The Christmas Bowl (Eyeshield 21 #32) ★★★★☆

christmasbowl (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Christmas Bowl
Series: Eyeshield 21 #32
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Scan

 

Synopsis:

The special training happens and all the other top players from the defeated team help the Devil Bats train so they can beat the Alexandres, who have won the Christmas Bowl ever since it started. Of course, Agon, that paragon of evil who I’d throw under a bus, doesn’t honor his agreement and goes to the Alexandres. What a bastard.

Then, the Christmas Bowl. The Devil Bats take the immediate offensive and begin a huge drive. Only to have the Alexandres stop them cold, stone cold! Everything the Devil Bats try fails. Monta realizes that he is simply out-talented by Taka Honjou, son of his baseball idol and that Honjou has been training his own son for years as a catcher.. It almost breaks Monta. Then it’s the Alexandre’s ball. Their quarterback is a girl named Karin.

The volume ends with Karin throwing a perfect pass to Yamato, the Alexandres running back. Sena catches him, is blown off, catches him again and is blown off again.

 

My Thoughts:

So, this game is going to be 5 volumes long, or maybe just 4 if they do the last volume as a wrapup, but I doubt that.

I have to admit, I was feeling a bit bored. It was still good football, but still, you can only draw things out so much. How many times have the Devil Bats been immediately shut down? How many times have they been outclassed? How many times has Hiruma played mind games and Sena run faster than anybody else? I really hope the rest of the game doesn’t bore me.

Now, Karin. I’m sorry, and I’ve mentioned this before, but a girl playing American Football? No. She’s obviously going to be a big part of this game, as she’s the quarterback for goodness sake. But it is so inconceivable that the whole idea throws me out of the game. It would be like Arnold Schwarzenegger, back in his Terminator days, entering a Miss Busty Bikini Contest and be given real thought to by the judges and the crowd. It would be ludicrous. So I’m just switching off my brain for this and hope it doesn’t get too much more unbelievable.

EyeShield 21 v32 c286 extraA Real Tom Brady  /sarcasm

 

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

  1. The Winner Is… (Vol. 31)
  2. This Is American Football (Vol. 30)
  3. Second Quarterback (Vol. 29)
  4. Showdown at Tokyo Dome (Vol. 28)

The Winner Is… (Eyeshield 21 #31) ★★★★ ½

winneris (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Winner Is…
Series: Eyeshield 21 #31
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Scan

 

 

Synopsis:

The final 5 minutes between the Devil Bats and the Dinosaurs. The Dinosaurs make a touchdown and kick the ball for a 7point lead. Now there is only 2 minutes on the clock. Kurita MUST face, and overcome, Gaou if he is going to open a path for Sena to run through. Sena makes the touchdown and so the Devil Bats are only 1 point behind.

Their choice is to kick the ball for 1 point and go into overtime or to try for a 2 point conversion by running the ball and winning the game. With Hiruma’s fractured arm, Sena’s worn out body and the rest of the team utterly exhausted, the Devil Bats don’t have a hope in hell [ha, “Devil” bats & “Hell”, get it?] of winning in overtime. So a 2 point run it is. Hiruma does his tricky stuff and Kurita and Gaou faceoff for the final showdown and the Devilbats win.

The rest of the volume is Sena and Monta and Suzuna scouting out the competition for the Christmas Bowl. And what they find is an All Star Team with a female quarterback [at least, I think she’s the quarterback, it was hard to tell if that was what was said]. And not only that, their running back receiver is the son of the man who inspired Monta. Fighting against his idol’s son might more than Monta can bear.

Hiruma is aware of ALL the dynamics and has asked various members of the defeated teams to help train the Devil Bats.

 

My Thoughts:

Excellent. A fantastic volume.

Kurita’s battle against Gaou was great. It was everything he’d fought for and cried for and trained for and in the end it was Kurita’s experience AND strength that overcame Gaou. That was a pleasure to see.

The end of the volume with the 3 characters scouting out the opposition was kind of weird. The opposition was so confident that they gave them their play book of 1000 plays. I’m still a bit confused if the girl who carried luggage around was the quarterback or not. Sadly, reading this on an 8in tablet made some of the text rather small and hard to read. I’m getting older and diabetes sure isn’t doing my eyes any favors. After this series, if I read any more manga or comics on a tablet, I’m going to have to buy myself a 10-11in tablet. So part of me is hoping that she is, because that’ll add a really weird mix into the game. But on the other hand I don’t want that to happen. No woman should be placed in that situation, period.

I don’t know if the emotional punch I experience from this series is deep enough to stand up to a re-read. Honestly, I’d rather not find out. I think that I’ll read this, enjoy it immensely and move on. But my goodness, this initial read is SO GOOD!

 ★★★★ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. This is American Football (Vol. 30)

This Is American Football (Eyeshield 21 #30) ★★★★☆

americanfootball (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: This Is American Football
Series: Eyeshield 21 #30
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Pages: 200
Format: Digital Scan

 

 

Synopsis:

Sena takes over being quarterback for a couple of plays and allows the Devilbats to make a touchdown. Kurita is just sitting around numbly from his failure to protect Hiruma and it takes his apprentice getting the stuffing beaten out of him to bring back his fierce, protective spirit.

Hiruma comes back in the game and no one can tell, except Sena and Musashi, if he’s ok or faking it. Either way, Hiruma gets in the heads of the Dinosaurs and really messes them up. So much so that the score is tied at 35-35 with only 5 minutes to go in the final half.

 

My Thoughts:

Much better than the previous volume. Gaou is stopped by Komusubi, who gets the heck beaten out of him time and time again. Just when it looks like he’s done for, Kurita finally wakes up and realizes it is up to him to protect the whole team from Gaou. And he does. Gaou’s power drives are stopped cold and the Devilbats begin to make inroads.

Hiruma coming back was something else. It was supposed to show his grit, his determination, his pure will power. But my only thought was, “grow up kid, you have your whole life ahead of you. Don’t waste it by destroying yourself right now”. Back in my teens or even 20’s I would have been eating up Hiruma’s attitude with two spoons! I guess I’m mellowing.

I kept wondering if they were going to end this game in this book but as soon as the page came up all dramatic about “Only 5 Minutes Left!!!” I knew another volume was on the way. Sure enough, 3 pages later the volume ended. It didn’t actually bother me, which surprised me. I think it is because it brought home to me that I am nearing the end of this series. Only 7 more volumes to go!

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

  1. Second Quarterback (Vol 29)

Second Quarterback (Eyeshield 21 #29) ★★★☆ ½

2quarterback (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Second Quarterback
Series: Eyeshield 21 #29
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Pages: 200
Format: Digital Scan

 

 

Synopsis:

The game between the Devilbats and the Dinosaurs begins. Kurita has gone through some special training allowing him to stop Gaou for 5 seconds, giving Hiruma the chance he needs to throw the ball. But when the other members of the Dinosaurs start showing their abilities, it becomes apparent that this will become more than just a contest of strength between Gaou and Kurita.

As the Devilbats refuse to break or lose their spirit, Marco, quarterback of the Dinosaurs, sacrifices one of his players to give Gaou a chance to destroy Hiruma. Gaou breaks Hiruma’s right arm and the Dinosaurs expect the Devilbats to fold, like all the previous teams have done. Instead, Sena, Eyeshield 21, steps up and takes over as Quarterback.

Thus ends the volume.

 

My Thoughts:

I still do not like Gaou as a player breaker. That is not how football is played. So that just sunk my enjoyment of this volume.

Seeing Sena step up at the end was really good though. While I’m not looking forward to more Gaou in the next volume, I AM looking forward to Sena as Quarterback.

★★★☆ ½

bookstooge

 

  1. Showdown at Tokyo Dome (Vol 28)

Showdown at Tokyo Dome (Eyeshield 21 #28) ★★★★☆

battleatthetokyodome (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Showdown at Tokyo Dome
Series: Eyeshield 21 #28
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Pages: 200
Format: Digital Scan

 

Synopsis:

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.

 

My Thoughts:

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.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

  1. Shin vs Sena (Vol. 27)

Shin vs Sena (Eyeshield 21 #27) ★★★★★

eyeshield27 (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Shin vs Sena
Series: Eyeshield 21 #27
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Pages: 200
Format: Digital Scan

 

 

Synopsis:

The conclusion to the game between the Devil Bats and the White Knights. With under 2 minutes left, the Devil Bats score a touchdown and take the lead. It would appear to be all over but the White Knights won’t go down without a fight. Making an incredible comeback, Shin manages to make a touchdown with only 1 second left on the clock.

Now, the Devil Bats must catch the kick-off, run the ball down the field, avoid the whole White Knight’s team and score a touch down. Can Sena overcome total exhaustion, the spectre of defeat and Shin to make the Devil Bats dream of the Christmas Bowl come true?

If you think I’m going to tell you, screw you!

 

My Thoughts:

Just kidding!

Of course the Devil Bats win. There wouldn’t be much point to a 37 volume manga series that ends at Vol. 27 now would there?

But my goodness, even while I “knew” that the Devil Bats had to win, I wasn’t sure it was going to happen right up until the last page. Now that is how you do “tension”. I would also say that this was the ultimate, so far, in showing heart and guts. If the series HAD ended here, I would be more than satisfied with the time I spent reading this.

Now that I have given a volume 5 Stars, I’m probably going to be extra tough on the next couple, so expect more “nit picky” complaints. A concern I do have is how they’re going to top this. I sure hope the momentum of the series stays strong.

★★★★★

bookstooge

 

  1. Review of Vol. 26

Rough ‘n’ Tumble (Eyeshield 21 #26) ★★★★ ½

roughntumble

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

 

Title: Rough ‘n’ Tumble
Series: Eyeshield 21 #26
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Sports Manga
Pages: 200
Format: Digital Scan

 

Synopsis:

The game between the Devil Bats and the White Knights continues. Each team feeds off the other and individual players keep increasing the tempo of the game as a whole. This volume is mainly about the battles between Shin & Sena and Monta & Sakuraba.

The Kantou League President shows up to watch the game and it’s Monta’s old baseball Idol, which of course whips him into a frenzy.

The volume ends at the 3minute mark with the Devil Bats at 29 and the White Knights at 34.

 

My Thoughts:

In the previous volume, Perfect Players, Shin crushed everyone and anything in his way. This time, both Sena and Monta return the favor and simply go around, over and past anything the White Knights throw up as defensive measures.

The Shonen Influence is very visible, with each possession practically being a martial arts fight in spirit. Murata, the artist, does a fantastic job of showing the fighting spirit on the players faces and in their stances and actions. He made me feel like I was actually witnessing a battle between 2 armies. It was fantastic!

Even while this game is being written across multiple volumes, it hasn’t felt dragged out. That was my biggest concern going into this game, that things would be boringly stretched out and I’d lose interest. That has not happened, not even close. I cannot wait to see how this concludes because it feels like it is going to be epic!

On a side note, I believe I have found a good way to manage my manga reading without burning out. I’ve simply added an empty “Manga” collection on my kindle. Every time it goes down the list and reaches the 6th position [I have 25 collections], I simply read another volume on my tablet and move the Manga Collection up to the 1st position. Rinse and repeat. It keeps my manga reading synchonized with my other readings, allows some time between volumes and prevents me from feeling pressured that I have to read a volume on a certain date. For whatever reason, I don’t feel the pressure if it’s just part of the collection list. Part of that is that my reading of it isn’t tied down to a date or day, but simply to when I get to it. Isn’t it odd how the mind works? But I’m glad I’ve found a solution, because I LIKE reading manga and that last burn out kind of scared me. I’ve got too much manga still to read to burn out, you know? *grin*

★★★★ ½

bookstooge

  1. Review of Vol. 25