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EYESHIELD 21 #1 - - Special Review

Sports anime - - teaching me about the world.

I’m not going to bother to actually research this, but I’ve got a strong hunch that football isn’t too popular in Japan. Well, the football that we know here as “soccer” is huge there, certainly - - but I’m talking about the American Gridiron variety that get such a hyper-active shonen treatment here in EYESHIELD 21.

Actually, hold on a sec…

Just a little search engine use reveals that there is, in fact, a Japan American Football Federation, and it’s won half of the American Football World Championships.

Well, call me surprised. I only played football in high school - - I never followed it - - and now there’s even more that I apparently didn’t know about it. Who says anime can’t teach you something about the world?

I love sports anime and don’t get to follow them as much as I’d like to on here. In terms of seeing ones inspired by Western sports, I still can’t quite shake off the novelty of watching this like I could for the likes of GIANT KILLING, SLAM DUNK, DIAMOND GIRL and PRINCE OF TENNIS. Putting that aside for a moment, EYESHIELD still bears some distinction among the ones I’ve watched for its greater cartoonishness. Even just the hairstyles make this seem more like some one-off episode of YU-GI-OH where the gang opts to thrown on some pads and cleats.

And, weirdly enough, I think I kind-of like it a little less for that cartoonishness. Don’t get me wrong - - the whole ridiculous touchdown chase that reveals our lead's quarterback abilities is fun and cute. However, the “friendzone” relationship he’s in with the older girl seems less unusual or cleve and more… obfuscating? Maybe it’s just because this isn’t at a precise point on the ABSURD/GROUNDED scale that pleases me, but my gut response is that I’d be down to watch another episode of BAMBOO BLADE over a second episode of this.

And that says something, since I played fooball for four years, but have never picked up a kendo stick in my life.

Watch this episode, "The Man with Lightspeed Legs" here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

rubberluffyon Dec. 21, 2012 at 12:58 p.m.

Hiruma shows up in episode 1, right? He was pretty much the only reason I stuck through 20 or so episodes of this before getting distracted and never going back to it. I remember really liking how absolutely ridiculous he was and how much of an asshole he could be.

Lurkeroon Dec. 21, 2012 at 5:39 p.m.

I would never watch a sports anime, but I like seeing clips of the ridiculous plays that they come up with. Izuma 11 especially has some crazy stuff happening.

AgentJon Dec. 21, 2012 at 6:25 p.m.
I have not seen the anime, finding the animation quality to be sub-par. The manga, however, is a masterpiece. Excellent characters, beautiful art, and among the most positively dramatic comics I have ever read on either side of the pacific. Hiruma is one of the top characters in shonen history, and transcends the genre.
Ace20Aon Dec. 22, 2012 at 12:23 a.m.

You call this a review? More like "an article in which I wrote whatever random thoughts I had after watching this anime" to me. In other words, it sounds like a first impression rather than a review.

isawachuckon Dec. 22, 2012 at 5:46 a.m.

I can't really explain why, but I am a sucker for sports or sport-ish anime. I absolutely loved the first collection (ep 1-52) of Eyeshield 21. Sure, it has some dry spots, games take more than 1 episode in some cases and the series has a few filler episodes, but the sheer insanity of the characters is ever present. The football clinic interludes and the Devil Bats mascot especially made me chuckle. If you have even a passing interest in sports anime or you enjoyed Big Windup, Bamboo Blade or Taisho Baseball Girls, you should check this series out. Ya-Ha!

nelli1876on Dec. 25, 2012 at 12:59 p.m.

...I love this anime sooo sooo much. I could call it a guilty pleasure, but the characters to me were so lovable. The action just sucked me in and I couldn't pull myself away even though it was pretty ridiculous. But I can very clearly see why some people don't like it.

zaldaron Dec. 26, 2012 at 7:52 p.m.

@Ace20A said:

You call this a review? More like "an article in which I wrote whatever random thoughts I had after watching this anime" to me. In other words, it sounds like a first impression rather than a review.

these are not reviews but actually what you describe them as...

Ace20Aon Dec. 28, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.

@zaldar: Oh!

Dig Deeper into Eyeshield 21

An over-the-top football comedy.

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