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Wangan Midnight (Japanese: 湾岸ミッドナイト, Hepburn: Wangan Middonaito) is a Japanese racing manga series written and illustrated by Michiharu Kusunoki. It was first serialized in Shogakukan's Big Comic Spirits in 1990, but was later serialized in Kodansha's Weekly Young Magazine from 1992 to 2008. The manga was compiled into 42 volumes published by Kodansha. A second manga series titled Wangan Midnight: C1 Runner was published from 2008 to 2012. A third manga series, Ginkai no Speed Star, was published from 2014 to 2015. A fourth manga series, Shutoko SPL - Ginkai no Speedster, started in 2016.
Cover of the first volume of the manga
|Genre||Sports (highway racing)|
|Written by||Michiharu Kusunoki|
|Original run||1990 – 2008|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Tsuneo Tominaga|
|Produced by||Keiichi Tsuchiya|
|Original run||June 8, 2007 – September 13, 2008|
|Wangan Midnight: C1 Runner|
|Written by||Michiharu Kusunoki|
|Magazine||Weekly Young Magazine|
|Original run||2009 – 2012|
|Ginkai no Speed Star|
|Written by||Michiharu Kusunoki|
|Magazine||Big Comic Spirits|
|Original run||August 11, 2014 – April 13, 2015|
|Shutoko SPL - Ginkai no Speedster|
|Written by||Michiharu Kusunoki|
|Magazine||Monthly Young Magazine|
|Original run||September 20, 2016 – present|
The series has been adapted into several live action feature films, video games, and an anime television series. The anime was broadcast in Japan from June 2007 to September 2008 on the anime satellite television network Animax, produced by OB Planning.
In 1999, Wangan Midnight won the Kodansha Manga Award for the General category.
The story primarily revolves around street racing that occurs on Tokyo's Shuto Expressway, Bayshore Route. Wangan ("湾岸", literally bayshore in Japanese) is the endonym of the longest, straightest road in Japan. There is also road traffic to contend with, including a fair number of heavy trucks and buses. Because of this, the action is inherently hazardous, and wrecks are common. Blown engines are also a frequent hazard, especially for cars with extremely high-powered engines.
One day, Akio Asakura (a high school student with a knack for attracting many girls and taking them for rides in his car), was passed by a black Porsche 911 Turbo (964), dubbed the "Blackbird" (driven by Combat Medic Tatsuya Shima). With his friend in the passenger seat and two girls in the back, Akio attempts to win, but (quickly "eats its dust"), is defeated.
Determined to drive a faster car, Akio heads for the junkyard and finds an old blue Fairlady Z (S30) (known as the Datsun 240Z in North America), discovering that it has been tuned from an old and outdated piece of junk, into a souped-up racing monster known as "The Devil Z (Japanese: 悪魔のZ, Hepburn: Akuma no Zetto)".
Despite warnings about how the car is supposedly cursed, that all of its previous owners happen to share his full name, and that every one of those owners has died due to accidents, he takes the dealer up on the offer and gives the Devil Z a spin, and discovered that the Z (which had a tuned 3.1-liter L28-kai triple-carburetor, twin-turbo engine) not only has unparalleled power, but seems to have a mind of its own, as he soon wipes out spectacularly trying to control it.
Despite what happens when he's behind the wheel of the Devil Z, Akio is determined to take mastery of the Devil Z and get back at his new rival. As he develops his career as the infamous owner of the Devil Z, Akio meets many other racers and tuners along the way, though the central plot revolves around the constant battle with Blackbird, for Wangan superiority.
The new story arc, Wangan Midnight: C1 Runner, features the new adventures of the new main character, Shinji Ogishima (which debuted in the last chapters of the original story), and his friend, Nobu Setoguchi, both are part of "GT Cars" project which is in dispute and conflict, and must settle these problems by driving Mazda RX-7s around Shuto Expressway, and meeting with Tatsuya Shima.
- Akio Asakura (朝倉アキオ, Asakura Akio)
- Voiced by: Shun Oguri
- An ambitious racer who started when he was very young, Akio was in his final year of high school as the story began. He was driving his red Nissan Fairlady Z (300ZX) until, after a humiliating defeat to Tatsuya Shima, he discovered the "Devil Z", a 620 hp (460 kW) Nissan Fairlady Z (S30Z) which is supernaturally fast and extremely difficult to drive. Akio is regarded as a legend on the Wangan, though he is a humble character.
- Tatsuya Shima (島達也, Shima Tatsuya)
- Voiced by: Shin-ichiro Miki
- He is the main opponent of Akio Asakura, as Akio is the only one who regularly gives him a challenge. He drives a Porsche 911 Turbo (964), named "Blackbird". In the anime and manga, the car initially has a stock 470 hp (350 kW) engine. Later, Shima had Jun Kitami (the man who built the Devil Z) tune his Porsche, upgrading the engine to 800 hp (600 kW), to try to keep up with the Devil Z. He is a very skilled surgeon/combat medic and uses his large salary to fund his Porsche.
- Reina Akikawa (秋川零奈, Akikawa Reina)
- Voiced by: Reiko Suhou
- Reina is a model and television host, co-hosting an automotive news show named Drive Go Go!. She finds Akio on the Wangan and becomes obsessed with him and the Devil Z, even trying to take the Devil Z for a joyride one night (she distracted Akio, asking him to buy her a drink). After getting her Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32) tuned and modified from YM Speed's Kazuhiko Yamamoto, she discovers a love for street racing (something that does not sit very well with her manager).
Wangan Midnight is written and illustrated by Michiharu Kusunoki. The series was first briefly published in Shogakukan's Big Comic Spirits in 1990 and transferred to Kodansha's Weekly Young Magazine, where it ran from 1992 to 2008. The series was compiled into forty-two tankōbon volumes published from January 5, 1993 to December 26, 2008.
A third series titled Ginkai no Speed Star was serialized in Big Comic Spirits from August 11, 2014 to April 13, 2015. Shogakukan compiled the series into two tankōbon volumes published on November 28, 2014 and May 29, 2015.
A fourth sequel titled Shutoko SPL - Ginkai no Speedster started in Kodansha's Monthly Young Magazine on September 20, 2016. The first tankōbon volume was published on January 5, 2018. The series has been compiled into five tankōbon volumes as of July 2020.
The series was adapted into a series of direct-to-video movies in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1998, 2001, and 2009:
- Wangan Midnight (湾岸MidNight), 1991
- Wangan Midnight II (湾岸ミッドナイトII), 1993
- Wangan Midnight III (湾岸ミッドナイトIII), 1993
- Wangan Midnight 4 (湾岸ミッドナイト4), 1993
- Wangan Midnight Special Director's Cut Complete Edition (湾岸ミッドナイトスペシャル ディレクターズカット完全版), 1994
- Wangan Midnight Final: GT-R Legend – Act 1 (湾岸ミッドナイト FINAL ~GT-R伝説 ACT1~), 1994
- Wangan Midnight Final: GT-R Legend – Act 2 (湾岸ミッドナイト FINAL ~GT-R伝説 ACT2~), 1994
- Devil GT-R Full Tuning (魔王GT-R チューニングのすべて), 1994
- Showdown! Devil GT-R (対決!魔王GT-R), 1994
- Wangan Midnight S30 vs. Gold GT-R – Part I (新湾岸ミッドナイト S30vsゴールドGT-R Part I), 1998
- Wangan Midnight S30 vs. Gold GT-R – Part II (新湾岸ミッドナイト S30vsゴールドGT-R Part II), 1998
- Wangan Midnight Return (湾岸ミッドナイト リターン), 2001
- Wangan Midnight The Movie (湾岸MidNight Movie), 2009
At the 2007 Tokyo Anime Fair, OB Planning announced the production of an animated series based on the manga, and aired on a pay-per-view channel of Animax in June 2007. The series was co-produced by OB Planning, A.C.G.T., and Pastel, under the direction of Tsuneo Tominaga. The anime consists of twenty-six episodes. The opening theme for the series is Lights and Anymore by TRF and the ending theme is Talkin' Bout Good Days by Mother Ninja.
- Wangan Midnight – Developed by Genki and released on February 2, 2001 for arcade.
- Wangan Midnight R – Released for arcade on December 20, 2001 and for the PlayStation 2 on March 21, 2002.
- Wangan Midnight – Released in 2007 for the PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Portable (as Wangan Midnight Portable) platforms. The PS3 and PSP games were re-released in 2008, under the "Genki The Best" label.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune – Developed by Bandai Namco Amusement on July 6, 2004 for arcade.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 2 – Released on April 25, 2005 for arcade.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 – Released on July 18, 2007 for arcade.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX – Released on December 16, 2008 for arcade.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX Plus – Released on March 4, 2010 for arcade.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 – Released on December 15, 2011 for arcade.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 – Released on March 12, 2014 for arcade.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX – Released on December 15, 2015 for arcade.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX Plus – Released on December 15, 2016 for arcade.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6 – Released on July 12, 2018 for arcade.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6R – Released on January 21, 2020 for arcade.
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