Movie (or Arcade) Thoughts: Wangan Midnight

Well where should I start, in arcades?

Okay, in my childhood days where my family and I went to malls, my first priority is usually the arcades (which I still was, but now my love is transferred to books).

The days of the arcade where these games usually reign supreme-Dance Dance Revolution, Initial D, Ghost Squad, Mushi King, Dinosaur King, Love & Berry, Taiko Drum Master and so on.

Note: I mostly play rhythm and occasionally the Mushi King types, so I can’t speak to everybody.

Now those arcade has been replaced by new arcades, like Animal Kaiser, Mai Mai, those shooters that you have unliminted ammo fighting spiders, sea cucumbers & skeletons, and of course, Wangan Midnight, now tuned in 5 (though I have never seen 4 though, maybe 3DX replaced it?)

At first, I just wanna find a YouTube video about the game itself, but since I stumbled upon this movie, produced by Geneon Universal Entertainment in 2009, so I watch it and decided that I will talk about it.

Theme: I think it is about resetting yourself and finding who you are, even if you see your old car because it’s not fast enough, repeat high school due to your low attendance, earning by taking 2 part time jobs (okay, in this universe every street racer do this), learning how to fix a car and being all round stubborn about fixing an old car rather than making a blueprint to make a safer Z (which is what would I do, but maybe that because I’m not that obsessed with street car driving, I just love watching it).

Still, I really resonate with the theme in this movie, because I feel like all these people are trying to find something in this world, racing with each other without really deciding where their determined finish line is, consuming petrol, time, money, college years, life…

Plot: Three plots

1. Akio Asakura trying to be the beat Blackbird by buying and repairing Devil Z, to the point that it can be compared to a mixed of Lima Syndrome and a slave.

2. Eriko Asakura (no relation with Akio Asakura) leaving Japan and her boyfriend, surgeon and Blackbird driver Tatsuya Shima to reset herself after an accident that killed her brother, who is also eerily named Akio Asakura, driving the Devil Z.

Lastly 3, and basically filler: Reina Akikawa journey starting to become an actress, doubting her self-identity.

Look, I didn’t dislike Reina’s plot (since it fits the theme well), but given the fact that:

a. Her plot’s airtime could have transferred to Jun Kitami, the mechanic of Devil Z, who has a more important role for the Devil Z, or Akio’s teacher, Rumi Shimada (since she did say that she’s an expert in driving before)

b. Her role in this movie is greatly reduced, like: Driving around the Devil Z for a while, Racing with the Devil Z and Blackbird, being a love interest to Akio (Too soon, and even they did, there is a huge age-difference between them)

Characters:

Well I feel bad for the actors, since the main characters are the car itself, while the people in this manga are….really bland to work with. So I can’t really critique their acting (even with Reina, it’s more about the plot than the character herself)

Well I can talk about the music and the settings, but other than the beginning being surprisingly soft, it’s all normal Japan.

So that’s all I can say for this arcade game.

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