"Dice"?! What kind of a dopey name is Dice!? Who on earth would ever name their kid that? A compulsive gambler? Someone who plays too many RPGs??
Come on, Tokyopop. If you are going to change the names around, why not have the balls to do it and just go all the way. "Dice" doesn't make his name seem any more familiar and normal to me. Why not just call him John, and be done with it? You're changing the original work around, so pussy-footing around coming up with something that sounds close to the original isn't going to alter the fact that this is not the original author's work any more. Making the names sound stupid in English doesn't really change anything. It just makes the work as a whole sound stupid to an English-speaking audience. Why put in effort to make your product sound stupid?
(Though honestly, given how far off from the original their adaptation is, I'm happier if they do change the names. And the farther from the original characters, the better in my opinion. Their "Tak" is nothing like the Takumi I know from the Japanese version. He's some weird impostor who kind of looks like Takumi, but doesn't sound like him at all. So really, I'd prefer to just call him "Charlie" or something, just so that I never confuse the two. That way I don't get stuck thinking "Huh? But Takumi never said... Oh, wait. That's not the Takumi I know. That's some weird person that you know, and I don't want to. Right."
Just to be clear here: My problem with Tokyopop's Initial D isn't the names got changed. It's that they are making up their own story, but are calling it Shigeno Shuuichi's. That's just not cricket.)
And while I'm talking about Tokyopop, I just have to pass along this little tidbit that I picked up: The latest issue of Sport Compact Car reviewed a little video called "Street Fury Blue". The short synopsis of the video was that it had lots of riced-out cars, no in-depth analysis of the cars or mods done on them, but that it prominently featured lots of chicks in bikinis lounging decoratively on the cars. SCC's take was that serious performance enthusiasts might as well not waste their time. But the best part? It's published by Tokyopop. Figures.