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Translations: Gintama 507 (2)
MangaScreener isn't a manga, they're a group.
Download anything they've done. Seriously, anything.
You referred to them as a manga, which is why I had to clarify.
As for other groups:
-Omanga. (Mostly dark stuff with action, but still good)
"Don't judge a book by it's cover" is a good expression for most of their series. The vast majority of what they do is great. But, if you're looking for series with the usual underdog male protagonist overcoming all odds to eventually get to his goal in the end stuff, stick with Bink & F-H for their usual crap. These groups scanlate series with depth.
Oh, I see what you mean. I was in a hurry so I quickly wrote it. No, I meant it as a scanlator group but didn't specify it. Thanks for more links.
Actually, I didn't understand whether you meant if Mangascreener was a group that scanlated quality mangas or terrible mangas. So they actually have good mangas?
Yes, all of their stuff is great.
Genres: Action, Comedy, Sports, Ecchi
Author: Oh Great!
Publication: Weekly Shonen Magazine
Start Date: 16th May 2003
End Date: Currently Still running
Number of chapters at review: 194
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 194
General Overview: The story revolves around a boy fated to be at the centre of a world revolution. While the boy simply wants to enjoy life with his friends, he becomes embroiled in a fight for energy revolution and the freedom of storm riders everywhere.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
The artwork is great, While at times, some of it can dip, it's overall consistency and originality cannot be ignored.
We're talking about one of the best plot lines currently available. However it didn't start that way and the transition has been quite rough at times. Now that Oh!G has transitioned from a story about a boy to a story about a group, the plot is nearly unrivalled.
For me, the main character is the only real negative. Everyone else has managed to get a range of emotion from me, whether i like or hate them, but the main character just seems cliché. However with the scope of the manga having changed from that of a guy to a group, his effect is easily negated.
I think this goes back to the plot. It's being done in a way that's never been done before, using sports to facilitate it storyline and while the stories of gangs and underdogs have been done before, it's unquestionable that it's never been done in such a manner as this. When you highlight the moral stories such as growth and friendship, you're left in a zone where you question if it's meant to be like that, it's ambiguity only goes to underline the class of the writing.
One of the most original manga's i've read. Air Treks, Energy Revolutions, Friendship, And fighting styles you'd have never thought of all wrapped up perfectly in near future fiction.
It's a manga i thoroughly enjoy and am actually disappointed that more groups aren't scanlating it. While some may question the ability of the author to write, i find that it's been engaging me for years and i actually kowtow in admiration.
Ok, closed to cool down a little.
The review threads are NOT a place to debate about scanlation issues. I'm going to remove the offtopic parts later, eventually into a seperate thread.
So, I moved the offtopic posts regarding the scanlation discussion -> HERE. Be nice there.
And for this review thread - STAY ONTOPIC from now!
Last edited by eni; August 05, 2008 at 08:41 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
I'm coming to realize how true GGpX post was. I'm getting tired of reading Air Gear. At first, the plot was interesting. Ogure Ito surely is talented as an artist but his writing needs to improve. I feel like he's just dragging on the story with whatever material he could find. It's like a burden now and lately, the reading is becoming cumbersome.
When will Air Gear be tied up is my question?
Yeah, I got sick again and spent a few boring days in bed. SO, binged Air Gear. And my GOD is this a troubled manga. Going to do a quick and informal review here--keep in mind that you people grade a lot more generously than I do, so my numbers may seem a bit harsh. But remember, we're grading professionals, not some creative writing/art student doing his/her final project. This is like the Olympics; the stuff has to be top-tier to get even an 8 or 9. And anything amateurish gets a really, really low grade. This is how these people make their LIVING. They better be damn good and held to certain standards.
Read up to 270ish as of this review.
The art is certainly passable and does the job decently, but is hardly exceptional in any sort of jaw dropping way. The backgrounds are done pretty well--we get a pretty solid feel of the environment and where everything is, which is rather important for a manga that's so dependent on geography. The male characters are drawn well and are distinct enough that we always know exactly who we're looking at, even if they haven't shown up for a long time. I would slightly object to the author's beautiful/ugly divide amongst the men, however. Either someone's a supermodel or they look like a freak and are the butt of all sorts of physical jokes. Sends kind of a bad message, but isn't all that important.
The female characters, however, are absolutely atrocious. I've heard before that this mangaka got his start in drawing hentai, and it's really really easy to believe. Then women are all ridiculously proportioned and subsequently objectified in a slightly disturbing way. I don't care that much personally, but many of my feminist friends would get rather pissy over this and would actually have good reason. More serious from a storytelling angle is that almost all the women look alike. They all have about the same build, most are blonds, they dress in similarly ridiculous ways, and their faces are rather similar. So when I see a woman on the page, I have to pause and think for a few minutes about who this particular one is. A disturbing amount of the time, I guess wrong or have to wait for a name. It makes things rather hard to follow.
Also, some of the action scenes can be a bit confusingly drawn and difficult to follow.
The plot is a joke. A ridiculous, absurd joke that still tries to take itself seriously.
The basic premise is that people have invented these magical psuedo-scientific roller skates that can do all sorts of ridiculous things. All the cool kids ride these "ATs", yet somehow they're still borderline outlawed and tied to underground culture. The protagonist gets involved in this roller skating, which turns out to be a major lifestyle choice, leading him to a series of life-or-death battles as he masters his style of skating.
As the "story" develops, there's all sorts of crazy stuff, like numerous roller-skate murders, special anti-skate FBI squads that shoot indiscriminately at crowds, downloading people into the internet, body-switching with Barack Obama (who is a character, but somehow is an African citizen and also president-elect or sommat), gundam-style mechas powered by roller skate technology, and eventually an adventure to save the world from the big bad evil roller skater dude. Here's the thing. The plot gets progressively more disjointed and ridiculous. However, the manga still takes itself completely seriously. The author has become so enamored of his idea that he can't stop getting off to it, even as everything gets progressively more ridiculous and crappy. If this manga tried to be a comedy, it might have a chance. But it doesn't.
In terms of actual storytelling, absurdities aside, the events are really hard to follow. At first, I thought the translating group was to blame and their work made the story really hard to follow and very...nonsensical. As I've kept reading, however, I've realized that no, it really makes that little sense. And what's more, the plot itself isn't just absurd gibberish--it's also BAD absurd gibberish.
Has anyone here read Prince of Tennis? Or Eyeshield 21? This is BASICALLY a sports manga where all the real stuff happens during the competitions. These types of manga aren't supposed to have a real plot and that's just fine--instead, they're really just a series of conflicts starring a bunch of characters with abilities. The early Air Gear chapters are kind of like that. However, the author keeps pulling us away from what matters in this manga--the sports-like competition--and shoving in all this really stupid stuff. Like hostage situations and global themes. And since the author can't carry a story to save his life, they all end up being really, really, really bad and I, as a reader, couldn't really bring myself to care about anything that was going on. And it was all so poorly planned... Every "surprise" event or major plot development felt like the author was just making it up on the spot and trying to be cool.
Characters: 9 (combat), 5 (men), 1 (women)
I was actually kind of impressed with the characters and their development here, which was kind of surprising considering how sucky the plot was. What this ended up meaning is that I liked the characters, especially when it came to the Air Gear and combat aspect, but face-palmed at everything the characters ended up doing that fueled the plot. And at many of their personality related stuff.
One of the particularly outstanding things here is how the author managed to create an actual, functioning team. In many shonen series, the genius protagonist outstrips all of the supporting cast, leaving them behind in the dust while he goes on to greatness. The supporting cast members, who used to be great in their own right, then proceed to be insignificant dead-weight for the rest of the series. Here, however, each member develops his or her own style and is consistently useful. Though the protagonist probably has the most potential out of the lot, one of his teammates (who started learning at the same time and was weaker for some time) is about tied with his abilities, while another is far beyond him. The same holds true for the many more minor characters. Each has an interesting, distinctive, and unique style, making for many memorable future cameos and team-ups.
In terms of personality, however, the main characters seem somewhat stalled. Each seems to have been assigned a certain standard stock role and has stuck to it faithfully the whole time. The running-joke pervert of chapter 2, for example, is still a running-joke pervert who reacts to everything the same way and hasn't grown at all over the last 250+ chapters. And this is still happening. The author has the same characters doing the same things and proceeds to use the same running gags in the same way. It's getting old.
Oh yeah, and the women have no independent personalities. And they all define themselves by whom they have a crush on. Except sometimes for one semi-major character. And when she does display some independence, the author has all of his characters comment on how much she's like a man. Isn't that wonderful?
If I were to subdivide this category, I'd give the characters a 9 when it comes to the actual air-gear part of the story, which is all I really pay attention to anymore. The men get a 5 for everything else. The women get a 1.
This manga is so inconsistent and all over the place that it's almost impossible to decide which theme to go with. Here are a few of the major ones I picked out.
-Nothing you do will ever matter unless you have the right genetics
-Hard work doesn't really matter unless you're predestined to be a main character
-Women don't have real personalities except for when they're chasing guys
-Choose the trendiest hobby possible because it's what all the cool kids do
-Always make fun of fat people
-All women worth looking at have huge breasts. Make fun of the ones that don't.
-Jobs, real work, and school are for conformist losers with their priorities wrong
-All the REALLY important people in life are hot
Those are some of the most prominent ones I picked up. Honestly. I know we've all developed this filter where we gloss over some of the worse messages in manga, but try turning that off for just a few chapters and see what's in this. It's a pretty blatant work of teensploitation. Teensploitation, by the way, means a work that's designed to exploit a specific audience, namely teenage males here. Most manga are this way to an extent, but this is one of the few that goes to such lengths. It's kind of disturbing. You have to remember, this is being written by a dude who's like, in his 30s or 40s.
Oh, totally forgot. Here's one minor theme I found worth mention.
-Black people love fried chicken
In this manga, Barack Obama's ship is called "The Colonel Sanders". Seriously. I am not making this up. Now, I'm pretty thick-skinned myself and don't get pissy easily about this sorta stuff, but as a political science student specializing in political advertisements, I can objectively tell you that this is pretty bad. If an American author had written something like this, he'd be facing some pretty serious backlash--though there's no way the publisher/editor would approve. This is the sort of thing that gets made into a scandal. Because he's Japanese, we can say to ourselves "oh, he didn't know better, it's alright". That's the sort of excuse we use for three-year-olds when they say rude things at the dinner table. You can understand why it's been said and why you can kind of let it slide, but it's still bad...
Oh yeah, and this series endorses the whole friendship and loyalty themes that EVERY series pays lip-service to. But that's not what really stands out.
The premise is very original, if not very well thought out at times. The whole AT world is rather original, especially with the different battle types. The execution, character archetypes, etc...well...not at all. What all this AT stuff amounts to is his characters jumping through the air firing wind-blasts, water blasts, or cutting the air with wind using their super magical roller skates. Don't those tropes date back to, like...ancient mythology?
And with the character/plot development, well...some stuff is "original" because it's so stupid that nobody else would ever even think of doing it. Originality doesn't matter at all if your work is still bad.
If only they would edit this series down to just the Air Gear stuff and leave out all the really poorly done stuff, like the plot attempts, the dialogue, the faux-romance (henceforth called fauxmance), half the jokes, etc... Then this series might pass as a mediocre sports manga.
It is, however, a very interesting experience to read this story analytically. Trying to track the themes, the plot, the plot errors, character development, etc...well, it's something I might actually recommend to anybody who's into creative writing or manga analysis/writing. Just from reading this, I understand MUCH more clearly where not to go and what sorts of things send a manga downhill very very fast. It made for an interesting reading/writing exercise and I think my taste has somewhat improved.
Last edited by Shinichiro; March 23, 2010 at 02:07 PM.
Sad to say i completely agree with you Shinichiro. Your review may be harsh but it is also accurate.
IMHO Air Gear is a deeply flawed manga and the flaws only get more severe as the story progresses.
The only thing i would add is that, in this manga's attempt to take itself seriously, it abuses symbolism in a way i've never seen equaled. Religious and cultural symbols are throw at you by the dozen and yet few are ever used correctly. It's almost as if the mangaka has no idea of their true meaning.
Last edited by Jammin; March 23, 2010 at 11:37 AM.
I read Shinichiro's review and I have to say, it's one of the most inaccurate reviews ever. Sorry to comment like this but I really couldn't stay quiet after reading the various errors that Shinichiro made in his review.
Art- Well,Shinichiro was mainly on the ball here. While I personally have no problems with OG's character design, I find it odd that he can't distinguish between female characters, but, that's not really an error per say, so I can't really complain.
Plot- Lots of errors in Shinichiro's review here.Number one is his initial analysis of the role of A-T in the story. Yes, it started out as more of a sport competition sort of thing, but it was revealed fairly long ago(like a 100+ chapters ago, that that was far from the main focus of A-T, and that A-T was created for reasons that can't be tied into sports at all, and that the A-T subculture was mainly a sideplot, and was even fostered by the 'big bad roller skate guy' as part of his plan. And, it was stated many times the main characters and other protagonists mostly hold the view that A-T should be used for fun, not 'the global themes' you mentioned. These global themes even predate the A-T subculture itself. That is how Air Gear differentiates itself frrom manga like Eyeshield 21.
To give an example,
Characters- Shinichiro here was more accurate than analysing plot, but I'm a bit amazed at his analysis of character development. Most of the main characters have shown significant growth since the start of the manga. His analysis of female characters was also way off. One female character who has romantic feelings for the main character ended up fighting against him for what they believe in, rather that doing what she wanted and fighting with him, and they even maintained a mature attitude about it.
Here in particular, where Shinichiro described some themes he apparantly saw.
For the first, there are characters born with superior genetics, but there are also many characters born human and with hard work mangage to beat these superior specimens. As for the second, while hard work isn't expounded as much as other manga such as Naruto or History's Greatest Disciple Kenichi the value of hard work has been mentioned more that once, there were even chapters dedicated to that theme. For the third point, I already talked about that (see above). The fourth point, no character (at least main character) chooses to ride A-T because it's cool, but rather to enjoy the sense of freedom it gives them. The fifth point, there was one such chapter, but it was a parody about fat fetishists. Your milage may very on this. The sixth point, if this was Tenjou Tenge, another OG work, I might agree with you. In Air Gear however, smaller endowed women aren't much made fun of, if at all so I can only imagine where you got that from. the seventh point, no where is it stated that real life is unimportant compared to A-T, the main characters are delinquents, yes, but that was far before A-T came into their lives, and their are many characters that take schoolwork seriously. And employment, well the main character grew up very poor and had to work any number of part-time jobs to fund his hobby to take the burden off his family, so... again no idea where you got that from.Quote:
I honestly have no idea where you got that from. The ship is called Colonel Sanders, but it isn't the personal property of the Obama pastiche, but is owned by the U.S.A. He has not been on the ship (at least as of Chap. 272, so far as the reader has seen) and there was no mention of him personally being involved in the naming of the ship. So how you got that conclusion is beyond me.Quote:
So there are the flaws in Shinchiro's review. As I said I was really going to ignore it, but I didn't want anyone unfamiliar with Air Gear to get the wrong idea about it. Apologies if I sounded harsh , but this is just constructive criticism.
Last edited by Epic_Rider; June 13, 2011 at 05:02 PM. Reason: Correcting grammatical errors
Air Gear's art is one of the manga's strongest facets. Beyond being uniquely designed, his characters tend towards the stylish and cool. Ito Ōgure has a background in hentai manga and it shows in his sexy and lavishly designed female characters. As a fair warning to new readers, there is (in this reviewer's humble opinion) a gratuitous amount of ecchi material and so the manga is not always SFW. However, I can not stress enough how much detail Ōgure puts into creating landscapes and the intricately designed ATs that the characters wear, ATs being Air Treks which are part inline skate and part personalized weapon, that the characters wear.
The plot is breezy and entertaining. At times there isn't much narrative moment and/or consistency. The dialogue leaves a lot to be desired, but the pacing is usually brisk. Air Gear is analogous to a summer popcorn movie. Style and entertainment is valued over narrative flourish, and that's not necessarily a bad thing because the manga excels in style. Mostly humorous and tone, the series does manage an occasional moment of true pathos and there are some generally unexpected plot twists in the story. At the same time, the characters often seem at the service of the plot rather than the plot servicing the characters, and so those looking for a heady or more mature series or tight plotting are bound to be disappointed.
The characters in this series incorporate some standard shonen character tropes, but mostly they are unique and entertaining in a way unlike any other manga. The ensemble is another of the manga's strong points, containing a cast of fully realized characters, each of whom is comical in their own way. The breadth of the cast runs from overly-ecchi pinups who can hold their own in a fight, crude but likable pranksters with ambition, a gender bending protagonist, and a faux-Obama character that works surprisingly well.
The series also incorporates standard shonen tropes of friendship, success through hard-work, individuality, and freedom. It's not exactly the freshest mix of thematic material, and it doesn't help that the dialogue and narration are alternately vague and on-the-nose. It feels like the series aims for deepness to enhance the significance of the battles, but never really reaches for it. Perhaps that will change by the end of the series, but for now, thematic exploration is the weakest part of Air Gear.
The character and AT designs alone give Air Gear an edge in originality, and the series delights in topping itself when it comes to giving characters cool abilities and then giving those abilities increasingly ridiculous explanations rooted in a faux-science that exists only in the world of Air Gear. The series excels in borrowing bits and pieces from various underground cultures. There's a little bit of hip hop culture, a bit of punk, a spoonful of cutting edge Japanese fashion, skater/surfer culture, and graffiti culture. The world of Air Gear is a strange place where the cutting edge underground cultures of our world have melded together and become the culture a la mode.
Overall, I think the Air Gear is a fun and entertaining read. I wouldn't call it must-read material but it's hip, stylish, and passes the time easily enough. The only major complaint I have is that the style comes at the sacrifice of substance, and so at the end of the day Air Gear doesn't achieve anything more than becoming a likable but breezy read.
As an aside, I've read Shinchiro's review and the responses to it and wanted to add my two cents. I wouldn't consider this an official part of my review because this section will focus solely on the negatives aspects of the series addressed by Shinchiro, who is not completely off base in his criticisms. He is a little harsh and relies upon a couple of oversights and over generalizations, but his basic complaints hold some value.
The manga does have some pretty big flaws and while they initially start off small, they grow and become more noticeable as the series continues. The female characters in general are objectified to an obscene degree, but at the same time, they exist in a fictional universe where everyone seems to be cool and hip and beautiful. To that effect, I can only think of one character, Onigiri, off the top of my head who doesn't fit into the hip/attractive camp. Even Buccha can transform his body so that he becomes muscular instead of fat. And like I mentioned earlier, the plotting is hit or miss and the themes are underdeveloped. Moreover, some of the pop-culture imagery and signifiers are misappropriated and used less for relevance to the text than for enhancing the style of the series. However, all art is a subjective experience and you might find yourself enjoying the series for it's style for styles sake, because honestly, that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Last edited by blackjack612; April 05, 2011 at 10:55 AM. Reason: Added a response to Shinchiro's reivew.
I dont know how many manga you can give a 10/10 for art but its NO EXAGERATION.
^ Is pretty much the complete opposite to what the manga contains. Every double page is breathtaking, and the design of the mechanical/technological aspects and the background perspectives are inspirational.Originally Posted by Shinichiro
My background is in industrial design and the way he draws ATs/regalias/motor bikes and how he breaks down the different parts inside them could easily pass for professional industrial design standards (disregarding the fact all the technology is fictional). Theyre clean, detailed, accurate lineart and theyre presentation IS JAWDROPPING.
Its hard to believe he draws them EVERY WEEK.
I would give the Overall: more around 7 and its worth the read at least once to raise your standard in manga art. It blows the art of more exposed mangas like Bleach (who many think has top notch art) OUT OF THE WATER.