Friday, April 8, 2011

Air Gear Anime Review

Air Gear
Ea Gia
ADV Films
Complete Collection - 4 discs
650 mins. - 25 episodes + Special Trick
$29.98 (2011) S.A.V.E.
$49.98 (2010) Viridian
$69.98 (2008)
$29.98 (2007) Vol. 1-6/ea.
$39.98 (2007) w/Artbox
ISBN 704400097102
English/Japanese Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Hajime Kamegaki
Studio - Toei Animation

Synopsis:  In the near future, in-line skating has been revolutionized by tiny, powerful motors inside the wheels allowing riders to reach high speeds and practically soar on the winds.  The Storm Rider sub-culture was created as a result of Air Trek (AT) technology.
Ikki and Kazu are used to dishing out punishment, but end up
on the receiving end after a run-in with an AT gang
Ikki Minami is the toughest fighter on the East Side until he meets humiliating defeat at the hands of a Storm Rider gang using ATs.  He lives with the four Noyamano sisters and discovers a room filled with AT gear in their house along with a strange sticker saying Sleeping Forest.  Ikki has been watching a beautiful girl ride her ATs across the rooftops every day and he defiantly steals a pair for himself to meet her!
Ikki experiences the soaring majesty of AT riding
He finds the girl at a Storm Rider meet and manages to challenge the gang that kicked his ass earlier.  He settles the grudge with them and is soon embroiled in the dangerously exciting Storm Rider scene!  Determined to become a top rider he starts his own AT team called Kogarasumaru ("Little Crow") enlisting the aid of his friends Kazu and Onigiri.  They quickly run up against the East Side's Night Kings led by fellow classmate "Fatty Buccha".  
Ikki tries to catch the mystery girl (Simca), but still has a way to go with his AT skills
Now Ikki and crew must defeat their opponents in duels called Parts Wars to gain respect and move up the ranking pyramid.  He encounters some tough bastards while catching the eye of top-ranked riders.  What is the secret of the Eight Roads and the Kings who rule them?  Why do the four Noyamano sisters have a room filled with AT gear and what happened to the original Sleeping Forest team?  More importantly, why is the hot AT girl naked in his bed?
The Noyamano sisters (from left) - Rika, Ringo, Mikan, and Ume
Pros: Great rock/punk/techno soundtrack, lots of nudity! (no hentai you perverts), Ikki is an irreverent punk and pretty funny, good premise with a lot of potential, the manga this is based on is pretty rad (by Oh! great who also created Tenjho Tenge)
Kogarasumaru encounter the sadistically schizophrenic Agito/Akito
Cons: Ending to the series/season seems abrupt and leaves you hanging (the manga series is much longer), no second season to complete the Eight Kings storyline, AT tech is nowhere else to be found in society?, a scene of boy-boy kissing, whole Genesis leadership plotline feels forced to speed up early series ending
Never a dull moment at the Noyamano house!
Mike Tells It Straight: Starting out with a lot of potential this anime series would have been perfect at 38 episodes.  I can only speculate Toei ran out of money or the series just wasn't as well received as they hoped.  Either way it's a fun show with a dirty sense of humor and some dramatic battles.  Pacing is similar to Bleach where a battle can take several episodes.  Definitely not for kids and juvenile enough for adults. Kill 'em dead!

Kogarasumaru prepare for another ruthless Parts War

TO BUY and Recommendations: