Air Gear Manga |

  • Kodansha (Weekly Shônen Magazine)
  • Shônen, Street Action
  • 16+ (language, crude humor, violence, partial nudity, sexual situations)

After he is humiliated by a rival gang, thirteen-year-old gangbanger Itsuki rises to the next level in street combat: Air Trecks, super-high-tech inline skates, which allow their riders to jump and soar above the rooftops of the city. Soon, he finds himself in a world of bizarre, superpowered street fighters, the Storm Riders, who do battle with skating techniques. Basically a less explicit version of Tenjho Tenge with skates, Air Gear is an excuse for Oh! Great to do what he does best: draw cool teenagers in cool poses, with occasional undercurrents of sex and sadism. Rape is hinted at (although the dialogue was toned down in the English edition of volume 1), and Itsuki lives with four Storm Rider sisters who provide nippleless shower scenes. Even without the dialogue changes, however, the overall mood is more upbeat than Tenjho Tenge, focusing on the thrill of flight and the spirit of competition, despite all the weird freaks creeping and crawling around the story. Like many series in Weekly Shônen Magazine, the art is almost too polished and screentoned and crowded with extraneous background detail. (But check out the excellent graffiti-style Japanese sound effects.)

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