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From Viz: Wimpy Sena Kobayakawa has been running away from bullies all his life. But when the football gear comes on, things change--Sena's speed and uncanny ability to elude big bullies just might give him what it takes to become a great high school football hero! Enjoy all the bone-crushing action and slapstick comedy that this heartwarming coming-of-age story has to offer.
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funny, and pretty much what you would expect
Funny, and pretty much what you would expect from a long sports manga - good bonhomie, some character development, a lot of set piece jokes, and long fought out battle.
Overall I am happy to have read it, and to find that it has stopped. The last 150 chapters or so were a bit of a drag.
And I meant that! I used to think that Slamdunk was the best sports manga but this, THIS really knocks it down HARD! No, I am not bragging. I am dead serious. This manga is so good, that even you guys who are not American football lovers would enjoy it to the max!! Why is this so? First of all, I would say its because of Hiruma's very existence. He is the EPITOME of humour in this manga and keeps this story going. Other than that, the character developement in this manga is by far the best of the best. You don't just learn to love the characters but you tend to actually grow with them and understand how they feel most probably because the mangaka portrays their personalities so vividly and is reasonably logic to human behavior.
The main character is not the typical weakling-to-strong protagonist. He is actually quite firm at times but usually the 'cool' moment backfires with him denying himself...-,-" But throughout the story you'll see him change his goals and his ways to the point that you just can't wait to see what he's going to do next!
Just so you know, ALL the other characters in this story is just as fun and strong-willed as the main character. Everyone has their traits, their own weakness and their own goals. It is exceptionally fun to see all of them fight each other. The training, battles and obstacles is to me, the most well organized out of ANY other manga. This manga may be fictional but it just feels so damn realistic!
In terms of relationships, the friendship and trust is fulfilling. There are a few hints of romance but it was never finalized so let's just leave it at that! Last but not least, if you read this manga and not laugh, you're either not human or you don't understand English. Enough said.
My rating for this manga will never change even if someday I do find something better because this manga deserves it so much that I wish that the ratings were higher than a 10... I am proud to be one of those who have finished this manga because for those who haven't, you have no idea what you're missing!!
Oh yeah, wanna know how much I liked it? I did not stop reading it for 2-3 days straight. Trust me on this. Read it, laugh, and enjoy the awesomeness.
... Last updated on June 20th, 2012, 9:09am
Much has been said about the greatness of this manga, and I don't disagree. The action is awesome, Hiruma Youichi is a spectacular character, etc. pp. I'm just sad about the bad aftertaste the last 3 volumes (the "World" arc) left in my mouth. They were just not up to par. Before that arc, the manga should have ended; instead, it ended up with 3 more volumes that featured far too many characters to go as in-depth with each one as it had before. It's much better when a manga has a slow start and then rapidly becomes better... So, essentially a perfect manga for the first 34 volumes, but so (comparatively!) disappointing in the last 3 volumes that I'm not sure I recommend actually reading them (despite a few good moments).
Sports manga with a very well-written cast.
There is one thing that ES21 does better than all other sports manga I've read: characters.
To date, I have yet to find another sports manga that did character development as well as Eyeshield 21. ES21 took the characters and gave them growth - not through tacking on more ridiculous skill sets, but through actual growth in their personalities. You see Sena growing from that wimpy little guy in the beginning to the little guy who somehow ends up standing against giants without backing down (too much), and the growth happens in a believable manner.
Aside from the awesome main cast, the manga had another thing going for it: it's very well-written. No, I'm not talking about the rules to the game - I have essentially zero knowledge of how american football is played. I'm talking about story and execution - the pacing, the timing, the buildup... it's great. It's very well put together and planned out - plot points get pushed forward and wrapped up at just the right times, which makes it a quite enjoyable read.
I won't say there are no flaws with this though - the last arc, in particular, really just reads like the team got forced to write an extra ending arc to the series and wanted to end it as soon as possible - it was rushed and didn't feel like it was sketched out very well. But nevertheless, that doesn't negate that the main tournament (or plot, if you will) was really good. And to be honest, this particular arc wasn't actually horrible - on any other manga I would've accepted it without thinking about it too much, but it just wasn't to ES21's standards.
ES21 is really a rare breed as far as sports manga goes - it manages to fit good writing, characters, actually funny moments and pretty awesome art into a really ridiculous, done-to-death genre. I very rarely give out such overwhelmingly positive reviews, but this is definitely worthy.
... Last updated on June 30th, 2011, 2:50am
i love the story. i LOVED hiruma. it was hilarious.it was an awesome manga, but the ending.... it sucked. it was rushed even the whole tournament everything when super fast. i was disappoimted
Team play, heroic play, strategy play, climax after climax, nice drawing style, postive & clean. Nice shounen sports manga, filed under the "Giant Killing" subcategory. The balance between tension & fun is good.
... Last updated on November 6th, 2010, 5:41am
I don't know if it's realistic in its depiction of AF, I don't care - though I'm definately more interested in watching real football since having read ES21.
But a standard sports manga? I've only read Captain Tsubasa and a few Adachi's, but this was far from. It focused a lot more on the characters than the former, and a lot more on exciting battles [matches] than the latter, which made for an extremely entertaining read.
The stuff I enjoyed the most is the standard-shounen "Will trumphs all" that the japanese are so fond of (and are actually one of the few personality-traits of that country I thoroughly like). Thing is, its execution was extremely well-written. Hopes, ambitions, dreams, the desire to stand at the top - things that any self-respecting male has. The Devil Bats had them, but they were not alone. The opposing teams had them too, and whichever team's dreams were crushed, I felt it, both in the emotional script and the vibrant drawings. I usually prefer if a manga's author and artist are the same, but these were on the same page throughout.
Proper Bromance. Hopes, ambitions, dreams and desire to stand at the top are always more entertaining and Beautiful than "S/he loves me, s/he loves me not."
As a side-note, ES21 contained some of the more entertaining, albeit clichéd, characters I've seen. Again, it's not about originality, it's about EXECUTION.
I hate when people give out tens to everything. But for me, this was perfect. Maybe I will change my mind after reading more sports - I know more experience led me to conclude that Devil & Devil was not quite as good as I had remembered- but for now, for me, this is the ultimate sports-manga. One I enjoyed non-stop from beginning to end in more ways than two.
P.s. It was really fucking funny.
... Last updated on November 5th, 2010, 12:59am
Standard Sports Manga
If you've ever read a sports manga, you know pretty much what you're going to get here. There will be silly named special moves, every character will have. People challenging each other, its all about spirit, yadda, yadda, yadda. This is par for the course. It has all the silly little special moves, Rodeo Drive made me laugh too hard. Like most sports mangas, it focuses a little too much on the actual game, spending volumes on a single game. Eventually, I didn't bother to read them, just skipped to the next volume to see if the game was still going. Just watching the start and finish of the games. Doing so, I didn't feel like I had missed a single thing. Thats the weakness of the typical sports manga, a weakness this one has in spades. The first 100 - 150 chapters were good, after that it just went on too long.
The another problem I had with this, was how wrong the football references were, how poorly they played, how the author apparently misunderstood some of the basic concepts of the game. It is not a mano e mano place where you beat your opponent. Every single play you have a chance to beat your opponent, and he has a chance to beat you. That was missing from the manga. There were no shifting coverages, no real adjustments in blocking, or if there were, it was far from obvious. And finally there was not a single penalty I remember being called. I've never seen a single game without an offsides, or a holding call.
To sum up, its a good manga, with a lot of humor, but it dragged on way, way too long.
Great series but crappy final arc.
Pretty good sport manga.
It's as good as all other Jump sport manga. Very entertaining, a lot of humor and non-stop game action and I gave it a credit as the first decent American Football manga. But it has a same problem as all other popular sport: the longer it drag, the worse and unrealistic it is. This is my calculation for all sport manga: About 100 chapters: awesome - ~200 chapters: it's fine and a bit unrealistic - ~300 bad and ridiculous. It sometimes is quite racist but I don't mind. Anyway, it's an interesting sport manga even if you know American football or not.