Best Motoring and Hot Version
Best Motoring is an extremely popular "video magazine" in Japan, that has been growing in popularity around the world. Since the first release of a Best Motoring in 1995, the series has revolutionized the concept behind monthly video releases. Best Motoring's popularity can be attributed to the excellent production quality. Races that would be considered unconventional by regular standards, such as "new car tests" being performed by proffesional drivers on winding, dangerous mountain roads at high speeds are what make Best Motoring such a delight to watch.
Hot Version takes the concept behind Best Motoring, and changes things up slightly. Whereas Best Motoring focuses on new cars that are unmodified, in the same condition they would be for a new car buyer, Hot Version focuses on tuned aftermarket vehicles. The most prevalent cars featured in Hot Version are Japanese, typically the show features numerous Honda's, Nissan's, Mazda's, Mitsubishi's, and Subaru's. In some episodes, foreign market vehicle are also included, such as Chevrolet's Corvette, and Dodge's Viper. The concept behind the show is very similar to Best Motoring in that cars go head-to-head on race tracks, as well as winding mountain roads. Unlike Best Motoring however, Hot Version typically involves cars tuned to a very high level, capable of extreme handling and acceleration.
A shot from one of Hot Version's videos.
Best Motoring and Hot Version can be seen as Japan's version of BBC's Top Gear series. The hosts generally make the show much more entertaining due to their antics and quirky humor.
The above image is from one of Hot Version's extremely popular segments, known as "touge battles". Touge losely translates to "winding", leading to mountain roads widely being refered to around the world as "the touge" or "touge's". Since the introduction of Best Motoring and Hot Version in North America, marketed by Zig Zag Asia, the proliferation of "total tune" cars has begun. Many enthusiasts would focus on one aspect of their car, the interior, exterior, engine or suspension, and would neglect the other equally important aspects. Since being introduced to Best Motoring and Hot Version, North Americans who have a fondness of Japanese cars have begun building their cars for total performance. A car that accelerates well is nothing without handling, a car with a great exterior is nothing without an engine, etc etc.
It's been said that Best Motoring and Hot Version act as sort of a counter-balance to the horrible "The Fast and the Furious" franchines of movies. Where as The Fast and the Furious makes drivers and enthusiasts of Japanese cars look like moron's, Best Motoring and Hot Version do a decent job at actually giving lovers of Japanese cars a decent shot at respect from more conventional car guys/gals.
Not Without its Problems
Despite being a great series of DVD's, Best Motoring in particular has been known to have a slight "bias" towards Japanese cars. When American cars are involved for example, they're often given poor reviews, and are often laughed at by the Japanese hosts. Whether this comes from a genuine dislike of American cars, or just a general bias against the United States is unknown.
Best Motoring has also featured what some have claimed to be "ringers". For example, there's been situations where a 280hp Subaru manages to win a race against cars putting out as much as 2x as much power. Still, others claim that these "ringers" aren't ringers at all, but instead simply an example of the drivers of the other cars "pretending to make mistakes" to allow the Subaru to win. At any rate, the races are always very exciting to watch, featuring lots of close passing, high speed jockeying for position, and even the occasional spin and crash.
Another hefty problem with the Best Motoring and Hot Version DVD's is that most of the older ones are Japanese only, and very few have decent, if any, english subtitles. This can lead to a non-Japanese speaker wondering just what it is that's being talked about. The action on the track generally more than makes up for the lack of understanding due to language issues.
Best Motoring video's are beginning to feature excellent english subtitles, and in most cases, absolutely god-awful dubbed voice overs. More often then not, when someone rips a scene from one of the DVD's to put online, people expect the subtitled version, as opposed to the dubbed version. The dubbing is poor enough in most cases to warrant a general feeling of awkwardness to whoever is watching, even if they're alone in the room!
Keiichi Tsuchya is the most popular host of the Best Motoring and Hot Version DVD's. A retired proffesional race car driver who currently works as a team manager in the Super GT series, Tsuchya is known for his quirky sense of humor, and his amazing talents behind the wheel of a car. To put it simply, the man knows how to drive. His antics behind the wheel have lead to his ever-popular nickname: Drift King. This name came about, as he is exceptionally good at powersliding, or "drifting" cars around courses in a very controlled, beautiful manner.
Tsuchya is a man with strong opinions. He has a particular fondness of the AE86 Toyota Levins/Trueno's sold from 1983-1987 in Japan, and sold in 1985-1987 as Toyota Corolla's to North America. He always seems to have the most fun driving the AE86 chassis, even compared to much faster, more modern sports cars. More often than not, he'll become "giddy" while driving an AE86.
Manabu Orido has been featured in both Best Motoring and Hot Version extensively. He's participated in new car tests, aftermarket car battles, and drifting competitions while filming the DVD's. Orido is soft-spoken, and knows every intricate detail of how a car works. He owns a few very famous cars, in particular, a very fast, very pretty Toyota Supra that he's driven in Hot Version episodes before.
Orido, much like Tsuchya, is a professional racecar driver who happens to be very good at drifting cars around courses. His abilities as a driver as simply amazing to observe.
Orido owns his own company, called "Ridox", which developes and sells aftermarket parts for cars. His "Ridox" Toyota Supra has been featured in numerous video games due to its popularity.
Wakisaka is one of Best Motoring and Hot Version's younger particpants. Don't let his young face fool you however, as he's an exceptional race car driver. Wakisaka's known for driving cars in the DVD's using one hand on the steering wheel, the other resting/holding on to the parking brake. This unique driving style typically leads to debates on whether or not he can control the car properly, but alas, he's had no issues as of yet!
Wakisaka is a driver in the Super GT (formerly known as the JGTC) race series. He's known for being quirky and outgoing, and seems to always show lots of respect towards his hosts, Tsuchya in particular.