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 Gear, 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.
Cover of Air Gear Japanese vol. 1
|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|
|Written by||Chiaki J. Konaka|
Wall 5 Project
|Original network||TV Tokyo|
|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|
|Written by||Atsushi Maekawa|
|Released||November 17, 2010 – June 17, 2011|
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-Ts. Ikki is a middle-school boy who is the toughest street-fighting punk on the east side of town and part of the gang "The East-Side Gunz". He lives with four adopted gorgeous sisters who 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 does not 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 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. Kodansha USA published the series under the Kodansha Comics imprint after Del Rey's shut down. 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 United States; the anime in its entirety reportedly cost $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 and the third, and final, 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. Ryuji Kamiyama (originally Romeo) replaced Kamakari, subsequently Kosuke Yonehara (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, story 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's ending was cited as underwhelming despite its mostly positive reviews.
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- "Chain" (in Japanese). Avex. Archived from the original on August 26, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2009.
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- "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. Archived from the original on September 15, 2009. 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. Archived from the original on September 5, 2009. 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.
- "Air Gear Musical Cast" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on December 12, 2008. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
- "TV Tokyo Air Gear site" (in Japanese). TV Tokyo. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
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- Aaron Auzins (October 19, 2006). "Book Review: Manga – Air Gear Vol. 1". Blogcritics. Archived from the original on February 10, 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
- 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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