Air Master


Air Master

Infobox animanga/Header
name = Air Master


caption =
ja_name = エアマスター
ja_name_trans = Ea Masutā
genre = Fighting
Infobox animanga/Manga
title =
author = Yokusaru Shibata
publisher = Hakusensha
demographic = Seinen
magazine = Young Animal
first = 31 July 1997
last = 29 May 2006
volumes = 28
Infobox animanga/Anime
title =
director = Daisuke Nishio
studio = Toei Animation
network = Nippon Television
first = 1 April 2003
last = 12 June 2004
episodes = 27

nihongo|"Air Master"|エアマスター|Ea Masutā is a seinen manga created by Yokusaru Shibata and serialized in Hakusensha's Young Animal. The story focuses on Maki Aikawa, an ex-gymnast turned streetfighter. [Ann anime|82. Accessed 2007-01-18.] A 27-episode anime adaptation was produced by Toei Animation. The manga ended in 2006 after a 28 volume run. [Ann manga|5090. Accessed 2007-01-18.]

Geneon signed an agreement with Toei to release the anime series on DVD in the United States and Canada, but as of August 2006 only four discs have been released, and no further releases have been announced.

Its main character is a 16 year old redheaded schoolgirl who, rather than fighting the typical Anime martial artist mold popular with many otaku, is enormously tall and fairly muscular. In addition, the art style has been described as anything from charmingly rough to crude, resembling the more "old school" fighting manga style rather than similarly themed (but even more fanservice oriented) works, like "Tenjho Tenge" or "Ikki Tousen". In addition, the series itself is a homage/parody of the fighting genre, as well as other genres, which are well hidden within the entire series.

The series title comes from Maki's nickname as a street fighter, a reference to her acrobatic skills. Maki has climbed buildings, executed death-defying leaps, changed course in mid-air, and pulled off multiple aerial attacks.

Plot

The series begins as Maki meets, defends, and befriends a group of girls her own age. The next day, she is surprised to discover that most of those girls go to the same high school that she has just transferred to.

In most episodes, Maki somehow ends up fighting one of the local streetfighters. As time goes on, she and her friends find out more and more about the mysterious "Fukamichi Rankings", where fighters earn reputation and money, so many of them are trying to strive for the top. Eventually, Maki joins the tournament for thrills, and fights ever-stronger opponents, while many of her previous opponents vainly try to match her progress, including some would-be suitors. Her battles would eventually lead to the Fukamichi Ranking's No. 1, The Eternal.

Another focus of the series is Maki's past; since Maki herself is reluctant to speak about it, details of her past as a famous gymnast and her relationship with her parents are revealed slowly through flashbacks and dreams.

Characters

Protagonist

nihongo|Maki "Air Master" Aikawa|相川 摩季|Aikawa Maki, Seiyū - Romi Paku:A former gymnast who trained under her now deceased mother. Maki uses her acrobatic skills in her fighting style to increase her freedom of movement. Maki has the ability to replicate nearly any move she gets hit with or sees. Since her relationship with her father is conflicted, she lives alone. Maki seems to enjoy street fighting for the "rush" rather than any sense of revenge or honor. When not fighting, Maki tends to stick out in a crowd due to her unusual height (six feet) and appearance, preferring to follow her quartet of friends quietly. :Her younger sister comments that Maki is somewhat simple-minded. Maki is reluctant to deal with several people obsessed with her. She becomes vulnerable to attack (only for a moment) when she gets approached in any romantic way, especially with Julietta Sakamoto. Despite being simple-minded, with every fight she learns new techniques from her rivals and integrates it into her already dominant fighting style. She is best described as an "idiot, who can be a genius from time to time," by Sampaguita Kai. Near the end of the series she is called "Jackie" several times, the meaning of this is not explained.

Family

nihongo|Shiro Saeki|佐伯 四郎|Saeki Shiro, Seiyū - Toshio Furukawa:Maki's estranged father who actually did not marry Maki's mother, but they were only very close. Maki was born when he was fifteen, which would only make him around thirty-one years old. He often makes smart remarks about Maki, usually leading him to a beating. He is a four-time pro-fighting champion and was initially able to take on his own daughter in full combat. He runs a dojo, and raises Maki's half-sister, Miori. He gets beaten by Sakamoto, but they become close friends later on. He sometimes teases Sakamoto by telling him that he will forbid him to see his daughter. One time, he "accidentally" left Sakamoto alone with Maki, which ended with disastrous results. He was at Maki's mother's side when she passed away.

nihongo|Miori Saeki|佐伯 みおり|Saeki Miori, Seiyū - Yukiko Hirotsu:Maki's somewhat bratty, younger half-sister. Her martial-artist father is the same as Maki's, so she shares some of her older sister's fighting ability, but none of her gravity-defying gymnastic skills, which Maki evidently got from her mother. In her first appearance, she suddenly attacks Maki, but eventually grows to respect her older sister. Though she is younger, she is about the same height as Renge. She decides to move in with Maki in order to train with her, hoping to be an "Air Master" like her sister. She later idolizes Sanpaguita Kai. Like Maki and Kai, she's also a Fukamichi competitor, but holds no rank.

Friends

nihongo|Mina Nakanotani|中ノ谷 美奈|Nakanotani Mina, Seiyū - Yukana:One of Maki's shyer friends, who goes to a presumably rich, private school. Mina has ridiculously exaggerated, large breasts, normally used as a source of humor rather than fan service, and she is extremely self-conscious about it. In addition to this, Mina is hopelessly in love with Maki, who is not sure how to handle the matter, making this the main reason her friends make fun of her. However, like Maki, she has her share of admirers as well; including Reiishi Mishima and many members of Kinjirou's Black Suit gang. She has been a fan of Nanjou Remon's novels since she was a kid.

nihongo|Renge Inui|乾 蓮華|Inui Renge, Seiyū - Tomoko Kaneda):The group's extremely short friend. Renge has a penchant for eating obsessively, yet she is always thin (Although, sometimes, when she eats a lot, she is shown to have a belly). Renge is the stereotypical, overexcited kid, with a tendency to whine, but she mostly serves as a cheering squad. Much to her friends' surprise, she has two younger sisters named Men-Men and Mikan, who both look identical to Renge. She is good friends with Tsukio, and once gave him money for breakfast. Her features resemble that of 'Astro Girl'.

nihongo|Yuu Takigawa|滝川 ユウ|Takigawa Yū, Seiyū - Mariko Suzuki):A kogal and one of Maki's two normal friends who usually makes fun of Mina. She has a crush on Shinnosuke, fighting Michiru for his affections. Along with Michiru, they are usually sideline characters, sometimes commenting on the weird events in the story. She is a huge fan of the singer Uzumi Mika.

nihongo|Michiru Kawamoto|川本 みちる|Kawamoto Michiru, Seiyū - Masumi Asano):One of Maki's two normal friends. She shares some of the same interests as Renge. Like Renge, she's a bit of an otaku, but not as open as Renge is. She also has a crush on Shinnosuke, but becomes upset when he admits his love for Maki. She is a fan of the model Nono Rakuko. She has younger twin brothers, Yuuki and Shinta.

:A kitten given to Renge by Mina, but initially almost let it jump out a window due to Renge's inattention. Renge wins a ramen-eating contest in order to have money for its food. Kessaku can be translated as "masterpiece", though Renge randomly chose the name from a dictionary, seemingly ignoring the other meaning of "boner".

Other Fighters

nihongo|Lucha Master|ルチャマスター|Rucha Masutā, Seiyū - Unshou Ishizuka:Lucha Master is, as the name implies, a masterful wrestler, styled after Mexican Luchadores. He always wears a mask, a white one for public and a red/blue mask for fighting. He is the first major challenge Maki faces. Lucha is one of only three characters who can use a similar sort of aerial combat as Maki. He is the older brother of Sanpaguita Kai, another character with a similar fighting style. He is also an avid model maker. He usually hangs out with Kinjirou, Tsukio, and Mishima.

nihongo|Shinnosuke Tokita|時田 伸之助|Tokita Shinnosuke, Seiyū - Seki Tomokazu:A guy who challenged Maki early on and later temporarily joined the group. He seems to have a crush on Maki. He fights with a long staff that can separate into three parts connected with a chain, which he learned since he was five (around the same time Maki learned gymnastics). He seems to also know the art of the Drunken Fist. Michiru and Yuu has a crush on him, but are upset when he confesses to Maki, in turn upsetting Mina. The only fighter he managed to take down successfully was Reiichi Mishima, but when it came to fighters like Maki, Shiro, and Tsukio, he was easily dominated by them.

nihongo|Tsukio Taketsugu|武 月雄|Taketsugu Tsukio, Seiyū - Kihachiro Uemura:Another early opponent. He has a furious punch (similar to a jack hammer), but is not as fast as some of the other street fighters. Maki often overlooks him, especially after his first appearance when Lucha Master quickly showed up, which made him furious. He did not qualify for the Fukamichi Rankings. He asks Renge for money for breakfast, but usually pays her back with double the amount.

nihongo|Reiichi Mishima|三島 麗一|Mishima Reiichi, Seiyū - Daisuke Sakaguchi:A sort of hanger-on to Tsukio Taketsugu. Reiichi is both a coward and a klutz. Though he could fight well with a bike, using it like it is part of his own body, he is still only a moderately skilled street fighter. He has a crush on Mina.

nihongo|Kaori Sakiyama|崎山 香織|Sakiyama Kaori, Seiyū - Mika Doi:A wannabe future model (later a female wrestler) with an obsessive one-sided rivalry with Maki. She later becomes a comparatively good fighter, using a combination of Tai Chi and Pro Wrestling, and accomplishes things by sheer force of will and determination. Over the course of the series, she has been dragged into various odd jobs, sometimes getting Maki involved. She is loud and overdramatic, and during extended fights is essentially a Berserker powered by her own rage, who will not admit defeat unless violently knocked out. :A running gag in the show is how most characters refer to her by her full name in a dramatic fashion, probably due to her tendency to do the same. When enraged, her appearance has been compared to the Devilman. Due to a childhood "accident", she's deaf in her right ear. Using her newly-acquired fighting skills, she strives to become a stronger street fighter part-time. She eventually becomes a tag-team partner to Mio Hayase, winning several Pro Tag team titles. She still longs for another battle for Maki and will chase her to the ends of the Earth.

nihongo|Julietta Sakamoto|坂本 ジュリエッタ|Sakamoto Jurietta, Seiyū - Kenyuu Horiuchi:A scruffy but handsome ghost writer in his late twenties, who becomes romantically obsessed with Maki, who is totally uninterested in him and finds his behavior very creepy. He is a smooth talker but prone to overly aggressive declarations of love, sometimes bordering on assault, towards Maki, whom he calls "My Jenny". He tends to always kiss her and declare his love for her when they are together, even during their fights, throwing her off-balance (this is usually done for comedic effect). :He has three women who are head over heels for him: Uzumi Mika (a famous singer), Nono Rakuko (a famous model), and Nanjou Remon (a famous novelist). He ignores them all since he is fixed on marrying Maki or making her move in with him. Maki is physically capable of beating him down, but she had a hard time with him at first. He can take a huge beating and still be able to fight. In a fight with another opponent, he had both his legs and one of his arms broken, but he was still able to fight and knock out his opponent. :Sakamoto usually only fights with extremely fast and devastating kicks. He usually leaves his hands in his pockets while fighting, even though he has a powerful punch. It is said that his strength is legendary on the street. Maki's father, Shiro, always makes fun of him, threatening to forbid him from seeing his daughter. Though he did not know it, he became 7th ranked in the Fukamichi Rankings after quickly defeating Fukamichi's brother, Nobuhiko, and then dominates Yashiki, who found out the hard way that Sakamoto is a ki master, afterwards. He is the only fighter to result in a draw, as he was declared to have been unconscious when he knocked out his opponent (which greatly angered everyone who was watching since they believed that he should have won).

nihongo|Kinjiro Kitaeda|北枝 金次郎|Kitaeda Kinjirō, Seiyū - Kentarou Itou:Leader of the "League of Black-Suited Gentlemen". He claims to hate women, yet he likes Maki because he thinks she is different. He is a good fighter and has great punching power. He once took down a bear with one punch. He has a technique where he can create an afterimage of himself attacking, so the opponent will be fooled into acting prematurely. He had his first kiss stolen by one of his "male" subordinates, Nagato. In the tournament, he reaches 10th rank, eliminating Kai, but horribly losing to No. 4 Fighter, Yuki.

nihongo|Kai Sampaguita|サンパギータ・カイ|Sanpagīta Kai, Seiyū - Michie Ishizuka:Though she is not initially involved in the street-fighting tournament Maki joins, Sampaguita Kai was one of her most difficult opponents. Using a similar fighting style to Maki, Kai faces her in a tag-team match during a women's wrestling tournament. She's a pupil under wrestling veteran, Mio Hayase, whom she seems to love very much. In addition, she has trained and wrestled with a weighted vest to restrain her aerial abilities. She becomes obsessed, like a number of Maki's earlier opponents, with beating Maki. She is the younger sister of Lucha Master, who taught her how to fight ever since she was young. Kai fights Miori in the Fukamichi Tournament and eventually finds out that she is the Air Master's sister. While fighting in the tournament, her mentor, Mio Hayase, had to get Kaori Sakiyama as her tag team partner. By defeating Yashiki, she becomes the 9th ranked fighter in the tournament, but was eliminated by Kinjirou.

nihongo|Mio Hayase|早瀬 実緒|Hayase Mio, Seiyū - Nanaho Katsuragi:A veteran pro wrestler as well as Kai's mentor. While she is a loudmouth, she is outdone by Kaori Sakiyama. During a tag-team wrestling tournament, she is easily outclassed by Maki. When Kai goes on to compete in the Fukamichi Tournament, she partners up with Kaori Sakiyama, and wins the tag-team titles. She is a firm believer of the old ways of Pro Wrestling and feels that martial artists, like Maki, are invading the wrestling ring.

nihongo|Shun Yashiki|屋敷 俊|Yashiki Shun, Seiyū - Kazunari Tanaka:Tsukio's younger cousin. Originally 9th place in the Fukamichi Tournament, but after losing his rank to Kai, he decided to beat the 8th place holder. He's a ki manipulator; he has a technique where he uses his ki to create an osmotic punch, which strongly pressures the insides of an opponent's body, resulting in a loss of a massive amount of liquid within their body, rendering them incapacitated. Since he uses his ki for this technique, he can only use it a certain amount of times until he rests to build up his ki again. He teaches this technique to Kaori Sakiyama. He despises Tsukio because he always picked on him when they were children. He was eliminated by Sakamoto after he used up all of his ki, resulting in him freezing up from exhaustion.

Fukamichi Elite

The Fukamichi Fighters are the Top 10 Ranked fighters in the city, which include Maki Aikawa, and later, Sakamoto, Kinjirou, and Kai. All fighters in the Fukamichi Tournament are extremely diverse no matter size, shape, style, gender, and armed/unarmed. Absolutely anything goes in the fight.

;nihongo|Fukamichi|深道|Fukamichi:The man who runs the street fighting tournament, and who gave his name to the ranking system (Fukamichi Rankings). He decides who is qualified to be in the Tournament rankings. He watches the fights and have videos of them streamed to his laptop, which he then broadcasts all over the world on the internet. He does not participate in the fights, but he has been shown to be extremely strong and fast; as he demonstrated fighting Tsukio and Reiichi simultaneously, as well as taking down Kinjirou's enforcer, Nagato, in a matter of seconds. He has a younger brother, Nobuhiko, who participates in the competition. He has a hobby of critiquing restaurants and posting the results on the internet.

;nihongo|Jhons Lee|ジョンス・リー|Jonsu Rī:He is ranked No. 2 fighter in the tournament.

;nihongo|Yuki Minaguchi|皆口 由紀|Minaguchi Yuki:She is ranked No. 4 and the only fighter to stand toe-to-toe with Maki. She first takes out Kinjirou in a matter of minutes, then manages to push Maki to her limits; in fact, she is the only one to cleanly defeat Maki. She starts her fight as a calm and collected individual, her true power doesn't manifests itself unless necessary. Maki seen through her guise and told her to show her true self. Her full fighting style emphasizes on counter attacks, as well as cutting and stabbing techniques with her hands. She was seen again fighting The Eternal along with Maki, during that fight she is defeated by the Eternal.

;The Eternal nihongo|Byobo|渺茫|Byōbō:The No. 1 fighter in the city who awaits his next challenger. There is indication that he is an immortal being because he explains he is no longer human. He seems to be the embodiment of the past "Strongest Warriors". His body is almost invulnerable, despite Maki drawing blood from him, he's still able to fight at his best; addition, is able to use ki through his punches as well as create wind shock waves that can cut through concrete. Though Maki admits that he defeated her to Fukamichi; in reality, The Eternal acknowledges Maki's strength and chooses her as his successor.

Other Characters

;Nagato:Kinjirou's personal bodyguard. He is extremely tall and, using his long reach to his advantage, an excellent fighter. Nagato is in love with Kinjirou, much to his dismay, which often confuses Maki. He hates it when other people call Kinjirou "Kin-chan" and usually upsets him into a blind rage.

;Takeo & his Father:Recurring characters throughout the series that usually get dragged into weird situations; such as being saved by Lucha Master, being frightened by Kaori Sakiyama's screaming, and watching in horror as his favorite superheroes (actors in a childrens show) are getting beaten up by Maki.

References

External links

*ja icon [http://www.toei-anim.co.jp/tv/airmaster/index.html Toei's Official Air Master Site]
*ann anime|id=82|title=Air Master
*ann manga|id=5090|title=Air Master


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