Air Gear follows Itsuki Minami and his friends as they form a gang to compete against other AT gangs. AT stands for Air Treks, special inline skates that allow the rider to do impossible things. ATs let people scale vertical walls and even fly.
It all begins when Ikki is beat senseless by a gang called the Skull Saders. Soon after he sees Simca, a talented A-T artist. Simca is the main source for this anime’s fanservice. She spends a lot of time naked or provocatively dressed. She pushes Ikki to strive for kinghood in the AT world. That pretty much is the plot. There really isn’t much there.
Ikki is an orphan taken in by a group of sisters. He’s a smart guy – he even builds his own set of ATs. However, he is impulsive, a bit perverse, and short sighted. When he puts his mind to it, he won’t give up till he achieves his goal.
Air Gear stuck me as a bit silly. It is shonen, but the premise I found difficult to enjoy. The skates give people almost the ability to defy gravity, but mostly it was the attitude that turned me off to the anime. The story encouraged reckless impulsive behavior and “punk” attitudes. Ikki is a smart guy, but he doesn’t use that intelligence to curb his behavior or to even perform his tricks well. I don’t care for characters with attitudes and lack of thinking. Ikki struck me as flat.
Some episodes were action packed with good characterization. Other episodes were stale and dull. Air Gear yoyoed between them; unfortunately it spent more time on the stale episodes.
Air Gear has pretty good animation at times. Although it breaks down into action lines and inconsistent styles. It does encourage friendship and striving toward a goal. The urban feel is interesting.
Air Gear just didn’t appeal to me. I got halfway through before I lost all interest and couldn’t ignore my annoyance with the attitude. I think perhaps it’s because I never cared for sports of any type, and this anime is focused on a different audience than mine. It is probably pretty cool for those who like skates, rollerblades, and the like. For me it was boring, annoying, and uninteresting.