YMMV / Eyeshield 21

  • Anti-Climax Boss: The Pentagon served as the final boss for a lot of the characters in the World cup arc (Sena and Panther having their rematch, Mr.Don being the final test of strength for Gaou, Kurita and Yamato), Unfortunately all the receivers pretty much completed their development so Bud was useless, Tatanka only serves to give Takami a final awesome moment with Sakuraba and Clifford battle of wits with Hiruma was way less intense than with Kid or Marco. and that is not counting that America aside, the World Cup as no team shining even though we have the world strongest bench presser and Schultz stopping Sena's first run dead on track.
  • Awesome Art: The color spreads are just gorgeous. The whole manga itself can count after its Art Evolution.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Takeru Yamato is either a fine Final Boss for the Christmas Bowl and a refreshingly passionate-but-good-natured rival after several story arcs' worth of Opposing Sports Teams (plus the real Eyeshield 21), or an obnoxious, bland Shin-clone who lacks Shin's series-long buildup. The World Cup tone it down a bit and does give him more depths.
  • Crazy Awesome: Hiruma, Hiruma, Hiruma. Has taken over his school from the shadows, throws a long pass as a quarterback with his broken arm, runs across America for 40 days without showing any fatigue until the end, Has blackmail material for half the people in the world, and throws together a high-school American football team within a year that manages to beat an all-star high school team that has never lost before, among other examples.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Every other thing Hiruma does like creative and liberal use of his Hyperspace Arsenal on his teammates (and everyone else).
  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
    • Be Survivor by ZZ. Several of the openings and endings would qualify as well.
    • Codename Eyeshield 21. Just try to say this song doesn't give you the sense of the final stretch of a game before victory.
  • Ending Fatigue: The World Cup Arc occurs after the team has already won the big game the entire series has been building towards, and is order-of-magnitude shorter and worse-written than what came before. However, the wrap-up, and subsequent Distant Finale at least give everyone their dignity, and serve as an excellent ending to the series.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Rui Habashira of the Zokugaku Chameleons proved surprisingly popular in one of the character polls, where he placed 5th and was the only character not from Deimon or Ojou in the top 10 (well, besides Kakei at the #3 spot). Despite his fairly minor presence in the series, he has a very strong fan following - which is probably why he was revealed to be the mystery player on the World Cup team.
    • Juumonji, who has the most characterization out of all the Ha-Ha Brothers.
    • In an even more baffling example, you have Gokuu of the Shinryuuji Nagas, a character wedged deep in the background who hardly appears at all but has a surprisingly large fan following in Japan. Probably has to do with the fact that he's based on Wu kong
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: According to Kid; Never follow your dreams. Ever. When they play Hakushuu, he turns out to be right.
    • Though this is also negated by the sheer amount of other characters who do achieve their dreams, so it could alternatively be interpreted as "Never give up on your dreams, even if you sometimes lose".
  • Foe Yay: Sena and Shin. Their obsession with each other is staggering.
    Shin: The past 6 months felt like decades to me because I was so focused on beating you.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Is this with Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, due to the main characters being incredibly similar: Short, cute-looking teenage males with messy, spiky brown hair and eyes who are no good in all aspects in life but are dragged into a crazy plot due to one particular talent. Their friends are anything but ordinary, and their stories revolve around a concept that's relatively foreign to Japan (American Football for Sena, Mafia work for Tsuna). Heck, even their names sound similar.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: After the Seibu and Deimon game, where the rivals are awaiting the Kanto tournament for their rematch? Gets a lot less heartwarming when you know that they wont get a rematch, and all the gunmen have in their future is to get crushed by Gaou.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The 60-yards Magnum, said to be impossible to score and that not even in the NFL there were kickers able to score that and that only Musashi was able to? Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater has something to say about that.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Both Sena and Hiruma are paired up with everyone.
  • Love to Hate: Agon. Even those who loathe the character are willing to concede that the series was at its emotional best when he was the main antagonist.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Hiruma. Some people too, like Marco and Dark-Side Takami, but they're nothing compared to Hiruma.
  • Marty Stu: Yamato is portrayed as an almost perfect player- not only incredibly fast, strong, skilled and intelligent, but also good-looking, friendly, honourable and liked and respected by almost everyone. Unsurprisingly, quite a few readers consider him completely insufferable, especially as he also comes across as a borderline Smug Super. Then again In-Universe he is the real Eyeshield 21 the persona most people idolized since the start of the manga.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Any of Hiruma's Nightmare Faces, in particular this one.
  • Older Than They Think: Surprisingly, this isn't the first manga about football - just the first to be successful. The earliest, 5-Yarder, ran from 1977 to 1979.
  • Periphery Demographic: Let's see: Lots of Ho Yay, shirtless scenes galore, and plenty of handsome, attractive football boys. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
  • What an Idiot:
    • Typical reactions to Taki doing anything ever. His idiocy rating is "100%" (which is also a sly dig at his catch phrase).
    • Monta and Sena sometimes fall into this, too, when proposing seemingly futile offensive tactics. However, sometimes their plans really work...with some Hiruma tinkering, of course.
  • The Woobie:
    • Unsui. From the day he was born he was constantly compared to his naturally talented younger twin brother, Agon, who is a jerkass to say the least. No matter how hard he works (and boy does he work), he's only a good player while his brother is considered a once-in-a-century prodigy without even trying. Just when he thinks his efforts are finally acknowledged, it turns out people just mistake him for his younger brother. Ouch. And even after his Heroic B.S.O.D., he still continues to work his ass off, only now it's to selflessly help his brother reach his full potential, despite the fact that Unsui has every reason to resent him. What does his younger brother do? He looks down on him, regularly insults him, and is a general ass to him.
    • Kurita. The number of set backs he received before forming the team would have made most people quit: He has to carry every other clubs' equipment just to get a small piece of field to train, the school simply forces him to stop playing, even when he meets Hiruma who turns most f this around he doesn't get into the team he wanted because Agon hated him, watch his best friend sacked into unconsciousness by Gaou and unlike Hiruma he is nowhere near stoic enough to handle the pressure of having his final chance at the Christmas Bowl being so soon.
    • Ishimaru is a comedy example. This guy is really nice, help the Deimon despite he is no part of the club and is always victim of a Running Gag about to be ignored by all.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/EyeShield21