In 2000, Vince McMahon created the XFL, which took football and made it crazy (or crazier, depending on who you ask). Incidentally, in 2002 Inagaki Riichiro and Murata Yuusuke created Eyeshield 21, which took football and made it Japanese.
The Move: Assist Tackle (episode 59)
The Player: Komusubi Daikichi
What it Really is: Chop Block
Not only is Komusubi a powerful and talented (and tiny!) defensive lineman, he’s helpful as hell. Even when Kurita’s locking horns with somebody, or the Ha-Ha Brothers have their hands full, Komusubi shows up to tip the odds a little in Deimon’s favor. However, according to the penalty book, if “an offensive player tries to cut block a defensive player that is already being blocked by another offensive player,” then the offending team gets a fifteen-yard penalty. So much for that massive forward momentum that Deimon prides itself on, especially since Komusubi is a major deciding factor in most of their big wins since he makes up half their actual defense. I figure he’s just so short that the referee didn’t see any of it.
The Player: Kongou Agon
What it Really Is: Unnecessary Roughness
Even Wikipedia says this in describing Agon’s “tackling” technique, which isn’t tackling so much as a move you’d see in an episode of Saint Seiya. Agon swings his hand high, not to block or to do anything even remotely related to football, no. He freaking chops you in the arm. Or the back. Or the neck, or wherever he damn well pleases. He’ll raise a hand high to slam your head into the ground (like Sena later did to him). Seriously, Agon takes the time to hit people a thousand times harder than he should, forcing the ball out of their hands and blowing them back several feet in classic shounen style. Football is a rough sport, and anybody figuring otherwise shouldn’t play for safety considerations. However, there’s a world of difference between a hard hit and an unnecessarily hard hit, and any ref would be able to make a sound call on this.
The Move: That awesome from-behind lariat that Sena does to Agon (episode 116)
The Player: Kobayakawa Sena
What it Really Is: Face Mask Penalty
This is high school football, so while you expect greater showmanship and some surprisingly hard hits due to the resilience of younger players, you don’t expect somebody to just up and karate chop you in the arms. There’s really only one way to pay somebody back like this (especially when the ref has somehow not seen a guy karate chopping players on the field in broad freaking daylight), and that’s by slamming his head into the ground as hard as you can while he’s running at top speed. But what, it’s illegal? Yes it is. Give up fifteen yards and take an automatic down, because “grasping the face mask of another player while attempting to block or tackle him” is not okay in any form of football. In high school football, “it is still a foul to incidentally grasp the face mask,” so doing it intentionally like Sena does might make the ref watch his team even harder.
The Player: Hosokawa Ikkyu and Sakuraba Haruto are most guilty of this
What it Really Is: Pass Interference
See somebody going for that long pass? In this series’ case, a little short guy with spiky hair and huge hands? Right, your work is cut out for you: go for an interception, or at least stop the pass from getting to him. Why? Because if you hit him before he catches the ball while it’s already thrown, your team gets a 15-yard penalty–well, a 10-yard penalty for the Devil Bats to accommodate high school rules. This happens constantly in Eyeshield 21, almost entirely to add to the drama and the suspense of it all.
The Move: Time Control Magician (episode 117)
The Player: Hiruma Yoichi
What it Really Is: Intentional Grounding
A lot happened during the Shinryuuji game that normally wouldn’t happen in a high-school football game, but it made for some damn exciting storytelling. This was kind of a tough one to call: during the last half of the game, Deimon is running out of time and is just barely behind on the scoreboards. Hiruma starts a Spike Play, where the quarterback intentionally throws the ball at the ground (effectively an incomplete pass) to freeze the clock while expending a down. This allowed Hiruma time to position players and work out a plan, but this kind of play is not exactly allowed in high school football, as Hiruma would have to specifically be in the center of the formation every time he spiked the ball–and he wasn’t half the time.
But none of this matters because Hiruma probably had all the referees in his black book to begin with. Remember, kids: blackmail will get you anything you want in life. You just have to have the right information on the right people.
And even with its inaccuracies, Eyeshield 21 remains one of the best sports manga and anime available today. It’s almost like author Inagaki Riichiro has mastered the cliffhanger, forcing you to stick around for just a little more to find out what happens next, only to hit you with another, even more harrowing cliffhanger after that. Murata Yuusuke’s dynamic designs and colorful characters give the series even more life, and give you a bright-eyed cast of heroes you’ll always cheer on… even if they play dirtier football than the XFL.
Written by Anonymooo