Wangan Midnight (Japanese: 湾岸ミッドナイト Hepburn: Wangan Middonaito) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Michiharu Kusunoki. It was first serialized in Shogakukan's Big Comic Spirits since 1990, but was later serialized in Kodansha's Young Magazine, in which Initial D is also serialized. In 1999, it won the Kodansha Manga Award for general manga. Years before Wangan Midnight was created, Michiharu Kusunoki worked on a similar series known as Shakotan Boogie.
Cover of the first volume of the manga
|Written by||Michiharu Kusunoki|
|Original run||1990 – 2008|
|Wangan Midnight: C1 Runner|
|Written by||Michiharu Kusunoki|
|Original run||2009 – 2012|
|Ginkai no Speed Star|
|Written by||Michiharu Kusunoki|
|Magazine||Big Comic Spirits|
|Original run||2014 – 2015|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Tsuneo Tominaga|
|Produced by||Keiichi Tsuchiya|
|Original run||June 8, 2007 – September 13, 2008|
The series has been adapted into several live action feature films, video games, and an anime television series. The anime began airing in Japan on June 8, 2007 on the anime satellite television network Animax, produced by OB Planning.
The Wangan Midnight manga ended with volume 42 but has since been followed with a new arc called Wangan Midnight: C1 Runner (湾岸ミッドナイト C1ランナー) with another 12 volumes. It ended in July 2012.
The third arc started in 2014, but due to the change of publisher it was renamed to Ginkai no Speed Star (銀灰のスピードスター).
The story got its roots from street racing that occurs on Tokyo's Shuto Expressway Bayshore Route. 'Wangan' (literally bayshore in Japanese) is the endonym of the longest, straightest road in the entire country. There is also road traffic to contend with, including a fair number of heavy trucks. Because of this, the action is inherently hazardous, and wrecks are common. Blown engines are also a frequent hazard, especially with extremely high power engines.
One day, Akio Asakura, a high school student in his last year of study, is driving his Nissan Fairlady Z (Z31) on the Shuto Expressway when he challenges Tatsuya Shima, a doctor, in his black Porsche 964, dubbed the "Blackbird". With his friend in the passenger seat and two girls in the back, Akio attempts to win, but is defeated. Determined to drive a faster car, he goes to the junkyard because his mechanic friend tells him he saw the scrapped body of a S30 with good parts on it. When he sees the scrapped body of a midnight blue Fairlady Z (S30) in the junkyard, he remembers seeing this car a few years ago with a nice girl in the passenger seat. Intrigued as to why such a classic Japanese performance vehicle is about to be junked, he convinces the junkyard owner to sell it to him. The junkyard owner was told by the previous owner to scrap the car because it is cursed. He soon finds that the car is unnaturally fast due to its tuned L28 engine, bored and stroked to 3.1 L, fitted with triple carburetors and twin turbos. He also finds that one of the car's previous owners shares his first and last name, and had been killed in a horrible crash on the Wangan few years ago. Every person who takes possession of the Z ends up spinning out of control and crashing, as if the car is rebelling against its driver. This gives the blue Z the nickname "The Devil Z".
The manga follows Akio's various encounters with people who are obsessed to race The Devil Z on the Wangan, and his maniacal attempts to control the car, though the central plot revolves around his constant battle with the 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)
- 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 Fairlady Z (Z31) until, after a humiliating loss to Tatsuya Shima, he discovered the "Devil Z", a Nissan Fairlady Z (S30Z) which is supernaturally fast and extremely hard to drive. Akio is regarded as a legend on the Wangan, although he is a humble young man. Still, despite his gentle demeanor, he is so serious about racing that he skips school to the point of repeating a grade to drive the Devil Z. Akio has trouble forming intimate relationships, although he has made some slight inroads with Reina Akikawa. His day job is a waiter for a night club, but was later fired for showing up late too often due to late night racing. He is regularly exposed to the active social scene at the heart of Tokyo. He was already an accomplished racer with his old car, but behind the wheel of the Devil Z, Akio is nearly invincible. He is very adaptable and can learn to drive virtually anything.
- Voiced by: Shun Oguri
- Reina Akikawa (秋川零奈 Akikawa Reina)
- Reina is a very attractive model who also co-hosts a driving television show named "Drive Go Go!" where the latest automotive trends are discussed. She finds Akio on the Wangan and becomes obsessed with him and the Devil Z, driving her to tune her car and even steal the Devil Z one night (but is stopped by Akio). After getting her Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32) tuned and modified, she discovers a previously unknown aptitude for street racing, something that does not sit very well with her manager. She is very sociable, and has lots of acquaintances, but has no real friends. While she is an idol, she is quite modestly dressed. Like most of the women in the series, Reina is very sensitive and bursts into tears easily in some volumes and one episode of the anime, although she calms down considerably in later volumes. In the manga, her hair is curly, but in later volumes of the manga (and the anime), she only has straight hair.
- Voiced by: Reiko Suhou
- Tatsuya Shima (島達也 Shima Tatsuya).
- He is the main rival of Akio Asakura, as Akio is the only one who regularly gives him a challenge. He drives a Porsche 964, named "Blackbird". In the anime and manga, the car has 470 hp (350 kW) stock. Tatsuya becomes annoyed with Akio becoming faster all the time so he hires Jun Kitami, the man who built the Devil Z, to tune the Porsche. Kitami tunes the suspension and adds a second turbo and boosts the car to 700 hp (520 kW) and beyond to try to keep up with the Devil Z. He is an extraordinarily skilled driver and has only been in one wreck during the course of the anime. When as a result of deep thought he failed to notice drunkards on the road, only to swerve again to avoid a taxi and end up hitting a pole. He knows the limits of his vehicle and will never risk disaster by pushing it beyond its safe limits. This cost him a couple of battles, but he always learns from his failures and comes back even tougher. He is a very skilled surgeon and uses his large salary to fund his Porsche.
- Voiced by: Shin-ichiro Miki
- Japanese Release – 42 Volumes (1990–2008)
- C1 Runner Japanese Release – 12 Volumes (2008–2012)
- Taiwanese release – 38 Volumes
- Chuang Yi release – 42 Volumes
- C1 Runner Chuang Yi release – 11 volumes (ongoing)
The first Wangan Midnight volume was released in Japan in 1990, and has never been translated into any other languages during its publication run, and the final volume was published in mid-2008. However, Taiwan-based Sharp Point Press has obtained license for translating the manga into Chinese, but this was stopped after volume 38 due to an expired license. There have been no announcements as to a new distributor in Taiwan for continuing or restarting the manga.
The C1 Runner arc started in 2008 shortly after the main story and ended in July 2012, thus ending the entire Wangan Midnight manga series.
In Singapore, the main Wangan Midnight manga, along with C1 Runner volumes, has been translated by Chuang Yi into English for Singaporean readers. However, despite being translated into English, the manga series was never popular as its rival, Initial D (which was translated into Chinese by the same company). Even the Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune series and the PS3 game of the same name did not help improving the sales of the manga. Despite this, the C1 Runner arc is currently translated into English as well.
The series was adapted into a series of direct-to-video movies in 1994, 1998, 2001, and 2009. They accurately depict the manga, with the exception of Akio being in his thirties. Many Japanese viewers hold the films in high regard for their realistic portrayal of the racing with the cars having the speed they have in the manga.
- 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
Wangan Midnight and Wangan Midnight REdit
The series has been adapted into a series of video games, developed by Bandai Namco Entertainment (was formerly developed by Namco). The first game, Wangan Midnight was released on February 2, 2001. On December 20, 2001, Wangan Midnight R was released. A PS2 version of Wangan Midnight was released later on March 21, 2002. It was basically a home port of Wangan Midnight R.
Wangan Midnight Maximum TuneEdit
A complete re-imagining of the popular arcade game series, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune, was released on July 2003. The sequel, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 2, was released on April 2004.
The third installment, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 was released on July 18, 2007, with a sequel to the original game following on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable platforms. The fourth installment, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX, was released on December 16, 2008. The PS3 and PSP games were re-released in 2008 under the "Genki The Best" label. An RPG which was a sequel to the PS3 and PSP games, titled Wangan Midnight: C1 Runner (based on the manga of the same name), was also released by Genki. The fifth installment, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX Plus, was released in Japan on March 4, 2010 and in Indonesia on May 2010.
The sixth installment, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4, was released in Japan, on December 15, 2011, Australia, on December 15, 2012, Indonesia, on November 27, 2013, and China, on 2016 and it runs by System ES1A2, an upgraded version of System N2. The seventh installment, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5, was released in Japan, on March 12, 2014, Australia, on October 22, 2014, Indonesia, on December 15, 2014, and North America, on 8 March 2017. Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 is also distributed as an "upgrade kit for Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 arcade machines.
The eighth installment, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX, was released early in Japan on 15 December 2015. The International and Indonesian version was released on August 2, 2016, and the Chinese version was released on January 2018. The ninth installment, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX Plus, was released in Japan on December 15, 2016, International (Asia) on July 19, 2017 (4 weeks before Sonic Mania debuted in consoles), and Indonesia on October 5, 2017.
The tenth installment, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6, was released earlier in Japan on July 12, 2018, and the International (Asia and Indonesia) version was slated to be released on May 1, 2019, but was delayed to end June 2019. It was delayed again to early July 2019.
Unlike the predecessors of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune, which uses Porsche replacements (like RUF, Gemballa, or Nissan, due to the fact that Porsche had a 16-year-agreement with Electronic Arts since 2000), Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6 features genuine Porsche vehicles for the first time. Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6 also reintroduces new rivals which appeared in previous installments.
At the 2007 Tokyo Anime Fair, OB Planning (Initial D) announced the production of an animated series based on the manga. 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 series was released on DVD with the thirteenth volume reaching 29th on the Oricon sales chart for Japanese animation DVDs in November 2008. The Japanese opening theme for the series is Lights and Anymore by TRF; the opening features clips of Akio's Devil Z, the 3 main characters of the show, and also features Akio's Devil Z racing against Shima's Blackbird. The closing theme is Talkin' Bout Good Days by Mother Ninja. The animation is similar to that of Initial D Fourth Stage and Fifth Stage.
Wangan Midnight: The Movie (2009)Edit
On September 12, 2009, Jolly Roger and Geneon Universal Entertainment released a live-action adaptation of the manga. Wangan Midnight: The Movie is directed by Atsushi Muroga, with the screenplay written by Yasutoshi Murakawa. The film stars Yuichi Nakamura as Akio Asakura, Ryoko Kobayashi as Eriko Asakura, Kazuki Kato as Tatsuya Shima, Rio Matsumoto as Reina Akikawa, and Masaki Sata as Kota "Kou-chan" Takahashi. The film was shot in San Mateo, Rizal, Philippines, as a stand-in for the expressway racing scenes. Like the previous anime television series and video features, Wangan Midnight: The Movie centers on Akio Asakura's "Devil Z" and the rivalry with Tatsuya Shima's "Blackbird".
- Kodansha Manga Award. Archived 2007-08-16 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on November 17, 2007.
- "AF 2007: Wangan Midnight Anime Announced – Anime News Network". Retrieved 2007-03-24.
- 銀灰のスピードスター (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- Anime News Service – October 18 – November 9 Anime News. Retrieved on November 17, 2007.
- プレイステーション2 – 湾岸ミッドナイト. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.91. 30 June 2006.
- "TAF 2007: Wangan Midnight Anime Announced". Anime News Network. 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- "Japanese Animation DVD Ranking, November 19–25". Anime News Network. 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- Wangan Midnight the Movie to Open in Japan This Summer. Anime News Network. 2009-04-26. Retrieved on 2009-04-26.