|First appearance||1990 – 2008|
|Created by||Michiharu Kusunoki|
Wangan Midnight 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 main protagonist of the series, Akio is a 19-year-old live-alone student who was running in the Wangan with Ma and his friends in his Nissan Fairlady Z (Z31) when he was easily trounced in a race by the Blackbird. He then found the scrapped body of the blue S30 Z known as the Devil Z in which he bought and restored to good condition. His racing life began since then. He was surprised to learn that the former (and deceased) owner of the Devil Z shares the same name that he has. He wears a black jacket (red in the anime) over a white T-shirt, and blue pants and brown shoes.
He was a fairly good racer during his teens, even though he had a license for a year. He started racing when he was around, and he had a reputation. He had to save some money (although half of it was a loan from his father) to buy his Z31 and had to sell it in order to buy the Devil Z. He had trouble adjusting to it, but when it was heard about the Devil Z, it increased his reputation. He also improved his skills while driving it.
He is a counterpart to Akira Shimizu in Shakotan Boogie who also drives an S30Z, but with a G-Nose body kit.
A high-end fashion model and TV personality who hosts a motoring show and formerly one of Akio's main rivals, she finds herself depressed with how she has pushed others out of her life in her original pursuit of fame. She harbors her sadness and frustration by day, shoot after shoot, until she can get off of work and drive her GT-R on Wangan highway to vent. Finding herself depressed by quite a lot, she finds herself enamored with the Devil Z after it overtakes her on the highway late at night after a shoot. She follows Akio to a parking area, where she then steals the Z, which by now she feels obsessed to drive. Later on, she encounters the Devil Z and the Blackbird having a race and decides to join in but her car spins out and crashes.
After this incident, she is content to just follow the other racers without trying to pull into the lead. Her GT-R is tuned by Kazuhiko Yamamoto. As a safety precaution, it is fitted with a roll cage and later repainted white to be more visible to other cars. However, she also proved to be a great racer being able to keep up with the Akio and Tatsuya when they're racing. Akio is her primary love interest, and he may also harbor feelings towards Reina. She would later temporarily move to the United States after earning an actress role and left her GT-R to Rikako while she is away. She confessed to Akio, in which he accepted it and would wait for her return.
Early in the manga, she wears a white jacket over a black shirt and white pants and black shoes; in later volumes of the manga, she dons a black turtleneck tank top and a red skirt. In the anime, she wears different clothes, consisting of a white T-shirt, blue skirt and brown fashion boots. She also wears a black jacket over a red T-shirt, white pants and white rubber shoes as the series progresses; or a blue jacket over a yellow dress, a blue short skirt, and white shoes. She also wears an orange jacket over a white shirt, a blue skirt and red shoes.
A surgeon by day and a racer by night and the rival of Akio, this man is the driver of the Porsche 911 dubbed as "Blackbird". He was the one racing with the original owner of the Devil Z when it crashed. The boyfriend of Eriko, he assumes the role of taking care of her in place of her dead brother. When he met Kitami, he asked him to tune the Blackbird to match the Devil Z. He also made some appearances in the new story arc, Wangan Midnight: C1 Runner. His voice actor is Shin-ichiro Miki who voiced Takumi Fujiwara in another anime and manga, Initial D.
Shinji Ogishima is an editor of an automotive magazine "GT Cars", and also a driving specialist, formerly a member of RGO team. He made a debut appearance in the last volumes of the original Wangan Midnight manga. He became one of the main characters in the Wangan Midnight: C1 Runner story arc, replacing Akio Asakura. He was known as "FD Master" as he made a debut appearance with driving a third generation Mazda RX-7 (FD3S). In the C1 Runner story arc, he is a main character who is joined by his friend, Nobu Setoguchi, who also drives the same car as Ogishima, but with different modifications and appearances. He also made appearances in the new arcade games, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3DX, 3DX+, and later Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6R as one of the rivals the player has to beat.
Shinji Ogishima's best friend, and one of the editors of "GT Cars". Influenced by his grandfather, he has an old-fashioned behavior in society. He works in a factory during his school days and got interested in cars. After getting a driving license, he was advised to drive his white RX-7 around Shuto Expressway. He wears a simple white T-shirt with long trousers.
Recurring racing characters
Also known as the "Tuner from Hell", he is the one that originally modified the Devil Z and also Blackbird as well. He laughs in the face of danger and will gladly take anything past the "safe" 600 hp (450 kW) mark. Unfortunately, the cars he tunes are so powerful that they are extremely difficult to control, hence his reputation as the "Tuner from Hell". He has a big scar on his face, presumably from a past racing incident. Even though he drives a powerful car, he is now only a mechanic.
Compared to other tuners, he has a few strict requirements: for one, he prefers carburetor engines over fuel injection engines since he is old fashioned about cars; even when he accepted the offer to tune the Blackbird just to make a car that can challenge Devil Z, he still complained a lot about it. Incidentally, he owns a bike shop, and was once a pro racer, racing in GT back in his younger days. He prefers to drive older Japanese tuning cars.
A longtime associate of Jun and nearly as fervent in the pursuit of speed. A CPU tuning specialist, he got the nickname "The Jet" from his racing days and his CPU settings were often called "Jetting". He helped tune Keichiirou Aizawa’s Monster Machine Toyota Supra RZ along with Akio Asakura, mainly providing the lightening carbon parts. Before he established his "Tominaga Speed" tuning shop, he was once a tuner working for ZERO with Kijima and Machida. He also helped re-tune the Devil Z, Blackbird, Kijima's ZERO FC3S, and Makoto's Yamashita Z32. He owns a Honda S2000 Type S that he later helped tune with YM Speed and lends it to Yamamoto's half-brother, Yuji Kishida.
Known widely as the King of Speed before a bad accident 10 years ago while trying to break 300 km/h in an RX-7 FC, he was inspired to go back to street racing when he encountered the Devil Z, going as far as to get a new car, a highly tuned RX-7, from his oldest friend Kazuo Ota, a genius tuner who founded the Speed Factory RGO with Masaki long ago. He has a special fondness for rotary engines and makes up for a lack of raw power with handling ability. Masaki was skipped in the anime due to unknown reasons, but his car was briefly shown in Episode 21 of the anime. His RX-7 is similar to Keisuke Takahashi's from Initial D because they are both tuned and share the same color.
A hardworking man in the Green Auto Shop for 15 years who often races on the Wangan with his friend Harada until one day, the two encountered Reina's gray GT-R (white in the anime) which makes Hiramoto decide to get his own car, despite his promise to his wife Megumi that he had put his racing days behind him. When she learns of his decision, she leaves him to live with her parents because it is better than wondering every night if he'll even come home. After extensive tuning of his GT-R, he challenges both the Devil Z and Blackbird. They run a long race, neck and neck the whole time. Hiramoto encounters one chance to pull ahead at the risk of his own life, but instead pulls back and drops out, realizing that there are more important things to live for. He then sells his car, giving up racing and returning to his wife who by then gave birth to their child.
Hiramoto's friend and also works in the Green Auto Shop who helped him tune his R32 to race with the Devil Z and the Blackbird on the Wangan. He drives a Nissan Fairlady Z (Z31) in which its engine overheated when he encountered the Blackbird and tried to chase after it. He is then seen riding with Hiramoto during the latter's encounter with Reina and her R32 on the Wangan, and the race with the Devil Z and the Blackbird. However, his name was pronounced (in the anime), as "Haruda", not "Harada".
Also known by his nickname Taka, Kuroki is a devoted student of street racing who spends hours just analyzing his vast storehouse of data and coming up with strategies. He staunchly believes in the superiority of the Nissan Skyline GT-R R33 and refuses to drive anything else. His intellect is formidable, and he puts his plans into motion with absolute precision and confidence. He's one of the very few drivers who managed to get a clean one-on-one victory over Tatsuya Shima but, when facing Akio, the engine overheated and blew causing Akio to pull him into a stop. Also, he is fiercely independent, and not associated with such tuners, like some of his rivals. He shows up relatively late in the manga and quickly becomes a ubiquitous figure. Formerly a member of the R200 club before they disbanded. He is also the former boyfriend of Mika Murakami, who he later reconciled his relationship with after losing to the Devil Z. He is the only character to wear glasses in the manga and anime. His voice actor is Akimitsu Takase who voiced "Smiley" Sakai in another anime and manga, Initial D.
A car enthusiast and writer for numerous famous car publications, also a TV personality, as such, he knows many prominent people. He is Reina's co-host for their motoring show Drive Go Go!. He's experienced a tremendous variety of vehicles in his career and knows how to get the most out of each one. Once known as the "Big Mouth Slugger" back in the day, he was both a tuner and a driver who set records at the Tsukuba circuit along with his fellow tuners Kou Tominaga and Machida. Their shop, ZERO, created the legendary FC. Early in the anime, Kijima showed no interest in returning to his old life as a racer. However, when Reina introduces him to Shima and Akio, the latter asked him to test the Devil Z. The car mesmerized Kijima and that brought back his motivation and passion for racing. After a brief reunion with Machida, Kijima is informed of the ZERO FC's whereabouts and brings Akio along to find it in Gotenba. They both meet Hayashi, who restored and owned the FC. Kijima tries to buy the FC back from Hayashi but the latter refused, instead of asking Kijima to drive the car alongside to understand the importance of that FC. Afterward, although Hayashi understood Kijima's bond with the car, he still refused to give the FC to Kijima unless the latter could prove why that FC is supposedly faster than the FD. After a one-on-one battle with Oki, a highly-skilled touge racer who drove an FD, Kijima's FC won the race and Hayashi finally gives it to him. Although already restored to its former glory, Kijima's FC is modified by Tominaga in order to challenge the Devil Z and Blackbird. During the final race, he managed to keep up with the Blackbird and Devil Z but eventually retires. His RX-7 is similar to that of Ryosuke Takahashi's from Initial D because they are both tuned and share the same color, while his voice actor is Jin Horikawa who voiced Nobuhiko Akiyama in said series.
Keiichiro Aizawa (Keiji Aizawa)
Also known by his nickname "Kei", Keiichiro Aizawa is the character who drives the Supra RZ, dubbed as the "Monster Machine", Monsutā Mashin) tuned by Kou Tominaga, Kazuo Ota, Kazuhiko Yamamoto and Akio Asakura. After meeting Devil Z, Kei decided to chase after him. His desire for racing and his car choice was inspired by his father, who drove a MkII Supra and was killed by a drunk driver. He works in a host club to finance his racing activities. Initially, Kei tunes the Supra, but after meeting Gatchan and Yamamoto, he decides to have his Supra tuned by them. His Supra then became a joint project car of his father's tuning colleagues (except for Jun Kitami) in order to beat the Devil Z. While Ota, Yamamoto, and Tominaga tune the engine to 800 hp and with Takagi and Akio taking care of rebuilding the body, their colleagues Yoshioka and Ueda handled the exhaust and the suspension respectively. Gatchan also joins in helping tune the Supra by giving it a new intake, and some new aero parts. Kei gets his back and was given one week to get used to it. During the race, the Supra's body (particularly in the rear section) starts giving in to the stresses of the high power despite Akio and Takagi's best efforts in rebuilding. Even with Kei's skills, the Supra becomes too dangerous to drive and that causes Kei to subsequently give up in the race. After the loss to the Devil Z and Blackbird, Kei decides to give up racing and let go of his Supra. He subsequently quits his job at the host club. The tuners then took the Supra and detuned the engine to 400 hp (300 kW) to make it drivable and then repainted his Supra to the same silver color as his father's. The tuners gave the car back to Kei and encouraged him to continue racing, even if it meant he would never be able to go 300km/h anymore on the Wangan. His Supra is similar to that of Hideo Minagawa's from Initial D. But despite the fact that their cars are both tuned, Minagawa's car is white while Kei's car is silver. In the anime, he is known as Keiji Aizawa.
Gatchan (Gen Sasaki)
A much-maligned character in the manga, Gen Sasaki (Sasaki Gen), fondly known as Gatchan (Gacchan), is regarded as a joke in the manga, anime, and arcade game. His own vehicle, the Toyota Celsior (Lexus LS400), which he calls the "Super Celsior" has everything from underbody lighting, to fancy emblems, to dark window tinting; but keeps the air conditioner, radio, and the back seat; all of which are normally removed during the lightening process. Although he is a pretty good driver, he gets clobbered every time he goes up against something built to race. He is also quite obnoxious, frequently bragging about the incredible upgrades he's made to psych people out.
A young friend of Akio who lives with a woman named Kyoko Kitahara known for the quote "I'm a person who disappears...". He works for a tuning shop known as ACE, and he tries (unsuccessfully) to "fix-up" Kyoko and his fellow mechanic, ACE boss Gen Goto. He drives a Honda Integra Type-R but after blowing the engine on his R Killer Integra, he switches to ACE’s demo car, a modified Nissan Skyline R34 V-Spec II. However, he wrecks the R34 demo car while racing and proceeds to work with ACE on building the tuning shop’s new project car, the "ACE32R", a modified R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R. He is a timid, insecure character and after trying unsuccessfully to overtake the Devil Z and Blackbird for Wangan superiority, he feels "out of place" and moves away from Tokyo.
Another model who was friendly with Reina, she got drawn into street racing after hearing of Reina's exploits. She received a Subaru Impreza WRX from her boyfriend Hiroki as a gift, but after encountering the Devil Z and failing to keep up with it, she tried to get rid of the car and broke up with her boyfriend, then searched for a better car. She then meets Yamashita, a veteran tuner who offered to sell her Impreza and loaned to her a Z32. Though Makoto had her gripes on the Z32, she came to appreciate the car's sense of unity and asked Yamashita to sell it to him. Yamashita, being enamored with Makoto's determination to race, decided to give her the Z32 for free as well as helping to tune it. Makoto is proven to be a quick learner in racing even if she does not have the experience that Reina has. After work on her Z32 is completed by Yamashita and Tominaga, she faces Blackbird and the Devil Z using the newfound knowledge and skill acquired from Akio, Reina, and Yamashita. However, during the race, she becomes too overwhelmed and loses her pace but she continues anyway. After the race, she quits her job and lets go of the Z32. Yamashita tells her that he changed his mind and decided to keep his shop open. He then offers Makoto to work for him which she accepts. Her red hair is similar to Rikako Ota but more auburnish, and she has a boyfriend again named Kei.
A touge ace in the manga. Hailing from Hakone, Oki has long been unchallenged on the mountain road...until the Devil Z came along. As such, he's decided to give it a try racing it on Tokyo's highways. He is not seen in the Legendary FC arc of the anime adaptation for unknown reasons.
Eiji Kamiya & Maki Kamiya
Two half-brothers from the Kansai region. Eiji's the serious racer, and he's tremendously gifted, both as a driver and a tuner. Maki has potential but for the moment mainly just tags along. They met Tatsuya Shima and his Blackbird when the latter visited Osaka while looking for a new exhaust pipe. Eiji, inspired by Shima's driving, then decided to visit Tokyo, meeting Rikako Ota in the process.
Note: In the Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune series, Maki's Evo VI is an RS, due to white Evos always being the RS versions, while in the original manga and anime it was a GSR.
Rikako Ota is the daughter of RGO owner Kazuo Ota, and an aspiring tuner herself. Known to inherit RGO from her father after his retirement, she follows her father's footsteps as a tuner by engaging in tuning herself. When Eiji Kamiya comes over to Tokyo and works for RGO, she tunes his Evo along with him and even comes along during his battle with the Devil Z and Blackbird. Her first solo tuning work was with the Devil Z, after Akio specifically asked for her help in tuning the Z's engine. Her addition of a dry-sump lubrication system on the Z's L28 engine resulted in Akio's victory against Kijima's FC and the Blackbird. Since then, Jun Kitami has entrusted her with tuning the Devil Z, as he told her before the race with the Z's race with Kijima and Blackbird that he would no longer tune the Devil Z.
A photographer of Japanese idols. He meets and gets to know Reina, whom he happens to share the same passion for racing and aspiration to defeat the Devil Z. He has had his car tuned by Kitami to around 600hp.
While racing against the Devil Z, Ishida had thoughts of his late man who died of cancer, a poor uneducated man "covered in factory grease" who works all day long for his son's sake; a complete contrast to Ishida's own rich life that is, according to him, "eating good food, drinking fine wine, surrounded by lovely women, partying all night in the sparkling lights of the sparkling big city". He thinks that the life he is currently living is "just a sham", due to his dissatisfaction (despite his prestige), and he tried to seek the answers within the Devil Z on the Wangan, only to fall back midway through the race for unknown reasons.
Akio's friend who helps him tune the Devil Z before he met Kitami. He owns a local tuner shop with the help of his brother Ma. He is also the one watching over Akio when he tunes the Z prior to meeting Kitami. His voice actor is Anri Katsu who went on to voice the fake Takumi Fujiwara in another anime and manga, Initial D.
The half-brother of Kazuhiko Yamamoto who also works at YM Speed, as well as a photographer on his own right. Yuji is a shy and introverted person. He is often naïve and finds himself feeling unsure about his future as copes with accepting his father's death. He sees the Blackbird as a "fighter jet for the roads" while driving YM Speed's R33 Skyline GT-R demo car, and so he decides to find the best "ZERO for the Roads" in order to outrun the Blackbird. He later encounters the Devil Z while driving. He found RGO's RX-7 with a rotary engine, but found out that he was not satisfied. Yuji later on also tests the NSX and the Blackbird in order for him to understand the different vehicle dynamics of an MR and RR respectively. Not too long after, he discovers Tominaga's S2000 and asks to test drive it. Yuji was satisfied with the S2000, thus using it as the basis for the "Zero for the Roads." He and Yamamoto then proceed to tune the S2000 (MX-5 in 3DX+) as well as modifying its appearance. After the S2000 was completed, Yuji then battles the Blackbird and the Devil Z on the New BeltLine and ends up being outrun by both.
Koichi Kijima's tuner who was asked for the "Legendary FC" by Kijima. He can be briefly seen test-driving his shop's FC RX-7 at Gotemba, before finally giving it to Kijima at the latter's request.
Akio Asakura (original)
Eriko Asakura's actual (deceased) elder brother, who died in an accident while racing against the Blackbird on Wangan while driving the Devil Z. The current Akio Asakura finds it interesting that he shares his name with the deceased Akio, albeit with different writings on their given names (whereas the late Akio's given name is written in kanji, the current Akio's given name is rendered in katakana. His voice actor was Tomokazu Seki who voiced Keisuke Takahashi in another anime and manga, Initial D.
Akio Asakura 's best friend and the brother of Ko-chan, he enjoys riding with him and picking up girls. However, when Akio gets the Devil Z, Ma, like other people, grows concerned about him, as Akio puts his life and chances of graduating with Ma in danger to drive the Z. His full name is Masaki Takahashi (Takahashi Masaki) and he rides a scooter bike, Suzuki Address.
Voiced by: Kiyotaka Furushima, Kousuke Yonehara (film)
Akio's homeroom teacher. Knowing Akio's poor attendance record (caused by his obsession with the Devil Z), which forced him to repeat his last year of high school, Rumi is sent to learn why Akio has yet to attend her class. It is slightly hinted that she has a slight love interest in Akio because of Akio's driving skills and Akio decided to date with her (PS3 game story).
However, she has never made an appearance in Maximum Tune 4 and beyond, due to the Story Mode in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune being reworked.
Voiced by: Sanae Kobayashi, Maimi Okuwa (film)
The wife of Koichi Hiramoto who engaged in Enjo kōsai while her husband worked at a tuning shop so they could save enough money to buy a house in the countryside. They lived in a small house while that happened. She was distraught when Koichi took their savings to buy a Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 (The same color as Reina Akikawa's R32.) to go street racing, and in response moved away, but later reunited with him after she gave birth to their child.
Voiced by: Tomoko Kawakami
A friend and former racing partner of Kijima during his time in ZERO. He was the one who built the first non-boosted car of the shop, the Legendary FC. After ZERO closed down and he and Kijima went their separate ways, he worked as a renovation expert for mansions and townhouses. When Kijima decided to once again drive the FC, he refused to tune it but he told Kijima of its whereabouts, saying he had given up the racing life.
His voice actor is Keiji Fujiwara, who has previously voiced Shingo Shoji in another anime and manga, Initial D.
Masaki's wife. Named "Marmi" in the English version of the Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune games up to Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3DX+.
Voiced by: Eriko Kigawa (PS3 video game only)
She is the girlfriend of Tomoya. She sometimes accompanies him when he races in his Integra. After Tomoya loses and realizes that he "feels out of place," they leave Tokyo together.
A college friend and the former girlfriend of Takayuki Kuroki, and also an associate of Reina Akikawa as a result of being a freelance photographer and journalist (though often contracted by car magazines to work on various articles). When Kuroki delved into street racing years prior to the current storyline, Mika's relationship with him became strained due to the time he spent on tuning his car, and they broke up and went their separate ways. Mika decided to see Kuroki again while he was planning on challenging the Devil Z. Mika then realizes that his persistence in wanting to be the best was his greatest trait and came to appreciate that part of him. After Kuroki's failed race against the Devil Z where he blew his car's engine and later worked on fixing it with his own hands, Mika confesses her love to Kuroki and decides to be there for him. Even though Kuroki tried to brush her off once more, he eventually appreciates Mika's persistence in staying with him and they rekindled their relationship. She was once engaged to an editor of a magazine. Mika Murakami is not seen in the Maximum Tune games for unknown reasons.
Voiced by: Mami Higashiyama
Gatchan's wife and an acquaintance of Reina Akikawa, though only seen once in the anime conversing with Reina at the Host Club where Keiichiro Aizawa works, where she is apparently a frequent patron. She also appears in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune in specific circumstances during 10-Outrun mode as a "critic" to the player's performance. Beginning with Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4, she becomes a racing character where she drives a Toyota Aristo V300/Lexus GS300, appearing in one stage with her husband Gatchan in his Celsior.
An old friend of Keiichiro Aizawa who also works at the host club alongside him. His name is not to be confused with the driver of the Blackbird, Tatsuya Shima, as the kanji in their names are different.
Voiced by: Daisuke Ono (PS3 video game only)
The driver of the express carrier truck that Akio crashed the Devil Z in to. He made an unknown cameo in the anime, manga and live-action film, however, he is prominently featured in the PS3 game as a playable character. His name is not to be confused with former R200 Club member Yasuhiko Miki, despite both characters being referred to as "Yasu-san". In the live-action film, Yasu-san is depicted as a trucker in his late 40s to mid-50s. The vehicle that he used in the live-action film was an Isuzu Giga.
Voiced by: Unknown Portrayed by: Masanori Machida (2009 live-action film)
The Feeling Team / racing wannabes
An unknown group of drivers appearing in the anime and Maximum Tune series. In the anime, they first appeared in a red Mazda MX-5 in the same color of Tohru's MX-5 from Initial D, and later, they suffered from crashing their R32 while racing Akio and Ishida. From Maximum Tune 4 until 5DX+, they cosplayed as Initial D characters, right down to sharing the same cars as the members. The Feeling Team was removed from the storyline in Maximum Tune 6.