Air Gear Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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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: 0-345-49280-3
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Air Gear Vol. #03

By Robert Harris     April 11, 2007
Release Date: January 31, 2007

Air Gear Vol.#03
© Del Rey

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

What They Say
Itsuki is still getting the hang of his Air Trecks, the super high-tech skates that have helped him fight back against the rival skate gangs making trouble on his turf. But when his two best friends end up in the hospital after losing a battle to Buccha, a notorious gang leader, Itsuki realizes he needs to polish his skills - and fast.

Though the other students at Itsuki's school are finally realizing that the skate wars pose a dangerous threat, only Itsuki is daring enough to take on the cruel and colossally strong Buccha. But the upcoming fight may be the least of his worries after the beautiful Simca brings with a warning: In Itsuki's quest to rule the skies, the battle with Buccha will be just the beginning!

The Review
Air Gear has managed to surprise me with each volume released, and I'm glad to say the trend continues with Volume 3. Certainly the best volume released so far, Volume 3 has everything that makes Air Gear, and manga in general, great: plentiful fan service, comedy that works, beautiful art, visceral action, and an interesting story, all woven together in an airtight package.

The theme this time around is revenge, specifically against Buccha the Night King and his gang for beating up Kazu and Onigiri and being menacing in general. There is real hatred between Ikki and Buccha; after being built up in both last volume and this one, there is more than simple animosity between the two. This helps make the inevitable showdown not just a plot device for Ikki to reach a higher "tier" or what have you in the Air Treck circuit, but also the unavoidable clash between two people almost intrinsically at odds with each other. The duel itself is excellent, and provides just the right number of last-minute saves, surprise strategies and pure wacky antics. It is by far the most satisfying action segment in the series so far, and makes me genuinely excited about what's to come.

As if that weren't enough, after the battle is when Air Gear seems to really start as a series, or perhaps start for a second time; new goals and characters are introduced and give the manga a sense of expanded horizons. Which is when Oh! Great steps in and cranks the fanservice and comedy to eleven, with a great chapter about Simca staying at Ikki's house. It's a perfect closer to the volume, and it's nice that Oh! Great doesn't try to keep the tension high throughout, instead opting to give a sense of victory and a return to (semi-) normalcy for the main characters.

With this volume, Air Gear leaps from good series to great series. It manages to take all of the elements that made the last two volumes so enjoyable and form them into a cohesive and highly entertaining whole. Even the translation is mercifully free of the AOL chatroom speak which plagued Volume 2. If you've been on the fence about Air Gear, now is the time to give it a chance. It's simply one of the best shonen action series being released.


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