I stood up from my bed and turned to the mirror in my room gasping quietly. I recognized my new self instantly. The black hair, the expensive white clothing, and everything else. I looked to be no older than twenty or so years old, and I had to investigate a bit further to confirm who and where I was.
Pulling my wallet from my pocket, I flipped it open to read it perfectly despite the fact that I didn't know a lick of Japanese. It was a Japanese driver's license complete with my new face printed on it, reading: Ryosuke Takahashi, Age 20.
I looked around my room, and somehow I recognized it. Ryosuke was seen tapping away on that desktop multiple times in scenes from Initial D. This was the bedroom of Ryosuke Takahashi, I was wearing his clothes, I was in his body somehow, I had his ID.
Essentially, I had just become him.
I looked at myself in the mirror again, remembering the first time I had ever seen the anime I believe I just became thrown into. I was about thirteen, I watched it online just when I first started getting into anime. There was drama, there were babes, great tracks, and rubber-burning action.
A classic 90s feel a very real story told, and it was all here. I touched the wallet in my pocket. I was here.
I started looking around the bedroom again, seeing medical school books and such about.
Suddenly, my knowledge of Ryosuke rushed into my head.
Prior to meeting Takumi, he became known as the 'White Comet of Akagi' who operated without a team and raced in the mountains around the Gunma province of Japan. Interestingly, besides being known for practicing in sanctioned rally 'Gymkhana' races, not much is known about Ryosuke prior to meeting the main character of the anime.
I decided to start exploring the house a little, leaving my very tidy room into the hallway outside.
The door was already open and there was a golden-haired teenager standing in the doorway looking at me. "Hey bro, check it out." smirking, the boy showed me his driver's license. "Got it this morning, think you can let me take your car for a spin sometime?"
Strangely, despite never hearing a word of Japanese in my whole life, I understood very single thing he said to me. He used the word 'Aniki' meaning 'older brother.' How did I know this!?
I looked at him, and read the floating box above his head.
LV 2- Motorist
"Can I see that?" I asked curiously reaching my hand forward. After I realized it, I nearly fainted in surprise at how fluidly I was able to speak Japanese.
"I didn't get a fake Ryo." Keisuke chuckled handing to me.
I scanned the small plastic card before reading what I was looking for. The year the card was issued. It was currently 1992. Canonically to the anime I just found myself in this made sense. Ryosuke was 23, and Keisuke was 21. Keisuke just got his license at 18, and I was 20, meaning I was three years in the past from where the anime starts canonically.
Out of how strange this all was, what bothered me most was how calmly I was taking all this must've been the weird 'Gamer's Mind' thing that was calming me down.
From what I remembered, Keisuke dicked around with biker gangs and struggled to finish High School until Ryosuke put his younger brother on a better path. He mostly never found a big challenge racing until he raced Takumi. In my opinion, he pretty much embodied every trope you'd expect in a blonde 1990s street racer in an anime.
Rich, hot-headed, and confident.
Seeing that Keisuke was looking at me strangely wondering why I was staring so long at his driver's license, I decided to hand it back to him turned away towards downstairs. Despite the fact that I knew he was my younger brother now, I had more important business to attend to: finding Ryosuke's legendary car.
As I walked down the stairs, the house looked like what I would expect a wealthy Japanese household to look like. Most notably, there weren't any pictures of Keisuke or I anywhere and not even a single-family picture of the Takahashis. Similar to what the anime showed, Keisuke's and Ryosuke's parents were notably to be found.
"Where's mom? Or Dad?" I asked Keisuke in perfect Japanese again. It amazed me just how I knew it perfectly without ever speaking it.
"Dad's at work, and Mom's busy with the city council." the teen at the top of the stairs said as I walked down it with him.
I walked around the expensive-looking house out of instinct before I stumbled upon a doorknob that luckily led to a garage. In it, lay what I was looking for.
A sparkling crystal white Mazda RX-7 FC3S. From the look of it, and the year, it appeared brand new. I remember loving every single inch of this car from the moment I first laid eyes on it in the anime. Sleek, smooth, compact, and slim. The only thing missing from how it appeared in the first season of the anime was the racing stickers it had on the right side of it.
Every race I remember loving from the anime flashed in my mind, and this glorious car was here with me. It was real. I reached out and touched it to make sure.
"You came down here just to touch it? Sure it looks nice but that's weird bro." Keisuke crossed his arms.
I passed my hand over the hood that was so clean I could see my reflection in it.
[Quest Alert! Learning to Race!:
Go up to Mount Akagi and learn the ins and outs of competitive racing in the underworld of Japan!
Quest Completion Award: +500 EXP
Quest Failure: +0 EXP
After this appeared in front of my eyes when touching my new car, I realized what was happening. Even years ago when I watched the anime for the first time, I was really disappointed that my favorite character in the anime lost to the main character. Here I was, placed three years before I could even meet Takumi, now in Ryosuke's place.
I had the time, I had the resources, I had this strange video game system to help me, I knew it now. I pressed [Yes] on the window that appeared. There was no way I wasn't going to start learning how to race. What else was I going to do given the circumstances? Go to medical school?
I mumbled in Ryosuke's deep voice to my new younger brother. "No Keisuke, I'm not down here just to touch it. I'm going to go out to learn how to race."
"Race?" Keisuke laughed very loudly. "That's rich, like you would ever do something so against the rules. Pah! That's the funniest thing you've said in a while."
I turned back from the blonde towards my beautiful white car. Again, I knew what all this meant. I knew why it felt like I was being placed in a scenario that was so strange but had to have some reason to it.
Ryosuke was being given another chance. But this time, I couldn't fuck it up. And there was no chance in hell I was going to.
I was going to be Running in the 90s, living Night and Day, giving my Love and Money into racing. The cheesy, classic, wholesome feel of Initial D was in front of my very eyes in this glorious crystal snow colored machine. It was my new life, and I was going to live it to the fullest. I could live out the nostalgia of my childhood being in my favorite anime while changing what I wanted most about it. My favorite character's loss on the downhill.
Not this time though. It was my turn now.