Air Gear Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Del Rey
  • MSRP: 10.95
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 0-345-49279-X
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Air Gear Vol. #02

By Robert Harris     February 14, 2007
Release Date: October 31, 2006

Air Gear Vol.#02
© Del Rey

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Oh! Great
Translated by:Makoto Yukon
Adapted by:Makoto Yukon

What They Say
When his new Air Treck skates need maintenance, Itsuki Minami takes them to a local sports shop where he finally meets Simca Noyamano, the mysterious and very sexy girl he's had his eye on. Ringo and the Sleeping Forest may not like it, but Itsuki develops a fast and furious crush on the elusive Simca. Too bad she has fierce enemies in high places - landing Itsuki in big trouble!

On top of that, his skates are almost demolished and nobody will lend money to a jobless scrub. But when Itsuki hears about a dangerous contest with some incredible prizes, he jumps headfirst into a battle unlike any he's ever faced before!

The Review
After a surprisingly interesting first volume, I was wondering if Oh! Great could keep up the pace he's set for himself. With the second volume of Air Gear I can rest easy, at least for now. Although the storyline doesn't get much attention, the action is as fast and satisfying as ever, and everything is treated with the same light-hearted manner found in volume one. I can't explain how much of a relief it is reading a manga that deals with serious subjects but, at the same time, doesn't take itself too seriously.

Most of the volume is spent introducing, and subsequently dealing with, rival Air Trek gang the Rez Boa Dogs and Simca the Swallow, the flirtatious female AT rider that Ikki spent time watching in the last volume. People get mad, and pride is damaged, but overall this part of the manga is pretty easygoing and free of real menace. The latter portion of the book introduces a new, real villain to Ikki and his gang of merry, yet useless, followers. The manga ends with a nice setup for the next installment, if only to see how much of a pounding Kazu and Onigiri received.

A few things about the technical aspects of this release deserve mention. Firstly, the cover artwork was censored to a degree (pants in place of really short�somethings) but it's not much to get upset about. In fact, the cover is very striking, with great detail on the clothing, including meticulously detailed team emblems. Great job all around, and I hope this continues because so far the covers have been killer. That brings me to the adaptation for this volume. Ninety-five percent of the dialogue and text is absolutely fine, but there's one glaring problem that really sticks out. I counted (and may have missed some) one "WTF", three "OMG" and one "kthxbye". It makes Ikki and the gang sound like they've spent several days straight in IRC chatrooms discussing Dragon Quest, and it's incredibly distracting. I can only assume that it was an attempt to make the characters seem more "hip" and "with it", but I beg you, Del Rey, please stop. It's a big, bolded bomb in the middle of an otherwise flowing stream of dialogue.

I'm always a little worried about action or fighting manga that start off well, because it's been my experience that the only place they have to go from there is down. Which they end up doing, at varying speeds. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's not the case with Air Gear, and if you're a fan of the genre I'd have difficulty finding a better series being released right now.


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