We did a mini-marathon last night and watched all the Air Master we had on DVD. Why? Because it’s a *great* series!
Last entry I pointed out some of the issues I had with the DVD release. Well, good news, kids, by Volume 3 some of the most egregious problems have been fixed. And as the plot (well…let’s call it that for argument’s sake…) just gets better and better, by Vol. 3 this series has kicked into high gear.
Let’s start with the thing that everyone complains about most – the art. Yup, its ugly. That’s not going to change. Move past it.
Next, what passes for a plot. In Vol. 3, in between big air and bloody, brutal fights, we actually learn quite a bit about Maki, and we even get a glimpse into the great Sakiyama Kaori’s past. But really, the fights are the point, and in this volume we get lots of Maki flying – my wife’s favorite part.
Yuri-wise, we get a nice handful of yuri to hold onto. Mina completely gives up on pretense and falls for Maki wholeheartedly, even going so far as to say that she will confess her love – and then does so (while asleep, mind you, but…). Maki, after fighting to the point of collapse, does collapse – in Mina’s arms. Sadly, we don’t get the followup scene from the manga where, as the Black Union grieves over Kinjiro, Mina takes Maki to a love hotel… Man, I would have LOVED that scene to be animated. ^_^
Many of the problems with the first two volumes – the closed captioning subtitles and really lousy translation simply disappears halfway through this volume. The translation, while loose, is *much* more casual and slang-filled, which gives the series the voice it needs. Lucha Master remains Roo-cha and the honorifics are still gone, but everything else improves significantly.
But what makes this volume so great is Sakiyama Kaori. My wife, who has completely disparate tastes in anime from myself, is equally as enamored of Sakiyama Kaori as I am. Because she is the GREATEST CHARACTER EVER. ^_^ Not only is she utterly, totally psychotic, violent and strange, but she is lovable and admirable all at the same time.
Volume 3 sees the beginning of the “Fami-wrestler” arc, in which Sakiyama Kaori and Maki become professional female tag team wrestlers. It’s my favorite arc, without question. The fights are brilliant, and Sakiyama Kaori simply shines as unrepressably insane and funny.
Yes, the art sucks. Yes there’s fan service out the wazoo, but come *on* – the fight scenes are brilliant. You can see exactly what technique everone is using – even if a move is unlikely, improbable or impossible its still cool that you can follow the fighting. Watching these fights makes me want to be a streetfighter. Really. And Sakiyama Kaori is my idol.
One last thing – it’s not the first thing that comes to mind but, the music for this series is top-notch. The opening and closing themes are brilliant, and the BGM is really, really well-done, and surprisingly subtle.
Art – 3, and I’m being generous
Characters – 10
Story – 8
Music – 9
Yuri – 8
Overall – 9
God, I love this anime! ^_^