I’ve been looking forward to this post this whole week, since it was great to finally revisit the scenes which made me such a huge Eyeshield 21 fan. This was initally supposed to be a top 10 post but due to the amount of things I wanted to include, it bloated up quickly into something more. So in the end, I chickened out and just listed them out in chronological order. A lot of scenes were left out sadly and there will be some that I have forgotten completely, but this post turned out to be another 2000 word monster so I had to stop before it got out of hand. Either way, I hope you enjoy my selections in this post and feel free to add the ones that you feel are missing in the comments section. Be aware though that this post contains a ton of spoilers so continue on your own discretion. Pictures of the scenes will be placed in spoilers.
This is probably one of the moments that makes Overcooled so into this yaoi couple. While I’m not into the yaoi thing, I do agree that it is a great scene. Seeing Rui spill his guts out and questioning why his teammates aren’t as dedicated to the cause as he is, it was like I was watching a top notch drama rather than reading a manga. It was just damn good.
Sena’s Solitary Practice
Murata’s favorite scene also made it to the list, since I loved how the environment played into the context. Having it rain heavily, with Sena practicing on the ladders in his school uniform covered in mud overlooked by a silent Hiruma was very powerful. It showed that American Football was starting to become more than just a game for Sena, and that he is now fully focused on Deimon’s cause.
“I’ll be waiting for you in the finals”
Another one of those ”badass” moments that really makes Shin such an awesome character. From the way he manhandled the thieves with such ease, and escaping from the explosions, it was like something out of a Mission Impossible movie. And that quote to Sena in the end? Dayemmmm…….
Takami’s Punch & Sakuraba’s Confession
I combined these two since they are quite close to each other. Sakuraba revealing his inner demons to Shin and receiving no reply, and getting punched by Takami for unknowingly belittling everything that he had worked so hard for….it was really good writing. Sakuraba, along with Sena and Yukimitsu, showed the most development in this manga in terms of becoming comfortable in their own skin, and these two moments were the catalyst to his evolution into an elite receiver.
Yukimitsu is one of the more tragic characters in the manga. A man with no athletic talents whatsoever, who joins the Devilbats just to feel like he belongs, he is someone that the reader learns to sympathise with. I really liked him as a character, since he reminds me of the disappointments in life and he shows us that anything is possible. Seeing him collapse during the deathmarch, or getting left out of the final players list was really depressing, but it was one of those moments that you tend to remember. He was a player you can’t help but root for, since he is pretty much ultimate the underdog, even in a team of underdogs. Seeing him finally getting placed on the squadlist, and having his first bow in the Naga game made me feel really proud. After all his hard work, you know that he damn well deserved every minute of it. His disappointment scenes were memorable due to his character, but his end story made it all worth it.
The flashback setups were key for this moment I think, and I could have easily included them into this list as well. Having that final moment where the Deimon team was finally complete was awesome, since it was a long time coming. Having Musashi back meant that they could fight at full power, and the subsequent reactions to his return (as well as his entrance into the Seibu game) were icing on the cake.
Abandoning the Mask
One of the most significant moments in the whole manga. Sena finally removing his mask to reveal his identity for Mamori and the world. Up to this point, he has been hiding under the Eyeshield for fear of what Mamori would think but now he feels that he is strong enough to fight for the title outright. I love these types of panels where everything is conveyed through the art. You can really tell the determination from Sena’s eyes and the shock in Mamori’s. The flashy entrance (complete with smoke effects) definitely helped too, as well as Mamori’s reaction.
In the Zone
Agon had always been quite a loud player up to this point. He was never scared to speak his mind so seeing him all zen in the prematch preparations for the Deimon match was pretty frightening. From the moment he revealed his muscular back and his intimidating dragon tattoo, as well as him sitting with his breath visible, it was a truly badass moment and one of the most memorable panels in the manga.
Sena VS Agon
This was my favorite duel between two players, much better than the Shin battle as well. This was probably due to the fact hat Agon was an actual antagonist, an absolute evil that needed to be overcome. Agon’s aggressive play style as well as his constant verbal jabs at Deimon made this a personal affair and brought out the fighter in Sena, much more than any of his other rivalries ever could. And having the two of them brawl out on the battlefield like that made this match itself arguably the best in the whole series.
Monta has quite a lot of badass moments in the manga, since he is the premier receiver, one of the most important roles in a squad. This one was the best out of all of them though, much better than his new techniques and game winning touchdowns. This one was done pretty dramatically as well, since there was a good one-week cliffhanger where I thought Deimon had actually lost the match. To have him tackled by Agon as time runs out was devastating, but then the miracle happened. It meant that Deimon would live to fight another day, and it proved to Agon that hard work could overcome anything.
This had amazing shock factor. Going into the game, I knew this was bound to happen at some point but given the high that Seibu were experiencing, I never would have thought that Gaou would break Kid down in such a manner. Everything was going so smoothly and Kid had finally found the sweet spot to Hakushu’s defense. A momentary lapse of concentration proved to be his undoing, after a huge development in his character as he finally admits that he is willing to aim for the top. A great way to bring things back down to earth, and you really feel for Tetsuma and Riku after having them lose their leader like that.
My god. Seeing Shin turn around after having Sena wrong-foot him and catching up to him in that one full pagespread….. it was really down-the-throat stuff. I remember getting goosebumps reading that page, since it meant that Sena doesn’t have the speed advantage over him anymore. This meant that Shin would have the same speed but twice the reach and triple the power. The perfect player. It changed the whole complexion of the game.
This was the defining moment for me in the final Oujou match. Everything about these panels were done perfectly, you could really feel the emotion and disappointment in Shin’s eyes. I tried to break it down and understand the art more by comparing the panels to other pics of Shin, and while they may not look that different from the usual, there was just something about it that conveyed the feelings out perfectly. It’s almost haunting and Sena’s reaction was equally as heartfelt. It was quite possibly the best artistic feat for me in the whole manga, and worthy of being on this list.
The Devil’s Mistake
Hiruma had always been one to believe in numbers and statistics. While he believed in this teammates, he always needed to find reasons in the numbers to base his believes on. Hiruma’s apparent mistake in the Teikoku match was for believing that Sena could defeat Yamato. He bet everything on it, meaning that he was basing all his decisions on the fact. This created a huge point differential between the two teams, since he gave Sena the opportunities to fight through Yamato. To see Sena realize that Hiruma was entrusting him with the game, and wanting to prove Teikoku wrong that it wasn’t a mistake, was a great moment and it really humanized Hiruma as a character more in the process. Seeing him change into a trusting leader was one of the highlights of the manga.
The Final Huddle
35 points down with only 9 minutes left in the 4th quarter. Hiruma makes the decision that all their snaps from then on would be no huddle. There was something about that moment that really got to me. When Kurita said that it would be the last ever huddle they would have together as a team, it finally hit. After following Eyeshield for so many years, hearing that really pulled on my heartstrings a little. Looking back now, it still feels as powerful now as it did all those years ago.
Defeating the Emperor
While this didn’t have the same emotional impact as his wins against Shin and Agon, I still got goosebumps from when Sena finally overcome the emperor’s grasp. I guess it was the feeling of fulfillment that got to me, seeing Sena defeat the real Eyeshield 21 based on his own merits, against all the odds of his shortcomings. Everything came full circle for Sena, and it was amplified because he managed to prove that Hiruma’s trust in him was the correct choice.
Bringing truth to the lie
And this was the final kicker (pun not intended). I forgot all about the 60 yard magnum legend up to this point. To have the Devilbats legacy end on this final kick, finally making truth of a lie, much like Sena’s Eyeshield 21 legend, was brilliant writing. And having the three pillars of Deimon handle the kicking, along with those scenes where the whole team holds Yamato back were awesome. It gave me major goosebumps, even as I read it again earlier today.
Sena’s vow to Ootawara and Takami
This was another one of those scenes that really made me realize that Eyeshield was really ending. This was just after the Teikoku match, but it was also before the revelation of the Youth World Cup. So seeing them make their promises and Ootawara once again saying that he wished they could have settled their rivalry in the Christmas Bowl, made me emotional once more. I got so accustomed to seeing these characters every week for the past few years that seeing them go was pretty hard. I’m just glad that the mangakas gave us that final fanservice tournament, since it prolonged their journeys once more, and make good of their promises of taking the field together one final time.
So this about covers it for now. I’m sure there are a few missing from this list that you feel should have been included, but this was the best that I could come up with at this moment in time. What other moments should have made it, and what should have been taken off? I’d love to hear more of your favourite moments.