Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Manga Review: Eyeshield 21 Vol. 1 - 12

As I mentioned last week, I managed to acquire a bunch of Viz's Eyeshield 21 manga. Having read it before (through scanlations), I thought it would be quite familiar with it but I was wrong: it exceeded my expectations.

Aside from a unique take on sports (somehow successfully combining seriousness with slapstick--and without the latter interfering with the former), Eyeshield 21 is a solid dramatic story. A lot of familiar elements are there, from rookie players to the inexperienced team to the common goal of winning the championship (in this case, The Christmas Bowl). What caught me by surprise is how much of the later plot hooks were already seeded early on in the manga, such as Deimon High's mysterious third player (the hints were there all along!) or their rivalries with future teams.

A plus in the manga is that incorporated the extras, such as the comic spoofs or the commentary by the mascot Devil Bat. These extra info also adds an interesting layer to the characters but nothing that drastically requires you to know them to get a grasp of the characters. The translations and editing seemed adequate enough although towards the latter volumes I did spot a few typos (but they're just negligible typos and nothing big).

I was never a fan of American Football yet Eyeshield 21 somehow managed to hook me. I like the characterization of the characters as there's a good mix of simple and complex characters. The competitions are exciting and don't worry if you're not a fan of American Football, the terminologies and rules are explained (without seeming forced). Lastly, don't let the slapstick and seemingly-bewildering antics of Hiruma and Cerberus fool you: the story is serious all-throughout so if you want a down-to-earth sports title, Eyeshield 21 is one of those titles to get.

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