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Manga / Air Master

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The last thing you saw before you blacked out.

Air Master is a Seinen manga series by Yokusaru Shibata, which was serialized in Young Animal from 1996 to 2006. It was later made into a 27 episode anime produced by Toei Animation, which aired in 2003. The series is notable for its lead being a extremely tall, muscular redheaded schoolgirl, and actually animating most of its scuffles, to the point that stuff like story, plot or motivation comes second place to the fighting. The unusual art style borrows a lot from the 70s, which fans might like or dislike depending on their preferences.

The series follows Maki Aikawa, a six-foot tall schoolgirl. She formerly trained with her mother as a competitive gymnast, but due to her size, she could no longer partake in it. In order to gain the same thrill she once had while competing, Maki turns to street-fighting.

This series provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Julietta for Maki, and Nagato for Kinjiro; they're both tall, hyper-obsessive, dangerous fighters... and they're both out of their friggin' gourds.
  • Affectionate Parody: Due to a lot of over the top violence, hilariously long-winded speeches about fighting and other exaggerations, many fans view the series as a homage to other series of the same genre.
  • Amazon Chaser: Sakamoto Julietta and many other male cast members find Maki attractive because of her beauty, fighting ability or often times both.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: Maki is capable of Not Quite Flight by means of throwing out powerful kicks and a whole lot of twisting. Then there's the guy who figured out a way to throw Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs by using a jackhammer. And it only gets crazier.
  • Attempted Rape: Julietta, on Maki; he only gets as far as he does because Maki is stupefied at the idea of Julietta being attracted to her. When she gets her head together, she beats him stupid and runs out screaming ...and then has to come back for her sneakers, still screaming.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted, but you could make a case for the prettier characters receiving less damage. Mind you, wannabe model Sakiyama Kaori is frequently beaten into hamburger by Maki.
  • Blood Knight: Maki, Lucha Master and several other characters just about every major martial artist. Testing oneself against strong opponents seems to be the sole purpose of entering the Fukamichi Rankings tournament for most of the major contenders.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: Mina has a well-endowed figure which gets her a lot of male attention, but it's not always positive since she gets kidnapped by a gang of horny thugs due to her large breasts. She does occasionally benefit from it, though; they're big enough to absorb the impact of falling off a building and she can do the best impression of a Holstein in all of anime.
  • Can't Catch Up: Sakiyama Kaori. While her progress is amazing, the gap between her and Maki always remains roughly the same.
  • Cat Fight: Sometimes played with, but mostly subverted. Fights between two girls in Air Master tend to be, if anything, much more brutal and frightening than average, with Maki's battle against Minaguchi Yuki being the prime example.
  • Combat Parkour: Maki; in her past she was a world-class gymnast. Unlike most instances of this trope, however, at least once it definitely loses a fight for her — after an astonishing spinning, flipping thing which basically whips her martial artist father, she sticks the landing by reflex. He takes advantage of that moment to get her in a lock and take the victory.
  • Damsel in Distress: Mina. She always seems to be getting kidnapped or in the middle of a very bad situation.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Far too many street fighters seem to become Maki's friends after she beats them up. Bonus points go to Julietta who received one of the most physically painful "Let's be friends" speeches ever witnessed.
  • Determinator: Maki is very driven to win, so is Sakiyama. Julietta is a pretty dark example — he is not only determined to the point he is an Implacable Man but the reason he is so damn driven us to be Maki's Abhorrent Admirer.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Kai tries to imitate Maki when Maki jumped off a building and ran off to chase a fighter. Half way down, she realized how stupid it was and managed to scare a passerby and mention she'll never do that again.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: For a given value of "nice", anyway. No matter how many walls Maki kicks him through, Julietta gets back up and keeps proposing to her.
    • Later on, he has every major bone broken in his body. Even this does not stop him.
    • Played for drama. After a long day, Maki enters a room to find Julietta inside waiting for her. He proceeds to disrobe, pins her to the ground, and rips her clothes off. Maki fearfully struggles against him the whole time, while he shrugs off every blow. Right before he can complete the act of raping her, she manages to drop him with a kick below the belt.
  • Drunken Master: Shinnosuke.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Maki. Because every other character, including a couple of girls, seem to be chasing after her.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Kinjiro.
  • Fanservice: Played with. There are some Panty Shots but not a gratuitous amount (as is usually found in similar series), and only at logical times.
  • Fighting Series
  • Fight Unscene
  • Full-Name Basis: You must say Sakiyama Kaori's full name.
  • Gecko Ending: The anime finished three years before the manga. Last episode much?
  • Gender-Blender Name: Sakamoto Julietta is a man. A very clingy, determined man.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: Maki faces off with a ninja.
  • Handicapped Badass: Sakiyama Kaori is revealed to be this, being totally deaf in one ear due to a brutal beating she suffered at the hands of an Alpha Bitch when she was younger.
  • Hero Stage Show: In the "Conquer! Roach Queen" episode, Maki gets dragged onto stage during Sakiyama's part time job in the High Rangers hero show as the villainess Empress Cockroach, and gets a little too much into the role of defeating the heroes.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Maki, doubling as the Unusually Uninteresting Sight since no one ever comments on it.
    • While this is perhaps a case of relative values - Maki's height has been variously given as 5'10" to 6', which is huge for Japan for a girl and mildly tall in European countries - everyone else in the series must be really short, as most characters are at about eye-level with Maki's chest.
  • Idiot Hero: Maki
  • Implacable Man: Julietta's obsession with Maki and his immense toughness makes him a Stalker with a Crush version of this.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: Maki's fighting style is pretty much to do gymnastic acrobatics (her titular nickname being because of how much "air time" she manages to squeeze out of a jump) and then land a kick (which is absurdly devastating).
  • Jerkass: Yuu causes quite a bit of trouble for her friends — especially Mina — for no apparent reason other than seeing them embarrassed.
  • Kick Chick: Maki.
  • Lady of War: Maki, again. Subverted actually inside battles yes but outside not so much.
  • Large Ham: "Sakiyama Kaori!"
  • Lightning Bruiser
  • Masked Luchador: Lucha Master.
    • Maki temporarily after filling in for that girl she Curb Stomped
  • Morality Pet: Sakiyama Kaori does like Renge and calls her "Bambino."
    • She's more of a pet for Maki, though. If not for her, Maki would have maimed or even killed Sakiyama, when the latter chose a really bad moment to piss Maki off.
  • No Indoor Voice:
    • Renge, the loudest, and smallest of the Maki's school friends.
    • Inverted by Maki herself who although is the main character seems to be (one of, if not THE) quietest.
  • One-Book Author: Maki Aikawa was Jennifer Goodhue's only English-language anime role.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Almost. Sakiyama Kaori's battle technique seems to come purely from her frustration at life. Despite little training, this is sufficient to take out most people except for Maki.
    • She's mentioned she does Tai Chi Quan, though, so there's clearly some training there. She also learns one superhuman technique from a high-ranking martial artist.
  • Wolverine Claws: Sakiyama Kaori and Minaguchi Yuki. Although for the latter long, sharp nails serve to make her arm stabs more deadly, rather than for usual clawing.

Alternative Title(s): Airmaster