Air Gear
Volume 3

Author: Oh! Great
Artist: Oh! Great
RRP: 6.99, US $10.95
ISBN: 978 0 009 50658 4
Ages: 16+
Available 01 February 2007

Following a humiliating defeat in a fight, Ikki is a troubled student. His luck starts to get better when he meets up with sisters who belong to the Sleeping Forest, Storm Riders gang. The Noyamano sisters provide him with his first pair of Air Trecks, a form of high tech roller skates. With the use of the skates Ikki is able to regain his honour and enter the fast and furious skating world of Air Treck...

Air Treck is a teen action ecchi manga from Oh! Great. It's not actually the name of the artist, which is Ogure Ito, but a play on his name. Apparently, if pronounced correctly it sounds just like Oh Great. Better known for his successful Tenjho Teng franchise, Ito started his career drawing hentai books. Although this path to success is often not acknowledged, you'd be surprised how many respectable writers started out by writing pornography, to hone their skills and pay the bills. There is no denying the success of the Air Track series. To date it has spawned, a soon to be released, anime show and musical.

There is a huge amount of information to take in on the Storm Riders, the name by which AT users refer to themselves. The various ranking and gang names mean that you really should start reading this series from the start and not from Volume Three - as I was forced to do.

The current volume details Ikki's fight with a rival gang member, Buccha, after he has put two of Ikki's friends in hospital. Through the story we follow his quest to improve his skills in order to take the bad guy down.

The undoubted strength of this manga is the artwork. Ito's artistic ability easily adds to the dynamism of the action panels, though the overall quality is very high. The book does contain a lot of violence and moderate amounts of wry salacious buxom nudity, though this is par for the course for Ito.

So overall a good story backed up by some impressive artwork.

Charles Packer

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