Air Gear Volume 1: East Side Showdown

Hawkeye

Storm riders make x-games skaters look like wimps. Kids strapped supercharged roller blades to their feet and dash from rooftops to power lines to railways, shredding up the urban landscape and causing mayhem. But with such fantastic skaters comes a whole new set of rules and battling each other in matches is the only way to stay on top and get respect.

imageIkki Minami is a 13 year old punk. He fights, he’s a gang leader, and he’s nothing but trouble. But deep down, he has a good heart, he stands up for his friends, he has a good sense of justice, and he’s not that bad of a guy. He might live a nice peaceful life if he wasn’t such a hothead. His life changes the day that he gets in a fight with a gang of Air Treck riders, people who wear supercharged roller blades. Ikki, in mere tennis shoes, gets his butt kicked. He drags himself home, where he lives with four beautiful sisters. Little does he know, because the sisters are all famous Air Treck riders. While the girls are all bathing, he discovers their skates, and decided its time to get even with the gang of thugs. Unfortunately for Ikki, things are never that simple, and even with rookie luck, he’s going to have to fight to stay on top.

imageI thought this show was going to be some lame sports anime with no plot. I was absolutely certain that it was going to be lame rollerblading matches with no excitement. Well, I have to say that my foot is firmly wedged into my mouth. The characters have depth, and there’s this whole elaborate ranking system to the Air Treck tournaments that really makes this show. Not only that, but there’s the mystery of what happens physically to the Storm Riders as they advance through the ranks. I found myself riveted, eager to see what happened next to Ikki and his friends, and even rooting for them and cheering when they won. I’m not sure how this series will last story wise for a lot of volumes, but for right now, it’s spectacular.

The animation was very well done, crisp clean and original in design. I didn’t feel like I’d seen these scenes before. The “camera” angles were well thought out, giving the races through the city more depth and also keeping them interesting. The characters were also unique and not too over the top. They each had their on unique style, as did the Storm Riders versus the every day Joe. It was like they designed a whole rich culture in the series with its own style.

The sound was nothing extraordinary. I don’t remember being blown away and I don’t remember hating it, to put it simply I don’t remember much at all. There was no spectacular music or amazing sound effects, the voice acting was appropriate. However while there’s nothing bad I can say about the sound, there’s nothing good I can say about the extras. The DVD box cover talks about how there’re extras on the disc. This is a dirty lie. There’s nothing even note worthy in the way of extras on this disc.

Air Gear is full of action, story and depth. It’ll appeal to those looking for just some cool action scenes and also people who want something more. I was surprised and pleased by this anime and you can’t go wrong with awesomely supercharged roller skates, though I don’t recommend trying it at home.

Entertainment: 9
Good story, and excellent animation.

Technical: 7
Where are my extras you lying cheats!

Overall: 8

[B]DVD Features:[/b] 4 Epsidoes + Extras

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