Initial D is a cultural touchstone in the Japanese car community. It tells the story of a young Takumi Fujiwara, who transfers the driving skills from his food delivery job into street racing, fulfilling the fantasies of young pizza delivery drivers everywhere. After the manga's success, it saw an adaption into anime, eventually running for a total of 87 episodes spanning several seasons. It spawned multiple spinoff films, video games, and OVAs, not to mention a number of parodies, including a cameo in Lucky Star and a strange train-themed parody. Living on through the internet, its fans have adapted its infamously cheesy and Engrish-filled Super Eurobeat soundtrack into a variety of internet memes over the years.
Now, Initial D's author, Shuichi Shigeno, has released his latest work, titled MF Ghost, which takes place in the 2020s, and covers how car culture and self-driving cars could coexist with one another. The first issue was published on Monday in Weekly Young Magazine, a Japanese publication aimed at men in their twenties, and it's already been digitized and spread online.
Astute Initial D fans spotted both a familiar-looking car and name in the images circulated on the internet. The former image depicts the dark, yet distinct outline of a Toyota 86, Toyota's modern take on the last generation of the rear-wheel-drive Corolla, which served as the hero car for Initial D. That on its own cannot be taken outright as anything more than an allusion to Shigeno's past work, but dialogue found further in suggests a storyline continuum between the two stories, if nothing else, with reference to a Ryo Takahashi, short for Ryosuke Takahashi, a major character from Initial D. Linking the two stories with a common supporting character may be about more than making this new series appeal to fans of Shigeno's prior work— it could become a de facto sequel to the series that brought Shigeno his greatest success.
With only the first native language installment of MF Ghost officially released, it will probably be months, if not years before the series sees an official English translation for interested Western fans. Those interested in following the progress of MF Ghost can look to the series' official twitter account.