Eyeshield 21 vol. 20 by Riichiro Inagaki and Yusuke Murata (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 23, 2008 by  


It’s the beginning of the Kanto Tournament and the underdogs, the Deimon High School Devil Bats must take on the nine consecutive year champs, Shinryuji Nagas.  Can they do it?  Find out in the awesome 20th volume of “Eyeshield 21”!

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

MANGA TITLE: Eyeshield 21 vol. 20

STORY BY: Riichiro Inagaki

ART BY: Yusuke Murata



RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: June 3, 2008

The Devil Bats go up against a team far superior to any they’ve faced yet! Their opponents, the Nagas, have an ace quarterback and a star player whose athletic skill is so far above others he looks down on them as insects. The dismal score has devastated the Bats’ morale and they’ve all but given up. Even the crowd who usually cheers them on has started to leave. Could this be the end of their surprise winning streak, not to mention their goal of going to the Christmas Bowl?

Deimon High School has made it into the Fall Tournament.  Despite losing to the more powerful teams, the Devil Bats managed to get enough wins to place third in the Tokyo Tournament and now they move on to the Kanto Tournament where their first opponents will be the Shinryuji Nagas, a team which has won the tournament for nine years straight and features the exceptional Kongo Brothers, Agon and Unsui.

Will Deimon be prepared to take on Shinryuji? Find out in volume 20 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 considered the underdogs, the team has managed to beat other teams with similar strengths or were not that good, while against other powerful teams, the Deimon Devil Bats were simply overpowered.  But the team has made themselves known as unpredictable and now they have placed third in the Tokyo Tournament and now are prepared to move on to the Kanto Tournament with their first opponent, the Shinryuji Nagas who have never lost the tournament for nine-years straight.  In fact, they have won the tournament that long and this year’s team is even more powerful with the Kongo Brothers, Unsui and the multi-talented Agon playing for the team.

But there is also an interesting backstory as Hiruma, Kurita and Taketura were originally supposed to play for Shinryuji but chose Deimon High.  Why did they do it?

And will the underdogs, the Deimon High Devil Bats have what it takes to beat the powerful Shinryuji Nagas?

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.

This time they must take on the powerful Shinryuji Nagas who have won the Kanto tournament for nine years straight.  But with the team led by the uber-cocky Agon Kongo and his brother Unsui as quarterback, does Deimon High have any chance beating this championship caliber team?

Also, the story showcases how Hiruma and Agon know each other quite well, in fact, Hiruma, Kurita and Takekura were supposed to join the Shinryuji Nagas but something happened and Hiruma and friends ended up choosing Deimon High School instead.

Vol. 20 features the beginning of the Deimon High School Devil Bats vs. Shinryuji Nagas matchup, but how will the Deimon High Devil Bats respond to this awesome offensive/defensive team?

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 20 is definitely an exciting volume as we get to see the Devil Bats now taking on only the best teams in their pursuit of making it to the Christmas Bowl.

If you are looking for a sports manga series, “Eyeshield 21″ is definitely a manga worth checking out! Recommended!

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