Whilst driving on Tokyo's Shuto Expressway in a Nissan 300ZX, high school student Akio Asakura challenges the "Black Bird", whose driver is Tatsuya Shima, to an impromptu race despite having his friend, Ma, in the passenger seat and two girls in the back, but is defeated. Determined to drive a faster car, he follows his mechanic friend Ko-chan to a junkyard upon hearing a newer 300ZX model is available. While at the junkyard, he sees the scrapped body of a midnight blue Nissan Fairlady Z (S30), equipped with a tuned L28 engine, bored and stroked to 3.1 L and fitted with twin turbos. Attracted to it, he attempts to buy it but the junkyard owner, Kuro, refuses as Kuro was told by the previous owner to scrap the car because it is cursed. After telling Ko-chan that he remembers seeing this car a few years ago, they eventually agree to buy the car. Akio sells off his 300ZX to fund the purchase, much to Ma's exasperation.
When testing the car after its restoration on the highway, Kuro calls Ko-chan warning him that the Z Akio bought is the "Devil Z", a former Wangan racing car which is infamous by causing accidents, as if the car is rebelling against its driver. Despite this, Akio continues to spend time with it, eventually taking two part-time jobs to support his interest and being forced to repeat high school due to his lack of attendance. Eventually, his activities catch the attention of others like his new homeroom teacher Rumi Shimada who knows his obsession of cars with his absence due to it, and also Shima who raced against the Devil Z at the time of the Z's last accident two years previously, which killed the Z's driver (who was coincidentally also called Akio Asakura). They race, but Akio crashes into some roadworks after losing control of the car.
A couple of weeks after the crash, Akio meets Shima while working at his gas station, when he also meets Eriko Asakura, the sister of the deceased Akio and Shima's love interest. Whilst there, Akio issues a formal challenge to Shima once his Z had been repaired. On the same night of the challenge, Rumi comes to visit Akio wanting to ride with him in his Z. Akio however pleads her he cannot do so that night, preventing her from getting to know him better. After which, Akio, Ko-chan and Ma wait for Shima, along with Eriko. Reina Akikawa, a model, appears and shows her interest in cars as well. Akio invites Eriko to ride with him as he and Shima race, to prove that the Z is no longer like the Z her brother drove. Along with Ma riding alongside Ko-chan and Reina following, through the race Akio loses control again, but saves it from hitting the barrier.
Reina goes through a job switch to being an actress and learns from Akio on his passion to race. Knowing her poor social skills due to racing, she learns through others what her passion for racing is, even knowing her manager Yoshiaki Ishida whom she commonly lied to races as well.
Eriko, knowing Akio's address after convincing the gas station manager she is a sibling due to the name similarity, later visits Akio to tell him she is leaving for abroad, and requests for one last drive in the Z. When they reach Eriko's home, where Shima was waiting, Eriko steals the Z using the spare key she still owned from her brother. She then speeds towards the docks, with Akio and Shima in pursuit, with the plan to dump the Z in the bay. Akio manages to stop the Z just in time, with Eriko furious that she could not kill it herself. In the midst of this, Akio and Shima agree to one last race on Wangan to settle who is fastest once and for all. Akio, along with Ko-chan retune entirely the Z, while Shima sends his Black Bird to an expert to do the same. Akio's absence in school due to the retuning catches the attention of Rumi, who has hopes Akio will return to school soon.
Whilst racing, a disgruntled truck driver asks another up the road to "scare" Akio and Shima knowing of them as racers that bother the highway. When the cars approach this truck, the truck driver swerves in front of Shima, but Akio slows down so that the truck hits Akio instead causing him to swerve back. However, the Z mounts the inner curb and rolls after hitting the guardrail. Akio and Eriko, who was riding with him again, managed to escape the Z before it bursts into flames. Shima helps Akio up as they observe the burning wreck, which is viewable through the highway with Reina driving by and catching a glimpse, shocked.
The next day, Eriko leaves Japan to study in England. Whilst there, she receives a letter from Shima, telling her that things are settling down with Akio keeping the burnt out Z, and plans to race it once more. While the Z is being repaired, Akio finally attends school, albeit with injuries sustained from the crash and Rumi glad to see his presence. When Ko-chan and Ma arrive one day to Akio's garage, they see its shutter door partially open with sounds coming out of the garage.
In the post credits scene, Shima stops midway through a hospital corridor and hears the Z starting up. Smiling, he walks away with the on-screen message, "Z will be back".Yuichi Nakamura as Akio Asakura
Shnichiro Ishikawa as Akio Asakura (Original)
Ryoko Kobayashi as Eriko Asakura
Kazuki Kato as Tatsuya Shima
Rio Matsumoto as Reina Akikawa
Yoshihiko Hakamada as Yoshiaki Ishida
Masaki Sata as Ko-chan
Kousuke Yonehara as Ma
Maimi Okuwa as Rumi Shimada
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 the 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 Yoshihiko Hakamada as Yoshiaki Ishida. The film was shot in Wangan 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, his "Devil Z", and the rivalry with "Black Bird".
It appears that a sequel may be planned, as after the ending credits in a bonus scene, Shima is seen to be leaving work when he hears the sound of a Z, followed by a fade out message saying 'Z will be back'.
Theme song of this movie, PERFECT GIRLS are performed by Dream.
While the movie features the key elements from the original manga, several differences have been noted. Additionally, despite having no licensing issues unlike the games, some cars were notably changed especially in their model types and visuals.