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Cover of the first volume of the manga
|Written by||Michiharu Kusunoki|
|Magazine||Big Comic Spirits|
Weekly Young Magazine
|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|
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 since 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.
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.
A second series entitled Wangan Midnight: C1 Runner was published from 2008 to 2012. The third series, Ginkai no Speed Star, was published from 2014 to 2015. A fourth series, entitled Shutoko SPL - Ginkai no Speedster, started in 2016.
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 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 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 was actually very popular among the girls in his school, as shown in one episode of the anime when he greeted Rumi Shimada one morning. The girls in the background all had a look on their faces that screamed "SQUEE!", but Akio's too obsessed with street racing (especially in the Devil Z), to notice.
- Lamp-shaded by his best friend Masaki Takahashi who claimed that because Akio had to repeat a year due to too many absences, the girls from the graduating class cried as a result.
- Akio has trouble forming intimate relationships, although he has made some slight inroads with Reina Akikawa.
- His night job is a waiter for Midnight Club, but he had either been laid off (due to Midnight Club going bankrupt), resigned from Midnight Club (like how Keiichiro Aizawa did), or still working there (even though Midnight Club was never heard of again after several volumes of the manga/several episodes of the anime).
- He is regularly exposed to the active social scene at the heart of Tokyo, and he was already an accomplished racer with his Nissan Fairlady Z (300ZX), but behind the wheel of the Nissan Fairlady Z (S30Z), Akio is nearly invincible. He is very adaptable and can learn to drive virtually any car he sees.
- 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 has a 470 hp (350 kW) stock engine. He became annoyed with Akio becoming faster all the time so he had Jun Kitami (the man who built the Devil Z) to tune his Porsche.
- Kitami tunes the suspension and adds another turbo boost and upgrades the engine to 800 hp (600 kW), 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 (as a result of deep thought, he failed to notice drunkards on the road. He swerves to avoid a taxi, only to 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/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 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, even trying to take the Devil Z for a joyride one night (she distracted Devil Z owner Akio Asakura, by asking him to buy her a drink (after identifying herself using a nearby poster advertising a drink, complete with the word drink)).
- After getting her Nissan Skyline GT-R (R32) tuned and modified from YM Speed's Kazuhiko Yamamoto, 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. She has made some slight inroads with Akio Asakura.
- Like most of the women in the series, Reina is very sensitive and bursts into tears easily in some volumes and in 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 has straight hair.
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 sequel entitled Wangan Midnight: C1 Runner started in 2008 and finished in 2012. It was compiled into twelve tankōbon volumes published between November 6, 2009 and October 5, 2012. A third series entitled 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 entitled 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 four tankōbon volumes as of September 2019.
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 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.
Wangan Midnight: The Movie (2009)
On September 12, 2009, Jolly Roger and Geneon Universal Entertainment released a live-action adaptation of the manga, titled Wangan Midnight: The Movie. 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".
The series has been adapted into a series of video games, developed by Bandai Namco Amusement.
- Wangan Midnight and Wangan Midnight R
Wangan Midnight, developed by Genki and released in February 2, 2001 as an arcade game, plays much like Shutokou Battle. The objective is to drain the opponent's Life Meter by maintaining a major advantage or causing the opponent to crash into things.
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.
A sequel to the original game was 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: C1 Runner (based on the manga of the same name which was a sequel to the PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Portable platforms) was also released by Genki.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune
Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune (marketed as Maximum Tune in North America), developed by Bandai Namco Amusement (was formerly developed by Namco), is the series of Wangan Midnight games as most fans know it. Originally released in July 6, 2004, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune features a card system, more lenient and drifty driving physics, more colorful graphics, a more traditional "point A to point B" racing system, and a tuning system in which players can tune their car all the way to 800 hp (600 kW) by completing 60, 80, or 100 stages of Story Mode.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 2
Released on April 25, 2005, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 2 introduces the Hakone mountain pass, and increased the maximum horsepower to 815.
Story Mode has been revamped, expanded to 80 stages from 60 with the latter half of Story Mode following various story arcs from the Wangan Midnight manga.
When a player's card expires, they can use the expired card, now a "Discarded Vehicle Card", to make up to two clones of their car with everything other than vehicle color and Story Mode progress up to stage 20 reset.
Also, VS races are also done on circuits; the lead player deciding the next route at forks would not come until Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3
Released on July 18, 2007. Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 expands the Tokyo map to include longer stretches of the Yokohane and Wangan lines, and adds the Osaka Hanshin line as a new map.
The Story Mode was completely revamped and are now fully integrated to the stories from the original manga. Ghost Battle is introduced, allowing players within the same arcade to race against AI opponents representing past runs within the mode; winning battles in Ghost Battle earns the player Dress-Up points that can be used to make cosmetic changes to their car.
VS Mode has been overhauled; on Tokyo and Osaka, instead of racing fixed circuits, certain junctions allow the lead player to choose the next route.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX
Released on December 16, 2008, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX adds the Nagoya Speed Ring area.
Story Mode has been extended further to 100 stages; along with Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX Plus, this results in the longest and most expensive Story Mode cycle (the next installment to do so is Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6, though many fans were also relieved to find out that the unlock conditions for new tachometers were changed. Instead of completing an entire story loop from start to finish, unshaded, players can obtain them by completing any 100 story chapters without losing once). The maximum horsepower has been increased from 815 hp to 825 hp.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX Plus
Released in Japan on March 4, 2010 and in Indonesia on May 2010. Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX Plus (stylized as Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3DX+) is the last version to support proprietary read/write data cards. Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX Plus adds the Fukuoka Urban Expressway area.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4
Released in Japan, on December 15, 2011, Australia, on December 15, 2012, Indonesia, on November 27, 2013, and China, on 2016, it operates on the System ES1 system, an upgraded version of System N2. The maximum horsepower has been increased from 825 hp to 830 hp.
Before Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 it's quite common for a player to have more than one card, as the card can store one car per card. This became a thing of the past when Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 ditched the previous installments' magnetic cards in favor of Bandai Namco ID system; since player data is stored on the server rather than on the card, there is no issue of cards having limited data, and thus the player can have up to 100 cars in their profile.
Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 was the first installment to use the Bandai Namco ID network and corresponding BanaPassport card system (Banapassport cards are read-only NFC cards and only contain the card ID, and all player data is stored in Bandai Namco's cloud infrastructure and the card is used for player authentication. It isn't vulnerable to the issue of the card wearing out from read-write cycles like magnetic cards), with all player data being stored on the server. SEGA's Aime cards are compatible with the game as well, due to Namco and SEGA sharing the same online infrastructure; conversely BanaPassport cards can be used on games using Aime readers.
This network functionality allows players to race ghosts from other arcades, see server records when racing in Time Attack, and access player data from the web. The Wangan Terminal (a companion cabinet that allows players to change customizations and game settings at no cost, and (depending on the arcade), can sell unactivated BanaPassport cards to players (since BanaPassport cards can be purchased independent of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune cabinets for play with other games on the network, it is common for arcades to only load cards into the Wangan Terminal and not into the gameplay cabinets, or to not even load cards at all and sell them in person through the counter instead)) is also introduced.
Aside from these dramatic changes to player data structure, Story Mode has been shrunk from 100 stages back to 60, Porsche cars are officially available for the first time outside of Japan under the RUF license (they exist in a dummied-out form in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 2, but all data pertaining to them was scrubbed from Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3).
Chevorlet cars were added making them the first American cars in the series, and a few new areas have been added: Yaesu loop within C1 and the Yokohama line.
Notably, this version was skipped over for non-Asian regions, marking a long six-year hiatus for North America.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5
Released in Japan, on March 12, 2014, Australia, on October 22, 2014, Indonesia, on December 15, 2014, and North America, on March 8, 2017. Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 is distributed as an upgrade kit for Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 arcade machines.
Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 adds the Shibuya/Shinjuku and Ikebukuro sub-center lines, as well as the Mt. Taikan pass, and introduces two more car-makers, Audi and Dodge. Non-Japanese versions notably have a large number of changes: the game uses the same hardware and interface as Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4; some exclusive cars and two new car-makers were added while removing some other ones, and the sub-center lines were not added to these versions.
The U.S. version is additionally segregated from Asia regions, takes out two more cars, and is officially called Maximum Tune 5, without the Wangan Midnight part of the title. However, a common complaint about the English-language versions of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5, which doesn't add as much new content as the Japanese version. For many players, it may as well be called Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 DX.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX
Released early in Japan on December 15, 2015, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX adds the Kobe area's Hanshin Expressway Route 3 as a new area. The Asian and Indonesian version was released on August 2, 2016, and the Chinese version was released on January 2018.
The Japanese versions add back two more foreign car-makers only available in overseas versions of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5. The Ikebukuro course was redesigned due to a road along its route being closed down. The non-Japan Asia version adds back some of the content that went missing in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5, including the aforementioned sub-center lines, and uses ESA3 hardware and the more updated interface.
The Chinese version skipped Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 in favor of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX due to regional segregation. Also, two car-makers mentioned in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 (Audi and Dodge, added in updates of Asia, North America, and Indonesia version), couldn't see any in Japanese version until Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX Plus
Released in Japan, on December 15, 2016, Asia, on July 19, 2017, and Indonesia, on October 5, 2017, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX Plus (stylized as Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5DX+) adds two car-makers Lamborghini, Honda and Hiroshima Expressway.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6
Released in Japan on July 12, 2018, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6 adds Porsche as a new car manufacturer (which replaced RUF, after Porsche's exclusive-16-year-license with Electronic Arts (since 2000) had expired), revamped Dress-Up parts, an increase in maximum horsepower from 830 to 840, updates to Story Mode that extend it from 60 to 100 stages, most similar to Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX Plus. Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6 also reintroduces new rivals which appeared in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX and Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX+.
The Asian and Indonesian versions were merged as the International version, and released on July 2 - August 7, 2019, in phases:
|Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea (Republic of), Cambodia, Brunei, Malaysia, Macau||July 2, 2019|
|Singapore, Thailand||July 9, 2019|
|Australia, Philippines||July 23, 2019|
|Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka||July 30, 2019|
|New Zealand||August 7, 2019|
Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6 also introduces 4-way Ghost Battles, whereby players can choose from one to three Online ghosts to battle from. The selection can be done on the Wangan Terminal, or on the Wangan Navigator app.
Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6 also dumped Maxi G in favor of a system similar to that of the original Dress-Up system. Also, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6 takes the Banapassport cards up to eleven by having up to 200 cars per card.
The announcement that Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6 would increase the number of chapters in Story Mode from 60 to 100, did not go over well with fans, as well as the fact that those who already finished the story would have to finish it again to go from 830 hp cap in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX Plus, to 840 hp cap in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6. When the game came out, it was revealed that the player needs to get up to Stage 80 to get up to the 840 hp cap, prompting a sigh of relief from fans.
After the sheer amount of backlash received from resetting dress-up progress across the board in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6, and replacing the older aero-sets with newer aero-sets, Bandai Namco announced that they would re-add all eight of the aero-sets from Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX Plus, in a later update in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6.
A parallel companion app, Wangan Navigator, is released to iOS App Store and Google Play Store on July - August 2019.
- Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6R
Expected to be released in Japan on January 21, 2020, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6R is the first installment in the Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune series to use the R (as in Wangan Midnight to Wangan Midnight R) suffix instead of the DX suffix (Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 DX, and Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX). It will also introduce three new cars (Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R (KPGC110), Nissan Silvia K (S14), and Toyota GR Supra RZ (J29)).
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