Promotional anime are all the rage right now. Toyota fell back on its Initial D heritage for a GR86 ad starring Takumi Fujiwara and Keiichi Tsuchiya, and (while not an official Toyota ad) the upcoming anime adaptation of MF Ghost will likely spark more than a few first-gen 86 purchases. Now Acura, in the midst of reviving its Type S performance brand, is getting in on the fun with what appears to be a full limited series.
Toyota’s 45-second GR86 FasterClass ad spot was fun, but Type S: Chiaki’s Journey seems to be a larger endeavor. The series’ IMDb page lists four episodes in one season, as well as three cast members: Daisuke Tsuji (Ghost of Tsushima’s Jin Sakai) and Hiromi Dames (Cyberpunk 2077's Blue Moon and the go-to voice of DC’s Lena Luthor), as well as a Steve Blum (with no prior listed IMDb credits, but we can assume this prominent anime dub and video game voice actor Steve Blum). The page also lists a summary for the show:
The series takes us on an exhilarating adventure centered on Chiaki, a young driving protégé, and her wise uncle Noboru. When emotions heat up with Chiaki and her nemesis Erich at the local racetrack, Noboru steps in to mentor Chiaki as she prepares to put her family legacy on the line in the biggest race of her life.
So far, all we’ve seen of the show is a single teaser trailer on Acura’s YouTube channel and social media pages. It’s only fifteen seconds, but there’s some interesting information hiding in those few frames.
The series follows Chiaki, a red-haired, red-coated, strong-eyebrowed, winged-eyeliner-wearing, angry-in-one-shot-of-the-teaser protagonist who is apparently not Vi from the Netflix/League of Legends series Arcane. Erich, the rival, is presumably the blond guy driving some sort of Zenvo-looking muscle car.
While the trailer is certainly quick-cut, there’s enough room in some scenes to catch an interesting detail: Type S: Chiaki’s Journey seems to borrow the mix of on-ones and on-twos animating that gave Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse its signature style. When Chiaki is driving the NSX, you can see the background behind her changing on each frame while her facial expressions only move every other. In the argument with Erich, her hair moves on each frame, and her (and Erich’s) mouth holds each frame for two.
Personally, I’m a sucker for racing anime. Whether it’s the original Initial D series, the Legends movies, or annually rewatching Wangan Midnight. I get, however, that it’s not exactly the most popular subgenre — you’re unlikely to find MF Ghost in U.S. movie theaters the way you’d see Evangelion or Your Name. If the backing of a major automaker is what it takes to make racing anime viable, then I say go for it — the more anime races that make their way to screens, the better.