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Air Gear (Episode 1) PDF Print E-mail
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Now in Japan
Tuesday, 09 May 2006 00:00
Title cardIt's a sports anime (ish) and a fighting anime (sort of) all in one, although I have to admit up front that neither genre is really my cup of tea.  From the creator of Tenjho Tenge, Air Gear follows the adventures of a group of kids who have discovered to joy of high-powered rollerblading...

Trick:1
After losing a fight to a member of the Skull Saders, a gang of roller-blading thugs, Ikki develops a sudden interest in Air Trek - powered in-line skates that let their users gain a whole new level of freedom.  Allegedly.  Unfortunately he's got no skates of his own - but while snooping around the house late at night, he finds his sisters' stash of Air Gear skates & "borrows" a pair to try and learn the skillz.  His practice run leads him to a late-night Air Trek gathering, where he inadvertently challenges the Skull Saders to a test of their Air Trek skill.  Fortunately, before the challenge begins, the Department for the Counteraction of Delinquent Special Aviation Footwear Users appears to put a stop the the meeting...

Ikki loses round oneGirl power

So within 10 minutes of the start of the first episode, we have Ikki doing his best to sneak a peek as his bathing sisters.  Now, the girls are cute and all, but Dude!  They're your sisters!  And with that out of my system...

The lead characters here are the various members of the Noyamano family.  The emphasis seems to be on 13-year-old Ikki, but he has a veritable harem of girls around him (aforementioned sisters) to keep him in check.  There's Mikan (17), a violent tomboy type; Ume (10), a manipulative little loli; Rika (22), who you really don't want to make angry; and Ringo (14), the glasses-wearing one who's very protective of Ikki & could almost be mistaken for a girlfriend.  Together they are Sleeping Forest, one of the best Air Gear teams there is, and who have up until now managed to hide their pasttime from Ikki.

The meat of the story comes in two forms: the rivalry between the various Air Trek teams (Skull Saders are the featured baddies this episode, but there are others on the scene), and the involvement of the Department for the Counteraction of Delinquent Special Aviation Footwear Users in trying to keep a lid on the skaters' "anti-social behaviour" - aparently through the use of heavy firepower and a few high-skill skaters of their own.  Obviously, these folks have never heard of an ASBO.

So far, so good.  Air Gear looks good, has a cast that's pleasing on the eye (well, the girls are anyway) and a premise that's far enough away from the "typical" shounen show to have some appeal - but for all that it didn't quite manage to grab my attention enough to keep me interested.  That said, I'd be willing to be Air Gear will turn out to be one of the more popular new shows this season, and as such it's at least worth a look.