Get Your Wangan On

Akio Asakura was just another high school senior who couldn’t graduate due to one too many a late night cruising in his Z31 300ZX 2+2. That is, until one fateful day when he stumbled upon a lightly scuffed 240Z with a turbocharged L28 and full race suspension and roll cage. Despite the junkyard owner’s strict instructions to scrap it, as the car was cursed and had killed its previous owner, he sold it to the lad anyway. Now Akio prowls the legendary Bayshore Route hunting down Porsches and Skyline GT-Rs in what other midnight racers call “The Devil Z.” Nostalgic power, baby!

Sadly, none of this is true. It’s all a petrol-powered figment of Michiharu Kusunoki’s imagination, but that doens’t make it any less real for fans of the manga Wangan Midnight. Now the series has been transformed from ink and paper into all it’s full-color animated glory by OB Planning, the same production company and legion of Korean animators who adapted Initial-D and instantly made “hachiroku” part of the American lexicon.

Wangan Midnight seems to have learned from the missed shifts of its predecessor, with computer-generated cars seamlessly integrated into backgrounds drawn in the more traditional method of paintbrush, making for some truly breathtaking angles of a dark blue 240Z in motion. Thankfully, the accompanying engine sounds are so beautifully recorded that they make up for the aural assault of J-pop R&B so cheesy it should come with a warning for the lactose intolerant.

The first episode aired June 8th on the Japanese satellite network Animax, but the enterprising among you will surely have no problem finding the fansubbed version that’s been circulating the web faster than a blast around the Wangan.

This post is filed under: datsun, manga, nissan.

3 Responses to Get Your Wangan On

  1. Van Strapp says:

    Haha, what are the odds of you guys using the exact same screengrab for this entry that I used for my forum!

    Anyway, I’ve waited so long for this show to air. I had about a dozen different sites in my RSS feed, so I’d know the instant a “fansubbed” version of the first episode was available online. I grabbed it a couple of days ago, and man it felt awesome to finally be watching Wangan Midnight in a form other than an arcade or PS2 game!

    I’d been getting the “scanlated” manga chapters from the guys at Newcomer Of Wangan, but they’re pretty slack (releasing about chapter every 43 years), so hopefully I’ll have more luck with the anime haha.

    A couple of things I was a tiny bit disappointed about: The Devil Z seemed to lack a turbo – or at least a noticeable BOV sound, which is a little inconsistent with the massive FMIC bolted behind the grille, haha. The Blackbird also sounded more like a regular 911 rather than a heavily worked Gemballa example.

    The character designs seem a little childish – almost in an Inspector Gadget cartoon kind of way (even keeping in mind that it’s anime and that’s somewhat what anime is like)- but those minor things aside, I loved this!

    – Van

  2. Japanese Nostalgic Car says:

    Wow, nice site! We hadn’t heard of Over Rev until we saw it in your banner. As for the pic, isn’t it just the baddest angle ever? Thank goodness for animation, cause you probably couldn’t get a shot like that in real life without great danger to your person.

  3. Jesse says:

    I’ve never been a big fan of anime/manga, but I’ve been enjoying Wangan Midnight so far. A real movie could be quite interesting, I’m a little excited to see it come out. We’ll see how it comes out.

    Van Strapp:
    A recirculated BOV won’t have the ‘psscht’ noise you’re used to hearing on cars that have turbos added to them rather than a stock setup. It’s perfectly believable that it wouldn’t make that noise.

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