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Air Gear
Reviewer: Aaron Murphy 08/19/2010

Review:
Itsuki Minami never thought much about Air Trek, a growing fad involving motorized rollerblades people use for both fun and to do battle. It wasn't until he got his ass handed to him in a fight against the leader of the Skullsaders that he got the bug in him-- if for nothing else then to exact his revenge on the bastard who so humiliated him. Spiraling out of control from there, nothing can stop Itsuki from his Air Trek ambitions. With a group of loyal friends willing to join his crusade  and a house filled with girls who are members of a secret Air Trek group, Itsuki is in prime position to get all the help he needs to not only learn the basics but to start up his own team. The real question is, will he have the skills to take them to the top?
 
Things start off with the introduction of Itsuki, a rather lecherous and crude middle school student who happens to get into Air Trek on a whim of revenge that turns into so much more. As the start of the series progresses he basically goes around trying to learn exactly how to ride AT’s and recruits a couple of friends to join him. Then you have enemies becoming friends and so on. The story progression is much the same as your standard shounen series, as Itsuki and his gang compete in battle after battle in an effort to get better parts, increase their skills and rise higher in the ranks. There're the typical musings by the top players about how Itsuki might be the next Sky King, and how his powers are potentially unrivaled in all the land. You know, the usual stuff you expect from a series like this. Far be in from us to question the abilities of this fourteen year old kid who’s only been doing Air Trek for a couple months... And he only achieves that claim to fame by the end of the series.
 
Of course, this means the series only covers a piece of the larger story. We only see the conclusion to one of the story arcs as Itsuki and company continue their rise to the top. I imagine it either caught up with the manga or simply didn't have enough pull for a second season, but the result is the same. We're left with an incomplete product that leaves more questions than answers. Not that anything going on in Air Gear is particularly mind-blowing. I mean, as one point Itsuki has to go to the bathroom while a match is going on, so he just pulls down his pants and starts his business with about 5 other people right next to him. When I said crude I wasn't joking, so take that to heart when you think about checking out Air Gear. If, however, you are a fan of more crude and/or ecchi situations, Air Gear has some real gold to offer. While infrequent, some situations are just so over-the-top bizarre that they're nothing short of priceless.
 
If you take out all the crazy antics however, you're not left with very much. The story, in and of itself, is completely standard-fare. It's really nothing but a tournament series with people battling one another on rollerblades. Add to that a cast of characters who're almost universally uninteresting and all you have is a hollowed out series with no real guts. The technical side of things aren't such a mixed bag as the series itself, with some better than average animation and some enjoyable voice acting. Now, I'm partial to the English dub since Chris Patton and Luci Christian voice the two leads, but either audio track should treat you fairly well. 
 
In the end, Air Gear is much the tale of two anime series. On one hand you have a highly funny, crass, and all around ecchi filled good time with tons of hot women and periodic nudity for our viewing pleasure. On the other hand, however, is a story so commonplace and characters so insipid that it’s almost painful to watch. It’s only thanks to the inclusion of the former that the tedium of the latter is made palatable, leaving us with a middle of the road series filled with both extreme highs and lows.  
 
Miscellaneous:
When they started using cell phones as scouters to read the power level of people’s attacks I couldn’t help but laugh at it all.

Screenshots
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Review Title:
Air Gear
Type:
TV
Episodes:
25
Duration:
625 Minutes
General Rating:
3 out of 5 stars
Aired:
2006
Suitable For:
Teens
Genres:
Action, Comedy, Ecchi,
School, Shounen, Sports
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