The Super Bowl was a family thing more than anything else; just another excuse for my huge Filipino family to meet up, eat, and hang out. The 49ers team was a childhood legend for me. While my mother was still alive she was still lamenting over Joe Montana. Nowadays I watch the Super Bowl out of nostalgia of those days.
With the Super Bowl coming up (and literally so close to home), it made me think of a manga near and dear to my heart that just takes football to a crazy level: Eyeshield 21
For those who have never read the manga or watched the anime here’s the down low: shy, tiny Sena Kobayakawa ends up joining his school’s American Football team thanks to the crazy machine-gun wielding Yoichi Hiruma. Fortunately based on his experience with bullies, Sena runs fast. Very fast. Enough that Hiruma believes Sena is the key for his team, the Devil Bats to get to the top.
As far as sports manga go, the series hits all the right points: underdog team striving to make it to the top, misfits with crazy idiosyncrasies (pictures of Hiruma with a machine gun is not just a cover image: he literally starts shooting the field to get his players to actually, you know, play football), the supportive girls who cheer the guys on…yeah, the manga has it all. I’m pretty sure there were amazing American stereotypes too… And yet the fact that Inagaki-san chooses American football for his story makes Eyeshield 21 refreshing to read (American football is pretty non-existent in Japan so I’m pretty sure it was refreshing for the Japanese audience too!) Also the manga is ridiculously hilarious in its execution. Maybe it’s because I actually have knowledge of football, but seeing the absurd plays and storylines makes the manga just that much more enjoyable and funny to read.
Besides the humor, the art is a huge part of why I love the manga. Yusuke Murata’s art is awesome, and he actually draws different body types (for males but hey I’ll take it!) One Punch Man fans should be very familiar with this art.
So if you’re tired of seeing all the hype of the Super Bowl, or just want a break, I definitely recommend having a few laughs and root for the Devil Bats. For those who are going to watch the Super Bowl, who are you rooting for? If I had to choose, had to I’d probably be going for the Panthers. No particular reason.