Air Gear Vol. #6 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: TV MA
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Air Gear

Air Gear Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     November 26, 2007
Release Date: December 04, 2007


Air Gear Vol. #6
© ADV Films


What They Say
When it’s all on the line, you either fly or you die! Now that Ikki and his Storm Riders have crushed the powerful Behemoth, he’s in line to assume a new position – the position of leader of one of the strongest AT teams…Genesis! But only one question remains: Is this really what he wants? And just when he thinks all his battles are over, a school field trip just might prove to be the final battleground for Ikki and his mates. Meanwhile, the success of Simca’s plan seems to be only a victory away, but Ikki doesn’t want a free handout…he wants to kick ass HIS way! Ikki is ready to fly high and soar to his destiny. His path is clear and his road awaits. All he needs now is a little help from his friends. Kogarasumaru…Kill ’em Dead! So lace up and brace yourselves for this final bout in the breath-taking conclusion of Air Gear!


The Review!
A trip to Kyoto brings the series to a close that obviously doesn't satisfy but doesn't really feel like it tried to end at a good point.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The Japanese mix is a solid stereo piece that does a really good job with the music score as well as in general dialogue placement throughout. With a fair bit of action and characters at all different locations, directionality is good and well placed. The English mix is done in a 5.1 format, something ADV hasn't done too much of lately, and it adds some better clarity to the dialogue as well as placement. Both tracks are solid though and we didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2006, the transfer for this show is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The source materials for this release are in very good shape with a very clean and smooth look. The show is done with a lot of bold colors across wide areas and they come across very solid here though there is some minor noise to be found if you're close enough. A good deal of the scenes take place at night with very dark blacks for the sky as well as some greens to highlight the lights from the city and there is very little visible banding in most of this. In addition, they also look very solid while still providing detail. There is some minor aliasing in a few scenes though cross coloration is mostly absent. The worst looking area tends to be the opening sequence where they decided to do the replaced credits to match the original. The credits look fine but they aren't able to do it as smoothly which results in some stuttering as the camera moves around.

Packaging:
Using artwork that wasn't on the Japanese retail release cover, this volume uses the same style as the earlier ones but changes out the colors. While most of the covers have been of either one or two characters, this one goes for a group shot of the team together in their standard pose, one which really doesn't favor Agito in the slightest. The cover uses a fair bit of text to it, pushing "Oh Great"' along the right side but not strongly while also having a very noticeable spot that indicates that it's uncut. The logo along the bottom is decent along with more text for the volume name. The foil aspect sort of works but it doesn't really jump out a lot and just feels kind of superfluous in a way. The back cover is decently laid out with two strips of shots from the show along the left and right while a surprisingly text heavy summary covers the premise of the show. The discs features aren't given much notice here alongside the number of episodes while the remainder of the cover is filled out with the production credits and a solid looking technical grid. No insert or reversible cover is included for this release.

Menu:
The menu layout is rather simple and fairly bland with just the still shot from the front cover. The background is an orange CG piece that kind of gives hint to buildings which looks decent but the mixture of it and the character artwork just doesn't really do all that much. There's a bit of fast paced hard instrumental music with it and the navigation is straightforward enough that everything works well and is easily accessible. Submenus load quickly and the disc correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The only extras available on this volume are the clean opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
From the very beginning it was obvious that Air Gear wouldn't exactly be a complete series. With it still ongoing in manga form in Japan, we could at best hope for a show that closes out with a "first chapter" feel or even a first volume feeling. In a way, we do get that as events roll forward here but I find myself feeing unsatisfied with the conclusion that we do get as it doesn't really settle anything other than Ikki has what it takes to be a Sky King.

The previous couple of episodes revolved around the battles they were having against Behemoth which in turn led to Simca offering him all of Genesis so that he could lead them to topping Tropeaum. This puts him in the position of being the king of kings as he'd have quite the strong army working underneath him but he's waffling on the idea. Or rather, Ikki in his own way is thinking of bigger and grander things to do. He doesn't like the idea of being offered everything like this so his plan is to get better and stronger so he can take down Genesis with his friends and then truly earn them as members of his team. It's corny and silly but it fits in with his kind of thinking.

The season finale doesn't really focus on this though outside of a few token moments as Ikki and the others try to figure out their place in things. Where the show spends most of its time is in Kyoto as the school trip takes them there this year. After a bit of fun and history with Agito as he goes to swipe his bank book from his brother, the trip to Kyoto is suggested as a great experience for Ikki by Aeon since there are some powerful opponents there. Ikki is always on the lookout for new challenges to overcome so it works well in his mind that they're going there. The Kansai area is controlled mostly by the group known as Trident, a council of three that oversees the smaller groups and members that roam about. It's an amusing council since one of them looks to be little more than a Commodore 64 but they do prove Ikki with a rather good challenge.

While these last episodes have some good material to them, such as the challenge that Trident puts forth to Ikki, the real fun is when it comes to the history of some of the characters. A good bit of time is spent during the last couple of episodes on Ringo an Ikki when they were younger and in a way much closer than they are now. The two seemingly managed to get along well back then and had a lot of fun together, but that changed over time. What also changed is that as time went on and they got older, Ringo started to fall more for Ikki without realizing exactly what he was. Through some decent flashbacks, she realizes exactly how connected to the sky he really is and what the means to her. Though it's corny in its own way, I have to admit that seeing their relationship from this vantage point was a good thing which helped to cement her feelings at least.

In Summary:
In the end, Air Gear managed to be little more than a tease. These last episodes didn't really wrap anything up but instead introduced us to more characters and a new setting without any serious resolution to it. As much as the Trident issue is dealt with, it only feels like the first stage of the real battle between them. With it only running just a couple of episodes it feels rushed as well. Air Gear was a weak series for me in manga form, enough that I dropped it after a couple of volumes. The anime started off weak as well but eventually found something of a groove that kept it stupidly enjoyable. The ending fell right into the trap I was expecting it to so there wasn't much of a surprise here. Air Gear is mostly fluff and overly dramatic at times but it has a certain charm that it acquired along the way. Fans of it will like this release, and I'm glad it changed from seven to six volumes quickly, but overall it's not a series that really grabs my attention and holds it.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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