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Cover of Air Gear Japanese vol. 1
|Genre||Action, Comedy, Sports, Science fantasy|
|Written by||Oh! great|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Magazine|
|Original run||November 6, 2002 – May 28, 2012|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Hajime Kamegaki|
|Produced by||Nobuaki Suzuki
Wall 5 Project
|Original run||April 4, 2006 – September 26, 2006|
|Episodes||25 + 1 special|
|Original animation DVD|
|Air Gear: Break on the Sky|
|Directed by||Shinji Ishihara|
|Released||November 17, 2010 – June 17, 2011|
Air Gear (Japanese: エア・ギア Hepburn: Ea Gia?) is a shōnen manga written and illustrated by Ito "Oh Great" Ōgure. Air Gear revolves around the life of Itsuki Minami "Ikki or Crow", also known as "Baby Face", "Lil (and Little) Crow", and his friends. The story follows their use of Air Treks, an in-universe invention derived from inline skates. Initial sections of the plot carries out the introduction of characters that eventually join Ikki. As the story progresses, it focuses on their roles as Storm Riders and their quest to be on the top of the Trophaeum Tower. The pinnacle that all Storm Riders hope to reach. Air Gear won the 2006 Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category. The series concluded on May 28, 2012 with Chapter 357, but was continued with a new chapter. At the end of Chapter 358, the author of the manga told readers to look forward to more Air Gear.
A new fad by the name of 'Air Treks' (a futuristic evolution of aggressive skating) has swept the nation's youth and all over gangs are being formed that compete in various events using their A-T's. Ikki is a middle-school boy who is the toughest street-fighting punk on the east side of town part of his gang 'The East-Side Gunz', on top of that he lives with 4 adopted gorgeous sisters that took him in when he was a kid. But what Ikki doesn't know is that the girls are part of one of the most infamous A-T gangs, 'Sleeping Forest'. It doesn't take long before Ikki finds out about the world of Air Treks and is propelled into a fate he had not foreseen, learning about his past and making a number of storm riding allies on the way.
- The main protagonist of the story, he was given Air Treks (in the anime, he took them himself) and soon delved into the world of Storm Riders. There is a small crow named Kuu that lives in his hair. In the anime, Kuu was used as a censor. Eventually he creates a team, Kogarasumaru with his two best friends, Kazu and Onigiri. Eventually Buccha, Agito/Akito (Lind is discovered at a later time) join Kogarasumaru. Originally trained to become the Wind King, and eventually the Sky King by Sora, he soon finds himself betrayed by Sora and Nike (Sora's twin brother), who conspire together to steal his Regalia. When they do this, Ikki is stripped of the chance to become the Wind King. Shortly thereafter, Ikki is instead named the Storm King, following the "Hurricane Road." He has the ability to use his Air Trick's to manipulate the wind. His special techniques allows him to create a space where there is no wind called Null Wind, similar to the eye of a hurricane, which may explain his road's name.(Battle level of 117 in battle with Sleipnir)
- A long-time friend of Ikki, Kazu is a friend who's always by his side. He is a speed-type rider who inherits the title of Flame King soon after following the path of the Flame Road. He inherits the title after Spitfire (his mentor and the former Flame King) passes away inheriting his legendary AT's. Due to his speed he got the nickname Stealth (named after the F/A-18 Hornet). His special techniques allows him to 'manipulate time' (this technique is actually just an illusion, where he moves too fast for the normal human eye, thus making him able to fool the opponent with his speed, one of these tricks being the 'cloning' which is just all his afterimages) and literally marking out a 'Flame Road', where he rides his AT's at such high speeds that the heat caused by the friction of the wheels creates the illusion of flames. These two techniques are, at some level, inherited from Yasuyoshi Sano, the Aeon Clock, and Spitfire, respectively. This is highly likely, as they both followed the Flame Road. (Battle level of 89 in battle with Sleipnir, and over 200 in battle with Nike)
- Also a long-time friend of Ikki, Onigiri is a "perverted pig" as called by most. He has an unorthodox riding style, wearing his Air Treks on his head and riding it upside-down. He has his own unique Road called the Smell Road, which uses an opponents senses against them. (Battle level of 36 in battle with Sleipnir however in the battle with Nike his Battle level skyrocketed to 326). Following the end of the manga it's shown that Onigiri profits off of the final battle with Sora transforming it into a feature length film.
Issa Mihotoke "Fats Buccha" Voiced by: Hitoshi Bifu (Japanese); Mark X. Laskowski (English)
- Formerly of the Team Yaō (Night Kings), recently named as Mountain King, Buccha was defeated by Ikki and his team was forced to disband. Eventually, he joins Ikki's team as one of the main power riders, making use of his extremely large build and strength. In the manga he is known as the Black Pig for his seemingly overweight appearance. Ironically he isn't truly fat; because all of the blood from his muscles go from his body to his belly due to his constant over eating, explained in episode 17, and when he needs to, he reverts all the blood to his upper muscles, gaining super human strength, and an extremely well built appearance. Being considered one of the two weakest in the group next to Onigiri, with the help of the cyber Spitfire, Buccha set out down a road of enlightenment. This road he discovers he is also able to transfer his blood to his lower muscles giving him great speed to rival Orca (Genesis' Gravity Child after the fang regalia; battle level of 68 in battle with Sleipnir).
- He is the Fang King (a.k.a. the Shark) with a split-personality. Akito is the "light" side while Agito is the "dark" side. They used to work for the police team of "WIND" led by their "elder brother" Kaito, until inspired by Ikki to leave and join Kogarasumaru. Their split-personality changes depending on the side their eye patch is worn. Akito wears his patch on his right eye, Agito on his left. Later, a new personality named Lind emerged. Lind is like a "big brother" personality akin to Akito/Agito's older brother, Kaito Wanijima. He claims he is the original personality of the entire body. Akito/Agito/Lind are the second strongest members of Kogarasumaru. Recent Chapters have revealed the Lind persona to be the Original Brain Charger known only as 'Gazelle'. The Kaito's Past arc revealed that Gazelle was female as well as the original Thorn Queen, who had a "special" relationship with Kaito. After Kaito and Gazelle's battle with the Takeuchi twins resulted in Gazelle's death, Rinta Minami was able to recover her body and revive her and Kaito's child, who happens to be Akito/Agito/Lind as revealed in Chapter 300. Further details to how the Akito/Agito personas came to be have yet to be revealed.(Battle level of 122 in battle with Sleipnir)
The Air Gear manga was licensed for release in the United States by Del Rey Manga and the first volume was released on July 25, 2006. Subsequent volumes will be released every three months. Kodansha Comics USA is currently publishing the series. On December 25, 2015 writer and creator Oh! Great released a second epilogue chapter also celebrating the most recent character popularity poll. In times following and in the chapter itself Oh Great! has made it known he hopes to continue creating chapter content for the series.
ADV Films announced over the October 20, 2006 weekend at Oni-Con, that they had licensed the Air Gear anime for release in the USA; The anime in its entirety reportedly costed $780,000. Though few of the actual artists and inside creators of Air Gear were actually there. The few that were there included Loa Mitsoyagi (Ikki), Ian Miller (Agito), Jason Remmings (Kazuma), and The ADV representing team. The first volume was released on February 6, 2007. ADV released the uncensored Japanese home video version, rather than the broadcast version. On January 3, 2007, IGN released a special sneak peek of Episode 1 of the English Dub. In 2008, Air Gear became one of over 30 ADV titles transferred to Funimation. In Australia and New Zealand, the series is licensed by Madman Entertainment.
Avex released one single and two albums covering all the songs and themes used for the anime adaptation. The opening theme single "Chain" performed by Back-on was released on June 7, 2006 and peak ranked 139th on Oricon singles chart. The two albums Air Gear original soundtrack: What a Groovy Tricks!! and Air Gear original soundtrack 2: Who wants more Groovy Trick!!?? were released on August 23, 2006 and February 28, 2007, respectively.
In the 33rd issue of Weekly Shōnen Magazine, it was announced that a new Air Gear original video animation will be released alongside the limited edition of Volume 30 of the manga. Animation studio Satelight animated the OVA instead of Toei with Shinji Ishihara as director, Jun Maekawa as script writer, Osamu Horiuchi as character designer and Stanislas Brunet as mechanical design. Nobuhiko Okamoto plays Ikki, Haruka Tomatsu plays Ringo, and Yukari Fukui plays Kururu.
The first OVA was released on November 17, 2010, the second on March 17, 2011. while the third OVA was released on June 17, 2011.
Air Gear was adapted into a musical called Musical Air Gear, which made its debut on January 7, 2007 and ran until January 21, 2007. The musical is loosely adapted from the manga and all female roles are eliminated from the plot. The cast featured Kenta Kamakari, KENN, and Kenjiro Tsuda reprising their roles from the anime respectively as Ikki, Kazu, and Spitfire with Masaki Kaji (who had also starred with Kenta and KENN in the Prince of Tennis musicals), Run&Gun, etc. as their co-stars. In the musical, team Kogarasumaru opposes team Bacchus, whose names all come from works of Shakespeare. (Romeo, Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth and Puck).
Due to the success and popularity of the musical's first run, the musical had a rerun in May, 2007 titled, Musical Air Gear vs. Bacchus Super Range Remix (ミュージカル｢エア·ギア｣vs.バッカス Super Range Remix Myūjikaru "Ea Gia" tai Bakkasu Sūpā Renji Rimikkusu?) with the entire cast, except for Kenta Kamakari due to illness, reprising their roles. Kamiyama Ryuji (originally Romeo) replaced Kenta Kamakari, subsequently Yonehara Kousuke (originally Hamlet) took over the role of Romeo and a new actor was brought in to play Hamlet.
Also, a grayed out 'movie' button on the TV Tokyo Japanese Air Gear website indicates that an Air Gear movie may be in the works.
In April, 2010 there was a third run of the musical, It was titled 'Musical Air Gear vs. Bacchus Top Gear Remix.' Many cast members reprise their roles, Kenta Kamakari returning as Ikki. Remarkably, Agito's actor was replaced by a younger actor and the original actor now played the part of Juliet. The role of Spitfire was replaced by Aeon Clock.
Both the anime and manga have gained a lot of popularity, both in the east and the west and now has quite a large fan base. BlogCritics said "It mixes this action and comedy quite well with a storyline that doesn't fail to leave a reader wanting more." The anime has often been criticized for not remaining true to the manga, and skipping parts, but is praised for its soundtrack mostly composed by Wall5 Project, including some tracks by Hideki Naganuma as skankfunk, however both soundtracks credit all tracks (with the exception of "Chain") as skankfunk. The English dub has received positive reviews since its release. AnimeOnDVD said "The concept of the show is one that is pure anime though and something that visually can be done very well". The anime has also received great criticism for 'refusing to stay true' to the manga. The anime's ending was cited as underwhelming despite its mostly positive reviews.
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- "Chain" (in Japanese). Avex. Retrieved July 28, 2009.
- "オリコンランキング情報サービス｢you大樹｣" ["Chain" peak rank] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved July 28, 2009.
- "TVアニメ｢エア・ギア｣オリジナルサウンドトラック AIR GEAR WHAT A GROOVY TRICKS !!" [Air Gear original soundtrack: What a Groovy Tricks!!] (in Japanese). Avex. Retrieved July 28, 2009.
- "TVアニメ｢エア・ギア｣オリジナルサウンドトラック2 AIR GEAR WHO WANTS MORE GROOVY TRICK !!??" [Air Gear original soundtrack 2: Who wants more Groovy Trick!!??] (in Japanese). Avex. Retrieved July 28, 2009.
- "Air Gear Manga To Bundle Original Anime DVD". Anime News Network. July 11, 2010. Archived from the original on July 12, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
- "Musical Air Gear Official Site" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on December 18, 2008. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
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- "TV Tokyo Air Gear site" (in Japanese). TV Tokyo. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
- Carl Kimlinger (October 1, 2006). "Air Gear Review". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on January 23, 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
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- Theron Martin (February 1, 2007). "Air Gear DVD 1 – East Side Showdown Review". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on February 9, 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
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