Reviewed by: Azure
Released by: Tanoshimi
Publishing Country: UK
Author: Oh! Great
Age Rating: 16+
Page Count: 224
Ikki’s immersed himself into the world of Air Gear, and together with his friends is ready to make his own team. There’s plenty to be done, equipment to get, a team name and emblem to design and it might also help if Ikki actually decides what his team is supposed to do.
Volume 5 of Air Gear centres around Ikki officially forming is own Air Gear team, the team is basically formed with all the guys he’s been hanging around with the previous five volumes - so no real suprises. Ikki is so haphazard in his approach that Ringo once again steps in to advise him in ways of Air Gear.
This volume also sees plenty of strange Air Gear related philosophy and myths are brought up again, with the manga only occasionally touching on the fact that is pretty absurd to have such an extensive mythology built around something so recent as Air Gear. On one hand this is reminiscent of the mythology CLAMP established around the technology of Chobits, on another it’s the typical ( and annoyingly entertaining) babble used by shonen manga to explain just how all those strange super moves work. Tellingly like in previous volumes there are a lot of DBZ references, a show notorious for such explanations.
Ikki’s first battle with his newly formed team is faced paced, exciting and funny. Oh Great! manages to cram some great story with the obligatory panty shots as the team have to race around the fence of their school. Predictably the team aren’t exactly prepared, and it’s once again up to Ringo to step in and help.
The second part of the volume sees the return of the eldest Noyamano sister, Rika who the manga admits basically disappeared at the end of volume one. Rika isn’t happy that Ikki is using Air Gears and admits she forbid the other sisters from letting him anywhere near them. The art is of a predictably high standard, it’s difficult to say which is better the character art or the amazingly detailed background work.
Air Gear is a surprisingly solid read, despite the need to literally shove fan service into the reader’s face there’s plenty here to enjoy. Ikki is a twisted version of the classic shonen hero, whilst he’s not as pure hearted as some his new found love of Air Gear is infectious and really drives this manga. Air Gear is also surprisingly meaty, so much so in fact that it took me several sittings to finish it simply because the art is so detailed it took that much more effort to read.