Sena is like any other shy kid starting high school; he's just trying to survive. Constantly bullied, he's accustomed to running away.
Surviving high school is about to become a lot more difficult after Hiruma, captain of the school's American football team, witnesses Sena's incredible agility and speed during an escape from some bullies. Hiruma schemes to make Sena the running back of his school team, The Devil Bats, hoping that it will turn around the squad's fortunes from being the laughingstock of Japan's high school leagues, to title contender.
To protect his precious star player from rivaling recruiters, he enlists Sena as "team secretary," giving him a visored helmet and the nickname "Eyeshield 21" to hide his identity.
The Devilbats will look to make their way to the Christmas Bowl, an annual tournament attended by the best football teams in Japan, with "Eyeshield 21" leading the way. Will they be able to win the Christmas Bowl? Will Sena be able to transform from a timid, undersized freshman to an all-star player? Put on your pads and helmet to find out!
Eyeshield 21 was original scheduled to stream in North America on Toonami Jetstream and NFL Rush in collaboration with the National Football League, but the plan fell through and the anime made its debut only on Toonami Jetstream, which later dropped the series. It would then become available in its entirety on Crunchryroll. Sentai Filmworks later licensed and released the first 52 episodes on DVD from 2010 to 2011.
#1: "Breakthrough" by Coming Century (eps 1-35) #2: "Innocence" by 20th Century (ep 36- 64) #3: "Dang Dang" by ZZ (eps 65-103) #4: "BLAZE LINE" by BACK-ON (ep 104-126) #5: "Hanno no Runningback" by SHORT LEG SUMMER (eps 127-145)
#1: "Be Free" by Rikken'z (eps 1-13) #2: "Blaze Away" by TRAX (eps 14-35) #3: "Goal" by Arashiro Beni (eps 36-64) #4: "Run to Win" by Mamori (Aya Hirano), Sena (Miyu Irino), Kurita (Koichi Nagano), Rimon (Kappei Yamaguchi) (eps 65 - 100) #5: "A day dreaming..." by BACK-ON (eps 101-116) #6: "Flower" by BACK-ON (eps 117-126) #7: "Song of Power" by SHORT LEG SUMMER (eps 127-144) #8: "Dang Dang" by ZZ (ep 145)
How long is it? 145 episodes. What’s it about? American Football. All of it? Yes. (And if you liked this series but found it either too long, or a bit childish, definitely check out Cross Game, a highly underrated sports series that is on a whole different maturity and story level.)
Eyeshield 21 is definite shonen sports anime. Heck, its even sponsored by the Japanese NFL and received backing in the United States as a football series on a sports channel. And now,…don’t get turned off. Because if you do, you’re missing out on one of the most entertaining series people disregard just because of its
non-traditional anime content.
Please, please, don’t dump this series just because its football. I cannot but regret that I did put off watching this and suffered my way through crap series like Blade of the Immortal. My 2 cents on why you should watch (if you don’t want to slog your way through the rest of this):
• Typical plot (yet this works perfectly fine for this series), interspersed with drama, comedy, and laugh your head off antics of its marvelous characters.
• Marvelous characters (I said it but I will say it again), You will love the characters of Eyeshield, because even Sena isn’t as annoying as it seems. And…Hiruma will send you to hell if you don’t watch this.
Now that you’re here:
Characters: To put it simply, there is nothing bland about Eyeshield’s cast. From Sena’s traditional shonen perserverance, to Hiruma’s demonic avarice (and he will become your favorite as well), Eyeshield 21 does a masterful job of designing to characters to both appeal to viewers and to transition their interactions with each other smoothly. The rivalry between Sena and Shin is also nonclichedly carried out, and all the supporting characters get their own backstory as well. To tell the truth, I don’t even think that the supporting characters were even ‘technically 2nd tier’. You cannot but feel for the other characters such as the quarterback of the Zokugaku Chameleons whose delinquent team cannot hold themselves together. And so yes, the characters of Eyeshield are not just comedic, but serious, dramatic, and all the time flawed in some way or another. There’s not fun in watching perfect characters now is there?
Plot: Well, its straightforward enough: team has a dream, team wants to go to Christmas Bowl, team must defeat rival teams, team must work together, team must train, then team must win. But this is all you need to watch Eyeshield. It’s 145 episodes does more than enough to advance the adrenaline pumping scenes of the matches. Between moments of drama and football action is raucous comedy which borderlines on the absurd (cough Hiruma gun toting blackmailer), yet makes it more funny all the same. Now come to think of it, you don’t watch a sports series too much for the plot as more for the character development and anime action.
Sound and Graphics: Nothing too shabby here. The BGMs were great, the Ops and EDs were equally great. Eyeshield does a decent job of fitting its sound to its action scenes. The animation is more than adequate for the heart pumping football action scenes. Of course its NOT realistic. Who would want to watch realistic football for 145 episodes? Nah, this is where you see special moves like those in DBZ like Sena’s Devil Bat Ghost, Kid’s Rapid Fire Throw. (No fantastical equipment, mind but enough specialty to make you want to continue watching.) That said, animation is definitely decent for this series.
Entertainment/Replay Value : This is something I wouldn’t mind watching more than once. The one bone I have to pick with the series is its sometimes slightly traditional fillers, which it has to have in its 145 episodes. But even with that, Eyeshield 21 is hilarious, action packed, and a touchdown for us viewers.
At first glance, there are a lot of reasons why one might not want to watch this show. It's about American Football (narrowing down its audience that might even know what is going on down to just the United States). As stated, Eyeshield 21 is a sports anime, another thing many potential viewers might not like. Lastly, it's shonen, meaning everyone and their brother has probably heard of it before. So why should you watch it? I'll tell you.
This is easily the weakest point of Eyeshield 21. The story isn't anything that will blow your mind, it isn't anything that
will capture you and it's constant struggle. It's just about going to the Christmas Bowl (basically a football championship game). That's all you are going to get. Some characters that like football wanting to play a game on the highest stage of their highschool careers. As I stated, this is the weakest point of Eyeshield, but it still fits the show. You wouldn't expect a Neon Genesis "my mind is blown!!!" moment, and you wouldn't expect a Death Note "Wow!" either.
I found myself rather impressed with the art of Eyeshield. It isn't necessarily that every character is incredibly detailed, but the details that were added are very impressive to just sit and look at. For instance, Hiruma (my personal favorite character of the show, but we will go over that later) is always described as a manipulative, devil like character. The author could have just stopped there, but instead of being lazy, do you know what they did? They made the football team called the, "Deimon Devil Bats" for one. But also, they made him LOOK like a devil. He has pointy ears, a huge devilish grin, incredibly spiky hair and the like. That being said, the art styles for all the characters fit them very well (Hiruma is just the most obvious where it fits). After noticing how Hiruma looked, I found myself analyzing other characters to see if I could find any particular art style that fit there character. The conclusion was, every character has some little thing that fits them, and it is done very well!
Another weaker point of Eyeshield is the sound. It isn't bad by any means, but just be ready to hear the same things a lot. Some examples would be when Sena runs, sometimes you will hear a weird buzzing sound, like he is some sort of rocket at take off. Some of these sounds are great, like before a game when Hiruma yells his special battle chant. On the other hand, other noises you will get tired of VERY quickly. Monta, a star receiver on the Devil Bats, has a catch phrase where he yells "MAX!!!". This gets annoying quickly, because he uses it for almost every conceivable situation. Also, being that you should watch this subbed, whenever he yells said catchphrase, it is usually something like this:
Intended: Catch Max!
Final Product: CATCHEEDUH MAXXXOOOOOH!
I understand that this is a different language, but I do thing a better catch phrase could have been made, to at least be less annoying. Those are my only gripes with the sound, as the voice acting is rather good. All the voices perfectly fit the character they are trying to portray.
The strongest point of Eyeshield 21, the characters. Every character has something to like, something to hate, or something that will at least make you FEEL for that character. Whether it is a positive or negative feeling, it is much better to feel negative towards a character than to simply not care. You will most likely find one character that you can relate to in every situation. Also, before we go into this any more, Hiruma will end up being your favorite character. You will see why as the show progresses, but just know and be prepared. Anyway, every character has some sort of different trait that makes them different from any other character. Sena, for instance, has the Shonen persistence that every main character seems to have. That always present drive to get better, get stronger, get faster, what ever the situation. Kurita has more compassion than his weight in Valentine's Day chocolates. Mamori has the motherly caring and protective instincts (especially towards Sena). That is why every character in Eyeshield is so great. Every character, from the main character Sena to a supporting character like Taki, has something there. There are no wasted characters. While some shows like Bleach have a large cast but don't do anything with half of them, Eyeshield uses it's large cast perfectly. Just when you think they have forgotten about Taki, he catches a pass for a 13 yard gain. Just when you think the Devil Bats will never throw a pass in this game, they throw a touchdown. Nothing is left wasted, and anyone can put themselves in any other characters shoes.
This show is very enjoyable over all. You will find yourself with boring parts though. Sometimes there is a 3 episode wait between games, and sometimes there is a 20 episode wait. The show is paced very well, but it does have the Shonen filler sometimes. There are also a lot of episodes where something is wrong with one character or group of characters, and the entire episode is spent trying to fix whatever happened.
Overall there are no gaping flaws that make this show unwatchable. This is one of the only Shonen I'd recommend to anyone, just because there is something for everyone, whether you like football or not. I hope you decide to try this show out, and to hopefully finish it one day, because it really is worth your time.
Thank you for reading my thoughts, and hopefully you found this review helpful.
At first glance, many thought that American football is all about muscle and killing intent. As a child, I watched NFL games and saw players hurt, injured, worst; crushed, suffer fractures and other accidents that led them to disability. As a sportsman(once a varsity basketball player), I hate games runned by power and skill alone.
Enters Eyeshield 21 that features a with unorthodox players such as shorty, porky and a Demon. The plot is very simple, about an errand boy who became a superstar in a game played by monsters and his team, the Devil Bats journey to National Championships, the Christmas Bowl. It highlights the
rivalry of the main character, light speed runningback Kobayakawa Sena known as Eyeshield 21 and Linebacker Shin Seijurou who is considered as the perfect player. Like other shounen stories, the protagonist grows strong stronger as he faced stronger opponents until the final decesive battle against his rival.
What everyone loved in this anime is its character development and as a sports themed anime, ES21 expressed the importance of teamwork better.
ES21 can be a manual itself and gradually showed the rules of the American football. This sports unlike any other team sports is a game of specialties and choosing a position is very vital to he outcome of the team. In the Devil bats case, the team is composed usually of inexperienced guys (and some are weaklings) relying only on their lifestyle, natural talents, hard work and rushed training. Here are their ligitimate line-up:
QB- H. Youichi - the devilish trickster and master of psychological warfares.
RB/TB- K. Sena- former errand boy with lightspeed legs
RB/FB- Ishimaru - helper from the track & field club
WR- R. Tarou - dedicated follower of a Baseball catching superstar
WR- Yukimitsu- his life was spent on academics
C- K. Ryoukan- a guy who knows nothing but power
G- Y. Daikichi - a loyal apprentice of Kurita
G- Ha -thugs
T- Ha -same-
T- Brothers -same-
Considering these data, thechances of playing forthe national championship was estimated 0.1% but saccording to their Leader, Hiruma-sama, as long as its not completely zero, winning is still inevitable.
Compared with other sports anime, I'd say Eyeshield 21 is the smartest of them all. This anime proves that winning isn't only a matter of skills, athleticism, work ethic and determination, it takes some deep tactics, calculations and brainstorming to outwit the opposing team and to stand on the battlefield.
After watching this anime, surely you'll never doubt that David really toppled Goliath. Ya-ha!
Eyeshield 21 is an essay in 145 episodes about... American Football! A game that I don't know, like or understand, portrayed in anime! A game that we always believed that was only played in America... In anime! Conclusion: Must Watch.
The story is as simple as "sports anime": a team and its players, represented by the Speed-Light Running Back Kobayakawa Sena as main character, must overcome stronger teams and players by evoluting physically and spiritually in way to get to the ultimate victory (participating in the Christmas Bowl). However, this team is not like your average! They are below the average! In the end, this is
the fight of an underdog team composed by untalented members that had to generate their talent through train and hard work. Very heart warming for people that, like me, don't have talent and have to do everything through hard work.
Adding to this, the characters are pretty much... Brilliant. Each character design is a caricature from the corresponding personality. With this fashion, characters that had not much of a content, turned into people that you are willing to support and even identify with. You find all the stereotypes, but you also discover that they are real and have their reasons.
The animation is quite good, as well as the art overall, but this series suffers of a disease common to most long anime: repeated animation sequences and loss of detail quality through the series. Of course that if you watch an episode a week like you should and not 15 a day like I did, you will most likely never notice this. However, the slow paced games hook you up to the point of wanting to watch them as soon as possible. Even the filler episodes held enough fun.
A great comedy, with its inspirational and touching moments, and above all a tribute to American Football.
How do you make an anime character unforgettable? Well, just let it repeat a catchphrase over and over until the anime ends! It will surely leave a lasting impression on the viewer... and it may even end up as a ringtone.