How Street Racing Anime Stayed Relevant Through Viral Memes

How Street Racing Anime Stayed Relevant Through Viral Memes

Initial D is now considered an old fashioned anime, but it has continued to maintain its popularity through its Eurobeat soundtrack and associated memes.


When it comes to anime involving racing and cars, there is no series more famous or iconic than Initial D. Based on a manga series by Shuichi Shigeno, the four-wheel sports anime came out in the late 90s and became an instant classic. That’s still the case today, with the drift racing series immortalized by the most irreverent means.


Initial D had an absolutely pulsating Eurobeat soundtrack and it has retained much of its popularity over the years because of that. This has given rise to several memes and jokes, most of which are largely unrelated. Nevertheless, Initial D has driven this path to maintain steady relevance to generations of anime fans and keep the industry going in the 90s.

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Initial D’s Eurobeat soundtrack remains the stuff of legend

Takumi drifts in initial D

Throughout the racing scenes to Initial D anime adaptation, Eurobeat music is used to hype up the tension. This genre is described as a Hi-NRG variant of Italian disco, usually with elements of trance music. In case of Initial D, the singers were mainly Italian, although the lyrics were in English. Nothing was lost in translation though, as the Eurobeat soundtrack became one of the highlights of the show. Avex, Inc. has handled the franchise’s various adaptations, and the company also released several of the show’s songs through the album Super Eurobeat.

Fans can look back now and find the ugly early CGI used for the cars in Initial D rather gaudy, but it all seems to disappear when combined with the “drama” of the show’s Eurobeat music. In fact, one of the complaints about the dub was that the soundtrack was changed to a more urban and hip-hop sound. 2021 saw the conclusion of Initial D anime, which hadn’t had any new entries in nearly 10 years at that point. Keeping the series alive during this period was its famous music and the memes it would inspire.

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Initial D’s Eurobeat music has inspired countless memes

A way that Initial D has reached beyond the boundaries of anime fandom through memes that completely recycle the music. For example, the song “Deja Vu” has been remixed to be the background song for humorous videos in which an otherwise unassuming vehicle drifts away from (or towards) danger in the same manner as a car from Initial D. Given how many times that meme format was used, the name of the song itself was ironically accurate.

The same goes for “Running In the ’90s”, a fast-paced song that personifies the music of the series. It was used in “LOL internet” memes that featured McDonald’s mascot Ronald McDonald driving a car fast while pointing to the sky. The phrase “LOL internet” itself was essentially a comment on the weirdness of the online happenings on the World Wide Web. “Running In ’90s” also found new life through a popular Vaporwave remix from artist sytricka, with the video for this song reminiscent of the old-school street racing scene that inspired the anime.

These kinds of jokes and gags have stuck Initial D from being completely irrelevant, especially given the nature of the rather questionable CGI animation. It also represents a more realistic and down-to-earth vibe than many of today’s anime, which is probably why there is still so much nostalgia for it. Fortunately, the music and memes associated with the show are an instant way to step back in time, even for those who have never seen it. In fact, their continued popularity is part of the reason so many of today’s viewers put the stick in reverse to give Initial D a chance.

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