Bass’ Top 5 Eyeshield 21 Matches
We are finally onto the meat of this Eyeshield week: my favorites list. Eyeshield’s success, like most shounen manga, was highly dependent on it’s battles and rivalries. Unlike some other manga though, the writing in this manga means that the battles rarely ever disappoint, as there are always new things to discover in the midst of battle. To me, these are five of the most memorable games in the whole series, although there were a few that barely missed out from this list.
It was really hard for me to rank these five in order, since they were all significant in their own way. I’ve modified and changed this list a ton of times over the past few years, but I think for now I will settle on this order. Since my thoughts on each match were pretty long, I collapsed the bulk of them within the spoilers so if you’re interested to find out what stood out to me most in each battle, hit the jump for my full thoughts.
Arc Span: ch128-150
This match brought together two teams with the same principles, while adding some major twists and a few new characters. Whether it was the addition of a new rival Riku, Sena’s childhood friend, the ending to the receiving battle between Tetsuma and Monta or the invincibility of Kid’s quick draw shotgun, this match was an offensive showcase that perfectly matched the ideals of the team’s two leaders.
- Musashi’s emotional return
- Riku’s arrival and subsequent rivalry with Sena
- The QB showdown between Kid and Hiruma
Arc Span: Ch151 – ch167
The Bandou match was significant for a number of reasons:
- A lot was riding on this win
- Sena finally took off the mask and revealed his identity to Mamori and the world
- Akaba revealing and defending his title as the true Eyeshield
- And Musashi vs Koutarou in their kicking battle
Deimon was just pipped through in the previous round by Seibuu and this was a do-or-die affair. With a lot at stake, losing was not an option. Now, we all know that given the circumstances they were never going to lose this match, especially seeing as they lost the last game against Seibuu. Still, the writing and pacing of the match was done in such a way that there were a lot of nail biting moments, given that Bandou were a team that played in such a unique way.
Arc Span: ch241-274
The finals of the Kantou region. The rights to go through to the Christmas Bowl and the chance to face the invincible Teikoku Gakuen. Yea, big pressure right here.
- Kurita VS Gaou
- Hiruma getting crushed
- Sena takes over as quarterback and leader
- Finals of the Kantou Tournament
The way at which the match was built up, with Hakuushi upsetting Seibou in the semis, and Gaou killing their 2 pillars Kid and Tetsuma, was immense. We first caught wind of Hakushuu ace Marco back in the tournament draw. I thought he would have been a key antagonist at some point in the future, but I never thought that his team would be the one monster that faces them in the finals. Given Deimon’s history with Seibuu, as well as their lost in the prelims to them, I thought that this is where Deimon finally gets one over Kid, Riku and Tetsuma en route to the Christmas Bowl.
Arc Span: ch168-200
Ah, the Naga match. Deimon vs the ultimate Evil. Naga were touted as the ultimate team, built up from the early days of the manga as the invincible 9-time defending champions. Deimon had the worst luck drawing them in the first round of the Kantou Tournament, seeing as on paper, they never stood a chance against a team full of geniuses.
- Kurita proving Agon wrong
- Sena/Hiruma vs Agon
- The Dragonfly formation
- That amazing surprise at the start of the second half and the amazing final drive
- Agon and Unsui’s relationship
- Time. Control. Magician.
- Monta’s ultimate “catch”
Arc Span: ch203-240
Was there ever any doubt? This match just HAD to be on the top of my list. There is so much history between the two teams that it managed to create this amazingly emotional atmosphere during the lead-up to the game, during the game and even after the game. Both teams had a lot of characters that were developed throughout the whole series, and to have to match up in this emotional battle where everything is on the line was brutal. Still, the execution of this whole arc was absolutely perfect, as everyone had their moment to shine to ensure that there was closure for everybody.
- Sakuraba’s elite rise
- Oujou’s Ballista
- Shin and Sakuraba’s Sagittarius
- Shin VS Sena
- Heavy rain matchup
- The two team’s history
- Shin’s perfect 4.2
- The Devil Backfire
- Killer Hornet