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Characters / Eyeshield 21 Bando Spiders

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    General 
Once the best team in Tokyo after the White Knights, the Spiders were the runners-up in the previous year's Tokyo Tournament, narrowly losing to the Knights in a 7-6 game (and it should be recalled that no other team in Tokyo was able to score any point against the White Knights in that year). When the Teikoku Highschool of Kansai recruited away most of the team's best players, the Spiders were left struggling to rebuild, with only Tight End Hayato Akaba and ace Kicker Kotaro Sasaki remaining from their original lineup.
  • Animal Motifs: Guess. No point for getting the right answer.
  • Cherry Tapping: A field goal is only worth 3 points, as opposed to a touchdown's 6 points. Despite this, Bando managed to win some of their games by a wide margin because of performing an endless cycle of field goals through repeated possession of the ball via onside kicks.
  • Climax Boss: Of the Tokyo Tournament Arc. They were the last team that the Devil Bats faced, and the one the Bats absolutely had to beat to make it to the Kanto Regional.
  • Combination Attack: Downplayed since it only relied on two players. Their Spider's Web tactic revolved around using repeated onside kicks and Akaba's invincible lead blocking to pull an endless cycle of "Onside kick, Akaba gets the ball, Kotaro kicks to score."
  • Crippling Overspecialization: And not even a good one, while their kick game is good enough to score against Ojou they still lose at a point race. Akaba, being the tight end, is the only player versatile enough to help in case their kick game fails and he was benched for most of the tournament. Their first win shown was a one point difference made at the last second against a mediocre team. Justified as all the other players who weren't part of the kick team was recruited by Teikoku.
  • Freudian Trio:
  • Hero of Another Story: Downplayed, but the story of how the Spiders managed to make it to the Tokyo Tournament's semi-finals, despite Akaba being benched and the lack of any top player other than Kotaro would probably make for an interesting story.
  • Large Hams: It seems that one must be this trope to be admitted to the Bando Highschool, if the behavior of Akaba and Kotaro plus the fact that individual students had theme songs composed for them were any indication.
  • Leitmotif: In-Universe, the principal composes theme song for individual students as their year book entry.
  • Long-Range Fighter: The Spiders can be considered as this because of their reliance on field goals. Notably, while other teams would only rely on pass plays until they can get close enough to the endzone, Bando only needed to reach kicking range (for Kotaro, that's about a maximum of 55 yards), score the field goal, and because of their repeated onside kicks, start the process all over again.
  • Planet of Hats: According to extra materials, Bando Highschool’s year book is a CD theme song composed by the principal and most of its graduates are expected to enter music industry. The school’s uniform is something one would usually see in disco club, and some random students seen during Kotaro’s flashback resembled punk rock stars.
  • Signature Move: All the players knew how to use the Spider Poison.
  • Stealth Pun: The Spiders relied on kicking. They're all legs.
    • “Bando” is how the Japanese phonetically spells “band”. Which makes sense given the musical theme the school have.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Akaba, Kotaro, and Julie.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Not in the Tokyo Tournament, anyway. With Akaba benched and Kotaro the only star player they had left, the Bando Spiders still succeeded to plow their way through a succession of higher-ranked teams before running up against the White Knights, and even there they're the first team to score on the Knights in the tournament. By the time of the Devil Bats' match against them, Akaba could play again so the Spiders lost the underdog status.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Bando's lack of offensive and defensive firepower is offset by the fact that they are a very skilled kick team, thanks mostly to Akaba's tactics and Kotaro's accuracy. Case in point, they were the only team who was able to score against the Ojo White Knights during the tournament.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Since their offensive and defensive teams got recruited by the Teikoku Highschool, the Spiders only had a kick team left. Thus, the sole way they could score was through field goals. They're insanely good at it.

    Hayato Akaba (赤羽 隼人) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/akaba.jpg
"It's getting interesting. You are "Eyeshield 21" too? Kobayakawa Sena."

The MVP of the Tokyo Tournament the year prior, Akaba was the ace player of the Bando Spiders. He's famous for his skills as a lead blocker, charging in front of his team's running backs and wide receivers to open the paths for them. Combining his speed and the "Spider Poison" technique, Akaba was nigh unstoppable on the field. He was introduced at the end of the Devil Bats vs Wild Gunmen match, where the Spiders were shown to be the Bats' next opponents. He instantly formed a rivalry with Sena, and called himself the Real "Eyeshield 21". During the Devil Bats vs Spiders match, however, it was revealed that "Eyeshield 21" was in truth an honorary title given to top running backs in Notre Dame, rather than the name of a specific player. When the Devil Bats defeated the Spiders, Akaba handed his blue eyeshield to Sena, and admitted that the latter had more rights to be called "Eyeshield 21" than he was.

  • Position: Tight End / Fullback
  • Jersey: 21; 20 during pre-Christmas Bowl all-stars coaching; 22 during World Cup.
  • 40-yard Dash: Unknown
  • Bench Press: Unknown
  • Nickname: The Real Eyeshield 21, The Magician Lead Blocker

  • Academic Athlete: Implied, since he got into the Saikyodai University, which was implied to be a very good college.
  • The Ace: The Spiders' best player and last year's Tokyo MVP. He's arguably the best tight end in the series.
  • Animal Motifs: Spider.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Hiruma's only rival in this area. Akaba's Spider Poison was a technique that allowed him to send Kurita flying. All it took was that Akaba had analyzed the motions of every opposing player and shoved the latter at the precise moment he shifts his center of gravity. An extra material revealed that Akaba analyzed even more data than Hiruma.
  • Badass Bookworm: After leaving the Alexanders, Akaba spent almost an entire season being the technical advisor to his team, developing the "Spider Poison", which he taught to nearly every player of his team, turning the Spiders from a mediocre team to a powerhouse. The badass part? Well, he can stop Kurita short single-handed by using his superior technique.
  • Bash Brothers: With Kotaro. Kind of.
  • Benched Hero: Since Akaba returned to the Spiders from the Teikoku Alexanders in the middle of the football season, he had to be sidelined as part of the tournament's rules. The only game he had ever played in the tournament was the Devil Bats vs Spiders match.
  • Bishōnen: Pretty enough to be noticed by Jari Productions. Akaba was the straightest example in the series other than Kisaragi, as he didn't have the masculine physique of Kakei.
  • The Chessmaster: Akaba developed an almost unstoppable tactic named the Spider's Web. It involved using Kotaro's ridiculously precise kicks and Akaba's invincible lead blockingnote  to pull an endless cycle of onside kicks and the Spiders getting the ball. On defense, he also had a tactic called the Run Force, where he placed his team's players in specific locations to manipulate where the opposing ball carrier would run to, only to be stopped dead by him.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Sometimes. Most notable when he's asked to predict the outcome of the Kanto Tournament. However, he was the only predictor who knows that Hakushu Dinosaurs needs not to be underestimated.
  • Color Motifs: Red.
  • The Comically Serious: He liked to strike corny rock star poses for no reason other than Rule of Cool while keeping his typical stoic expression. He also tended to make rather ridiculous music metaphors with a straight face.
    Akaba (Stoic): I don't really understand, but... I feel that I've been likened to something amazing.
    Juri: What's with that super-real feeling?
    Kotaro: More importantly, what's the guitar have to do with it?
  • Cool Shades: Akaba was rarely seen without his blue shades. He also wore a blue eyeshield during the Devil Bats vs Spiders match. In the manga, he gave it to Sena when the Devil Bats won.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Spent much of the Devil Bats vs Spiders game inflicting this on Sena and Taki. He also had a brief moment crushing Hiruma when the latter acted as Sena's lead blocker.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Red eyes and red hair, though the red eyes were actually contact lenses.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: He even handed his blue eyeshield to Sena.
  • Genius Bruiser: The reason why Hiruma finds him troublesome, even if he is outwitted Akaba is also above average in physical prowess so he can power through Hiruma's schemes if needed to.
  • Graceful Loser: Finished with personal recognition for Sena.
  • The Hero: To the Spiders.
  • Iconic Item: His guitar.
  • Implacable Man: Akaba wasn't as powerful as the likes of Shin and Yamato. But with his "Spider Poison", he's just as unstoppable. Not even the Ha-ha Brothers ganging up on Akaba could stop him, for instance.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Naturally came with being a tight end.
    • Fragile Speedster: Or this, as Akaba seemed somewhat frail when compared to, say, Shin.
  • Large Ham: Despite his reserved personality, he is every bit as dramatic as Kotaro.
  • The Leader: A level-headed type to the Spiders, with some mastermind thrown in for good measure.
  • Leitmotif: A rare in-universe example. Since the Bando Highschool had a strange policy of composing theme songs for individual students, Akaba got a song called "Red Spider".
  • Meaningful Name: "Aka" literally means red. Kotaro referred to Akaba as "Aka-baka", which means red idiot.
  • The Mentor: Akaba served as this to Taki right before the Christmas Bowl. He even somehow managed to teach the Spider Poison to the latter.
  • Noodle Incident: In a way. Since Akaba was an ace player and had spent some time in the Teikoku Alexanders, it is quite reasonable to assume that he had met Takeru Yamato, the original Eyeshield 21, which was also hinted at by the fact that, according to an extra material, Yamato was one of the most "musically fit" persons to Akaba. However, this was never elaborated upon.
    • A slightly funny example is how he was able to coach Taki for the Christmas Bowl. He was even able to teach him the Spider Poison.
  • Not So Different: From Kotaro.
    Juri: You two are actually similar in a way...
  • Odd Friendship: Briefly formed one with Mizumachi halfway through the Devil Bats vs White Knights game. He also shares one with Taki when he was mentoring the latter because the two of them are shown to be the pair that got along the best.
  • The Real Remington Steele: Subverted. Akaba wasn't the Eyeshield 21 Kakei had met. Played straight in the anime, however, as it was produced before Yamato was introduced in the manga.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Subverted and then parodied. When the Devil Bats first encountered Akaba, he came off as rather frightening, but he's actually a pretty nice (and funny) guy. In an extra material, it's revealed that those red eyes were just contacts.
  • Red Herring: No pun intended. At first, he was built up to be the real “Eyeshield 21”. But halfway through the Deimon-Bando match, he revealed that he’s just another man who claimed to be “Eyeshield 21” starting from this year.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue (ironically) to Kotaro's red.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: Played for Laughs when the Kanto players gathered to play baseball at Tokyo Dome.
  • Serious Business: Maybe not as much as Kotaro did, but Akaba still treated kicking as this. He even cried Tears of Joy alongside Kotaro when Musashi, a kicker, got MVP votes in the World Cup's final.
  • Signature Move: The Spider Poison: a blocking technique that takes advantage of proper timing and analysis in order to topple an opposing defender by applying force at the moment the defender shifts their center of gravity. With this, Akaba was able to take down blockers bigger than him and by teaching this technique to his linemen, they were able to buy enough time for Kotaro to make long field goals or easily recover the ball after an onside kick as most of the other team's players would be lying on their backs.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: To Kotaro.
  • The Smart Guy: Akaba served as this to the Spiders, and perhaps to the Saikyodai Wizards as well, given that he had been known to analyze data even more intensively than Hiruma did.
  • The Stoic: To the point that Kotaro and Juri were shocked when Akaba chuckled.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Despite Akaba's detached attitude, it's evident that he cared about his team.
  • Verbal Tic: He tended to begin his sentences with "Fuu..."
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He and Kotaro just couldn't stand each other, but this didn't stop them from deeply respecting and trusting each other when it came to football.
  • Weak, but Skilled: While Akaba was not as muscular as the likes of Shin or Agon, he could still send Kurita flying with sheer technique.
  • When He Smiles: Akaba smiled very faintly when he acknowledged Sena. It surprises Kotaro and Julie as he rarely laughs or smile.
  • Worthy Opponent: One of Sena's many.

    Kotaro Sasaki 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Kotaro_Sasaki_3144.jpg

The ace kicker for the the Bando Spiders said to have a success rate of 100%. Declared himself Musashi's rival even before actually meeting him due to his (false) reputation as the "60-yeard Magnum". Takes kicking very seriously and wants to prove that it's every bit as important as offense and defense in football. Is perpetually combing his hair back.

  • Position: Kicker
  • Jersey: 99
  • 40-yard dash: 5.5 seconds
  • Bench Press: 65 kg
  • Birthday: November 30th
  • Blood Type: B
  • 2nd Year Student (Grade 11)

  • The Ace: Akaba gets all the attention, but Kotaro is every bit as important to the Spider's success as he is, and is the one who gets them through most of the Fall Tournament.
  • Ass-Kicking Pose: Even when there's no ass-kicking to be done.
  • Bash Brothers: With Akaba. Kind of.
  • Book Dumb: He’s only knowledgeable about kicks and American Football, and not much else. He’s in Enma for good reasons.
  • Catchphrase: Uses "smart" as an adjective for anything good and "not smart" for anything bad. Changed to "cool" in the American manga release.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Kotaro's a goof, but he's also the only player in Tokyo to have scored any points against Ojo's so-called "Golden Generation", landing two field goals for a score of 7 to 6. He also carries his team through the following year's Tokyo Tournament while Akaba is benched, scoring almost all of their points for them, and even managing to score a field goal against this year's Ojo - explicitly stated to be even stronger than last year's team - for a 10-3 game (although Hiruma mentioned the White Knights let him score as part of their tactic to win), despite the fact that this year's Spiders are made almost entirely of second-stringers.
  • Fatal Flaw: According to Musashi, Kotaro placed too much trust on his teammates that he can get shaken up when they’re taken down, which can cause his kick to miss.
  • Gratuitous English: His “smart” Catchphrase is spoken in English in the Japanese version.
  • Hot-Blooded: Lets his emotions get the better of him constantly.
  • Iconic Item: His flipping comb.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Can make a kick-in even during a typhoon.
  • Large Ham: Feels the need to accompany anything he says or does with a dramatic pose. Once called a time-out in the middle of a game JUST to explain his team's tragic back story.
  • Leitmotif: Like Akaba, he also received one due to Bando Highschool’s strange policy. His is called “Kick Shock”.
  • Manly Tears: Shed this when the Spiders lost to the Devil Bats.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Akaba's blue.
  • Revenge: His other motivation to win the Christmas Bowl is to teach the Spiders’ offense and defense players, who mocked the kick team and abandoned them for Teikoku Alexanders, that kick is just as important as offense and defense.
  • Serious Business: Kicking is very serious business for him.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: To Akaba.
  • Training from Hell: In order to make Bando the ultimate kick team, Kotaro subjected himself to this. This is how he can score points even during very adverse weather conditions, such as a typhoon.
  • Unknown Rival: Although it's not that Musashi doesn't know about him as much as he doesn't care.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He and Akaba can't stand each other. They also respect and trust each other, when it comes to football.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Musashi has more raw power, but Kotaro's kicks land with perfect precision, even in adverse weather condition.
  • Worthy Opponent: Sees Musashi as this.

    Juri "Julie" Sawai 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Juri_Sawai_Julie_6235.jpg

The manager of the Bando spiders and the one usually responsible for keeping the peace between Akaba and Kotaro.

Position: Manager


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