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Eyeshield 21 vol. 18 – Story by Riichiro Inagaki and Art by Yusuke Murata (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 29, 2008 by  



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The underdogs, the Deimon Devil Bats have another chance to stay in the tournament thanks to placing in the semifinals, but now they must take on the Bando Spiders, who have the original “Eyeshield 21” – Hayato Akaba, on their team.  Because of that, Sena decides to ditch the eyeshield and let the public know who is the person behind Deimon High School’s “Eyeshield 21”.  An important and awesome volume of Riichiro Inagaki and Yusuke Murata’s “Eyeshield 21”!

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© 2002 by Riichiro Inagaki, Yusuke Murata. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Eyeshield 21 vol. 18

STORY BY: Riichiro Inagaki

ART BY: Yusuke Murata

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shueisha, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: January 29, 2008

It’s time for some serious gridiron action when the Bando Spiders collide with the Devil Bats! The game gets off to a bad start for the Bats when an incredibly accurate onside kick, combined with top-notch blocking, results in a field goal and an early lead for the Spiders. From there it just gets worse as the Devil Bats try to overcome the Spiders’ special defensive maneuver, the “Run Force”!

The Deimon Devil Bats thought they were eliminated after their loss against the Seibu Wild Gunmen. But the team learned they actually can still stay in the tournament if they win the consolation game since they made it into the semi-finals.  But the team they will have to go against are the Bando Spiders.

The Bando Spiders pride on having the best kicking team and also having the ace Hayato Akaba, the original “Eyeshield 21”.

Knowing that this matchup between the Bando Bats represents advancing in the tournament and having a chance of making it to the Christmas Bowl, Sena knows that it’s time that he stop wearing the Eyeshield until he proves he is better than Akaba and so he will go out and reveal himself as the person behind Deimon High School’s “Eyeshield 21”.

The first half of Deimon High School Devil Bats vs. the Bando Spiders is featured in  vol. 18 of “Eyeshield 21”!

What is “Eyeshield 21”?

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. And now for 35 volumes, “Eyeshield 21” continues to entertain masses through its manga series currently available from Viz Media as part of their Shone Jump Advanced line.

“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″.

And as Sena has been known as a mysterious phenom “Eyeshield 21” of Deimon High School, now he will be competing against the real Eyeshield 21, Hayato Akaba of the Bando Spiders.

A second chance for Deimon High School to stay in the tournament if they can win but also for Sena to prove himself as a football player.  But how will people react when he decides to not use the eyeshield and reveal himself in public as Deimon High Schools Eyeshield 21?

For any longtime reader of “Eyeshield 21”, you can’t help but feel the excitement as the underdogs, Deimon High Devil Bats continue their goal of making it into the Christmas Bowl.

Feeling that all was lost after their defeat against the Seibu Wild Gunmen, because they made it into the semifinals, the team gets to battle it out in the consolation game to stay in the tournament and this time, they take on the Bando Spiders, a team dedicated to the kick but also has ace phenom Hakato “Eyeshield 21” Akaba, the original phenom that had the nickname first.

And with this important matchup that keeps the dreams of Deimon High School in the tournament and making it to the Christmas Bowl if they keep winning, for Sena, it becomes personal as he feels he must earn the eyeshield name by defeating the Bando Spiders.

And so, Sena Kobayakawa will officially be announced by his real name and unveil himself publicly for the very first time.

But will the Deimon High Devil Bats have what it takes to beat the Bando Spiders?

I have been a big fan of sports-based manga 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 sports manga 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. But for Deimon High School, these bunch of misfits have pride and also have what it takes to surprise everyone they have come up against.

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.

But volume 18 continues the dream of the Devil Bats as they have to win in order to stay in the tournament.  The matchup is the first half between the Deimon Devil Bats vs. the Bando Spiders but it’s also an important manga volume for Eyeshield 21 fans.

“Eyeshield 21″ vol. 18 is highly recommended!

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