Eyeshield 21The False Hero: 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 second volume in Riichiro Inagaki and Yusuke Murata’s Eyeshield 21 series pits the Deimon Devilbats against the almighty Ojo White Knights. Fresh off their first ever victory (against the Koigahama Cupids), Sena and the boys scarcely have a moment to breathe before being whisked off to their next bone crunching match.

The Ojo White Knights are reigning champions with a fearsome reputation and an almost spotless win record. They feature a number of stars in their ranks, including teen heartthrob Haruto Sakuraba and football sensation Seiiuro Shin. Their name is enough to strike fear in the hearts of Hiruma’s team, with even big old Kurita feeling the pressure.

However, as afraid as he is, Sena is not about to let the rest of his team down – after all, they are all just as afraid as him – and together with some very sneaky plans from the devilish Hiruma, the Devilbats may just have a surprise or two in store for the White Knights! (Of course, it does help that Shin is currently on the bench though…)

If you missed out on Volume 1 of Eyeshield 21, then you missed out on wimpy Sena’s forced introduction to the bone-crushing world of school American Football. Basically years of running to avoid getting bullied has made the lightweight Sena superfast, something the devil-like Hiruma picked up on and got Sena drafted into the team. Lacking in every sporting aspect whatsoever, apart from running of course, Sena now has to prove his worth to the rest of the team – even if he doesn’t want to be playing in the first place!

Inagaki continues this enjoyable sports comedy romp in the traditional manner, sticking pretty much to the established formula but at the same time keeping it fresh, dramatic and full of humour. As always his sense of timing of physical humour is impeccable and he keeps the action on the field moving fast enough so as not to allow you the opportunity to get bored. That said, he now shifts into the dragging a game out mode (a prevalent feature of this genre), meaning that we only get to see one half of this titanic clash in this volume.

Murata’s artwork retains his trademark detailed background work and his lines are as clear and well defined as ever. His cartoonish characters continue to exhibit loads of character and each character becomes pretty distinct and instantaneously recognizable. In fact, this is one of the better drawn sports manga out there and you quickly see why if you bother to pick a volume up.

Overall, Eyeshield 21 continues to be a thoroughly enjoyable, humorous read with all the necessary tension and drama required of a good sports manga. It tells a good story and sets up for a great next volume, so if you are slowly becoming an Eyeshield 21 fan, don’t miss this one.

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