Title: Air Gear
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sports
Manga Rating: 7/10
Anime Rating: 8/10
Summary: Minami “Ikki” Itsuki, is a student and a delinquent. Also known as the “Unbeatable Babyface,” Ikki is the leader of the youth gang by the name of “East Side Gunz.” Upon his return home after being humiliated by a street gang of Storm Riders called the Skull Saders Ikki discovers a secret hidden from him by his benefactors, the Noyamano sisters. The sisters belong to a group of Storm Riders who go by the team name of Sleeping Forest. Ikki eventually settles his grudge with the Skull Saders, but in the process he receives more than the simple satisfaction of revenge. Determined to experience the sensation of “flight” for as long as he can, our headstrong protagonist is quickly sucked into the mysterious, yet irresistible world of Air Treck.
Review: Air Gear is a pretty unique anime, first I have seen that revolves around blading (or ‘trecking’ in the anime). The first thing that came to mind though was Jet Set Radio Future for the Xbox; having magnetic, future-like roller blades and gangs roaming the cities competing in skate races and fights felt very familiar. But enough about that, let’s get back to the anime. Air Gear is based of its manga counter-part (which is still ongoing) like most other animes. I have read and watched both versions, and overall I prefer to the anime. Why? Well for multiple reasons, one are the competitions. The anime did a great job with the art style that brought the fights too a whole new level. Anime usually does better action scenes for obvious reasons, but Air Gear made it seem like the manga didn’t even try. The fast pace skating really gave me a jaw-dropping feeling, and I couldn’t praise the artist more. The anime also kept the series interesting. The manga was a bit of a bore, and probably because of the small tweaks made. For example, in the manga Ikki’s sisters gave him a pair of Air Treks to help him win the battle against Skull Saders. Kind of boring compared to the anime where he learns about his sister’s secret of being apart of an AT gang and steals the Treks for himself in anger. The soundtrack was brilliant, having an appropriate up-beat, hardcore sound. The opening theme was worth listening to and watching. The characters equally likable. Each had their personal reasons for picking up a pair of Air Treks, and each had their own special ability. I found it fun to meet new characters and learn about their unique skills. The best part was is their skills were based heavily on their personalities and physical structure. I did have a couple problems with this series, mainly the ending. Understanding that the anime couldn’t do much for continuation due to being based on a manga the ending still felt very anti-climactic and hurt the series as a whole. Also the humor was so-so, and I didn’t really laugh despite the genre selection. The main character also isn’t anything special, and you probably wont feel very attached.
Final statements: I would pick up this anime for the music and action alone. They did a great job with the battle scenes and story, but be prepared for a rather boring ending. Like I said the manga is still going if you feel like you need more Air Gear, but don’t expect anything close to as epic. Preferred watch.