The translators working on the English version of the manga originally wanted a straight translation, but Tokyopop executives demanded various changes because they were "aiming for a younger audience than Japan". This resulted in the translators writing an open letter to the fans in which they joked about releasing the manga shrink-wrapped with White-Out and a felt-tip pen.
Additionally, they wanted even more significant changes including, but not limited to: removing the kanji from the show's logo and the car, changing "tofu" delivery to "pizza" delivery, and having Takumi renamed "Jeffery" because it was "easier to pronounce". In the end, the translators elected to give everyone the "nicknames" used in the English versions of Initial D Arcade Stage - "Takumi" became "Tak", for instance.
Fan Nickname: "Golf Takumi" for Takumi's girlfriend Mika Uehara from the later stages of the series due to being raised by her father to play golf in a similar manner to how Bunta raised Takumi to race.
With the expiration of Tokyopop's licenses to all the manga series it received from Kodansha (the publisher for the Japanese version of the manga), expect any manga volume of this series after Volume 33 to fall victim to this trope, taking into account the chances of another company picking up the English distribution rights to the manga are very slim. However, Funimation picked up the licensing rights from First Stage to Fourth Stage; unfortunately, most of the OVAs aside from the first Extra Stage have also not been picked upnote The second Extra Stage and the two Battle Stages.
The fact that Battle Stage 2 wasn't picked up is a little disappointing because people will question what happened in those two hill-climb races in Fourth Stage that were Adapted Out, especially when the race between Keisuke Takahashi and "Smiley" Sakai is a pretty important one.
With Kodansha USA taking the torch from Del Rey, it could be possible for licenses that expired under Tokyopop to be rescued, including Initial D. However, that may have to wait until Kodansha USA actually announces something...
The AE86 has cropped up in Tokyo Highway Battle a.k.a Tokyo Xtreme Racer , Gran Turismo, Forza (where it also shows up as the icon for the drift events), Juiced, and Need For Speed Underground 2, among other games. It also makes a minor appearance in Shakotan Boogie which was a decade before Initial D made it popular.
This series is what pushed it from "old used car" to "sought-after classic" both in America and Japan, thought Subverted by the fact that the notchback coupe model is more sought-after than the hatchback in Initial D due to a slightly stiffer shell. Guess what? The notchback appears in Final Stage, used by Takumi's last opponent in the series.
What Could Have Been: Tokyopop had big plans for Initial D, which according to reports, was being eyed as their "marquee title". Indeed, other reports claimed the publisher was intending to market it as "Speed Racer" for a new generation. They licensed it with the intention of turning it into a multi-media franchise. Besides a TV broadcast of the Anime, it would have included various merchandise such as die-cast cars, video games, and "comics". North America did get all three, but besides there being no franchise to speak of, the comics were, of course, the original Manga (which came first, and has ended in summer 2013), which had been changed to be more like the Anime, all because Tokyopop was going for "a younger audience than Japan" motif. The "initial" DVD release had even been delayed because Tokyopop was trying to get the show on television. Somehow, Tokyopop managed to get a Collectible Card Game licensed and released.