The Initial D Life Lesson I Often Think About

There are many unforgettable moments in Initial D. Whether it’s seeing the AE86 drift for the first time, the battle against Ryousuke, the Trueno vs. Levin battles, or many other examples, the races are often showcases of protagonist Takumi’s unbelievable feats. But there’s one battle that often sticks out in my mind—the 86 vs. the Suzuki Cappuccino—because it features an important lesson about not limiting your self-perception.

Throughout Initial D, Takumi is very familiar with being the underdog due to his car being much older and weaker compared to his opponents’. The result is that he has to use various tricks (as well as an intuitive understanding of his own vehicle) to topple one Goliath after another. But the Cappuccino presents a different challenge: It’s actually smaller and lighter than the 86, and can pretty much outdo Takumi’s car at what it does best. Ultimately, though, Takumi prevails by doing what has not come naturally to him: He overpowers the weaker vehicle, even using the relatively larger frame of the 86 to block the Cappuccino.

Often, we think about our strengths in absolutes: “I’m good/bad/mediocre at this.” However, this is all relative. Maybe you’d normally be considered undersized, and have patterned your life to compensate for that, but there could be times where you are the bigger individual and have to use that to your advantage. If you get too stuck on who you’re “supposed” to be and how your actions should reflect your identity, you might lose out on opportunities. 

Avoiding tunnel vision about your own attributes is the key—all too fitting for a series about racing.

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