While it's only natural that a shonen sports manga would have these, Eyeshield 21 has several surprisingly memorable moments on and off the football field.
In Eyeshield 21, benchwarmer Yukimitsu Manabu turned the tide against the Shinryuuji Nagas, overtaking evil giftedJerk Jock Kongo Agon with sheer determination to score Deimon's first touchdown of the game in the first play of his high school football career.
It's better than that. Yukimitsu is sent onto the field for the first time in his career, proceeding to stumble over his own feet in his very first play. Ikkyu Hosokawa, the best cornerback in the series, immediately dismisses him as useless. He then makes the first touchdown of the game while being pursued by both Ikkyu and Agon, who were competing to see who could intercept the ball faster. AWESOME.
Then there's stuff like Sena unveiling the Devil Bat Ghost.
Or, Hell, when Sena accidentally auditioned for an NFL team and made the cut.
Or temporarily replacing Hiruma during the match against Hakkushuu and doing just fine.
The NFL part deserves a bit more of a mention. It wasn't just any NFL team that Sena made the cut for, but the San Antonio Armadillos AKA the team that Morgan would have the MVP of the World Cup sign for.
Panther of the NASA Aliens singlehandedly beating back Deimon in the last quarter of the game after finally being put in by his bitter, racist coach.
Sena earning the title of Eyeshield 21 after beating Hayato Akaba.
Actually, every time Sena manages to pass the ultimate defender (who gives him the hard time) during games, leaving the impression "It can't be...!". Oh yeah, it can. And it will be.
Monta and the Devil Bat Backfire. CATCH MAX!
After Monta beat Ikkyuu for the first time in the Shinryuuji game, a beefy girl in the crowd hurls the ball back onto the field with incredible force after Musashi kicks it into the stands. While facing down Ikkyuu in a tense verbal confrontation, Monta sticks his hand out and catches it without even knowing it's coming. Even if it's purely for dramatic effect, it's incredible.
Or when Monta sabotaged Ikkyuu's reception and Agon's tackle in the final moments of the game with Shinryuuji, forcing the clock to be set back after time had expired. And he did it by grabbing the field.
Referee: Timekeeper, turn the clocks back!
Sena, during the tournament match between the Deimon Devil Bats and the Shinryuuji Nagas, downing Kongo Agon with a stiff arm.
Don't forget the moment before that: He tried to strike Agon. STRIKE HIM STRAIGHT. WITH MURDEROUS INTENT. What makes it so awesome that Sena never ever tried to strike anyone in his early games, and (probably) never ever think about punching someone in his lifetime.
Shin put it best when he talked about it. "What the structurally small Sena lacked before now...was a brutal will to fight."
The last play of the aforementioned game. Deimon beating Shinryuuji, proving to all doubters that they really have what it takes to make it to the Christmas Bowl, is a big moment for the entire team.
Kurita knocking back Agon in the final two-point conversion attempt to win the game. The same Agon who stole his athletic spot at Shinryuuji just because he's an asshole (Agon, not Kurita).
Oh no, it's not knocking back Agon that made this so awesome. It's knocking back Agon, centre Yamabushi, Ikkyu and Hakkai single-handedly, proving without a doubt that for raw power he has no rival.
And in the same game, Juumonji recovering a fumble and dragging Agon all the way to the goddamn endzone.
Don't forget the process of that touchdown. It started with Shinryuji on offense, putting a run from center. But it was an act that started the Dragonfly strategy, that relies on quick, short passes that up until now, is unbeatable. The ball was lateralled to Agon, and at the same time, Sena, who up until now focused on Agon but didn't manage to stop him, manages to intercept the ball solely because he keep focusing on Agon, his body knows where the ball going hiked. It gets better: Monta, who followed Sena, manages to chase the ball before everyone else (including all Shinryuji's player) solely because he had faith in Sena's ability. However, he got covered by Ikkyu, who is faster than him, but before he got covered completely, Kurita dives in and takes everyone with him. That causes a fumble, recovered by Juumonji, who uses Delinguent Deathblow to get free from a Shinryuji player, and then fights to the endzone after got Agon tackled him, who he got to drag along.
A villainous example for Agon. After stopping the Fake Spike, Hiruma notes that there's no way he should have noticed the trick even with his incredible reflexes. There's only one explanation; he knew. Agon knew Hiruma would try and trick him just by watching him smirk, which could have just as easily been a trap. Yes, Hiruma lost a battle of wits to Agon.
Can we just agree the entire Deimon vs Shinryuji game was one long, ongoing Crowning Moment of Awesome for the Devil Bats?
Juumonji also gets one during the game with Amino in the first game of the 2nd Fall Tournament. Back when they played Nasa, the sweep play they used had Juumonji telling Sena to find the small crack they would make and get through it, right? Well, the Amino game is post-Death March. And when Hiruma calls for the sweep this time, Juumonji has this to say; "Sena... I won't give you any crap about slipping through the cracks this time. We'll open a wide road for you to advance!" Which they do. And Sena calls it the widest road he's ever seen.
Speaking of which, Kurita beating Gaoh in a straight-up confrontation during the game with the Hakushuu Dinosaurs.
Even before that—when Kurita realized that he had to stand up to Gaoh or Sena and Komusubi would be broken and unable to ever play again, we see realization and fury cross the normally GentleGiant's face, just before he throws himself straight at Gaoh. They deadlock, and it's revealed that Kurita is right in Gaoh's face and his expression reads, as Gaoh noted, that he was going to kill Gaoh before he let Sena or Komusubi be hurt. Kurita looked scarier than Gaoh in that panel.
In that very game, Hiruma played the second half with a broken right arm. He's the quarterback, by the way. Being forced to operate solely on strategy and beating Marco at his own game is one of Hiruma's biggest achievements.
In a villainous example, Marco getting back up after being tackled by Kurita, demonstrating that like Hiruma, he can put his money where his mouth is.
The Devil Bats beating the Hakushuu Dinosaurs and actually making it to the Christmas Bowl.
Komusubi forcing the Teikoku Alexanders' sideline ace out of bounds by leading him to the one place he couldn't see where the line was.
Sena proving he can surpass Yamato when it comes to speed.
And making Yamato feel chill in his spine when he realizes, no way he can "touch", let alone stopping Sena with that kind of speed....
Plain old Ishimaru, pulling off the Rodeo Drive.
More of a missed opportunity, really, considering that Riku even said it wasn't as good as his own, and Ishimaru didn't even get into enemy territory. He didn't even get tackled, he was forced to go out of bounds. This troper really felt that Ishimaru could have been developed a lot more and it was a little disappointing to turn him into a running gag.
How about Yukimitsu pushing Shin across the goal line in the dying seconds of the Deimon v. Oujou game, making it possible for the Devilbats to have the final, game-winning play? Several other players, including Shin, acknowledged it as well. "Even though you're the opponent, it was splendid...!"
Shin. How about matching Sena in speed and stopping him with ONE FINGER!
Hiruma is friggin' made of these.
After getting his throwing arm rather brutally broken mid-game, Hiruma returns to the field in the second half and fakes his way to victory...including a monster pass that nearly kills him.
Blackmailing basketball team members into helping out the Devil Bats.
Creating the video that goads the Nasa Aliens into facing the Devil Bats.
Winning about $200,000 by card counting.
Outrunning Agon because he improved his 40-yard dash by 0.1 seconds.
Or, before that, purposely making fun of Agon abilities by having the team focused on sacking Unsui, and leaving no one to mark him. It succeeded.
Off the field, everything Hiruma says during his joint interview with Agon. It's a series of awesome verbal smackdowns.
Agon: "My strongpoint is that I never lose."
Hiruma: "Mine's that I always win!"
Hiruma: "What did I say? A team made up of 11 of the same people always make the same mistakes!"
Throwing a pass right before being sacked by Yamato unable to see his receiver's position, and completing it to Yukimitsu for a touchdown because the guy stuck to his pass route.
Two Words: Fake Spike.
In fact, almost every one of Hiruma's trickplays is a Crowning Moment Of Awesome. This troper was especially impressed with his "Agitator In Motion" trickplay against Shinryuji in their last down. It's realistically drawn that this troper believe it can be done in real life.
What made the Fake Spike so awesome was that it was actually done in real life by Miami Dolphins' quarterback Dan Marino.
The Evil Cross Play. What do you do when your ace Running Back and Wide Receiver try a play and screw it up entirely? You turn the play into a complete Mind Screw later on, that's what!
"DEVILS DON'T ASK FAVORS FROM GOD!!!"
Doubles as a CMOF due the face of the Virgin Mary
What would you do if you were trailing 32-0 against on of the best teams around, who have a player so gifted he can react near-instantaneously to any tricks you pull, and you notice that they've fallen back in preparation for your kicker's crazy powerful kicks? If you tell your team they should give up, hoping they get the hint to go for an onside kick,you're Youichi Hiruma.
But it get's better. everyone figures out the hidden meaning, but can't let the Nagas know of the change of plan. So every Bat is going for an onside kick, hoping he's not the only one. And without a single word being said (well, a single truthful word), the start of the second half of the Shinryuuji-Deimon game starts with a successful onside kick.
Schooling Clifford on "how to handle cards."
This troper found Hiruma's crowning moment to be at the end of the Death March. The whole rest of the team is elated but absolutely exhausted after 40 days of Training from Hell. Hiruma, on the other hand is still perky enough to scream and shoot at them almost as if running (and screaming and shooting) from Houston to Las Vegas had no impact on him at all. It's only when he's alone in his room that the reader (and no one else...okay Cerberus, but he's not talking) sees that not only is Hiruma just as physically wasted as the rest of the Devil Bats, he pretended he was perfectly fine and kept up that front of invincibility for the entire 40 days.
My favorite awesome moment from the anime, (in a filler episode.) Hiruma promises the Zokugaku Chameleons that if they catch Eyeshield 21, they're free from slavery. Habashira being Habashira, he decides to take Mamori hostage to lure him out. When Sena shows up, he's outnumbered six to one, five on motorcycles. When Sena dodges the motorcycles, Habashira starts swinging at Sena, who dodges every punch like its a fighting anime. The same Sena who was terrified of the thought of Habashira. It shows how far Sena will go to protect his friends.
And of course, Gen "Musashi" Takekura living up to the lie/legend of the "60 Yard Magnum" in the very last second of the championship finale and crushing the supposedly invincible Teikou Alexanders with one near-impossible field goal, granting the Deimon Devilbats the series-sought Christmas Bowl at last.
Made even more awesome in the fact that Musashi wasn't alone in this moment; the original three Devil Bats, Kurita with the snap and ultimate defense, Hiruma with the devil's fingers and perfect ball handling, and Musashi with his 60-yard magnum, took part in it
The magnum's unleash is made even more awesome by the line that precede it;
Musashi: "Three seconds. Please stop Yamato for three seconds. If you can do that, I will bust the emperor's guts."
Musashi gets one during the match against the Bando Spiders. Early in the game, Musashi calmly made a field goal despite Akaba (Bando's Ace) partially blocking it. After the made kick, Musashi calmly asks Akaba "Were you TRYING to do something?"
The first one is when he introduces as Deimon ace-kicker. Before then, he only seen as Cool Old Guy, who had wisdom about sports. Then he asked to join penalty kick game by Sena, who can't gather enough players against soccer club, for the right of the field. Then the situations become grim; if the old man (who became the last kicker) didn't win, they will lose the right to use the field. So he kick. And he kick so HARD, that send the keeper (Jerk Ass Muro Satoshi) stuck in the net. And then, when he getting asked about his name, he said: "Gen Takekura. Maybe you know my other name, Musashi."
What happens when you are down 35-0, there is only a quarter of the game left against a team made up of all-stars from all over the country? You beat them down 45-44 without any huddles.
Chuubou kick ass. Ask Rodchenko and Gaou.
Three words: Hiruma. Agon. Dragonfly.
Before then: Hiruma. Sena. Dragonfly. Heck, pretty much every time Hiruma or Sena copies another player's previously unbeatable move.
Sena, Agon and Shin made one recently– All three biltzed Clifford. What makes so awesome is: Sena suggested to blitz him alone, Agon blitzed because he couldn't accept "trash" to out do him, and Shin go because Hiruma knew how the scenario would go. So that also makes a crowning moment for Hiruma as well.
Agon gets plenty moments during the world cup. It was able to make this troper's opinion of the guy improve, specifically, this awesome speech he gives Gaou.
Agon: "Hey, Gorilla Trash. I wanted to crush that Don too, but I'll leave him to you. That's why you have to take him down no matter what. Destroy America's line! I'll blitz through that hole and kill Clifford!"
Gaou: "Leave it to me!"
Yamato is awesome indeed. "It's settled. It's my win!". Against fucking Mr. Don. If you say this is not awesome, I don't know what it is.
To put an example Sena tackling Panther with the trident tackle (although it failed) and again with his head
Chapter 331: After Hiruma forcing the game to tie, the commissioner decide to announce the game as tie, awarding both participant (USA and Japan) as winner. Since BOTH the team can't accept it, they decide to go overtime regardless.
Made even more awesome by the following exchange between Hiruma and Don:
Hiruma: Kekekekeke!!It can't be that you're going to let it end like that, right? "The best award isn't prizes, but the glory of victory itself." That's the very soul of American Football, and it comes from the very America-sama itself,right?
Don: Ooh...well said. That's right. It's sad...There is no one who can accept it ending that way.
The previously monstrous Gaoh, battered and bruised as he struggles against the seemingly invincible Mr. Don, delivering the mantra of his team:
Gaoh: When you find a path to the top, "Is it too abrupt?"..."Can you do it?"..."Is that possible?"...None of that matters! You just have to climb! At the very least...that's what the man who taught me American football...that's what the man called Marco did! If you're lacking in talent, then ask for the help of others without shame. Dirty your own hands, even if you have to bear the contempt of the ones you love, in order to get to the top...In order to quench this thirst that is burning in every man, getting to the top...!
Musashi left in the middle of a game right before a goal kick for the winning point, and said he would join the team again if his father got better. The father punches him (with a rock) to show he's better, and the entire construction team comes on in to tell him to go back. Musashi lives to his promise; even during the middle of a game, he would join as the kicker, and he did. By making the kick with the old kickstand from the game he abandoned. Which causes time to move again; Hiruma communicates to the entire team instead of acting on his own, and Kurita has no doubts in his strength.
Taki overcoming the spider-poison tackles of the Bando Spiders with his flexibility.
The Huh Huh Bros. use the Delinquent Deathblow on the entire Taiyou Sphinx line. Deep breath in, and, "Huh? HUH? HUUUUUUUUH!?"
Kumosabi dodged the swim and counters with the rip. Which he learned on his own.
Or at the end of the Kyoshin game, when it looked like Mizumachi stopped Sena, Komosubi pushes them both into the endzone.
Although he lost in a catching fight with Monta, he was smart enough to hit the ground with the ball in his possession first to win the game.
And then he knee tackles Monta to make sure he doesn't tick the ref off and ruin their chances at the Christmas Bowl, which leads to Tetsuma getting put on the bench the next game and utterly losing to Ojou.
On the plane ride to Texas, Tetsuma is told to wake up Kid later. Tetsuma, on a bus in Texas, is counting down every last second. At 5 o'clock, he leaps out the bus window and rushes to where Kid is, where he then plays beach football as the receiver and dominates the Tattoos.
All the bench players of the World Cup playing against the assumed runner-up of the entire tournament, Russia. Bonus points for the fact that Agon purposely set them up to play so that he could replace them when they were losing and steal the spotlight, but failed because the bench players were THAT awesome.
Rui Habishira. After looking like a complete loser the entire series and being one of the few teams the Devil Bats defeated with ease, he secretly joins the Japanese World Cup team as the only person to make it past the Deimon-side try-outs. He hid his identity because he didn't want his teammates to think he was playing around in what was basically an exhibition all-star tournament. As it turns out, as you can assume, being sent in to play actually motivated the team.
And of course, near the beginning of the series, after the loss to Ojou, after being knocked out of the tournament, and enjoying his boring school life, Sena looks at the laid-out equipment, starts tearing up, and tears off his jacket in order to practice in the middle of the rain. This scene is constantly remembered by Sena.
Shin blocking both Agon and Gaou at once, and let it e known that Agon for his size has been considered one of the physically strongest and most dangerous characters in the manga and Gaou is just a freaking monster who's pinky left a bruise on a quarterback's arm with just a touch and Shin blocks both with one arm each.
More than that, he gets between them. Between a guy who singlehandedly forced a north-south game in almost every match because only one person in Japan can stop him and a guy with enough strength to roll up a metal fork with one hand.
Honjo Taka delivering something of a Shut Up Hannibal to Clifford, when Clifford fakes a run and launches a long pass, only to have Taka be all over the receiver and snap the ball over to Shin, who had just come back to the field. "I learned from Hiruma in the Christmas Bowl; whenever you seem to go for one play, I will defend as if it is the opposite!"
Every time the Deimon Devil Bats have a team huddle from about the middle point onwards, ending in the Badass Battle yell: "FUCKING KILL THEM!"