Eyeshield 21 – Volume 4 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)
January 29, 2011 by Dennis Amith
Japan’s wild, crazy and popular football (American football) anime series”Eyeshield 21″ is entertaining and fun! And Volume 4 is exciting as we see the Deimon Devil Bats take on a variety of football opponents for the new tournament. The team puts everything all on the line in their quest to play at the Christmas Bowl! “Eyeshield 21” continues to be one of my favorite long-running anime series for 2011!
Image courtesy of © Kome Studio-Villiage Studio/Shueisha-TV Tokyo. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Eyeshield 21 – Volume 4
DURATION: Episodes 40-52 (325 Minutes)
DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Japanese 2.0 Stereo, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks/Section23 Films
RATED: TV PG V
Release Date: February 8, 2011
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
As the Demon Devil Bats continue to evolve and grow their own unique version of American-style football, Sena has a major breakthrough: a revolutionary technique called the Ghost, combining speed and illusion to fool the opposing players. However, when Hiruma forbids him from using it outside of a “real” game, it throws Sena’s plans of competing in a side league for practice into a tailspin. With Shin once more pitted against him, will he be able to resist the temptation?
Meanwhile, Taki is proving unfortunately worthy of his nickname of “the Idiot,” as besides being incredibly challenged about getting on the correct bus, he also seems to be unable to pass his crucial exams. Will he be able to break the dreaded cut-off barrier of 200 so he can play? And then, what is this rumor about another Eyeshield 21?
Contains episodes 40-52.
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 the first season, we watched as the Deimon Devil Bats surprised people with the athletic skills of Sena as Eyeshield 21 and Monta as a wide receiver but their biggest weakness was the lack of team unity and the lack of other players to help them win.
But after the first tournament, the players saw changes within themselves as a football player. They were doing something that mattered for them (personal reasons), became stronger and despite all being opposites, they became somewhat of a family.
In volume 3, we saw the team take on the death march and develop their offensive and defensive skills but we also saw other teams and key players improving as well. And now volume 4 focuses on the fall tournament, to see who is the best of the best and who will play at the Christmas tournament.
This is no longer the same Deimon Devil Bats and the team are eager to play in their first match. Volume 4 focuses on the Deimon Devil Bats taking on three teams but also shows us other players who face their last match as a football player and prepare to graduate from high school. For many of them, this final tournament of their high school senior means everything and everything is put on the line.
But most of all, Sena (Eyeshield 21) will have the opportunity to test his Devil Bat Ghost technique against Shin of the Ojo White Knights, who is dying to learn how to come up with a strategy to stop Eyeshield 21’s new move.
The main characters of “Eyeshield 21” are:
- Sena Kobayakawa – The main character. Short, shy and clumsy. Sena 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 and his teammates 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 (and taunting them with his machine gun).
- Ryokan Kurita – Despite his huge size and being a great lineman, he is also shy, soft spoken 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, the members consider of Kazuki Jumonji, Koji Kuroki and Shozo Togano. Hiruma blackmails them into joining the football team. At first they want nothing to do with the team but now they realize that they are becoming better people and tougher individuals.
- Manabu Yukimitsu – Known for his balding head and a student that has always been focused on cram schools because of his strict mother, Yukimitsu wants to prove himself that he can do more than just study and wants to become a member of the Deimon Devil Bats and will do all he can despite not being an athlete. He may lack athletic skill like the others but he is very smart.
- Daikichi Komusbi – A linemen and a short, stocky member who looks up to Kurita as a mentor. Although short, he is strong and has dedicated will power.
- Natsuhiko Taki – A man who loves to dance and thinks he can do anything by himself. He is the brother of Suzuna and tried to become an American football player, now he is a tight end for the Devil Bats.
- Tetsuo Ishimaru – Although not a main member focused on in the series, he does pop up once in awhile as the second running back and a member from the track team.
- Yohei Satake and Kenta Yamaoka – Members of the basketball team who are blackmailed by Hiruma to become wide receivers and linebackers for the team.
- Suzuna Taki – The sister of Natsuhiko and often rollerblading. She works as part-time reporter and is also the cheerleading captain for the Devil Bats.
- Cerberus – Hiruma’s ferocious dog that likes to bite people. Used for training on the football players who try to run their fastest away from the dog in order to avoid being bitten. Cerberus has a large appetite.
Here is a brief spoilerless summary of episodes 40-52 for “Eyeshield 21” included on two DVD’s:
- EPISODE 40 – With the new tournament coming up, Kurita starts to get butterflies when he realizes that this is his final try as a football player to get into the Christmas Bowl.
- EPISODE 41 – The Deimon Devil Bats take on the Amino team. But when he follows Taki and gets on the wrong bus, the Devil Bats must play a match without their two star players.
- EPISODE 42 – Eyeshield 21 gets to the game right before the game against Amino ends and people get to witness Eyeshield 21’s Devil Bat Ghost technique.
- EPISODE 43 – Monta and Sena try to find out who the legendary 60-yard Magnum is as they know they need to get a kicker for the team.
- EPISODE 44 – Taki learns that he can’t play a football game because he’s not an official Deimon High School student. The team tries to help him pass his entrance exam.
- EPISODE 45 – With Deimon Devil Bats and Eyeshield 21 getting interest from the media, Hiruma orders Sena to not use the Devil Bat Ghost technique as spies may be watching him. Meanwhile, the team goes to visit a corporate football league match.
- EPISODE 46 – With members of the Deimon Devil Bats and Ojo Knights taking part in a corporation league game, Eyeshield 21 gets to test his new special move against Shin of the Ojo Knights.
- EPISODE 47 – The Devil Bats and the Yuuhi Guts bond and find out that the Yuuhi Guts must win this game or else their football team will be cut from the school program.
- EPISODE 48 – The Deimon Devil Bats take on the Yuuhi Guts.
- EPISODE 49 – The story of how of how Kurita became a big fan of the Hahiratani Deers linebacker Yamamoto Onihei and watch their game vs. the Poseidons.
- EPISODE 50 – Sena learns from Shun Kakei of the Poseidon’s that there was an actual “Eyeshield 21” before him.
- EPISODE 51 – A figure that looks like Eyeshield 21 has cut up the Chameleon’s uniforms and also beats up one of the team members. Now members of the Chameleons want revenge.
- EPISODE 52 -The Chameleons take on the Poseidons. Who will come out victorious?
“Eyeshield 21 – Volume 4” 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”.
For the most part, the anime series compliments the manga series.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Eyeshield 21 – Volume 4” 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.
“Eyeshield 21 – Volume 4” features trailers for upcoming Sentai Filmworks releases.
I have been a big fan of sports-based anime and in Japan a lot of their sports manga and anime are big hits. From the soccer-driven series “Captain Tsubasa”, the basketball series “Slam Dunk”, the baseball series “Touch”, the tennis series “Tennis no Oujisama” (Prince of Tennis) and many of them have this underdog vs. the better team type of mentality.
Yes, there is a banality when it comes to anime series but there is often this side of supernatural element that an athlete has. A super kick, a special tennis serving or hitting ability and with “Eyeshield 21”, what makes the series so exciting is that every team has its special individuals with unique talents. But when it comes to the Deimon Devil Bats (the protagonist team), these guys are like a group of misfits put together in hopes to accomplishing their goal of making it to the Christmas Bowl. But they are surely talented. Sena (Eyeshield 21) has this special ability of his running and in this latest volume, he hones that talent and makes himself even better. We also see new characters pop up and joins the team and definitely see how everyone works together, faces adversity together as a team. And that’s what I enjoyed about volume 3.
Similar to other sports anime in which there is an underdog getting involved with sports and displays a tremendous skill, “Eyeshield 21” definitely showcases that into the storyline but with the characters, in this case the team is more like the “Bad News Bears” and with the “The Devil Bats”, the team consists of characters that are just wild and crazy. Actually, all teams have characters that are wild and crazy and I suppose that is what makes “Eyeshield 21” so interesting and enjoyable.
The latest volume of “Eyeshield 21” is pretty awesome as the Fall Tournament, the tournament that the team has been waiting for has now started. And because this is the final football tournament that the seniors at various high school’s can play, we learn how many have put everything on the line during the summer to practice and to get to the Christmas Bowl.
Possibly the coolest thing that I enjoyed about this volume and the series is that the writers don’t drag out a match for like five episodes. In fact, a match can only last one episode while you get one pre-episode that sets up the match. And also, they focus on other teams such as members of the Ojo White Knights and the Deimon Devil Bats.
In many ways, this is a somewhat emotional volume because we see seniors who have worked so hard but they lose their match. In some cases, some are fighting not only to get into the Christmas Bowl but to save their football program at school.
But possibly, the coolest factor of this fourth volume is to see the two stars…Eyeshield 21 using his Devil Bat Ghost against the new improved Ojo Knights Shin who has literally practiced like a madman as he would do anything to stop Eyeshield 21. It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out because suffice to say, one of these players learn that their technique is not perfect.
So, “Eyeshield 21-Volume 4” is another exciting volume and if you love the series so far, you’re going to enjoy volume 4 a lot!
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. So, this is one series that will attract those who are in it for the long haul, but it’s definitely worth it!
If there was one shortcoming with this release, that there is no special features and I know for some, the fact that there is no English dub is a turnoff. But if you are a sports anime fan, everything about this series, from its characters, the gags, to the storyline is well-done and for those who enjoy American football or have knowledge about the sport will definitely be entertained by this series. Even if you don’t know about football, the game also helps the beginners understand the sport.
If you are looking for a sports anime series, “Eyeshield 21” is definitely an anime series worth checking out! And once again, this fourth volume rocks!
J!-ENT has not received any compensation from the company for this post. J!-ENT has no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned in this post.
For Product Reviews:
For product reviews, J!-ENT has purchased the above product for review purposes or may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free by the company which in no way affects our reviews, may it be positive or negative. We only recommend products or services we have tested/reviewed and believe will be good for our readers.
Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, J!-ENT will receive an affiliate commission.
J!-ENT is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”