Eyeshield 21 Vol. #05 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.95
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0113-9
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Eyeshield 21 Vol. #05

By Jarred Pine     December 18, 2005
Release Date: December 01, 2005

Eyeshield 21 Vol.#05
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Story By: Riichiro Inagaki / Art By: Yusuke Murata
Translated by:Allison Markin Powell
Adapted by:

What They Say
The Devil Bats finagle their way into a game against the behemoth-like Taiyo Sphinx. The winners will get a chance to scrimmage against a high school championship team in the United States. Will Sena and crew be able to break down the Sphinx's invincible "pyramid" front line and send them crying home to their mummies?

The Review
Cowgirl cheerleaders, occult nurses, garish locker rooms, giant Egyptian linemen, a pharaoh-like quarterback, and of course GUNS, GUNS, GUNS--the insanity and high-octane football action just keeps on coming page after page.

VIZ once again uses the original cover artwork from the Japanese tankoubon, featuring an appropriate “blood, sweat, and tears” illustration of the Hah Brothers--a main focus in this volume. The colors are nice and bright, with the English logo again appearing at the top looking almost identical to the Japanese version. Even though there a few instances of fading or tone blotching, the print reproduction still seems to be at the top of the Shonen Jump titles. Unfortunately, there are no color pages. Inside there are words from Inagaki, more hilarious chapter inserts, fun chapter headers featuring character artwork, and more of my favorite “Deluxe Biographies of the Supporting Cast”.

Murata’s artwork allows this title to succeed. The character designs are wildly humorous featuring a lot of odd influences, from animals to nuts, and make use of hard edges and line hatching to create a variety of personalities. The football action is enhanced with many effect lines and other exaggerated elements that make for a highly energetic portrayal of the sport. Those who don’t enjoy real-life football will mostly like get excited over his illustration of the sport here. My favorite part of his artwork though are the interesting perspectives in the panels, featuring wide-angle, distorted views and ground shots that just make everything that much more enjoyable. I only wish that we could maybe get some full-sized page spreads where Murata just goes nuts with his talents.

SFX are translated and retouched, which look solid here with new text that perfectly blends in with the art. The translation is pretty good, making sure that all the humor stays intact as well as keeping the dialogue appropriate for each character. I had a couple very minor issues with the football terminology, but I suspect that it was probably the same in the original language seeing how the football here isn’t exactly a technical guidebook.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
With some downtime between tournaments, Deimon High gets back to training for that Christmas Bowl championship game in the winter tournament. It’s time to start learning the basics, which includes strength training, passing routes, and blocking. However, this isn’t just any normal required sports manga training arc. Oh no, that would be too boring for Inagaki and Murata. First off, the strength training will be accomplished through construction as Hiruma enslaves the team, fitted with prison labor outfits, to work on building the new team locker room. And what better way to train than playing an exhibition game against a real American football team from the States as part of Football Monthly’s 20th Annual international showdown. With the top teams still competing in the Kanto tournament, Hiruma submits Deimon’s application only to be turned down in favor of the mighty Taiyo High Sphinx, who boasts massive linemen known as the Pyramid Line. After a little computer hacking courtesy of Hiruma, the two schools end up playing a game against each other for the right to go up against the Americans, the X High Aliens.

You want exciting sports action? Check! The game against Taiyo Sphinx is one that will test Kurita’s and his fellow linemen’s guts as an undersized front going up against the Pyramid Line. While the portrayal of the sport might be simple, what the creators do is really highlight and bring out the energy and excitement of the game for the readers. For those who are not fans of the sport, you will most likely find this to be much more entertaining. Deimon High will find themselves down early on, but we will have to wait until the next volume to find out what tricks Hiruma has placed with the offense and defense.

You want gut-busting comedy that will leave you in stitches? Double-team check! Inagaki’s well scripted humor and Murata’s visual gags come at the reader at a rapid pace. It’s rare to flip more than a couple pages without coming across some bit of comedy, many times completely unexpected but yet perfectly fitting the context of the panels. It is this style of comedy that really brings the story to life and leaves the reader feeling just as energetic and animated as the manga.

You want characters that are memorable who also are developed as the story progresses? HAT TRICK CHECK! The cast of Eyeshield 21 is growing into quite the ensemble. While there is not enough room in each volume to cover every character, Inagaki always makes sure that his cast is present and making their mark as well as bringing back past characters that were once forgotten. Even characters that you think would be ignored get their time to shine, including the Hah Brothers and Ojo’s Sakuraba in this volume. The development of the Hah Brothers takes a much more blood, sweat, and dirt approach as they find their motivation for enjoying the game of football. Sakuraba, on the other hand, has much more of an introspective experience as he struggles with his own self-worth while laid up in a hospital bed after Eyeshield 21’s infamous “murder tackle”. Sure, they might not be the deepest characters, but it’s their obvious and instantly memorable characterizations that make it work. There is such a wide variety of character personalities in this manga that I’m sure every reader can find their favorite to root for.

Featuring about 10 cheerleaders dressed in halter tops, tight jeans, tasseled vests, and cowboy hats with each firing off their pistols while joining their quick-draw coach for a little halftime celebration, it is within the first panel of Eyeshield 21 Vol. #5 in which I am instantly reminded of just how wonderfully insane Inagaki and Murata are with their blatant, over-the-top characterizations. High energy sports action, laugh-a-page comedy, and a memorable ensemble cast, this is a manga that everyone can get excited about--regardless of whether you are a sports manga fan or not. Eyeshield 21 is just consistently enjoyable with each and every volume. Highly recommended.


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