Published: Jul 23, 2002 to Jun 15, 2009
Serialization: Shounen Jump (Weekly)
Score: 8.641 (scored by 11036 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.
Popular Tagsaction comedy shounen sports
Jun 12, 2009
The American Football played in Eyeshield 21 is an interesting and ultimately successful combination of the two formulas, mixing the group dynamics of a genuine team with lots of hard-on action.
I have a lot of praise for the way the sport being played is used in ES21. Football is a large sport, requiring 11 players on each side, each with a different distinct role. As a result, you always have characters other than just the mains in play, being far from useless. 22 players, though, are a bit much to focus on at one time, and this manga acknowledges that, focusing only on small portions of the playing field at any given time. We get lots of different individual, small group, and large group confrontations throughout any given game, which makes up for the fact that a game may go on for 20-30 chapters. This effectively splits up screentime among a truly massive cast in a way which neither weakens the mains nor benches the non-mains. The cast is, in addition to being in the triple-digits, extremely diverse backstory-wise, ranging from a kicker who quit his team to help his father's business to a tall reciever who's good and popular, but failing to catch up to the true genius superstar of his own team. Odds are most, if not all, people will be able to find at least one character whose background they sympathize with.
And there are mindgames. Dear me, the mindgames. Possibly the best part of this manga is how the player confrontations are set up by a diabolical mastermind of a man, Hiruma Youichi, a gun nut with dirt on half the world's population. This guy comes up with the most outlandish trick plays which are usually a surprise, totally outlandish, and always fun to watch. What's more, they often don't work, giving an added thrill of uncertainty to each play.
The basic plot of Eyeshield itself is standard fare; weak, bullied kid (Sena Kobayakawa) with hidden talent gets forced into a sport and ends up liking it. His team gets stronger with him in it and goes on to compete at high levels. Just how high is a minor spoiler. Two things here. Firstly, you can expect the Devilbats to lose quite a bit, and not just in the introductory chapters to their eternal rival. Secondly, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE BASIC FORMULA. Just because it's common doesn't mean it's a weak one. Coming-of-age stories have been selling since forever for a reason, and the basic formula needs only to be applied correctly to produce a decent piece. High-schoolers passionately fighting tooth-and-nail over one inch of turf isn't going to get old anytime soon.
Not that Eyeshield is just decent - it's consistently hilarious, thrilling, and a whole lot of fun. I would recommend trying it out to just about anyone, including the people who aren't normally predisposed towards manga. It's a shining example of what sports shonen, and shonen in general, can be when it tries. read more
Aug 7, 2010
I think this is quite a realistic manga. Of course it's not that realistic in comedy and with what happens to the characters, but the focus, American football, is realistic. At least I think. It's hid under the veil of shounen, where all attention is given to single persons or groups at a time, where time seems to stop as people discuss about what's happening and sometimes seem to read each others thoughts while doing that. Even with all that the game is not supernatural or anything. But sometimes it's hard to remember what's REALLY happening, as in if the reader could zoom out and see the field like it's seen on television. Especially the formations get a bit too little attention since you can't help but sometime think "where the hell did he come from?", "what was happening in the center?". But I believe the writer knew what was happening, he just did a conscious decision to not share everything in order to make it more shounen like.
But boy does the shounen bring out some of the most epic moments. Sometimes the despair in front of practically certain loss makes you want to just give up and check how it's really going to end. Every point the enemy makes feels like someone is pulling YOUR stomach and you start to question "it's just football. It's not like you're gonna die." But that's just a fleeting thought before you remember that emotions really are powerful in sports if you're playing seriously.
The power-ups are a bit unrealistic in the sense that there is a quite strict weak-strong scale between some people. And even when it isn't that strict it's hard to notice, since those many "normal" plays aren't shown. Nevertheless, no one can change physical attributes like muscle strength with some super training overnight, often it's all about mind, will and technique. What one can do when it's just impossible to win in physical prowess.
On a side note I was a bit disappointed the hints of relationships and drama never bore any fruit.
The art is very clean and good. I guess it sometimes feels bland since it's not that unique, but the quality is unyielding.
The action scenes burst with athlete's anatomy and speed, and the comedy is highlighted well with different stylizations
The characters are different and there are quite many of them. Everyone have their own struggles and motives when playing football. And it's not just the protagonist's team members, Deimon Devil Bats, but other teams as well. And even those supporting characters whose stories aren't told stay true to themselves. Especially Devil Bats' quarterback Hiruma uses in a genius way his team mates and enemies personalities in his unbelievable schemes. That wouldn't work if the characters' personalities didn't work.
The Devil Bats, who are a hastily collected ragtag team, face more and more fierce enemies often so they mostly try to cope with their own weaknesses and become stronger. But still the these personal struggles often times manage to be unique and even tearjerking. And with the other characters included they'e stories are nicely versatile.
In one or two matches the switching from hope to despair happened so many times it was starting to get a bit too agitating. And I thought this manga might have given more if I had played football, since it was sometimes hard to get the whole picture.
Other than that it was very enjoyable and I wanted to keep on reading.
The ending made it clear that these people will keep on playing astonishing and unbelievable matches in their universe. It's not like it ended midway but you just can't help but have a bittersweet, heartrending feeling when you think that you can never hear those stories. And that is a testimony of a fantastic manga. read more
Oct 1, 2013
Eyeshield 21 is like the most awesome thing in this world. Oh my god.
Got absolutely no knowledge nor passion for American Football? Doesn't matter. Football might as well be your favorite sport after finishing this manga.
Story - ES21 tells the story of our protagonist Sena Kobayakawa. He is, like most shounen anime characters, extremely weak, good-for-nothing, and is constantly bullied. The premise is actually very interesting, because Sena developed a skill which matches him being constantly bullied! Yes, the skill lies within his pair of legs.
Sena has always been special since the start, but being special doesn't mean that he has to be invincible. No. Sena has tasted a lot of crushing defeat throughout this story, but nevertheless he just keeps on getting up, continue to fight on, and in the end, is victorious. And it's not just Sena who's fighting, it's all of his teammates. It's the whole Deimon Devil Bats. Each members has their own story and their own passion.
The execution is BEAUTIFUL. This could probably be the most impassioned sports series out there. All of the matches are awesome and you can go around re-reading it for many, many times. It is really weird how the duo mangakas could make all of them very interesting and even though there are lots of them in this manga, none of them feels repetitive. Each of the matches are unique in their own way. The matches also have perfect length; perfect chapters and perfect execution. It shows how even when the team's on the brink of defeat, they can always get up and NAIL IT!!
The techniques. Sports mangas ought to have weird techniques, and what's really weird of this manga is: the godlike techniques DON'T seem weird at all! Maybe it's due to the explanation given, but at any rate, it's actually pretty realistic if you think about it. Some, well, like Don, might seem very unrealistic but hey, this is a manga!
The ending might seem really vague, especially the last match they have together (not gonna tell, read it read it READ IT YOU'LL REGRET NOTHING!!), but I think it's fine just the way it is. It left us kinda wondering at the end, so I would consider it a good cliffhanger ending.
Can't believe I have blabbered this much JUST for the story, but in short: the story is fricking awesome.
Art - Holy sh*tting goodness, the art is wonderful. The first 8 volumes will probably keep you "lol the art" but on the later volumes, oh my god once again: it's beautiful. One of the best art improvement I've ever seen. The later art looks really masculine and the techniques are very easy to understand. I really love how the movement just flows and it's like we can see the pictures moving. Even the anime couldn't animate this better.
Character - We have tons of characters here. Aside from the unique traits of each individual, the character development is also really great. Monta, after letting go of his longtime ambition, finally finds his true 'life' is on American Football. Hiruma gets to learn to trust others and leave his back to his teammates. Kurita learns to, even though he's kind, to fight fiercely in order to protect his friends. The trio gets to understand their passion. Sakuraba; he matures and he leaves his old life behind to fully dedicate himself to being an athlete. And most of all, the one who grows up the most, is Sena, who throughout this series has grown, from a weak-willed boy into a very formidable young man with solid dreams, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to reach that dream of his.
Enjoyment - This is no doubt my favorite manga to eternity and I fully enjoy this. I mean, a LOT. Maybe the first 5 volumes will get you bored but oh lords believe me after volume 9, it is all action and it's freaking awesome. It gets better after each chapter, and all of the matches are very intriguing they will surely keep you glued to your seat.
To sum up from this longass review (the longest I've ever written): if you haven't read this manga, READ IT. It is a masterpiece. read more
Nov 8, 2009
At first, I didn't really want to read this manga because it was about football, which I don't really enjoy. But then, I just decided to give it a try. From the very beginning, I really enjoyed it. Eyeshield 21's characters are lovable and unique. I thought this manga was great right from the start.
I thought the story was very enjoyable. At some points, the most unexpected thing happened which made me have to keep on reading. Some things made me laugh so hard I started crying. When something bad happened, I started actually crying. Although the plot isn't the most original for a sports manga, I thought it was still great, so I give it a 9/10.
The artist does a good job drawing the characters, but nothing really stands out to me that much. I think the art is better than other sports manga, but compared to other shounen manga, it's quite basic, but still good. 8/10.
Eyeshield 21 has a diverse group of characters. I can't help but love all the characters and the things they bring to the manga. The characters are what I love most about Eyeshield 21. A couple of them are a bit cliche, but are still great. The part about the characters that amazed me the most was how much they grew throughout the series. I give the characters 10/10
I thought this series was very enjoyable. Re-reading it is still fun after 2 times around. I thought every aspect of this manga was enjoyable: the characters, the jokes, the story...10/10
I highly suggest this manga to pretty much everyone. It's great, so just give it a try even though it is about football. Who knows? This manga may be better than you think it is. That's what happened to me. read more
Aug 15, 2010
One thing I can tell you is, you are right. But it's more than American football, and I guarantee that you will be sucked into this series just like I was. Not only will you be thoroughly entertained, but you will find yourself picking up on the rules of American football throughout the entire series.
This rather entertaining story focuses on the weak-willed protagonist, Sena, who has an uncanny ability to run. This catches the eye of the quarterback of Deimon High's football team, Hiruma, who forces Sena onto the team. Little does Sena know that his speed will eventually bring together a formidable football team that becomes somewhat of a rather dysfunctional family. Together, they endure brutal training and seemingly impossible games against various notable teams, which each bring an experience like no other.
A hilarious story requires hilarious characters, and Eyeshield 21 provides some extremely well developed characters that won't be like any other. From the maniacal mastermind Hiruma, whose strategic ways will leave you jaw dropping or laughing, to the overeager teddy bear Kurita (known for his large structure as well as having a chestnut-shaped head), each character brings something unique into the story that ultimately circle around our main protagonist and their football team.
The artwork is just unbelievable. Artist or not, you'll take notice of the over exaggerated perspective when the characters are out on the field, from their stances to their sprints. Despite these over exaggerations, they do nothing but complement the series. Prepare to be in awe of Yuusuke Murata's detail in characters, scenery, anatomy, and games.
Enjoyment can really go in different directions. I find myself developing an interest in American football, making the story all the more enjoyable. However, if the sports didn't attract your attention, then comedy will, as the manga is chock full of it. Either way, I find it almost hard to believe that you wouldn't enjoy this unless you were absolutely against laughing and American football... which in that case, I'm going to ask, why are you reading this?
Overall, Eyeshield 21 is what it portrays: American football. However, don't dismiss it as merely just that. There's more to it than meets the eye, and such an underrated series deserves more attention for an outstanding job in story, art, and characters. read more
Dec 12, 2012
 : Art
Thankfully the art of Eyeshield 21 is at the top of it's genre. Amazing action sequences, along with detailed shading and unique characters. The art will keep you reading long enough to appreciate the series even if a football-themed manga didn't initially appeal to you. Being a shounen series naturally there are "special moves," which are brought to life in an imaginative manner with this great art style.
 : Character
I feel like in the Eyeshield 21 universe, each character comes across as unique. The design for each character is well done, and overall very impressive. Where the character department starts to earn more of an 9, as opposed to a 10, is lack of development for certain characters (main characters not on the football team). The motivations for the characters although straight forward are well represented, and there isn't much room for criticism. There are certain areas that could have been expanded on, but despite it's length the series remains very on-task and I feel like some character backgrounds were left short deliberately, which didn't take away from the story as a whole. I felt one well-done and essential element to the characters was how they were introduced. In order for it to feel believable, there was often set-up before they faced each new team. The preview of characters talents or given examples of their notoriety in a natural sensible way, before they came into contact with the main cast, made it so you as a reader could be accepting of their power level (a level you identify that the main characters have worked so hard to achieve).
 : Story
The story for Eyeshield 21 is superb. The primary goal for the main characters is to become national champions, and in order to accomplish it they need to assemble a football team. The story follows the characters as they at first merely try to find fillers so they themselves can participate and carry their team. However, it develops as they find individuals with specific talents to compliment a certain role of the team. With each of the characters coming on board for their own reasons in this well-known "join up" style of story building (used in other manga such as One Piece, or Yu-Yu Hakusho) the team is finally given shape. More than just any of the characters individual dreams or motivations alone, they give their all for the sake of each other and the team as they innovate, train, and face opponents on and off the field. If this style of storyline progression appeals to you as it does to me, you're in for a real treat as Eyeshield 21 executes it in impressive and compelling fashion.
 : Overall
All in all, Eyeshield 21 is a very well drawn manga that goes far beyond it's underestimated sports-anime genre. It's compelling storytelling coupled with all the bad-ass shounen elements readers have come to love ingrained into these unique characters keeps the series in my personal top 5.
May 10, 2011
Where to begin? I guess I should really start by saying this: Before this manga, I couldn't care less about ANY sport let alone American Football. Sure, I knew the rules and had seen a few games, but I never thought it possible that the game could feel like more then just big headed idiots crashing into each other. I was dead wrong.
Story? Enter Sena, high school freshman who spent his life running away. He never expected to be scouted by Deimons American football club. He REALLY never expected to enjoy it! Under the guise of Eyeshield 21, the story follows not only Sena's struggle to make the lie of his title a reality, but the fight to make the dreams of three friends come to fruition. Along the way, Sena, QB Hiruma, and LB Kurita are joined by a wacky cast of characters, each one adding to the team in numbers, rivals, or skill. Deimons goal? The Christmas Bowl! But just how far can they climb? In short, maybe the story had a basis of the age old under dogs fighting for the top, but they put such a spin on it, you can't help but be drawn in!
The characters in Eyeshield 21 are unforgettable. I know I personally struggle to remember characters names (especially when they are all in Japanese and not particularly short). The fact that I can remember the name of every major character in that comic is amazing (I'd like to point out that there are at least a good 20 key characters or more in the story (11 on Deimon alone)). Thats how memorable every personality was! From the violent gun collector Hiruma, to the passive and honest Kid, to the mighty lineman Gaoru, to the smooth talking Kicker Kotaru. Just a few examples of the colorful personality of the Eyeshield cast. Even the people like Mamori are hard to forget.
Art. One of the best things to me was that, even with characters that looked similar (like Kakei and Takuto) you could still understand which one was which with out reading the speech bubble. It takes a lot of talent to be able to draw the action of a sport on the still pages of a manga. But the artist greatly exceeded my expectations there. Every move from Shin's Trident Tackle to Riku's Rodeo Drive, Even Sena's Devil Bat Ghost, was drawn so well, it was like you could see the move before your eyes. Such vivid illustration really helped the story come to life. After all, the characters and story can be perfect, but it's useless if you can't depict it.
All and all, this has got to be my favorite manga. With me, taking out everything for the top spot isn't easy, but Eyeshield deserves it. I was sad to see it end, but completing it was a journey! I defiantly recommend this to anyone and everyone. If you're into football, don't pass it up, and if you aren't, read it anyway. You never know how much something can surprise you. read more
Jan 21, 2011
The Hard Sell: If you are automatically turned-off by the fact that this is a sports manga, you are missing out on something much, much more. I know plenty of people who won’t even give this manga a chance because of the premise. Hopefully I am able to convince some of you that sports is just the outer layer of this series, since it is actually much deeper than that. If not, I don’t think it would have stood a chance in the highly-competitive world of JUMP, where rankings are king and new series get dropped so often that it’s saddening. For a manga which focuses on the relatively-unpopular American Football (at least outside America), for it to stay serialized for 300+ chapters is astounding, and has actually helped to boost the sport in Japan.
You don’t even need to be a fan of the sport. When I first picked this up, I was actually just starting to get into American Football, as I was interested in the sport after watching “Longest Yard”. This manga helped me understand it more, as it builds up on the rules slowly but surely, acting as a helping hand for newbies to the sport. You don’t even need to understand it to love it, as I know some others who read it out of pure love for it’s characters and comedy. For those who want to know more about the sport, I can’t recommend an easier and entertaining way than to read this, as I’ve pointed plenty of people to ES21 when they ask me of the sport.
The Characters: The thing that you can pick up on right from the first chapter is the easy-going attitude of the series. It’s not serious (although there are plenty of those moments later on), as it is quite a light-hearted take on the sports-genre. It is definitely no Slam Dunk (arguably the greatest sport manga ever) but what it lacks in seriousness it more than makes up for in humor and character (although SD has plenty of those as well). The characters all have their quirks and the mangakas do not hesitate on blowing them up. Take the main character for example, Sena Kobayakawa. An unassumingly weak character, he is seen as the victim of bullies early in the story. He even needs to rely on his female childhood friend, Mamori Anezaki, for protection and help. The only thing he has going for him is his inhumane speed, which he ends up using to run errands for others rather than to fend bullies off. He was also forced to join the Football team, but learned to grow as a person through the hardships of teamwork and battle. A cliched rise really but the way at which he climbed up to the top is the stuff of legends, as I’m sure plenty of readers will agree on.
Then there is the fan favorite Hiruma. He is the unique one of the bunch, as he is mainly viewed as the cunning and devilishly wicked leader of the team. What he lacks in physical prowess he more than makes up for in cunning plays, laser vision and genius tactical knowledge. He may seem like a horrible person on the outside but later on we learn that he is a great leader, someone who is willing to sacrifice everything for the cause of the team, as well as his comrades. He doesn’t show this freely but the team knows this and by using his devilish and shocking facade, he is able to build the team up from scratch and into a formidable squad. Also, his antics and way of doing things are hugely entertaining, as I’m sure you’ll find out in the images I posted along with this entry.
These two are just some of the colorful characters that you will learn to love through your reading. If you think these guys are awesome, wait till you see the rivals they face. All of them exude originality and confidence, and the designs never fail to amaze as everyone looks amazing and non-generic. If you like Bishies or even hot cheerleaders, look no further as there are no shortages of either of these in Eyeshield 21. For the ladies out there who need a little push, here are some of the bishies up for show (don’t worry guys, there’s some for us here too).
The Humor: The humor is what I’d like to describe as slapstick, since it is pretty crazy the lengths that the characters go through to give us our laughs. Since the main team the Devilbats are essentially a bunch of misfits that band together after blackmails and threats, you can expect that their teamwork will be shoddy at best in the beginning. This itself leads to some very funny moments, since there are clearly factions within the team that don’t really like each other. Couple this with the fact that Hiruma rules with an iron-first (or more accurately, weapons of mass destruction), you can expect a good laugh whenever the team doesn’t go through the plays that they should (since 95% of the team don’t even know the sport nor the rules when they first joined).
Most of the laughs come from our very own Devilbats but their rivals also get into the act at times. A key piece of rival team Oujou Knight, Ootawara is a stereotypical all brawn, no brain player, as he often finds himself butt-naked no matter what the situation. While this may seem childish, it just shows the range of the comedy available as every player is susceptible to a bout of craziness themselves. The comedic duo of Monta and Sena, the one-man show Hiruma, the huh-huh rivalry, the perverted helpers, the technologically-challenged genius and plenty more show just how crazy this ensemble really is, and I am sure that they will manage to tickle your funny bone, no matter how hard-headed or mature you claim to be.
The Art: Oh gawd, the art. This is what initially drew me in, since I am as crazy an art-whore as any. The Eyeshield artstyle is easily my favorite since it is the perfect blend of shouneny clean lines and intricate attention to detail. Whoever thinks that drawing about American Football is easy has to be delusional, since it is waaay harder to illustrate than say soccer or basketball. Since there are 22 players on the field, the amount of players drawn as well as details such as stadiums and uniforms make it so hard to illustrate, especially since Eyeshield is a weekly serialization. With the amount of detail going into each character and their gear (the helmets themselves are notoriously hard to draw, and that doesn’t take into account the shading and tinting), it is mindboggling how the mangakas are able to keep this up week-in-week-out for over 300 chapters.
The style at which the character faces and physiques are drawn are also perfect to a T in my book, since there are no characters that look remotely alike. The character and uniform design is just unique and refreshing, and they do not even resemble characters from any other mangas. The originality alone makes it easy to stand out from the crowd, and with the amount of characters there are in this manga (easily ranging in the 50+), I’m at a lost for words at how creative you must be to think them up. Another good thing is that the manga develops it’s own style very early in the series, since you can see the improvements in every chapter. While the first chapter isn’t much to write home about, come chapter 20 or so there is a markedly noticeable difference.
Because of the art, Eyeshield also gets a lot of colour pages since it is very popular. This is where the mangaka shines since he is able to use copics to illustrate things such as water and reflections beautifully. While the colour selection is not as awesome as say Amatsuki, the depth of each colour spread itself is enough to make up for this fact, since nearly every colour spread has like 10-20 characters coloured in detail. My favourite of the spreads are the ones where the lines are taken off, giving the pictures a more realistic effect. If your jaw doesn’t drop from seeing the colour images in this entry, then you’re just blind. No two ways about it.
The Epic Battles: It wouldn’t be shounen without the epic battles right? Since this is a sport manga, it definitely has it’s fair share of awesome fights. Since the Devilbats are perennial underdogs, they are always underestimated by their opponents. This may be due to the fact that the Devilbats were only formed not long before the manga started by Hiruma and his best friends Kurita and Musashi. Since the three were the only full members of the team, they needed all the help they can get, as they blackmailed and (forcefully) persuaded members from the school’s other sport teams to help them out to gain enough numbers for a proper team. This lead to some major losses and it wasn’t until their second year of high school did they stumble upon their gem, Sena. With Sena acting as the foil and team ace, they slowly but surely gained respectable and capable members to help fill the team numbers. With the growing potential of newcomers, the team improved immensely as they gained experience, with Hiruma cunningly picking the right opponents to help them fight to their limits.
Because of their rapid rise, as well as Hiruma’s cocky persona, the team gained their fair share of rivals, such as Shin of the Oujou Knights and Agon from the invincible Shinryuuji Nagas. These are just two of the best and the developing rivalry between their teams throughout the manga is very entertaining, as they go through a lot together. Sena and Shin are the ultimate rivals as they are forever improving themselves in order to catch up to the other, leading up to an insanely emotional final battle. I’m not gonna spoil too much about their journeys here but believe me when I say that the character development and the way that backstories and rivalries are fleshed out make the manga a very well-told story. If you think that this is gonna be very shallow than you’re sadly mistaken, since I actually think that there is more depth in character here than Slam Dunk. Hopefully the panels I’ve chosen for this section is enough to make you tempted, since they are just a sample of what you can expect.
CONCLUSION: Hopefully what you’ve read so far has been enough of a push for you to give this great series a chance. I personally guarantee that you will like it and even if you don’t, I’m sure the art still made it a worthwhile experience. Since the manga is really light-hearted and not too intense, it is very easy to get into so don’t feel too afraid that it is based on a sport that you don’t know anything about. If you do give it a read and end up loving it, I’d love to hear your comments and we can hopefully discuss about the stuff that we loved. Promoting Eyeshield was one of the main reasons why I started blogging in the first place so it has a very special place in my heart (I’ve read it 11 times now so you know that I’m crazy for it). I can only wish for it to be the same for others.
If you liked the review, you can find more of my work on my blog www.sekijitsu.com read more
Mar 29, 2011
Jul 18, 2008
unfortunately Eyeshield 21 anime completed and I don't know if they're making a second season of it .. but if you can't wait for that just read the manga .. Ya ha!