This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Sophiaweido 7 months, 3 weeks ago.
- July 27, 2015 at 6:26 AM #25211
Known for its breath taking drifts and technical explanations of the mechanics of the cars and road conditions, another main appealing factor of the Initial D franchise is its addicting soundtrack by former J-pop group MOVE (which disbanded in 2013), and its endless collection of Eurobeat (or Italo Disco) songs. In the original TokyoPop US release, in addition to the enraging name changes, the Eurobeat was controversially replaced with awful music that in no way was an appropriate fit. Thankfully, FUNimation’s re-release retained the original Japanese names and the soundtrack.
But why were Eurobeat and MOVE used in Initial D in the first place? AVEX, a record label, which had hit J-pop artist Hamasaki Ayumi and K-pop Queen BoA under contract (in addition to releasing the Super Eurobeat albums in Japan), was interested in breaking into anime and Initial D was their way in. The lyrics of the songs have nothing to do with the races but the producers felt its fast BPMs (beats per minute) and unique instrumentals were an effective way to suck viewers into the mood and it worked.
Plus, even before the release of the Initial D anime, Eurobeat already had popularity in Japan since the eighties through Japanese disco clubs (where disco still managed to stay alive a decade after it died in America), and continued to keep its popularity into the 2000s through para para, a Japanese dance club routine. For most non-Japanese and Europeans, maybe other than the Initial D anime, their exposure to the awesome Eurobeat genre is probably through Konami’s Bemani music gaming series such as Dance Dance Revolution.
Now let's look at some of the top 10 songs from Initial D.
10. “Wild Reputation” by Dave Rodgers
For the Japanese natives or Japanophiles reading, their first exposure to this song is probably through the Para Para video tutorial series, Para Para Paradise 3. This song is used in 4th Stage with one of Keisuke’s first races. Compared to Dave Rodgers’ usual upbeat style, Wild Reputation comes across more dark and feels combative.
It perfectly tells the story of two bad boys going at it and this race is about who is the baddest. The chords in the breaks are really catchy and the chorus is certainly the feature that defines the song. It's not loud, but still manages to be powerful.
9. “No One Sleep in Tokyo” by Edo Boys
This song was a great way in closing the very first episode. The hook appropriately sets up Keisuke being “sneak attacked” by Takumi and when it gets to the opening chorus, it was a very effective way in reflecting Keisuke’s reaction that he was losing to an older and less powerful car. The way the race is animated perfectly captures the pace with the song.
I love it when the song slows down to its closure, it gives the viewer of feeling that they don't know what will happen next and Takumi pulls off the coolest drift ever and the way guitar chords conclude perfectly set the mood that is a mix of excitement and shock.
8. “Back on the Rocks” by Mega NRG Man
This song can be claimed as the theme song of Nakazato, the leader of the Myogi Night Kids. It can be agreeable that using the classical them song from Dracula feels awkward, but considering Nakazato’s get up of always wearing black, driving a black car, and the leader of a team called the Night Kids, it does work in context to his gimmick.
The lyrics are cheesy and it accurately defines Nakazato’s ego and his position as team leader. Plus, Nakazato’s seiyuu, Hiyama Nobuyuki (also famous as the voice of Hiei from Yuu Yuu Hakusho and as Shiro from Gundam 08th MS Team), sings a Japanese version of the song and despite his deep and rough voice, he is an incredible singer.
7. “Dogfight” by MOVE
This song serves as one of the opening themes to Initial D 4th Stage. What makes this song distinct and awesome is as opposed to the usual style of MOVE’s Eurobeat and techno influence, this song has more of a hard rock approach with some really heavy guitars.
With the changes that were introduced in 4th stage and how it is much more intensively race emphatic compared to the other installments, this song is an effective gateway to the intensity and excitement of this part of the series. Despite its differences in the usual instrumentals, the vocal styles of the members are unchanged but still effectively fit and compliment each other.
6. “Wait for You” by ACE
This is one of the few songs at the top of my head in which a Euro song was never used a race but instead, on a date between Takumi and his new girlfriend, Kyoko. I say this remis is far superior to Elliot Yamin’s original version. I am not big on depressing sounding music and I thought this version with its fast beats and ACE’s singing style makes the song feel more optimistic.
I think the song appropriately reflects Takumi and Kyoko’s relationship of being unable to see each other that often, but when they get together, they have all the fun in the world. To me, it's the kind of song you want to listen to either after finishing a date.
5. “Kimi Ga Iru” by GALLA
Though this was already shared in the top favorite ending songs list but I felt for Initial D, it was good to bring it back but for some different reasons. Second Stage is probably the most emotionally investing of all the stages, and Kimi Ga Iru does a great job of establishing that.
For Takumi, it's about his rivalry with Sudou Kyouichi and discovering that his girlfriend has been engaging in an enjo kousai (or compensated dating) relationship with an unknown middle-aged Benz driver. For Takumi’s best friend Itsuki, it's about his developing relationship with Kazumi, a woman slightly older than him he shares a deep connection with.
4. “Dive into Stream” by MOVE
Dive into Stream is probably one of MOVE’s greatest contributions to the series. It has a very excellent pace that works very well with all racing/drifting visuals whether it would be an intro, an AMV, or when you watch the anime or play the games. It is a great song that tells the viewer what Initial D is about, having fun, breaking all limits and making your dreams come true.
The instrumentals, bars, tempo also appropriately tells viewers Initial D’s identity as a whole. If you find yourself driving to work or home on an open highway or a mountain pass, this is a great song to get your driving groove on.
3. “Beat of the Rising Sun” by Dave Rodgers
This song was used in Takumi’s race against Ryosuke at the end of the first series. Just as Dave Rodgers, the Godfather of Eurobeat, was used in the first episode, it was just as equally appropriate to end the season with one of his other addicting songs, Beat of the Rising Sun.
With this song, it knows how to build up the tension to its conclusion. The structure of the best and instrumentals of this song feels like a metaphor over who could be the best street racer on Japan with these two rivals.
2. “Night of Fire” by Niko
Probably the official anthem of Eurobeat to its Japanese fans, in addition to its base popularity in Japan, it has been remixed into Japanese by J-pop groups Dream and Hinoi Team. This song is used in Takumi’s race against Kenta at Mt. Myougi. Even though it was raining in this race, the use of Night of Fire was rather ironic. The song is super intense and in your face. If any series is going to have Eurobeat in its soundtrack, no way can anyone neglect this song.
This song is about having the best night of your life and Takumi had that racing against an unknown opponent in his first race (anime wise, though this would happen a little later in the manga) in a mountain other than his home of Akina.
1. “Space Boy” by Dave Rodgers
This was the first ever Eurobeat song used in the series. I remember my friend lending me the Japanese DVDs back in high school nearly 15 years ago, and he told me the moment the episode begins, I would understand why I would become a fan. I popped it in and its quiet acoustic hook did sound familiar and I felt it was only my imagination. Then when it transitioned to its more high intense instrumentals, I knew it was Space Boy by Dave Rodgers.
The song was a great gateway to get me into the series and probably for other Eurobeat fans who may not be familiar with anime. I feel Space Boy appropriately fits the mood that the driver at the time was a mystery and was going to catch the viewer by surprise. The song brings an appropriate sense of excitement by making the drifting of the Hachiroku feel like a highlight reel with a preview of things to come.
The only disappointment I have with the Initial D soundtrack is that it never once features the one and true original godfather of Eurobeat, Michael Fortunati. He is the one who made Eurobeat big in Japan back in the eighties. Many of his hits such as Into the Night, Give Me Up, and Dancing the Night Away would have been a perfect addition. Many of my elders (or senpai) at previous jobs told me they saw him rule Roppongi back in the day. If you did become a Eurobeat because of Initial D, I strongly recommend his songs.
In addition, it is also rather sad that the Taiwanese live action movie didn't have Eurobeat as a whole. To fans, Initial D without the Eurobeat is like Cowboy Bebop without the jazz. So what are some of your favorite songs from Initial D?
By Justin “ParaParaJMo” Moriarty
- October 6, 2016 at 4:31 AM #102886
These are all really nice songs and although i wanted to see some OST like Deja Vu or Adrenaline, i just can't believe that Running in the 90's was not in the list, i mean come on guys.
- October 9, 2016 at 5:25 AM #103567
if you are horny lets chat and have some fun