Timid, diminutive, and frequently the target of bullies, Sena Kobayakawa has just enrolled at Deimon Private High School. When he angers a group of delinquents by refusing to act as their errand boy, he makes an incredibly speedy getaway, an ability he has developed through years of running from his tormentors.
Youichi Hiruma—the demonic captain of the Deimon Devil Bats football team—happens to be nearby, and seeing Sena's "golden legs" at work, forcibly recruits him as a running back despite Sena's desire to be team manager instead. Made to don the number 21 jersey and a special helmet to hide his identity as a player, Sena becomes "Eyeshield 21," the team's closely guarded secret weapon. Soon he realizes his love for the sport, and aims to help the Devil Bats reach the Christmas Bowl, the high school football championship.
Eyeshield 21 has sold more than 20 million copies in Japan and also has games produced by Konami and Nintendo.
The series was published in English by VIZ Media under Shonen Jump Advanced imprint from April 5, 2005 to October 4, 2011 and has been licensed in France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Sports manga in general (with a few notable exceptions) branch off into two main groups - the martial group and the teamwork group. The martial sports manga (featuring boxing, judo, etc.) usually sport characters with grit and guts struggling against one another. This type of sports manga also often suffers from overemphasis of the main character and weak side characters who only serve to show how awesome the lead is by comparison. The teamwork sports manga (featuring baseball, basketball, etc.) usually sport a large, well-developed cast. At the very least, the main team of a team sports manga will have
a lot of fleshed-out players. The downside with teamwork sports manga is that it can sometimes feel like competition-lite, and it lacks the quantity of guts displayed in martial sports.
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.
Eyeshield 21 is a sports manga that focuses on high school students and American football. That fact alone often turns people away usually because they are not interested in sports and understandably assume a manga about sports would be uninteresting. This is far from the truth. Eyeshield 21 has such a wonderful story, good pacing and length, well developed and in depth characters, and fantastic art style that whether or not the viewer likes football is irrelevant. Those who dive into Eyeshield 21 and stick with it will most certainly have a nice payoff and will remember the series for years to come.
The focal point
of the series is the Deimon Devil Bats team as a whole. Technically Sena Kobayakawa is the main character however almost all of the other team members are treated equally in level of importance of development. The writer, Riichiro Inagaki, also takes the time to show the other rival teams, their back stories, and what they're all about. Aside from the Deimon Devil Bats, rival teams usually only have 1-4 characters that will be named and have any sort of dialogue or back story. Throughout the series' course it introduces a wide array of characters but not too fast or too numerous that you would be overwhelmed.
Eyeshield 21 is a mixture of drama, action, and comedy. This series generally avoids ecchi, fan service, and romance. The story is deep but also simple. It's centered around a tournament and the characters walk you through it as well as walk you through each individual football match so you'll be able to moderately follow even if you're not football savvy. There are many unexpected turns and twists not just during the matches but also with the characters themselves. Riichiro Inagaki does a fantastic job at delivering a completely believable cast and world. The pacing and overall length of the series is excellent. It's not too long or too short. It gives you everything it has and doesn't overstay it's welcome. The ending is satisfactory and even gives you some bonus pages that tell you the fates of the characters.
The artist of Eyeshield 21 is Yusuke Murata. His art style starts off a bit rough and sketchy but still pleasant. Throughout the course of the series it evolves and becomes more cleaner and sharp. Murata is skilled in being able to draw different faces and body types and is able to create memorable and unique designs making the world of Eyeshield 21 all the more believable. Murata's art really makes the comedic scenes pop out and is able to so skillfully illustrate different emotions that can range from downright silly to dead serious or anything required of him. His color spreads are absolutely breath taking. Full of detail and life. He always puts all his effort into every panel of Eyeshield 21. A possible way to describe his style is "pretty shounen" or maybe "cute shounen". There's enough for those who desire a shounen look as well as those who are drawn to a sort of shojo style.
Eyeshield 21's strongest attribute is probably it's colorful characters. They come from all different walks of life all with their own goals, weaknesses, and strengths, some of which you may even be able to understand on a personal level. Some characters that you may have thought were one dimensional and easy to read will end up having more depth than you first assumed. Eyeshield 21 tackles on many different types of personalities and mindsets. You'll see examples of inferiority complexes, egotistical monsters, a strong desire to achieve, and much more. Some characters have more depth than others who sometimes just serve as support but they are just as likable as any of the fleshed out ones. The entire cast is likable and even the most cold hearted villains you'll learn to love for one reason or another. Watching these characters grow and having different kinds of people come into contact with one another and seeing who triumphs is one of the great joys of the series.
I think this series will be a nice surprise to anyone who gives it a fair shot. It provides so many desirable attributes for a manga that I wonder how someone couldn't possibly enjoy it. Great art, good story, fantastic and memorable characters, what more could you want? In comparison to every other manga I've read this has made the greatest impact on me. It will always be in my mind. I simply cannot ever forget what this series has given me. I've re-read it several times already and I will continue to do so. Most manga I don't care if I physically own or not but with this series I simply need it in physical form. Eyeshield 21 will always be that manga I recommend to all my friends and consistently praise above all else. I don't personally like football....but Eyeshield 21 managed to become my favorite manga of all time and it always will be.
First time writing a review but since this manga didn't have that many I thought I could try
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.
Eyeshield 21 is basically about a timid boy who is forced to join the high school football team by a devilish bully and a gentle giant.
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.
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Masashi Kishimoto's dazzling art is one of the main reasons why Naruto has become such a huge hit worldwide. If you like his style, you'll surely enjoy the following shounen manga, full of dynamic action scenes, as well as brilliant emotional dialogue.