When Takumi met Tsuchiya.

Initial D did a lot to boost the popularity of Toyota’s AE86 Sprinter Trueno. Sure, the car already had a cult following among tuners, but Japan’s most popular street racing manga/anime opened the eyes of the general public to the potential and driving excitement of the Hachi Roku (meaning “Eight Six”) as protagonist Takumi Fujiwara drifted his around the mountain passes of Japan in thrilling late-night touge battles and tofu deliveries.

So in Toyota’s latest video for the GR86, the current-day successor to the AE86 in the automaker’s lineup, they decided to return the respectful salute with an anime ad steeped in the style of Initial D.

▼ What? Yes, of course it has a techno soundtrack! What kind of silly question is that?

“It’s time to head out,” says the determined driver as he gets behind the wheel and goes speeding down a steep strip of asphalt. But as he comes up on another car, it becomes clear that this is no tongue-in-cheek parody, but an explicit crossover between Toyota and Initial D.

That’s Takumi’s old-school AE86, with “Fujiwara Tofu Shop” written along its side, that the red GR86 is revving up on, and the anime star himself shows up in another video that shows the initial encounter from his perspective.

Takumi’s not the only famous person in the video, though, because once the old and new 86s come to a stop next to each other, he looks over to see that it’s driver is…

Keiichi Tsuchiya, a.k.a. Drift King, the real-world pro racer and auto journalist credited with popularizing drifting as a motorsport in Japan.

Tsuchiya is quick to remind Takumi who the better driver is, though for any Initial D fans ready to shout that saying anyone is faster than Takumi is sacrilege, it’s worth noting that you can spot Takumi’s “don’t spill the water” training cup inside his car, and its stock tachometer and lack of carbon fiber hood are also signs that this conversation is happening early in the Initial D timeline, while his skills are still at an early stage of development

▼ Speaking of amusing little details, the videos are adamant that the vehicles are “on a closed course,” even though Initial D being an anime entirely about street racing and the cars in the video aren’t actually driving in the real world.

Interestingly enough, the videos appear to have been made specifically for Toyota USA, as they don’t appear on the Toyota Japan YouTube channel, and much like Toyota U.K.’s Initial D project from a while back shows that the appeal of awesome animation and cool cars knows no borders.

Top image: YouTube/Toyota USA
Insert images: YouTube/Toyota USA (1, 2, 3)
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