Posted On March - 17 - 2009


  PAGES:   200
  RELEASE DATE:   02/09/2009
  REVIEW DATE:   03/17/2009

Eye Shield 21 is a nice addition to the lineup of available sports related manga. We’ve had manga about soccer, lots about tennis, and so why not football? Football certainly seems like it would be a sport not so familiar or popular in Japan, but perhaps this series proves otherwise. The art and story is dynamic and full of movement. It’s about football, so of course the art would need to jump right off the page to make it work and keep it interesting over multiple volumes. This series more than accommodates for that. Besides the detailed and dynamic art, the story and characters also posses a lot of ability to make the reader laugh. Humorous facial expressions, situations, and the odd character types make this series a funny read. It’s the somewhat classic idea of throwing a group of very different, often eccentric characters together on a sports team and see whether they can make it work. Perhaps not the most unique idea ever, but Eye Shield 21 makes it work in a way that is always entertaining.

As the story goes, wimpy Sena Kobayakawa (Eye Shield 21 himself) has been running away from people who make his days difficult all his life. His one true time to shine is when the football gear goes on – then things change for the better. Sena’s speed and uncanny ability to stay out of the way of big bullies is what makes him a great high school football star. All the bone-crunching action and goofy comedy of a sports manga is here, as well as the pleasant surprise of a heartwarming story of growing up and learning life’s many lessons.

The antics continue throughout volume twenty-four of the series, still bringing home everything readers have come to love about Eyeshield 21. A trip to the school festival at rival Ojo High gives Sena and the Devil Bats a rare chance to unwind, but their visit is more than just friendly. Will Hiruma succeed in learning the identity of Ojo's latest and greatest secret weapon? Meanwhile, Doburoku introduces a new training method designed to keep Deimon in top form and improve all the players' stamina, but they'll need more than breath control if they hope to stand a chance against the White Knights!

The humour of this series is still thriving with lots of over the top visual gags and goofy characters, but the story never forgets to be balanced with series plot developments and great football action during sporting sequences. The art is still frantic and detailed – the sports action portions being some of the best. When a game is being played within the story, the visuals seem to be rushing right off the page – it’s all very dynamic, and therefore really well done. It’s always been a good piece of light entertainment, with its fair share of warranted nail-biting moments – Eyeshild 21 has a great formula, and sticks to it.

When reading a series, it’s usually good to know a bit about the author or artist, so that you can find out about other books he/she has created in case you’d like to read those as well! Yusuke Murata is the artist for Eyeshield 21 – he was born July 3, 1978 in Miyagi, Japan. He won the 122th Hop Step Award prize (1995) by "Partner" and won the 51th Akatsuka Award 2nd prize (1998) for "Samui Hanashi". Hopefully we’ll see lots more from him in the future!

Eyeshield 21 is one of the best sports related manga out there at the moment, with its perfect blance of wacky humour and intense sporting action. As football manga goes, Eyeshield 21 is a rarity, and a good one at that.

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