Tag Archives: deimon high school

Eyeshield 21 (Volume 4) Manga | My Reviews 15 APR 2010

Intimidation: Wimpy Sena Kobayakawa has been running away from bullies all his life. But when the football gear comes on things change – Sena’s speed and uncanny ability to elude big bullies just might give him what it takes to become a great high school football hero!

The Devil Bats face off against the Chameleons – a team of ruthless delinquents. But when fragile Sena goes up against the Chameleon’s sinister ace linebacker, who will be intimidating whom?

Eyeshield 21 makes its welcome return with volume 4 which sees an equal split across two main storylines, the first being Sena’s Devil Bats taking on the Chameleon team, followed by the Devil Bat’s new recruitment drive to try and draw new players to the rather understrength team.

Of course the team of Kurita, Hiruma and Sena now have the welcome addition of Raimon Taro with his ability to catch (but definitely not pass), and with their usual method of strongarm conscription, have managed to field enough players, including the Hah Brothers gang of bullies, in order to see off the challenge of the insipid delinquents from Zokugaku Chameleons led by the long-armed Habashira Rui. Of course, with the huge amount of money that has someone managed to be bet on this game, this will be a fight to the finish… literally. After all, the Chameleons do have that reputation of being kicked out of the league to uphold you know!

Outside of that, with the new found interest in the Devil Bats football club thanks to the exploits of the mysterious Eyeshield 21 (aggressively publicized by Hiruma of course), the time for a recruitment drive is probably the best. However, joining the Devil Bats is not particularly easy and only the most determined will make it – or at least only those can last Hiruma frankly insane application test!

As per usual Riichiro Inagaki delivers the absolute best in terms of laughs and sport drama, effortlessly tying up a lot of silly gags and humour with a proper heartfelt story of courage and comradeship when it comes to Sena’s slow but sure transformation into a football player. The comedic timing on most of his gags are smooth and manages to pull a ton of laughs, while his well written and paced sporting action is enough to have you flipping from page to page.

In terms of new characters, Riichiro seems to be intent on delivering as many fresh faces as possible, all with a specific talent or flaw and all as over the top as absolutely possible. However, at the same time we continue to get glimpses of the real Hiruma and Kurita, while the great character development of wimpy old Sena continues unabated.

On the art front Yusuke Murata is as talented as ever. He puts a lot of details into his pencils and pays good attention to backgrounds, and then goes and fills these panels up with some of the most over the top character designs you can imagine. Flipping deftly between super-deformed, caricatures and detailed character shots, Murata forces the pages of Eyeshield 21 comes alive with detail and action sequences galore. Tight pencils with a lot of exaggerated facial features and combined with some great gridiron action makes for a really good looking book.

In summary, if you like sports manga, appreciate some good laughs and are willing to enjoy some seriously over the top humour and gags, then Eyeshield 21 definitely does not disappoint. It’s the usual story about a loser working hard to become the best in a sport, but it is delivered in such an enjoyable way that you almost completely forget that’s the main, formulaic storyline that you’ve probably come across a million times before.

It’s fun, it is about American Football and it really does satisfy, meaning there really isn’t a reason for you not to be picking up this book in the first place! ;)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyeshield_21

Eyeshield 21 (Volume 1) Manga | My Reviews 16 DEC 2007

Eyeshield 21The Boy With the Golden Legs: What does a wimpy kid who’s been bullied all his life have to depend on but his own two feet? Sena Kobayakawa is about to start his first year in high school and he’s vowed not to get picked on anymore. Unfortunately, the sadistic captain of the football team already has his eye on Sena and his lightning-fast speed.

Eyeshield 21 is a manga revolving around Sena Kobayakawa, a cowardly but good-natured guy who has always been picked on throughout his school years. Years of running around for bullies have made him quick, and it is this speed that catches the attention of his new high school’s American Football captain. Using underhanded tricks, the captain gets him to kind of ‘join’ (he thinks he is team manager) and in order to hide his identity from the other sports clubs, Sena gets given a shielded visor and is dubbed, Eyeshield 21. From this point on it’s a story about how Sena learns the sport of football, grows up and begins to carve his very own mark on this very testosterone dominated sport.

It is written by Riichiro Inagaki and drawn by Yusuke Murata, and proved so popular that it spawned a highly successful, ongoing anime series in Japan. Volume 1 pretty much focuses on introducing the manga’s diverse cast of characters as well as showing Sena’s possible potential for greatness by thrusting him into his first game for Deimon High School.

If you’ve ever read Slam Dunk, Initial D or any other of the plethora of coming-of-age sports manga out there, then you’ll immediately know the story of Eyeshield 21. It has all the aspects of this type of story: the protagonists who has skills he is unaware of who is thrust into a sport not out of his own choosing and who then proceeds to become the best there is, beating a number of unlikely scenarios in order to come up tops. It is a successful formula and Riichiro sticks as close as possible to it. It has all the action and drama such a title needs, but its extremely generous helping of comedy and oddball characters gives it that extra little push to make it to the big time.

Of course it helps when the artwork is as detailed and easy on the eye as Murata’s work is. The characters are distinctively and well drawn, and while much of the comedy employs super-deformed work, the lines remain clean and you are never lost as to what is going on. The characters are all pretty distinctly drawn, and it is quickly apparent that the artist went to a lot of effort to personalise and …cartoonise’ the characters in order to fit in with the tone of the book. Of course, that isn’t to say that Murata can’t hit a feel of realism as you’ll quickly pick up on in the backgrounds of the work.

As I said, although pretty formulaic, Riichiro’s writing is strong and his sense of flow is good. He also seems to understand the passage of time a little better than most, giving us football games that don’t draw out longer than absolutely necessary (anyone remember the agonisingly long basketball games found in Slam Dunk!?). His take on physical comedy and his vivid imagination (just look at the duo of Cerebus and Hiruma – an absolute classic) is refreshing and to be honest, Eyeshield 21 is easy to read and will have you grinning to yourself every now and then, despite the well-tread formula that it so carefully follows.

Of course, perhaps another reason just why the book proved so popular is the fact that it is based on a fairly unknown sport in Japan, namely American Football. Combined with the Japanese’s legendary consumption of all things American (actually, who in the world does not consume American culture by the gallon), Eyeshield 21 provides a brand new playing field for the sports formula manga – and has been justified in its immense which is extremely well deserved.

You can get Eyeshield 21 pretty cheaply online which is always a good thing, and if you are looking for a decent, fun read and have an inkling about what American football is all about, then Eyeshield 21 will definitely not disappoint!

Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyeshield_21