While other schools in Japan compete for the title of being the best soccer team in the country, Raimon Middle School's soccer club, Inazama Eleven, struggles to rise from the verge of being disbanded. The grandson of Inazuma Eleven's first generation goalkeeper and captain of the team, Mamoru Endou, takes the challenge of kicking the long neglected club back into shape. To do this, he'll need a little help and more than a little luck.
Mamoru Endou finds hope in the hands of Shuuya Gouenji, a brilliant young player who has given up on soccer. Mamoru is determined to get Shuuya and other new recruits to join his team, no matter what the cost. Is his passion and determination enough to treat the ailing club? Or is there no more hope for the team?
Inazuma Eleven first started out as a sports role-playing game for the Nintendo DS. The series has had numerous sequels since then. The manga was first published in the Shogakukan CoroCoro Comic and the anime series was produced by game developer Level-5 along with TV Tokyo and OLM. The anime aired in numerous countries around Asia and Europe. Aside from the anime, manga and video games, there is also an animated film and guidebooks for the series.
I recently had the pleasure of watching Inazuma Eleven for a third time and I can safely say it is still as evergreen and exciting as I found it the first and the second time I watched it.
Presented by Oriental Light & Magic, the studio that gave us Pokemon, Inazuma Eleven has been a huge success in Japan and several other countries and it has good reasons for so.
The story is centered around a young and energetic football freak, Endou Mamoru, who is trying to gather members for the local school football team; The Raimon Junior High. With his charismatic personality and never-giving up spirit, Endou with the help of a few soccer buddies manages to find eleven players to play for the club and to aim for the Football Frontier Tournament. Football Frontier is a competition where all the junior high schools across the nation participate in order to achieve the number one position in the whole country. But before they could even participate in the tournament, they are pit against the famous Teikoku Academy, which is currently the best in the nation and have been winning the tournament for 40 successive years. Things do not go as planned however for Raimon as they are completely overpowered by Teikoku in all departments of the game. Shoot after shoot, goals after goals Raimon players get battered brutally with an overwhelming margin of 20 goals to nil as Endou Mamoru could only watch his friends lying helplessly not able to stand across the field. As everything seems over before it began for Raimon, an unexpected twist occurs as Gouenji Shuuya, the talented striker who swept away all his opponents single-handedly in the previous Football Frontier Tournament while still just being a freshman, takes the field wearing a Raimon unifrom. It seems that Teikoku was waiting all along for him to take the field and as he does an inspired Endou Mamoru catches the ball cleanly hit by Teikoku and throws it straight at Gouenji who then with this amazing shoot makes the goal. Teikoku then abandon the game as they got what they had come for, and thus resulting in a victory for Raimon Junior High. This is the beginning of the adventures that await Raimon and Endou Mamoru in his future.
The are three different arcs in the show - The Football Frontier arc, The Aliea Academy arc and the Football Frontier International arc.
(i) Football Frontier arc: Follows the journey of Raimon Junior High as they take on the local school teams to enter the competition and play against the best of the nation and their journey to the top.
(ii) Aliea Academy arc: Follows quickly after the Football Frontier Final against Zeus Academy as various schools across the nations including Raimon Junior High is destroyed supposedly by "Aliens" who say to come from the far planet of Aliea as the messengers of Aliea Academy. They use a Soccer battle as the means to conquer the Earth. There are five teams in Aliea Academy; Gemini Storm, the second rank team that are the first to arrive. Epsilon (Also play as Epsilon Remastered in the later episodes), the first rank team and the rest are Diamond Dust, Prominence and Genesis which is led by Hiroto, are the three master rank teams.
(iii) Football Frontier International arc: Begins after the victory of Raimon against the Aliea Academy's Genesis and players around the country are gathered to form the Inazuma Japan which is the national team of Japan. The arc follows their journey as they progress through the Asian preliminaries and face the teams from all over the world.
The characters play a pivotal role in the series as is the case in every anime, and each of them have their own unique personality and appeal.
Gouenji Shuuya: The cool-headed striker with great potential and also known as "The Flame Striker."
Endou Mamoru: The Goalkeeper and the protagonist of the series. He is also the Captain of Raimon Junior High.
Kidou Yuuto: The brains and the genius strategist of the field. He previously was the Captain of the Teikoku Academy but now is an irreplaceble addition to Raimon Junior High.
These are just the main three characters of the team and there is the rest of the team as well consisting of Kazemaru, Someoka, Handa, Max, Kabeyama, Shourin along with several other members that join Raimon in the future.
Endou Daisuke is the grandfather and a former soccer player-cum-goalkeeper for the Japan National team and it is he whom Endou looks upon as an inspiration and decides to be a goalkeeper himself.
Kageyama Reiji is the main antagonist of the show. Kageyama's father was once hailed as the future of Japanese football and that is before when a group of exceptionally talented players gathered by Endou Daisuke overpower him and he is descended into darkness. This leaves a huge mark on a then young Kageyama as he grows deep hatred for soccer in his heart and vows to use any shrewd means possible to take his revenge and to sit on top of the soccer world. He is the owner of the Teikoku Academy and is mostly called as "Commander" by Kidou Yuuto and the rest of his players. It was him that taught Kidou his soccer and made him grow up to be a prodigy. However the sense of self-righteouness earned by playing against Endou and his friends, Kidou vows to leave Teikoku and follow the right path and to play his own soccer. It's pretty ironic actually that the villain whom you will hate for the most of the show then turns good later in the show in what was an absolutely heart-wrenching episode to say the least. I could not hold back my tears at that point and most likely you won't be as well.
The sound aspect of Inazuma Eleven is one of its strongest assets. The soundtracks used between the episodes are brilliant and it won't be an exaggeration for me to say that Inazuma Eleven has one of the best set of soundtracks in anime. Furthermore, it also boasts of six top-class openings performed by T-Pistonz + KMC. Two of my favorite top 5 anime openings are from the show. They're simply classic. The ending themes vary from person to person as they're all aimed differently for both boys and girls. The voice acting again in this anime is top-notch. A lot of budget was put into this and it clearly verifies it by the class of the voice actors. Each of them is a pro and and you're most likely to find them in any other anime you see. One of the main example is the voice of Endou, which is the same voice actor popular in his role for Naruto in the Naruto franchise.
The artwork is done well throughout the series and has a simple characteristic look aimed at the teens so nothing too special about them. The football while in a soccer match is done neatly and there is no use of CGI and everything is kept simple which is the best way. The "Hissatsu Techniques" as well are drawn beautifully and never under-achieves.
Inazuma Eleven is like a dose of childhood to me, I can keep watching this numerous times and it won't disappoint me in a slight way. If you're a football/soccer freak like me then this series is a must see, even if you're not then as well I'd recommend you to watch it. It's very exciting throughout and with the addition of the cool Hissatsu moves it only adds its reputation and for me it cements its position as one of the best sport anime out there. read more
I started to watch Inazuma Eleven out of pure boredom and ended up with a total obsession of it. It is truely one of the best shows I have ever seen! You don't have to be a soccer fan to like it (to tell the truth I really dislike soccer ...) or to have an understandig of it.
The story was, well, suprising. It is a bit unrealistic to use soccer for world domination or try to kill kids because of soccer but it is an anime - it doesn't have to be realistic. At first I was really annoyed by seeing soccer-playing aliens who destroyed japanese high schools. Of course that made no sense at all on the first glance, but in the end it was suprisingly well solved.
Besides the story is only secondary. Inazuma Eleven focuses on the characters, which are really unique and well designed. They make great developments and gather experiences while trying to make their way to the world's peak. Everyone has his own story and his own problems to overcome. I really loved this show because of its caracters and would give it 20 out of 10 points if it would be possible.
Before "Inazuma Eleven" came along, I always thought "Captain Tsubasa" represented very well the football issue ("football" in UK, "soccer" in USA). It still does, altough it can be a bit boring sometimes (the first episodes of the 1983 version are unforgettable)
But in my opinion, so far, "Inazuma Eleven" is really the best, with "Ganbare Kickers" coming in second place. Sure there's a bit of exageration with those football moves when playing a game, but the football game moments are nice to see (nice sound and art as well)
What's really the best is the story out of the football games combined with a great cast of characters (when a character is included, the story only gets better): there's some great moments for comedy and drama in there
Junko Takeuchi is always great when she voices the main character, Endou Mamoru. No wonder: she also showed that in "Hunter x Hunter" (Gon Freecs) and "Naruto" (Uzumaki Naruto)
All in all, a great anime and hoping for more suprises in itread more
Inazuma Eleven, is one of the best animes in my life. The Story is incredible, love the plot, it's very original, not compared to Captain Tsubasa series, i watch the 80 episodes currently, the story in the first episodes are good.
the true action starts in the season 2, when aliens attack, that episodes are epic. in the third season, the true institute Alien is comming to action. and the fourth and actual season the best players of Japan reunites forming the Inazuma Japan.
The Art is Cool. Yasunori Mitsuda's music are awesome, and makes me enjoyment this anime more
Love the Naruto's Seiyuu as Endou Mamoru.
Love the Variety of The Character.
LOVE THIS ANIMEread more
For this Inazuma Eleven journey, please note that this article focuses on the 2008 Anime and not the video game or manga. Inazuma Eleven is a children’s show featuring soccer teams, powerful moves, underhanded tactics, romance, educational messages and a bizarre song involving fish.