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Eyeshield 21 – Volume 2 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

September 11, 2010 by  



Japan’s wild, crazy and popular football (American football) anime series continues with this fantastic second volume!  The Devil Bats take on the Taiyou Sphinx in order to earn the rights to take on the American high school team, the NASA Aliens. What a fun and enjoyable series “Eyeshield 21” has turned out to be! Definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © Kome Studio-Villiage Studio/Shueisha-TV Tokyo. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Eyeshield 21 – Volume 2

DURATION: Episodes 14-26 (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Japanese 2.0 Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks/Section23 Films

RATED: TV PG V

Release Date: July 6, 2010

Originally created by Riichirou Inagaki and Yuusuke Murata

Directed by Masayoshi Nishida

Series Composition by Nobuaki Kishima

Character Design by Hirotoshi Takaya

Art Director: Satoshi Shibata

Music by Ko Otani

Sound Director: Yuuki Matsuoka

Anime Production by Studio Galllaop

Featuring the following voice talent:

Miyu Irino as Sena

Atsushi Tamura as Hiruma

Aya Hirano as Mamori

Kappei Yamaguchi as Raimon Tarou

Kouichi Nagano as Kurita Ryoukan

Rikiya Koyama as Musashi

Shoko Nakagawa as Suzuna

Daisuke Hirakawa as Akaba Hayato

Daisuke Ono as Kengo Mizumachi

You can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear, but you can make a football. And apparently with enough finagling and a little finesse, you can make a football star as well! By both hook and crook, Sena Kobayakawa’s unnaturally strong sense of self preservation and even more extraordinary skills at fleeing have turned him into the star running back of his school’s admittedly unusual US-style football team.

Even more amazingly, the Deimon Demon Bats are actually starting to be taken seriously! But can Machiavellian manager Himura pull an even bigger trick and build the team into a serious challenge to the awesome might of the Taiyou Sphinx? He’ll have to if they want to have the privilege of tackling the NASA Aliens! Sena’s biggest challenge and greatest rival are about to take the field by storm!

In Japan, American football may not be too popular compared to the international futbol (soccer), but there are a few high schools that have football teams and the NFL does have a game played in Japan, helping to spread the game’s popularity.

But in 2002, writer Riichiro Inagaki and illustrator Yusuke Murata introduced American football to a broader audience through their manga “Eyeshield 21” which has been featured on the very popular Weekly Shonen Jump, has led to several videogames and also a 145-episode anime series which lasted from 2o05-2008. With American exposure to “Eyeshield 21” for the translated Shonen Jump manga, now the popular anime series has made it way to American shores courtesy of Section23 Films/Sentai Filmworks with the first volume of “Eyeshield 21” featuring the first 13 episodes.

“Eyeshield 21” revolves around a young teenager named Sena Kobayakawa who has passed his entrance exams at his local high school, Deimon Private Senior High School. The school where his childhood friend Mamori Anezaki attends. Both Sena and Mamori are close because all throughout his life, Sena has been bullied and Mamori has been there to protect him.

Living his life as a gopher for other friends, Sena hasn’t had any true friends until he meets the devil-looking Yoichi Hiruma and the very huge Ryokan Kurita who try to get Sena to join their football team.

Of course, Sena doesn’t know how to play football but being the new kid at school, once again, he gets bullied but this time, the huge Kurita ends up taking care of them. Out for revenge, the bullies start to pick on Sena once again but Sena is sick and tired of getting beaten up and when they go after him, he demonstrates a skill which he has had for a long time, speed. Because Sena has lived his life running away, he is very quick and immediately, Hiruma wants to utilize him on the Deimon High School Devil Bats football team.

Sena just wants to become a team manager but Hiruma wants Sena to be the team’s running back. And because Hiruma wants to make sure that no one can steal him for their high school, he plans on a disguise that no one but he, Sena and Kurita will know and that is putting an eyeshield on a football helmet and giving Sena a #21 jersey and the nickname “Eyeshield 21”.

In volume 2 of “Eyeshield 21”, Hiruma and the Devil Bats look for more players to join the team and also prepare to compete for the opportunity to take on a popular American football team.

The main characters of “Eyeshield 21” are:

  • Sena Kobayakawa – The main character. Short, shy and clumsy. Has been bullied throughout his life and now wants to stand up for himself. Especially since he has made friends on the Deimon High School football team. So, outside of football, he is seen as the manager, but when he’s on the football field and disguised as Eyeshield 21, he is a running back that dazzles the audience with his impressive speed.
  • Mamori Anezaki – Sena’s childhood friend and a girl who has always protected him when he was getting bullied. Scared that Sena is hanging out with Hiruma and team, she decides to become a manager of the team alongside with him and oblivious that Sena is disguised as Eyeshield 21.
  • Yoichi Hiruma – The captain and quarterback with devlish looks and is always up to something that is typically up to no good. Either gaining intel on people at school, taking care of his devil dog Cerberus or trying to make his football team better by pushing them.
  • Ryokan Kurita – Despite his huge size and being a great lineman, he is also shy, softspoken and kind. Also, loves to eat a lot!
  • Tarao Raimon (Monta) – Had dreams of becoming a baseball player but when the Deimon High School baseball teams kicks him off, the football team utilizes his fantastic catching skills and makes him a wide receiver. Has a monkey-like appearance.
  • The Ha-Ha Brothers – Bullies who are constantly tormenting Sena, Hiruma blackmails them into joining the football team.  Although not brothers, the guys consist of Kazuki Jumonji, Koji Kuroki and Shozo Togano and show their strength playing offensive and defensive line.
  • Manabu Yukimitsu – A student who spent his life in going to cram school due to a strict mother wanting him to focus on his education.  He wants to make his high school years count, so he joins the Devil Bats and is learning about the game on the bench for now.
  • Daikichi Komusubi – A short person with a small stature but he looks at Kurita as a mentor and joins the team.  Despite being small, he is incredibly strong.
  • Tetsuo Ishimaru – The second running back and a track team member recruited by Sena.
  • Yohei Satake – A basketball player who is blackmailed by Hiruma to join the Devil Bats and become a support player.
  • Kenta Yamaoka – A basketball player who is blackmailed by Hiruma to join the Devil Bats and become a support player.
  • Suzuna Taki – A girl who likes to rollerblade and is also a spy (pretends to be a Devil Bats cheerleader) helping reporters uncover the identity of Eyeshield 21.  She also is looking for her brother who left the family to become a football player.

Here is a brief spoilerless summary of episodes 14-26 for “Eyeshield 21 – Volume 2” presented on two DVD’s:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 14 – Hiruma holds try-outs on who can pass their test to become a member of the Devil Bats.
  • EPISODE 15 – Hiruma wants to help increase Senna’s stamina.
  • EPISODE 16 – When Kurita walks into an area of town where thugs have caused problems and destroyed property, Kurita is blamed and now may have to quit the team.
  • EPISODE 17 – Hiruma takes the team out for a BBQ lunch and teaches them about football routes.
  • EPISODE 18 – A publishing company wants to hold a competition for a Japanese high school team to compete with an American team and the publisher will give the Devil Bats a chance if they can defeat the Taiyou Sphinx.
  • EPISODE 19 – The competition of who will go on to play the American high school team – the NASA Aliens.  Will the winner be the Taiyou Sphinx or the Deimon Devil Bats?

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 20 – The Taiyou Sphinx are behind but they have a secret weapon named Kamaguruma who specializes in the “Chariot Bump”.
  • EPISODE 21 – Kamaguruma is able to stop Monta in each possession but how will Monta overcome the “Chariot Bump”?
  • EPISODE 22 – Who is the mysterious girl spying on the Devil Bats and why does she want to know the identity of Eyeshield 21?
  • EPISODE 23 – The NASA Aliens have arrived in Japan to face off against the Devil Bats and their fastest member on the team, Panther, is forced to become a ball boy.
  • EPISODE 24 – The NASA Aliens vs. the Devil Bats.  If NASA wins the game, the Devil Bats must leave Japan.  If the Devil Bats lose by more than 10 points, the NASA Aliens must stay in Japan.
  • EPISODE 25 – With the NASA Aliens trailing behind the Devil Bats, will the coach let Panther play?
  • EPISODE 26 – The Devil Bats are now being stopped at every possession by Panther?  Can Senna (Eyeshield 21) find a way to defeat Panther?

VIDEO:

“Eyeshield 21 – Volume 2” is presented in 4:3. Because the series is a comedy, character designs range from being detailed to being simple, depending on the scene. But there is a good amount of detail on the backgrounds at times but the main focus are on the characters and at times you will see really beautiful drawn images, to simplistic images but it captures the wild and crazy style of “Eyeshield 21”.  You can see some combing and even edge enhancement at times.  But it’s on DVD and it’s not too distracting.  For the most part, the anime series compliments the manga series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Eyeshield 21 – Volume 1” is in Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0. Voice acting is well-done and for the most part, the audio is clear. For a more immersive soundscape, I chose to have my receiver set with stereo on all channels. But overall, the 2.0 track is good. Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Eyeshield 21 – Volume 2” features trailers for upcoming Sentai Filmworks releases.

I love “Eyeshield 21” and as mentioned in my last review for volume 1, I love anime based on sports games and to find an anime series based on football is rare.  But what an enjoyable series this has been so far.

The Devil Bats are reminiscent of “The Bad News Bears”.  People with different personalities, some who want to play football, other’s who don’t and keeping everyone in line is Hiruma, a demon looking guy who can be quite devious but he has a plan for everything and his main goal is for his team to make it to the Christmas Bowl.

So, The Devil Bats are inexperienced but they do have talent and Senna (Eyeshield 21) is the wild card.  No one expects much from the Devil Bats, so each competition is quite enjoyable to watch and to see these underdogs persevere and learn from their opponents and eventually overcome those challenges and become awesome!

Also, what I liked about this series is that the main character, Sena, is unlike the usual underdogs of sports series. Where some underdogs are filled with low self esteem and can seem they are whining nearly every episode, despite being bullied all his life, Sena stands up for himself. Sure, he has moments where he is unsure he can be successful but by no means is his character whiny or brat-like. So, for the most part, it’s good to see his transformation to Eyeshield 21.

In terms of pacing, the first 13 episodes of “Eyeshield 21” really gets into the action quickly as we see the Devil Bats taking on the Egyptian-style Taiyou Sphinx and then the team takes on the American team NASA Aliens.  It’s great to see these other teams in competition and seeing what kind of gameplay they have in store. While the series doesn’t have much filler episodes (non-game playing episodes are typically episodes in which the characters are in training in someway or other), you do get a few filler episodes in volume 2.  For example, Kurita is accused of causing damage to store property and now the team work together in helping Kurita find the real troublemakers.  That is probably the main filler episode, but it’s a fun and entertaining episode that fans should not get worked up over (unlike other anime series where they stretch out filler episodes for nearly a whole season).

As for the characters and their skills, where some sports anime series try to emphasize realism and others focusing on a characters super skills, “Eyeshield 21” leans towards the latter and each member does possess a certain skill which eventually builds as the series progresses.  It’s great to see the addition of characters Yukimitsu and Komusubi and its also cool to see the Ha-Ha brothers more in a positive light than the last volume.

As for the DVD, unfortunately there are no special features but trailers for upcoming Sentai Filmworks releases.  So, that is probably the only unfortunate part about these DVD releases are the lack of special features.  But you do get 13 awesome episodes and hopefully the lack of special features doesn’t deter anyone from purchasing this cool anime series.

With this second volume, these episodes are just fun and entertaining but it’s important to let the viewer know that since this is was a popular series in Japan, it was a long running series with over a 140 episodes and with 13 episodes per volume, it’s going to take awhile to complete.  But the first 26 episodes are now available in two volumes and if you are looking for a sports anime series, “Eyeshield 21” is definitely an anime series worth checking out! Definitely recommended!

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