For the first time ever, Air Master will be released on Blu-ray, thanks to a special Japanese remastered release hitting the Japanese market in February 2021.
Air Master has had a rocky handling in Western markets. The mid-2000s anime was released in the US under a partnership with Geneon and Toei that ended poorly and stopped short of the full release hitting the English market before eventually being rescued by Funimation. Despite this, this seinen manga adaptation about a gymnast-turned-street fighter continues to hold a following in Japan and the US.
Air Master follows Maki Aikawa, a 16-year-old high school student and former gymnast. No longer training, she finds a new calling in the rush of street fighting and the danger it provides. She adapts her gymnastic skills to suit this rough form of fighting that earns her the ‘air master’ monicker. Her skills expose her to the Fukamichi Rankings containing the best street fighters, and she fights to be number one.
Remastering any series released in the digital revolution of the mid-2000s is a difficult task. Part of the reason classic anime from the pre-2000s can receive such strong HD remasters is because they can be re-scanned and restored from the original cells, or scanned at a higher quality from a film print. Neither exists for a digitally produced series from this era such as Air Master, and the release does inevitably suffer. This Blu-ray will offer the highest-quality image of the series ever provided, but it won’t be an HD version of the series: a 480i high-bitrate release will eke out the best image from current masters.
Air Master will receive a Blu-ray release in Japan on 24 February for 24500 yen.