- Member: Therax
- Studio: Hoshizora Productions
- Title: Hot Rod What?
- Premiered: 2004-05-29
- Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen Hot Rod Lincoln
Ever since I was small I've been an old car guy, and old car guys have always had their songs. I've always known this song is one of the greatest car songs ever written. I recently saw Initial D First Stage, and I was surprised to find that it was not only a good racing anime, but also faithfully represented the street racer of today, little changed from the street racer of yesteryear. When I afterwards listened to the 1971 "Hot Rod Lincoln" again, I was shocked at how many themes fit perfectly with Initial D. It was such a perfect fit that I couldn't believe no one had made such a video before, but I felt someone had to fill in the gap.
Many of these themes served as the initial inspiration for this video, and quite a few survived to the final product: the "sleeper" car that "looks like a pup," but is actually shockingly fast, the endless comparison of specifications and modified parts, "the fellas" in the passenger seat "ribbing" the driver into spur of the moment races, and the focus on the cars as the main stars, not the drivers. Part of the appeal I found in the concept of this video was the stark contrast between this song and the strong Eurobeat soundtrack so closely associated with Initial D. Today's import racing scene has also lost touch with the popular vision of the street racer culture as it existed in the 50's and 60's, and I hope this video will help introduce someone to the great car songs that exist outside the techno and hip-hop found at the typical import scene event.
Sony Pictures Digital Vegas 4.0E
Finalist Anime Central 2004
Finalist Fanime Con 2004
Finalist Anime Expo 2004
Some creator's notes:
*VIDEO SPOILERS BELOW*
Unlike most anime music video songs, "Hot Rod Lincoln" is a ballad, with a very strong storyline and even stronger driving beat. I felt it was important to make the video complement and support the song's storyline, rather than confuse it with a different story or bury it beneath numerous special effects. This put me in a role less as the screenwriter than the director, and the first task was "casting" the video. Takumi as "me" and the AE86 as the Hot Rod Lincoln were shoo-ins, with Bunta as "mah pappy" and Iketani/Itsuki as "the fellas" following quickly.
I had some difficulty at first casting the antagonist car; due to the constraints of the story it had to be a car that started behind Takumi and passed him, with Takumi recovering the lead later. The concept for this video arose after viewing First Stage, and I initially intended to use Ryousuke Takahashi's FC RX-7, this being the only car satisfying these criteria. However, while watching Second Stage I realized Kyousuke's 4-door Lancer Evolution IV was perfect, which changed a great deal of the nascent video, as I adopted as much of Second Stage's more advanced animation as possible. "The cops" were even more of a problem, since Initial D takes place in a magical alternate reality where the police never show up. For a time I considered using Sayuri and Mako's blue SilEighty or adopting a clip from the original fan CG video "Extreme Limit," but audiences have been almost universally pleased with the offbeat alternative I eventually selected.