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Review: Air Gear (Vol. 09)

Manga-ka: Oh!Great
Publisher: Del Rey
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: July 2008Synopsis: “The last phase of the ultimate battle between the underdog Kogarasumaru and the fearsome Behemoth has begun – and it’s up to Ikki and Agito to seal the deal and achieve Air Treck glory. All Ikki wants is to be the greatest Air Treck rider ever – but for Agito, the battle is personal. Could it be that the key to victory lies in Agito’s past?”

The fight between teams Kogarasumaru and Behmoth continues here in volume nine of Air Gear, with everything coming down to Ikki and Agito facing the Regalia-wielding, Akira. Blades are flashing and adrenaline pumping in this do-or-die fight previous volumes have led up to.

Fight, fight, symbolism, fight, metaphor, fight, symbolic fight: that about sums up this volume. As a shonen series, fairly episodic fight scenes are to be expected but sometimes it can always feel a tad overdone. While I enjoy the metaphoric and symbolic comparisons made during momentary pauses in the battles, I didn’t find them as charming here when they were drenched with all the pow, boom, bangs. Simply said, I just thought the fight between Akira, Akito and Ikki was a tad too drawn out.

That said though, despite there being a bit too much of it, what was there was at least as shiny, hyped and dramatic as always. The art is fantastic, and the action sequences are often solitary pieces of impressive art in their own right. I love Oh!Great’s whole visual style utilized in Air Gear, from the character designs to the detailed everything. Everyone and everything is teeming with so much energy, it’s hard not to feel a little hyped, even if it’ s prone to repetitiveness at times.

The largest break in the fight was for the back-story of Akira, a story of romance that triggers the end to his best friend relationship with Agito. It sets a bitter backdrop to their confrontation, showing readers where a lot of the understandable animosity between them came from. It was some revelations I’d been looking forward to, ever eager to learn more about the unbalanced, Agito. His insane brother also returns to stir trouble, keeping the level of occasional sadism in the story at its usual level.

So while I didn’t find this volume as enthralling as previous, it was still a necessary stepping-stone in the plot. With this fight out of the way, and its ripple effect felt throughout the cast, it’ll be exciting to see where things go from here! And the preview sure shows it’s going to be… something, alright. Fight on, you guys! Because it’s too much fun to stop.

Review written August 29, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo.
Book purchased from One Million Comix vendor at Fan Expo 2008

About the Author:

Lissa Pattillo is the owner and editor of Residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia she takes great joy in collecting all manners of manga genres, regretting that there's never enough time in the day to review or share them all. Along with reviews, Lissa is responsible for all the news postings to the website and works full time as a web and graphic designer.

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