Combining aggressive in-line skating with a shonen-style plot, sci-fi madness, and some…lewdness, Air Gear is one of Weekly Shonen Magazine’s more interesting stories from artist oh!Great (Ito Ogure). It became quite popular with readers, winning the 2006 Kodansha Shonen Manga Award and eventually getting a 26-episode anime adaptation (from a tandem of Toei, Marvelous, and Avex). This watch & read guide is designed to help you experience this wonderful story.
The tricky part with experiencing oh!Great’s Air Trek adventure is that it’s broken up into pieces. The anime only covers a third of the story, and while Satelight Inc. would create three more OVAs to cover important fights, you miss out not only on story between the animations, but also what happens after the adaptations end off. So, here’s a handy guide to help you do just that. The bold title shows which media cover the same story events so you can pick and choose (Also, if you wanna know where the musical fits in, it kinda doesn’t. But it’s fun to watch!):
Air Gear Toei Anime (26 episodes) -> Air Gear Vol. 1-12 (halfway) / Air Gear Omnibus 1-4:
You would think the first part of Air Gear would be an easy ride, but depending on if you want to watch or read it, you may have to jump through a few hoops. There’s a few differences between how the anime presents the story vs. the manga i.e. more character development, but it covers the manga well. If you decide to watch the anime, make sure that when you finish Episode 20, watch Episode 26 (titled “Special Trick”). It takes place between Episode 20 and 21, and covers a Parts War with Team Potemkin.
The anime ends around the middle of Volume 12 in the manga, so you’ll have to jump over from that point (if you’ve seen Episode 25, hint hint…)
Read Air Gear from the last half of Volume 12 up to Volume 15
Air Gear Break on The Sky: 1st Trick -> Air Gear Volume 15:
The Break on The Sky OVA series does a really good job of expanding the characters while making the fights closer to the manga in terms of excitement.
The OVA is broken up into three 28 minute episodes, with the “1st Trick” covering a pretty personal fight for protagonist Ikki Minami. The fight corresponds to Volume 15 of the manga, so you can choose how to you want to experience this battle. You will have to continue reading the manga between OVA episodes, though.
Read Air Gear Volume 16 up to Volume 24
Air Gear Break on The Sky: 2nd & 3rd Trick -> Air Gear Volume 24 & 25:
The other two episodes from the Break on The Sky OVA cover what I’d consider the biggest team fight in the entire series. While it’s quite striking in terms of manga art, the Satelight adaptation does a really good job of putting it all in motion.
Watching “2nd Trick” and “3rd Trick” covers Volume 24 & 25 of the manga, and while it’s a good way to end the animated part of Air Gear, the story only ramps up from here. So…
Read Air Gear Volume 26 – 37, ending on Chapter 358.
After the OVAs, everything gets crazy. It’s almost impossible to explain. But then you’ll be done the story! Now watch the musical: