Reading long running series can be quite the daunting task to start on, but you can reap the awards of what long series bring, memorial characters and terrific long stories.
I'm referring to good stories like One Piece, FMA, and anyone who can actually write, Air Gear's award is the boobie prize of absolute disappointment, a benefit of the doubt that was brought about by a good start.
STORY: Oh Great! Isn't that quite the name to give yourself? Especially since you're definitely not so great at a lot of aspects, except artwork. It must really scream confidence to those who pick up Air Gear (Or
Tenjo Tenge, but I'm not reviewing that), expecting something great, well I wouldn't blame them, Air Gear does start out pretty decent, good even, but fumbles around later and finally falls.
Air Gear is dumb, really dumb, that one kid in first grade who is sent to the corner in class and has to wear a dunce hat everyday kind of dumb. But like the teacher having to watch over that kid, you grow fond of the kid's antics, even if you know what to expect from him, that's the charm of that rascal in the works. But the kid eventually grows up into a complete dumbass, and he's not only the kind of dumbass who does stuff only jackasses would do, but also the kind of pretentious ass that can only pretend to be what he is obviously not, smart.
That's what my experience with Air Gear has been like, and that's what the story amounts to, a smooth landscape that hides the grand canyon of falls. The story of Air Gear starts off pretty simple, Itsuki "Ikki" "Babyface" Minami, the strongest kid at his junior high school, is an orphan who lives with four sisters and is practicably a brother to them, the Noyamanos, Ringo, the series main female character and actually the most likable character, Mikan, the tomboyish and second oldest sister, Ume, the youngest and quirkiest of the sisters, and Rika, the oldest and bread winner of the family. But one day Ikki however fights the wrong crowd, and is slaugthered by a gang of roller skaters called Storm Riders, and from then on, Ikki is introduced to the world of Air Treks. Air Treks are super roller skates that let's you jump into the sky as if you're flying, enabling you to perform tricks that are otherwise, impossible without them (And magical BS, which I'll get to in a little bit).
The story is basically a sports battle shonen ecchi manga series with quite the strange concept, that starts off as good as anyone would hope for coming from the mastermind behind Tenjo Tenge (And just to clarify, I'm using the word mastermind very loosely, that word is too great for oh great). A lot of the early battles in the series are very entertaining, which the battles are actually various sports events (Mixed in with typical shonen style fights of course) that are quite interesting, and involves the main to use strategy (In terms of shonen strategy fights, it's up there with early Naruto). From racing and relay runs to standard 1 on 1fighting and survival king of the hill matches, this is one thing Air Gear continues as one of it's only constant qualities.
Other "qualities" however, might as well have never been considered as quality. Specifically, the story telling. As I figuratively explained earlier, The story does nothing but goes down a downward slope after sometime, from fun foolishness with the main cast, Including Ikki, and the rest of his storm rider team, the whipping boy and fastest member, Kazu, the fat pervert, Onigiri, Oh Great's interpretation of Bleach's Chad, Buccha, and the fucking split personalities boy who says fuck all the fucking time that it is his catch-phase, Akito/Agito. Other characters includes a couple of groupies that become useful over time, a cock tease, and several countless roller skaters.
The story was basically about a group of boys wanting to become the best roller skaters in Japan, that becomes a cheap pretentious mess. From killing off characters that had no importance to the overall story to just improve another character's air trek skills, to throwing in pointless characters, to over exaggerating the power of the roller blades to ridiculous proportions e.g. roller skates determine the fate of the world.
And from then on the series loses all of it's fun, I mean, it's ridiculous, specific roller skates with magical powers and only naked girls can repair them? It's fucking retarded to put it bluntly, they're nothing more than cheap devices to make ridiculous powers and cheap fan service, but Air Gear takes a simple concept and over inflates it with story telling that's obviously over oh great's ability.
It's a shame that this series grow too serious, and that it looses any redeeming qualities other than...
ART: The artwork, this is the one thing Oh Great does to earn his pretentious name. Incredible detail on everything, the character designs are borderline realistic, bodily proportions are over exaggerated at times (Muscles, titties, and other lustful body parts), but everything looks great, especially the personified shadows of the characters, with great detail on these creatures ranging from vicious beasts to goddesses and hellish armies.
However, at times, when the story does it thing, text boxes and word bubbles fill too much of the pages, and becomes almost as messy as the story is.
But the word great should only be implied here when speaking of Air Gear.
+ A dumb fun story with a unique concept that mixes shonen and sports elements.
+ Good comedy if low brow and ecchi jokes are your thing.
+ Great artwork that deserves the word great.
- Dumb story become a convoluted mess later on that goes way above the head of the author.
- Cheap ecchi, and even cheaper plot advancements.
- Completely ridiculous plot devices, and all the magical bs roller skates can apparently do.
- Terrible mood swings.
Sigh... As easy as it is to drop Air Gear, I consider myself to be at the point of no return, but let this review be a warning to those wanting to invest into this mess of a series. Oh Great must actually be a sarcastic name, or should be used in an annoyed reply like, "Oh great... another chapter of air gear to read, woo whoo..."