Monday, October 15, 2007

Cafe Racers of the week: Wild 7.

Antihero Hiba on his 750 Honda

From Atomic avenue:

"Even readers not familiar with manga or anime will immediately notice the retro artwork in Mikiya Mochizuki’s Wild 7—and for good reason. This multi-volume series of collected reprints has material dating back to 1969 (although there’s no word of it on the front or back covers). Instead, it is presented as a modern graphic novel; only a peek at the copyright date reveals its origins, at least in the first book. Released during the biker craze of the late 60s—most likely after the chopper classic “Easy Rider” had hit theaters—Wild 7 is a fast-paced adventure which has the Japanese government hiring a gang of hoodlums, led by Hiba, to defend themselves from any threats to their power. The dated storytelling will remind many anime fans of Speed Racer and other vintage Japanese cartoons."
Bikes are the co-stars in Wild 7

..and from Beyond Japanhero:

"Ever since making its debut in monthly manga magazine “Shonen King” in 1969, Mochizuki Mikiya’s “Wild 7” has wowed its readers with its “Super Action Violence” and gritty cop drama. This violent action manga in which 7 ex-cons were selected to form an elite motorcycle police force. The series was unique (besides for the violence) in which each of the 7 members had a different motorcycle, each specially fitted. Team leader Hiba rides a Honda CB 750, "Hippy" Tom rides a multi-wheeled Harley FL, Oyabun rides a Suzuki Hustler 250, Chasu rides a Suzuki GT 380, Sekai Rides a Harley, Otto rides a Norton Cafe Racer and Ryogoku rides a Kawasaki 500 SS Mach3 equipped with a rocket launcher sidecar.

For 30 years readers have read the exploits of these unconventional motorcycle vigilantes. The stories of the “Wild 7” have been collected into 48 “tankobon” special volumes and has spawned three sequels. It has also been adapted into both a short lived live-action series and two animated series.

Many have likened the story to Robert Aldrich’s “The Dirty Dozen” (MGM, 1967) and its themes have also been incorporated into many other subsequent shows such as “Sukeban Deka” (Toei, 1985).

Predating the American show “A-Team” (NBC/ Stephen J. Cannell Productions, 1983) by almost a decade, the TV Show was considered one of the most gritty and violent shows on Japanese TV at the time and many Japanese PTA organizations rallied against the show.

“Wild 7” is still a fan favorite even today and collections of the original work have also made its way to UK and US audiences in the form of translated manga collections. The original OVA Anime was also released to VHS in both dubbed and subbed forms.

While the basic premise was the same for both the TV show and the Manga, certain elements were changed for dramatic effect. The show involved more espionage and anti-terrorism storylines than vigilante, gritty cop drama. One of the main opponents of the “Wild 7” was the International Criminal Organization known as “Spider” which seemed to resemble SPECTRA from the James Bond movies. Due to the Japanese PTA groups complaints regarding the amount of violence in its stories. “Wild 7” was eventually cancelled in light of all the negative backlash."

loud pipes save lives?..or in this case-strike fear in the heart of organized crime.

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