Ikki's learning about the Air Trek world the hard way. His recognised natural talent is catching the eyes of all the top ranked skaters. The trouble for Ikki is that he just doesnít have the skates to match.
By volume four Ikki seems to have gotten over his initial problems with the Air Treks. and is a fairly confident skater. He's still clueless about large areas of Air Trek culture, somehow muddling through situations with raw enthusiasm and luck.
At the start of the volume Ikki is desperate to get his skates repaired, and makes the mistake of asking cute and creepy genius Ume for help, which kicks off a trilogy of more comedic stories. The next follows Onigiri and his attempts to score with a rather overeager exercise fanatic. The final story follows Tonchan-sensei, the super ditzy fan service machine in rare piece of character to development we're treated to a flash back sequence which explains why she became a teacher the first place.
After this intermission the real plot starts moving again as Ikki and crew are invited to watch an A class parts battle. This is where the action really gets going and Oh! Great's superb drawing skills are really used well. The fan service also gets ramped up a notch with plenty of nudity, potty humour and even some yaoi themed jokes presumably to balance out all the jiggling in previous chapters.
Despite the fan service being a little too rampant for my tastes Air Gear is surprisingly engrossing. This volume was read in one sitting, because I wanted to know how it would end. Ikki is still really likeable, though like many of the characters it's really hard to determine his age. Despite it being mentioned at the start of the series and his grade at school reference, it's difficult to believe what are essentially children acting quite this way.
Air Gear has style all of it's own. It's deeply engrossing, whilst the extensive fan service will no doubt appeal to some; it's a shame it goes so far there's a lot of content here and Oh! Great doesn't need to resort to it. Stylish and gritty Air Gear explores the darker of what is essentialy another fight manga.