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Title: Showdown at Tokyo Dome
Series: Eyeshield 21 #28
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Format: Digital Scan
The game between the Hakushuu Dinosaurs and the Seiba Wild Gunmen. This game will determine who will play the Devil Bats. On the Dinosaurs side there is Gaou, a musclebound destroyer who breaks quarterbacks, either physically or mentally. Facing him are The Quickdraw Kid and Riku, who is equal to Sena in terms of speed. Things appear to be going the Gunmen’s way with the Kid’s ultra fast passing, which doesn’t allow Gaou time to lay a finger on him. Unfortunately, all it takes is one slow pass and the Kid is toast, with a broken arm. Riku rallies the Gunmen but it just isn’t enough. They are crushed 14-72.
The rest of the book is about how Kurita, Hiruma and Musashi all meet and eventually come together to create a football team.
This started out as a 3 star volume. Gaou as a player breaker was just beyond the pale of what I could accept as “real” in this manga. In the NFL (National Football League -American pro level) there is something called “unnecessary roughness”. If it becomes obvious that a player is physically beating on another player, that can be used. Depending on what is going on, it can be a warning and I believe, eventually lead to expulsion from the game. Needless to say, any player that consistently went around breaking bones in opposing teams would be banned pronto. So that dragged my enjoyment of the game down. It was as if Sena could suddenly run 100 yards in 1 second. That is just impossible and would destroy any enjoyment.
Thankfully, things were better with the memory montage. Kurita, the big fat lineman for the Devil Bats is going to be only guy able to deal with Gaou in the next game when it comes to pure power. But he’s not full of confidence so Hiruma sets up some stuff at the Tokyo Dome, a baseball game of all things and in the process Kurita remembers how they all came together and Hiruma kept his dream for an american football team alive.
For me, the most moving part was when Kurita had been told by the club directors that since he didn’t have 3 members, he couldn’t have a football club and that he couldn’t use the grounds and that he’d have to get rid of all his equipment. He’s burning it all and crying and Hiruma walks up to him and asks him if he’s giving up. Kurita turns to Hiruma with tears streaming down his face and says that he’s not giving up but that he doesn’t know what to do. Murata, the artist for the manga, just makes Kurita’s face express the palpable determination mixed with despair. If you’ve ever been in a like situation, you’ll want to cry right along with Kurita. Thankfully, it doesn’t end there but that was the high point of the book for me. It was poignant and moving.