- Awesome Art: The Manga has TONS of beautiful spreads of car designs and races. It comes as no surprise Shuichi Shigeno put a ton of work into research and reference pictures to create the manga.
- Awesome Music: Aside from the opening and ending songs by Japanese band "m.o.v.e.", it's the Eurobeat songs that drive the soundtrack and Animated Adaptation into what it is.
- Die for Our Ship: Predictably, Yaoi Fangirls loathe Natsuki Mogi, doubly so for being previously engaged in Enjo Kosai, which makes her even more loathed due to Double Standard.
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Some of the stages include a warning at the beginning of each episode telling viewers to follow traffic laws, only to proceed with twenty minutes of dangerous touge racing sequences on the dark roads of Japan.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?; To some viewers, what Kyoko Iwase is saying when she realizes she's about to be overtaken in her race against Keisuke Takahashi in Fourth Stage has questionable undertones, at least when heard in Japanese (this is less pronounced in the Funimation dub).
- First Installment Wins: If there's ever going to be a Shout-Out to Initial D, chances are good it's going to be a parody of the first race in the series between Takumi and Keisuke.
- Gateway Series: To drift racing, touge, or even racing, in general.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: In Second Stage, when Team Emperor starts their Gunma Prefecture, Keisuke expresses disgust about the Lancer Evolution IV's incredibly large spoiler. Fast forward to Fourth Stage where Keisuke's RX-7 FD gets a new aerodynamic upgrade, complete with a larger spoiler in comparison to the Lan Evo'snote .
- Hype Backlash: As mentioned in the Just Here for Godzilla entry below, some don't take kindly to the series popularizing a car that they consider So Okay, It's Average at best, especially by today's standards.
- Just Here for Godzilla: The series has caused this in the American automotive scene, with hundreds of American fans trying to buy AE86s from shady importersnote , specifically because the car is the "main character" of the series, rather than on the merits of the car itself. Regular Car Reviews rants about this when he covered the AE86 Trueno.
Mr. Regular: "SHUT UP! You don't like this car! You like a cartoon! A boring cartoon!
- Memetic Mutation
- Moral Event Horizon: Shingo Shoji almost crosses it when he tries to kill Takumi mid-race by ramming him off the mountain. It fails and Shingo ends up with a serious (though non-fatal) accident instead.
- Narm Charm: Almost all vehicular scenes throughout all stages are animated in 3D. In First Stage, it's made more apparent as each racing segment looks like a video game from the early 2000's (compared to Second Stage and beyond, where the 3D work is done much better). However, despite its egregrious use for the Anime, many fans enjoy the racing scenes due to (or because) of its Narmy appearance. It does help races are very well choreographed with exciting and interesting angles.
- Nightmare Fuel: High-octane fuels are Nightmare Fuels, so please use it correctly or a crash is inevitable.
- Song Association: Go ahead - try finding someone who won't go "Oh, hey, it's Initial D music!" or "This song would be perfect in Initial D!" the second they hear Eurobeat.
- Tear Jerker: During the battle with Kyouichi Sudo, Takumi's AE86 has an engine breakdown and he's forced to make an emergency stop, with Kyouichi declaring him the loser of the match. Takumi's father Bunta subsequently has the car towed while Takumi's in tears, thinking he's the one at fault. Yes, Bunta knew beforehand it was going to happen, and so did the audience. Yes, Bunta was going to replace the engine and allowed the breakdown to happen, just so Takumi will have a better appreaction of the new engine; otherwise, Takumi would either protest to having the engine replaced or get angry for having the engine replaced under his nose. Yet, think of it from Takumi's point of view - the car that he had made a name for himself in just a few short months has made its last revolutions. For all he knew, his racing career was effectively over.
- The scene where Itsuki's girlfriend dumps him for an older man she used to love, ending with him alone and sobbing. Even Iketani and Kenji symphatize with him, with Iketani saying that he has also felt the same pain. However, Mood Whiplash ensues when Itsuki runs into Iketani's and Kenji's hiding place, prompting a hilarious Oh, Crap! from the two of them, and Itsuki shares this reaction when he sees them.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: More apparent from Fourth Stage onwards, thanks to advancements in CG technology, making the details of each car near-accurate to how they look in Real Life, as well as improvements to the races without them feeling static.
- Broken Base: People were divided over the fact that it was a Hong Kong production with loads of Chinese actors used to fill in a Japanese cast, heavy character Flanderization with numerous changes to their personalities, Adaptation Decay and notable absentees. Others, however, don't seem to have a problem with it, pointing it towards Pragmatic Adaptation.