The opening act of a strangely compelling story about one seemingly unremarkable Japanese kids gradual rise to greatness in the world of illegal street racing, and the friends and enemies he meets along the way. Things unfold at a surprisingly glacial pace- this story is neither fast nor furious, but you eventually begin to get a real feel for the day to day lives of the main characters. Endless boring hours of sitting in class and pumping gas after school with no promise of better lives after graduation, these kids live for racing the nearby mountain pass on Saturday nights if only to have something to look forward to during the rest of the week. Instead of the usual bunch of swaggering streetwise tough-guys with dream cars, hot girlfriends and exciting danger-filled lives, the main characters are touchingly believable as dateless working class car geeks who obsess over technique because most of them can barely afford to even own a car, much less afford performance parts and custom paint jobs. It becomes evident over time that Shigeno is slyly presenting most of the characters as personifications of the particular cars they drive, reflecting the various quirks of engineering in their personalities as they struggle with the all the usual rites of passage into adulthood. There are subtleties here that pay off with persistence, but this series definitely requires a lot of patience.