A former gymnast, Aikawa Maki has turned her skills to a different way of life—street fighting. The only thing that truly makes her feel alive is violence. With amazing power and grace, she fights opponent after opponent, repeatedly demonstrating the gymnastic talent that earns her her nom de guerre, "Airmaster."
The story of Air Master is a typical flimsy series of excuses to fit in as many fights as possible. This is not necessarily a bad thing since the real reason to sit through all 27 episodes of Air Master is for the enjoyment of the fight scenes.
The characters never get much depth, but they click in a way that makes the silly comedy work. Maki (main character) does get some flashbacks: I like her unusual fighting background. Mina might offend some people, but her proportions are so ridiculous that it's hard to take her for anything but the parody she is.
Even annoying little girl Renge gets a few comedy moments that make her not quite as annoying.
Voice acting is pretty decent. Paku Romi was a great choice for Maki, and Mika Doi does a good job as the psychotic Kaori. Also featured are Yukana Nogami as Mina (Tessa in Full Metal Panic), Tomoko Kaneda as Renge (Chiyo in Azumanga Daioh) and Masumi Asano as Michiru (Hakufu in Ikki Tousen). The music isn't outstanding, but fits the show well, particularly the fast-paced OP and ED.
The art seems to be one of the biggest reasons people avoid this anime. However, after seeing the billionth show designed to have the cutest characters possible, it's downright amazing to have character designs that are willing to slap you in the face and kick both "cute" and "the norm" to the curb. It's also refreshing to see a female anime character that can kick butt AND looks the part. The character art isn't always consistent, but the animation does a great job of making the fights flow well and making the blows look real and painful, while using a variety of crazy fighting styles.
I recommend this show to anyone who wants to see some interesting fights that don't have much in the way of the typical copouts (like hurled energy beams or blurred strikes that are supposedly too quick to see). For those viewers, the key rating is 7 for enjoyment. People who don't care much about fights and want some real character development and substance to the story should look elsewhere.
I love anime centered around fighting. Grappler Baki might be my favorite series ever, Garouden is my favorite manga, I thought Yu Yu Hakusho was great, and consider Bleach good solely on the strength of its action scenes.
Air Master, however, is the single worst anime series I've ever seen. It is putrid, like moldy rice tossed into spoiled milk, that reeks for weeks on end. At first, I thought that three of the other four reviews for this series giving it a "1" were just exaggerating how bad it was.
The story introduces us to Maki,
a seven foot tall, 14 year old girl, who fights with the power of....wait for it.....gymnastics. Her goal is to challenge other strange-looking people to street fights. Violence and poor animation ensue.
How a seven foot tall girl with broad shoulders, weighing at least 250 pounds was at one point a world class gymnast and can fly through the air never even receives an attempt at an explanation. It does, of course, lend itself to numerous shots of tight white panties underneath Maki's mini-skirt.
Apparently, the goal is to turn me on sexually with an animation while I'm watching a fight featuring copious amounts of blood.
Now listen, I have no problem with absurd, unrealistic premises and backgrounds in an action anime. Hell, I like it.
But even if none of the moves used are the least bit practical, there has to be something in the fictional main combatant that resembles a REAL fighter, or at least the audience's perception of what a true fighter should be.
Baki was a teenager also, but he was muscular, disciplined, and had a great personality. Ippo was a boxer of tremendous dedication and heart, and acted like a real human being. Hell, even some of the characters in Dragonball Z had moderately interesting aspects of their personality that were genuine.
Here, Maki is like a giant robot, with no emotion, no motivation for anything she does, and numerous holes in the consistency and logic of everything from her interactions with her normal friends, to her feelings about other fighters.
She's not cool, deep, or unique. She's an overgrown, violent retard.
Of course, you can't really blame her. Every other character is the same.
Now, let's talk about the animation. Normally, I don't believe it deserves its own section, but this is an exception. "Air Master" has the worst animation I have ever seen in an anime. There are literally about 3 or 4 frames per second, at best, which often makes me think I'm seeing a Powerpoint slide.
It feels disjointed, the characters are animated with little detail, change noticeably from scene to scene, and their movements always feel unnatural, not just in terms of the fighting, but even something as simple as crossing the street. Frankly, it feels like the series was made between 1988 and 1992, not 2004.
The only possible thing that could salvage the series would be the fight scenes. Unfortunately, they're stale and repetitive; once you've seen one fight, you've essentially seen them all. The afore-mentioned horrible, cheap animation doesn't help either.
Additional lowlights in the series include a high-pitched, midget 14 year old who cries and throws temper tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants, and is present in virtually every episode. Why throw one of the most annoying anime characters I've ever seen into the show? Apparently, she's supposed to be funny.
The dialogue is unbelievable, too.
From the first episode alone, we get the following priceless quote from a Mexican Lucha Libre guy, to demonstrate how much of a scary motherfucker he is;
"Or perhaps there's a poor puppy struggling for breath in a muddy stream, even if there's a heavy rain warning, I'll jump in!"
Intimidating. Like the rest of "Air Master", it's ridiculous, not funny, pretentious, and horribly animated with no story.
Even if you watch every fighting series under the sun, like me, stay away.
I didn't know anything about Air Master, nor did I know that it had any sort of reputation. It was just one anime among the many but I got interested in it just because one artist I've been stalking has made nice ( yaoi ) fanart out of it.
So I sought Air Master out and watched it, without having any idea on what I was going to see.
I was surprised to find that the main characters were females and not only that, the yuri/lesbian implications were quite evident ( to the point where they weren't even implications anymore ). I didn't mind at
all. And BIG big bonus: the females were NOT annoying, generic, overly cheerful, bug-eyed, cutsey wutesy woo twerps with glittery hair and two out-of-proportion sticks for legs. The characters were exaggerated, but realistic somehow. It was nice and refreshing.
The story itself does leave alot to hope for. It's often the same problem with all anime series: it's friggin' confusing or plain. I immediately got the feeling that once again the makers of the anime trust that the person who sees the anime has read the manga.
In Air Master, it was plain and a bit stupid... plus it the series ended like in the middle of everything. I didn't feel like anything was concluded. So story-wise, it was a bit of a disappointment.
What saves it was the quality of each individual episode. It wasn't a funny anime per se but it was amusing, and impressive. Don't get me wrong: I do NOT like fighting animes generally. I find them utterly boring. But Air Master was beautiful, plus I do find some charm in the Street Fighting romantique ( can you say that? ). Besides Maki herself is really likable character, as Air Master and as Maki, her fighting style is cool.
I understand if someone would diss this anime because of the lacking story, but I'd say one should still give it a chance ( and maybe if one likes it, she could see about the manga? ).
However, if you're the type that likes cute girls doing cute things or high-school boys who sprout wings every now and then, I don't think this anime is for you.
If you're a bit perverted ( to every way ) and find amusement from dirty jokes, yet enjoy a bit of coolness every now and then, Air Master should be well worth a view.
Fucking sweet anime about an ex-gymnast turned street fighter and her daily life/daily fights. While it starts of in something closely resembling "the real world" it does get more bizarre as the series continues. Though never to a disconcerting or intrusive level. The fights in this are great looking, very flashy but still retaining a semblance of "reality" which makes them all the more spectacular.
It also has a somewhat odd presentation in terms of story; as with most fighting anime manga the delivery of plot tends to be, by the very nature of the thing, episodic, usually delivered in a fight-train-fight format. However with Airmaster
the delivery is more like a "slice of life drama" and it just so happens the main protagonist is involved in a lot of fighting. I think this can be seen best in the conclusion of the series, which could be seen as disappointing if one hasn’t grasped the flow of the series plot.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t like to see more of this, as I’m unsure if the 27 episode anime fully covers the 28 volume manga.