There is also an attention to detail on the cars that I found interesting and reassuring. The voice acting was much more typical and fell apart at time and lent itself to the typical American answer of overacting for some of the core characters that tend to add a tension that isn’t needed.

Overall Grade: B

Initial D Legend 1: Awakening has everything any Initial D fan will need to make them very happy. It is also a great film for any young man between the age of 15 and 40 who is into cars. This gives a very special depiction of Drifting and what made it so very special in the 80’s and 90’s.

It is always fun to get a feeling for the beginning of a story line and get a sense of what these beloved characters were all about before the original series began. Initial D Legend 1: Awakening does several things very well and a few thing not so well. The biggest issue for me is that the film is broken into two films and maybe should have been edited so that it is just one full length film.

Initial D fans get your motors running!

009 Re:Cyborg (anime review)

009-ReCyborgTitle: 009 RE:Cyborg Movie

Director: Kenji Kamiyama

Producer: Tomohiko Ishi

Writer: Kenji Kamiyama

Studio: Production I. G., Sanzigen

U. S. Distributor: Funimation Entertainment

U. S. Release Date: July 28th, 2015

Format: Blu-ray / DVD / Feature Film / 104 Minutes

Genre: Sci Fi, Cyberpunk

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+


From Kenji Kamiyama, the visionary director behind Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, comes a gripping, visually captivating sci-fi thriller.

Many years ago, nine humans were captured and transformed into cyborgs for the purposes of becoming agents of evil. Instead, they rebelled; becoming champions of justice anytime the earth was in need.

Now, in a post-9/11 world, the meaning of “justice” has become clouded. The cyborgs, untouched by time, and some without memory of their status as heroes, have since taken up lives as ordinary civilians. But when a mysterious force known only as “His Voice” compels people across the world to commit unspeakable acts of violence, even Cyborg 009, Joe Shimamura, falls victim to the irresistible faceless power.

In an era when cyber-terrorism is rapidly advancing, how can the cyborgs combat an enemy that has no face and seemingly no motive?


009 Re:Cyborg is a solid remake of a older series that was one of the earliest to follow in the footsteps of Astro Boy. It managed to run from 1964 into the 1980’s and now there is a slick contemporary remake. The thing about 009 Re: Cyborg is that it ttys a little too hard to be cool. From the very beginning it felt more like Ghost in the Shell rather than the cyborg tale from the 1960’s-80’s.

The terrorist aspects to the plot brought with it the current world viewpoint and also a heavy dose of religion wit it. That is were it lost me. On one side you have science and the other you have religion. Merging the two together possess a stretch and a possibility that is both hard to swallow and also awkward to watch.

Overall Grade: B+

009 Re; Cyborg is a great omage to an older series that can always stand to brought back to life. My only problem is the writing and the way there was such a heavy religious slant to the plot. I would have found it much more plausible if there were some hard core idea logs in the background, but to have the supernatural be at the center and with the fact that the main characters are cyborgs I found it much harder to believe that the idea of creationism had such a hold on the plot.

Even with the lack of any solid substance I still had fond memories of the way Ghost in the Shell affected me the first time I saw it. I would recommend