So, I haven't been doing the weekly anime/manga reports...mostly because there's not much to REPORT. I can't say I'm happy with the direction of the anime/manga I track thus far, but I'm not so disappointed that I'd rant or pick it apart.
A lot of verbatism with nothing to say is just verbatism. How about something to say, then?
I checked out Air Gear (anime version) over the past couple days. Now, I both like and dislike this series.
I like it because it focuses on super extreme inlining (aggressive inlining is NOTHING compared to Air Treks...if ATs were on the market and as affordable as they seem to be in the show, I'd totally want a pair).
Big minus point, however, is that the characters (especially the protagonist, Ikki) keep saying that "ATs aren't meant to be used that way" (meaning, they aren't meant to be used in brawls).
Listening to the explanation of the competitions from Rank-F to Rank-A, none of them sound like you have to get bloodied up or throw punches, either. However, throughout the anime, it just continued to be them beating the crap out of each other on ATs.
My favorite parts were actually Ikki's first showdown with Buccha, as well as seeing a Dash race for the first time because they weren't trying to beat the crap out of each other.
I kept waiting for Ikki to change it, or something to happen, but it was just the same thing over and over again in terms of bloodying each other up. That's a major minus point.
Second minus point is more on my end...I use a glare screen on my computer, and all of the battles (minus the ones versus the Behemoth team since those rooms were lit) happen to be at night when it's dark. There were plenty of times where I had to squint or could hear them talking but only see a black screen. I noticed movement on the screen, which meant that there was probably something to see. I'm sure that if I watched it on the TV, I would have seen more details.
Third minus is that it's like gang wars. Each group has an "emblem" that they stick in places to declare their "territory", and to place a sticker over another group's sticker is declaring war on them.
The "war" is a challenge of the higher ranked group (if a Rank F group challenges a Rank E group, they have to do the Rank E challenge), and is a 1 vs 1 match that each team member (or, 5 team members if a team has more than 5 members) participate in. To win the challenge, a group has to accomplish 3 individual wins.
Still, it turns into a fist fight or something physical almost all the time, and there's rarely a battle that doesn't spill any blood. What's the point of the ATs, then? Just race each other while beating one another up, or have an old fashioned turf war at that point.
There are shounen card battle animes/mangas...so why not an inline battle? The card battle ones don't involve beating one another senseless (usually, as Jounochi/Joey of YuGiOH used to get into some fights, and much of "season zero" involved some physical stuff...but that season was more than just the card game).
Fourth minus (for me, at least)...the unnecessary nudity and panty shots. When I started to watch it, whomever labeled the anime didn't label it as "ecchi", so I wasn't expecting to see all of that. It wasn't any worse than Negima or Ranma 1/2 (sort of ecchi but not overflowing with it like Tengu Tenge was), but it took away from a lot of the scenes and fights.
Final minus...there aren't that many characters to connect with. Ikki is your typical jump-the-gun protagonist. As someone that grew up with Digimon, I'd label him as a (very physical) goggle boy in his character type.
It also wasn't any surprise that he decided to "turn against the system" (Genesis), as most lead protagonists of his type wind up doing.
Onigiri and Kazu have had opportunities (particularly Kazu) to shine and be more than just "secondary" characters, but the development was lacking. It was the same for Buccha; he had his moments, but his character still felt like it was missing something.
The only character that I enjoyed seeing on screen was Agito/Akito, since he had much more character depth than the other protagonists, combined. Ringo also had a good amount of character depth, but those two were really the only ones.
Overall, it's an entertaining series, but not something I'd go out and buy. It seems to follow the manga until the final couple episodes of the Kyoto arc (unless I missed it, since I just skimmed over the manga to compare them).
The OVAs, however...
I watched all 25 episodes of the anime, then clicked on the first OVA...and went "WTF is this? Who are these people? Why is more blood being spilled? Do they have psychic/super powers, now?".
I didn't even get to the intro song before I stopped watching, disgusted and completely confused as all hell. I'm guessing it would make sense to someone that's read the manga, but ONLY to someone that's read the manga.
Sneaky way to get people to buy the manga volumes to read if that was done intentionally. Myself...I'm not interested in seeing groups of guys beat the shit out of each other over turf wars (plenty of other shounen anime like that), so I had no reason to pick up the manga, and still have no reason to pick it up.
I'm sorry, but if after over 100 chapters and 25 episodes, they're still half killing one another by physically attacking each other instead of enjoying the ATs and following the competition rules, then I'm done with it. There weren't even hints that such fights would stop.
Example...the first time we saw Agito fight in one of the gang wars, the goal was to get the emblems from a balloon floating over the area. Unless I missed it because my screen was so dark I could barely see what was going on, nobody seemed interested in actually getting the emblems. They were focused more on beating each other up (yes, Agito at that point was very bloodthirsty, but the other team went after him just as much once he started in on them).
Uh...what happened to the point of the challenge? Seems to me that all of it is just an excuse to beat the shit out of each other on wheels. Same with the fight against Behemoth's team. Cage fighting, anyone?
Despite popular belief, it IS possible to make a shounen anime without having bloody fights. A fist thrown around here and there is fine, but Air Gear didn't meet my expectations for it at all. It started off cool, then slowly deteriorated into everyone just duking it out in (underground/illegal?) turf wars. I can't even call it a "sports" anime even though it's labeled as such. It's more of a "fight" anime.
3 out of 5 for the anime series, and that's being generous and only because the beginning started strong.
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