Manga Monday: Eyeshield 21

Published on October 12th, 2009

Now us comic book types, be that manga or otherwise, are often stereotyped to not liking sports and in  fact, being rather allergic to exercise all together. So I thought this manga would be perfect. Not only is it sports based but it is a Japanese manga that is based off an American sport. Football.

220px-vol_1_-_the_boy_with_the_golden_legsEyesheild 21 is a pretty big manga, concluded at a hefty 37 volumes, had a successful anime in Japan and even had a spin off TCG (trading card game) and video games. While American football seems to be an odd choice, even more so with baseball being one of the biggest sports in Japan, the anime was affiliated with NFL Japan and since beging the popularity of American football in Japan had nearly doubled. Eyesheid 21 is one of many mangas displaying a clash of east meets west.

Eyeshield 21 follows the story of Sena Kobayakaw, a rather timid looking first year highschool student who unwillingly gets dragged into joining the team, the Devil Bats, after he is witnessed running with incredible speed and agility from bullies.  Sena plays for the team anonymously by hiding his identity with a helmet that has a green eyeshield. he takes the nickname ‘Eyeshield 21’ and poses as the teams manager to stop people becoming suspicious. The manga follows Sena as they form the team with final hopes of making it to the world tournament and taking on American Highschool teams.

One thing that strikes me about this manga is how much I actually enjoy it, despite me not really having any interest in American Football (I am British after all).  It is easy to pick up and the story progress well and is full of characters that develop over time, this keeps the manga really engrossing. The art work is also pretty good, basic at times, but the football scenes are illustrated well, and I am sure they are pretty accurate too. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a clue about American Football, I sure as hell didn’t but the manga does explain what you need to know, right down to the basics.

What I really love about Eyeshield 21 is that it proves something I said from the very start, that there really is a manga out there for everyone!

Hollie ‘Touch down’ Bennett

Hollie@comicimpact.com