Let’s Discuss Eurobeat & Initial D

To be honest, I’m only just starting to watch anime. It’s a very popular genre in the west, and getting more mainstream each year. This summer, I felt that it might be a good idea to get into it. And so, I have an interesting topic this week: let’s talk about the very successful blend of Initial D and Eurobeat music. Who would have thought I’d be writing about anime this week? Not me.

This page from the manga shows Takumi Fujiwara in a race with one of his many opponents. In the anime, we hear Eurobeat,

About Initial D

Background info time! Shuichi Shigeno is the creator of the manga/anime series Initial D. It was serialized from 1995 to 2013, and focuses on Takumi Fujiwara, a young and talented driver who falls into the world of street racing and learns to love the sport. Throughout the series, he races many times and becomes famous for his skills, attracting the attention of racers all across the Gunma prefecture in Japan. The series is known for its thrilling and stylish portrayal of street racing.

I’ve just finished watching Initial D: First Stage, and I can see why the show has the reputation it does: it’s exciting and entertaining, and even though the outcome of the races is usually pretty obvious, you can’t help but get pumped up. Part of why I had so much fun watching First Stage was because of the music. The music of Initial D is just as famous, if not more famous, than the anime itself. You may know some of Initial D’s music without even realizing. It has become rather iconic on the internet, and has been used for a ton of memes. It’s not hard to see why!

This song is in the Second Stage anime and in Initial D Version 3, a famous Initial D arcade game.

Eurobeat Explained

What exactly is so amazing about Eurobeat, anyway? Well, it’s pretty straightforward. Eurobeat is all about energy and consistency. Many Eurobeat songs sound similar: they have sequenced octave bass patterns, energetic and hard hitting synth leads, recognizable brass and drums that are always driving the song forward. Eurobeat also tends to have normal instruments like pianos and guitars in order to add depth to the music. Another important part of the genre is the fast tempo, which commonly lies at around 150 BPM. The lyrics of Eurobeat songs tend to be consistent, too. Thanks to Initial D’s success, a lot of Eurobeat songs focus on speed and driving cars, but themes such as love, music, or emotion are common as well. To be concise, Eurobeat lyrics are catchy and upbeat.

I can’t not get into this.

Really, the success of Eurobeat in terms of Initial D isn’t surprising. Fast, energetic music works perfectly for racing, don’t you think? In fact, it has worked so well that Super Eurobeat, a CD compilation for Eurobeat in Japan and the longest running music compilation in the world, has often released Initial D music compilations. Plus, Eurobeat became much more popular in the United States following the success of Initial D, which is probably why I’m writing about it to begin with. It’s incredible to me that Initial D has done so much to boost the popularity of Eurobeat (and arguably, vice versa).

Before I go listen to Eurobeat some more, here’s an awesome playlist on Spotify. And yes, I’m going to finish Initial D. It’s that good.

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