Eyeshield 21

Vol: 37; Ch: 333
2002 - 2009
4.239 out of 5 from 1,949 votes
Rank #636
Eyeshield 21

Ever since Sena was little, everyone has treated him as an errand boy. His childhood friend, Mamori, even has to protect him from bullies all the time, although she's a girl. Fortunately, in order to evade his tormentors, Sena has developed incredibly fast legs; in fact, Sena is so fast that he is noticed by Himura, the quarterback of a failing football team, who promptly tricks him into joining. However, in order to keep other teams from scouting him, and to keep Mamori from finding out that he's in such a dangerous sport, Sena wears an eyeshield and goes by the name of "Eyeshield 21". For someone like Sena, making it in the tough world of football is a challenge like no other, but also the once-in-a-lifetime chance to become someone others respect!

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There are some very solid, entertaining games in the middle of this manga, but it's bookended with dullness and contrivance. My favorite matches are probably the one against the Shinryuuji Nagas and second one against the Oujou White Knights. Those matches have some great rivalries between various positions that don't feel overly contrived and they also involve some interesting tactics and comeback moments. There are some decent matches before then as well, but I think those two matches are the true climax of the story. And even the matches after that also involve rivalries and comeback moments, they honestly just feel shoe-horned in and don't feel very satisfying to read (like, the whole Pentagram idea felt really forced). And the last thirty or so chapters are just absolute crap and shouldn't have existed at all. The author completely fumbled on the ending for this series. The last little bit felt tacked on, 'cause all 300 chapters up to that point had been about the Christmas Bowl--making it so most readers would tend to see the conclusion of the Christmas Bowl as the most natural time for the series to come to a close and wouldn't be expecting an entire other tournament to be squeezed in after that. And the only real message that the author seemed to want to get across in these final chapters was that black people--and other non-Japanese people--have natural-born advantages when it comes to certain sports, and that Japanese people will inevitably run into that racial barrier if they compete on the world stage... There are several times when someone's natural-born physical advantages are brought up. Like with Agon. While I think this aspect is exaggerated (like everything else is), for the most part I think it's fine. But there are also a few times when the author isn't just talking about an individual's natural-born advantages, but instead discusses racial advantages. And these moments can be uncomfortable to read through, because it's obvious that the author doesn't realize that race as a concept is a social construct and that the ideas of what exactly constitute a "black person" aren't actually based in biology but rather based in cultural expectations. So saying that black people have certain biological traits doesn't make much sense considering that there's no biological method to determine whether somebody is black or not. Basically, blackness isn't an objective criteria, and yet this author is discussing it as though it is. There is also a hu~uge range of people who would be considered "black" and who don't have the type of "long and slender arm characteristic of black people" (ch. 324) or any of the other muscle-based characteristics which the author attributes to black people. And I'm pretty positive that all of the physical characteristics which the author seems to be implying are exclusive to black people can be found in people of any skin pigmentation. Whether conscious of it or not, the author is perpetuating a racist view of the world. It should be remembered that the modern concept of race was invented in about the 18th century or so during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, seemingly for the express purpose of letting "white" people feel justified in their enslavement of "black" people. One of the most annoying techniques the author uses is the way a single topic/conversation will be covered by multiple people in the audience and on the bench and even out on the field. It's obviously done this way so the author can express narratively important ideas to the readers in a way that is more dynamic than having a single speaker, but it's just horribly unnatural. To a degree that is annoying at times. Not only can everyone overhear everyone else's conversations, but there's also a time dilation which allows people to have back-and-forth exchanges over the course of a couple seconds. The metaphorical images are also pretty silly. I know the author probably needs to make things over-the-top to a certain degree in order to keep things engaging for the readers, so I try not to judge these exaggerations too much, but it is pretty silly. Though I do appreciate some of the exaggerations of the characters. Like, I think Hiruma's book of threats and machine guns are great comic relief. As is Cerberus's intelligent viciousness.

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