In Japan, iPhone Brings an '80s Manga Classic to Life

Adapting Midnight, by the 'godfather of manga'

Can Apple's "Shot on iPhone" ad series do justice to the brooding and oft-fantastical universe of Japanese hardboiled manga?

Of course, we all know the answer before watching a single frame. Backed by big bucks and with A-listers guiding development, these films often play like mini-masterpieces.

And that's true of the neon-drenched, cyberpunky campaign entry below. It runs for nearly 20 minutes and was adapted from "Midnight," a groundbreaking mid-80s storyline by "godfather of manga" Osamu Tezuka.

For the high-octane, sometimes silly scenario, TBWA\Media Art Lab Tokyo and director Takashi Miike deployed iPhone 15 Pros to follow a cab driver's perilous quest through the crime-infested streets of Japan's capital.

Be on the lookout for the taxi's extra wheel. And for god's sake: Steer clear of that freaky hand puppet!

"Mr. Tezuka is something of a god among manga artists so it was an honor to take on the challenge of expressing his work using only iPhone," Miike says in campaign materials.

"As we were shooting, I naturally began to challenge myself to think about how we could make a work unique to iPhone, beyond the usual approach to a film. I truly felt that the iPhone has the power to do things that a conventional movie camera can't."

In addition to showing off product features, the long-running campaign celebrates and shares pop culture across the globe, offering vistas and insights we might miss otherwise.

"Shot on iPhone" eps usually rank as compelling entertainment. "Midnight," the Usher Super Bowl doc and this Lunar New Year tale feel appropriate for film festivals. The work views diverse elements through a vibrant lens, yielding a commercial art form all its own.

Breaking today, "Midnight" will run across TV, online and OOH platforms including, appropriately enough, Tokyo taxi screens in the wee hours.

iPhone Midnight BTS

Agency: TBWA\Media Arts Lab Tokyo
Production Company: OLM, Inc.
Editorial Company: Imagica Entertainment Media Services, Inc.
Finishing: Imagica Entertainment Media Services, Inc.
Director: Takashi Miike
Executive Producer: Misako Saka
Director of Photography: Nobuyasu Kita
Original Music: Koji Endo
Licensed Music: “Midnight Klaxon Baby” by Thee Michelle Gun Elephant

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