Initial D is an iconic manga and anime with a wide-reaching cultural impact even outside of Japan. Now, it’s sequel manga series written and illustrated by mangaka Shuichi Shigeno, MF Ghost, has gotten an anime. Directed by Tomohito Naka, with the series composition by Kenichi Yamashita, a screenplay by Kenichi Yamashita, and stunning music by Akio Tobashi, MF Ghost is animated by Felix Film.
Set in 202X A.D., a future beyond Initial D, self-driving cars are in widespread use in Japan, leaving the public roadways to be used for auto racing. With drivers skills coming into a new focus, a race called MFG has become popular around the globe. From Porsche and Ferrari to Lamborghini, participants are invited to race with their fastest cars. Enter Kanata, a half-Japanese, half-British racing school graduate from the UK. Kanata Rivington, returns to Japan to achieve his goal of becoming the top of MFG, learning more about himself along the way.
MF Ghost Episode 1 showcases the way that the series will use 2D and 3D animation. The primary animation of the series is in 2D, but the racing elements, particularly the cars, are rendered in 3D. While the blending of these two styles has been known to be jarring in other projects, Felix Film has used it similarly to that of The First Slam Dunk, which limited the 3D elements of basketball and the present while using 2D animation for the flashbacks and time off the court.
By limiting the 3D animation for dedicated sports motion sequences, the animation loses any stiffness in compositing the two different styles while in motion, which often causes some of the largest issues in other series. By doing this, MF Ghost is able to also highlight the details of the vehicles, which are as much a star of any racing series as the characters. And that comes through in MF Ghost Episode 1, even though its primary focus is to introduce the audience to Kanata. This allows the minimal amount of race track shown in this episode to have an element of depth and drama that separates it from the rest of the story.
While we’ll have to see more races to really capture the strength of the CGI animation against the 2D, for right now, the choice is a strong one and one I can see other sports anime going to accentuate the movement of the character and in this case the vehicle and to draw a line between sport and the rest of the narrative, briding the two by only keeping the cars themselves in this 3D style.
MF Ghost Episode 1 is all about setting the stage for the season, establishing the cultural importance of MFG, and introducing audiences to the cast of characters. Some elements that don’t hold up in the years since the manga’s release, like an older man obsessed with Angel 7, who is really Kanata’s 16-year-old friend, come off as played up too frequently and are almost unnerving. But this small hang-up doesn’t discount the series just yet, with a future of racing coming this season.
MF Ghost Episode 1 — 'The Challenger From England'
MF Ghost Episode 1 is all about setting the stage for the season, establishing the cultural importance of MFG, and introducing audiences to the cast of characters. Some elements that don’t hold up in the years since the manga’s release…