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Title: Devil Bats Take Flight
Series: Eyeshield 21
Author: Riichiro Inagaki
Artist: Yusuke Murata
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Scan
After a brutal game, the Devil Bats manage to tie the score at the end of the game. The de facto leader of the Sphinx admits that since the Devil Bats tied on the Sphinx's home turf, that it is a win for the Bats. So the Devil Bats are the ones to play the American team.
Then everyone goes and watches a game between the White Knights and gods and undisputed champions of highschool football, "The Something Or Others" [I tend to lose track of the names as they don't mean anything to me]. In the previous season the White Knights almost unseated them but a pair of freshman turned the game around. Now those freshmen are experienced and trained. And they destroy the White Knights. The leader of the two looks like he'll be the Nemesis of Sena, as he is portrayed as a pretty bad guy.
Finally, we get someone who is just plain bad and not "striving to be better" and all that macho stuff. He's just at the end of the volume but it is apparent that he'll be around for some time, as his talent and his teams quality make them the top team.
The game between the Bats and the Sphinx's ended up satisfactorily without the "underdog team wins every game by hook or by crook" that is the hallmark of many Disney movies. I do like how the manga-ka's breakdown a particular part of the game [albeit in a simplistic way] and make it the focus of one whole game, hence allowing the new Devil Bats, as well as the readers unfamiliar with football, to become "experts". I'm a social sports fan, so I don't know how this would come across to a serious football fan. They'd probably laugh it off or point out all the wrong things :-) But it works for me and considering that this is a manga, I suspect the target audience are not hardcore Patriots fan [the Patriots are the Number One team here in the United States and have been since they came into existence in 1792!]