I love me some Initial D! For those that don't know about Initial D, it is a manga (now anime) that centers around Tak Fujiwara, a young and talented drift racer, whose natural racing skills allow him to mop up against opponents that are older and have much fancier and much more expensive cars. A great story line and the manga is engaging (although sometimes awkwardly translated), but TokyoPop screwed up their relationship with Kodansha so only 33 volumes of the manga were translated into English. Boo. However, pick them up if you can as they are great reads.
So why am I talking about Initial D? Trading Cards!!!!! Bottomline, I had just come back from living in Japan when these manga hit the streets in English in 2002. Not only that, but the story takes place only about ~20 km from where I lived in Gunma prefecture. Around the same time miniaturized Radio Controlled (RC) cars were hitting the streets in the U.S. and Radio Shack teamed up with ZipZaps, an RC car company, to produce the Initial D versions of the cars. Included in the packaging was one (1) trading card that matched the RC car that you bought. (Of note, all ZipZap cars came with one card and I have four (4) from the Fast and Furious series as well.) Bam....Manga, Gunma, Cars and Cards. It was the cliche perfect storm. I still have this massive collection of ZipZap stuff....extra bodies, gears, race tracks, timers, barriers...... Sadly, I misplaced all but one of the Initial D cards, though, and am working at amassing my card collection again. Unopened packaged ZipZap cars sell for ~$50 on eBay, so that might be the more expensive option last resort.
Here is the one card I have at the moment, Ry Takahashi and his RX7. It is standard trading card size at 2.5" x 3.5".
Anyone else read and/or watch Initial D or ever play with ZipZaps?