Eyeshield 21 Vol. #06 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0274-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Eyeshield 21 Vol. #06

By Jarred Pine     March 06, 2006
Release Date: February 07, 2006

Eyeshield 21 Vol.#06
© 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 are going to feel like dancing for joy if they can beat Banba and his hulking team, the Taiyo Sphinx. Sena and crew have held their own in the first half, but they're going to have to come up with something really special to defeat this bunch of bruisers. And don't forget, the winner of this game gets to play against a championship team from the United States!

The Review
A little bit less humor, but more American football action! Inagaki keeps the story entertaining with a brisk pace and sharp humor, with Murata’s artwork oozing its energy and humor in each and every panel.

VIZ once again uses the original cover artwork from the Japanese tankoubon, which features a headshot of Sena sporting his helmet. The colors are nice and bright, with the English logo again appearing at the top looking almost identical to the Japanese version. This isn’t my favorite choice of covers, as I don’t think it highlights the energy of this title.

The print reproduction actually looks remarkably solid with this volume, probably one of the better Shonen Jump prints I’ve read. No color plates are used, which is too bad as I would love to have seen some of those pages included here in their original full-color printings. Perhaps an art book in the future will be made. 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”. Lots of good extras that just add to the overall entertainment value.

Murata’s artwork is so damn energetic and lively, I love it! The character designs are wildly humorous featuring a lot of odd influences, from animals to nuts to historical legends, all making use of thin lines with hard edges and line hatching to create a variety of personalities. The football action is enhanced with interesting perspectives, featuring wide-angle, distorted views and ground shots that that make for a highly dynamic portrayal of the sport. Those who don’t enjoy real-life football will mostly like get excited over his illustration of the sport here.

However, after experiencing more of the football action with this series, I do notice a bit of an issue with the football scenes. It feels as if there are only about 5-6 players on the field from each time at a time (as opposed to 11 per team). With the tight angles, it’s hard to really get a grasp of the sport on a play-by-play basis. In a way, the dynamic and energetic art covers up (in a nice way) the limited knowledge of the sport that the creators most likely have.

SFX are translated and retouched. As with most Shonen Jump titles, the SFX are pretty large. Whether or not the English overlays are to your liking is up to your preferences. I personally would have liked to have seen the originals left intact given the strength of Murata’s artwork.

The translation reads very well, making sure that all the humor stays intact as well as keeping the dialogue appropriate for each character. Even though Hiruma’s catchphrase is toned down a bit, there is still an older edge to some of the dialogue (e.g., “Douchebag”, “Damn pipsqueak”).

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the rights to play against an actual American football team from the States on the line, this sixth installment of Eyeshield 21 is mostly filled with a lot of exciting American football action--Murata style, of course! This is not your ordinary high school football, but instead a much more caricaturized version that highlights the dynamic action and intensity of the game, while mixing it up with a lot of over-the-top characters and humorous moments.

Up against the Taiyo Sphinx, whose physical strength of their “Pyramid Line” clearly puts Deimon High at a disadvantage, the Devil Bats will have to put to good use the training they have received and find the strength within themselves to pull out a win. As is typical in most sports shounen manga, the characters grow and develop during the games. Sena “Eyeshield 21” Kobayakawa refuses to run away from the stronger defenders and instead fights hard to go up against them, even if it’s just to gain just that one extra yard. The Hah Brothers use their “Juvenile Delinquent Murder Method” to use Taiyo’s strength to their advantage, busting through the offensive line on occasion. Even Monta must find a way to get past the “Chariot Cornerback”, Ken Kamaguruma, whose bump technique has put Monta on his heels and has completely eliminated Deimon’s passing game. In the end, the team will rely on Hiruma’s mind for the game as he mixes up strategies, with the winner decided on the last play of the game.

After the game is over, everyone rushes over to nearby Enoshima Field in order to watch the Kanto Spring Tournament semifinal game between the Ojo White Knights and Shinryuji Naga, 8-time consecutive champions. Shinryuji are the gods of American high school football in Japan, donning monk outfits during warm-ups as the achieve spiritual unity before the game. Their weapons of choice are the Kongo Brothers, twins Unsui and Agon, who destroyed Ojo last season when Ojo had their best team ever assembled. The two brothers couldn’t be more different from each other. Unsui has the lesser talent of the two, but his hard, consistent work makes him quite formidable. Agon on the other hand has all the talent in the world, but never practices, sleeps around with girls, fights with biker gangs, and pretty much does what he wants--and he still tears it up whenever he plays. Agon decides to not even show up to the Ojo game this time around until late in the 3rd quarter. When he shows up, he immediately puts the moves on Mamori, which sends wimpy Sena into protection mode. However, even with more confidence, Sena is no match for the legendary Agon.

With the humor toned down a bit here in this sixth installment of Eyeshield 21, Inagaki focuses his story more on the American football action while letting his characters from Deimon High develop as a team. Being both a shounen and sports manga title, you can expect that characters will learn how to be stronger and more confident during the games as they realize their talents through on the field experience. Unlike other sports titles, like Slam Dunk, the pace is quite brisk, which when mixed with Murata’s highly energetic, and oft-humorous, artwork makes for a very enjoyable experience.

For some though, the brisk pace and simple developments could leave some readers grasping for more. However, I think that the characterizations and personalities of the members of the Devil Bats more than make up for the possible shortcomings. The faster pace also actually has an advantage here as readers don’t have to worry about getting stuck in long, multi-volume games. Get in, laugh and cheer, watch your favorite players learn a few more tricks, and then get out.

Also, those looking for a realistic portrayal of American football would probably be better served by tuning into ESPN. It’s quite evident with the fast speed and tight-angle artwork that Murata and Inagaki are most likely casual fans of the sport who are more concerned with bringing the energy and intensity of American football to Japanese manga readers for the first time--a country where American football hardly exists. Personally, I don’t see much of a problem with it, as if I wanted something more realistic, I would just watch the real games on TV. The manga-ized version of the sport works in that it opens up the possibility for those who have no interest or knowledge of the sport to enjoy the story and action without feeling overwhelmed. With entertainment as it’s final goal, Inagaki and Murata succeed greatly with Eyeshield 21.


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