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Title: The Boy with the Golden Legs
Series: Eyeshield 21
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Scan
Sena has graduated from middleschool and makes it into the highschool he was aiming for. Sadly, the same bullies who used him are also attending. With the encouragement of a childhood friend named Mamori, Sena joins an afterschool club. He joins the Football Club, planning on being the manager but the quarterback has recruited Sena for his speed, earned by running from the aforementioned bullies.
Now Sena and the other 2 members of the club must recruit 9 other members for at least one day for their first game. Can Sena survive a Football game when he can't even stand up to bullies?
My goodness, I enjoyed this. While I am not a big fan, I understand and enjoy football and can follow a game just fine and this series is not a serious series, at least not starting out. The Quarterback is constantly shooting off guns and rocket launchers and missiles [it IS manga after all] and practically kidnapping players. The humor is very much right down my alley.
Sena makes for a great main character. He is the classic underdog: small, picked on, cheerful, full of optimism and with a hidden talent that just needs to be teased out. His childhood friend Mamori is going to be the obvious love interest, even while being a year or two older than him. She hangs out with him, stammers and blushed around him way too much to be anything BUT the love interest. And she gets roped into being the manager for the team when it becomes painfully apparent that Sena can't organize anything to save his life. So she won't just be a blushing rose but an integral part of the story.
The whole idea about Eyeshield 21 being an alter-ego for Sena to hide him so the other sports teams won't steal him away is properly "Manga". It is ridiculous, over the top, silly and it totally works. It also allows for a good bit of setup with other football teams and the whole idea of scouting your opponents to discover their strengths and weaknesses.
If you're worried about this being bogged down with "sports" knowledge, have no fear. No previous knowledge of football is necessary but the creators give you just enough of the rules at the critical moment so you know why "X" or "Y" needs to happen, or not. Kind of like a Chess Grandmaster explaining how a particular piece moves without explaining the whole game.
I started this series back in '09 and stopped when I caught up to the series [it didn't end until Volume 37 in 2011]. I didn't write any reviews then, as I wasn't reviewing manga but I do remember enjoying it immensely and that didn't change with this re-start of the series. I am really looking forward to reading the rest.