Everything is better after a little Korean barbecue grill.
What They Say:
Maki Aikawa is tall, with a nice model-like figure, but is also quiet and looks like an ordinary high school girl. However, her unique life style includes being a street fighter within the dark alleyways and back streets of Tokyo. To date, she remains undefeated against both men and women. And with a unique arsenal of aerial techniques allowing her to knock out opponents at will, people began to call her the Air Master.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the series moves closer towards its completion (though nowhere near where the manga ended I should think), there’s a nagging feeling that some of the energy of those early episodes dissipated along the way. The return to the street fighting side has been a real positive for it but something raw just isn’t there, such as when we had that first fight with Lucha and the kind of passion that was there. It’s been fun since then, but not quite nearly as engaging as it was at the start.
This round of episodes, twenty-one through twenty-four, pushes us forward through the Fukamichi matches even more as the top ranked street fighters go at it. The opening episode is hilarious as it ends up dragging Julietta into it finally when Fukamichi’s younger brother Nobuhiko arrives on the scene to take on someone else but ends up going against him instead. Julietta is so focused on other things, so disconnected from the world at times, that he takes down a few people with relative ease, including Yashiki when he stumbles into the area looking for Nobuhiko. It’s a good deal of fun watching how blasé Julietta is in general when it comes to these matches and how easily he dispatches them with just a single kick. That won’t last of course, and he has it in for Maki for their past match, but he’s also quite interested in her in general which is just as amusing.
One of the stranger subplots of the show revolves around Kinjiro and his quest to become stronger. After being whaled on so hard recently, he ends up meeting Shizuna who offers to heal him in a way that her doctor husband won’t do. Unbeknownst to him, he’s basically signing up to become Shizuna-man, a Power Rangers-esque kind of person but mechanical in nature. She takes care of his arm which gives him greater strength from which he can do battle with. Sadly, his return to the rankings places him against the number four, Yuki, a beautiful yet cold woman who has the same kind of love of fighting as Maki. Kinjiro gets himself taken down brutally, enough so that even Shizuna is shocked, though she seems to be quite interested in rebuilding him more into her perfect Shizuna-man. And that’s just creepy.
The best material in this set of episodes revolves around Maki taking on Yuki. Yuki’s the kind of cool customer that I don’t think we’ve really seen that much of outside of Julietta, though he’s just a little twisty to be quite as cool. With her ranked as number four, she’s got plenty of power and intensity behind her, but it takes someone like Maki to really draw it all out of her, to get her to lose her cool. It’s a short but intense fight between the two that punches up the brutality a bit because it does get bloody and you can almost feel every hit that Maki and Yuki take from each other. It’s enough to really throw Maki off her game again, something that’s becoming common, and in turn gives her incentive to find more of what makes her so strong inside of herself so she can approach the fight from a new angle.
Air Master continues on pretty well here with the progression in the rankings and there’s a fun little epilogue episode of sorts where the gang heads out to have some Korean barbecue while meeting a potential upcoming opponent. For the most part, there’s just a lot of fighting going on here as Fukamichi sets the stage for his shows and pits everyone against each other for the best ratings. It’s good to see Julietta awkwardly become involved and Yuki is a pleasant addition to the show. There’s only three episodes left and I don’t expect a lot in terms of resolution, especially since the manga was still ongoing back when this was created I believe, but if it has a few more good fights I’ll likely be pretty happy with it.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.