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    General 

A top-ranked American high school team that came to Japan to play an exhibition match promoting the sport. While the team had a great deal of talents, they were held back by their racist coach, Leonard Apollo, who refused to let their best player actually get off the bench. The Aliens were initially going to play against the Taiyo Sphinx, but with some... machination from a certain insane quarterback, ended up facing the Deimon Devil Bats instead. Apollo promised to defeat the Devil Bats by a margin of at least 10 points or "the NASA Aliens will never set foot in America again". They still won the match, but defeat the Devil Bats only by 1 point. As a result, Apollo renamed their team "NASA Shuttles" before going back to America... which means that technically, the NASA Aliens really didn't set foot in America again.


  • Battlecry:
    The Whole Team (Taking a step forward simultaneously): This is one small step for a man, and one giant leap for NASA Aliens' victory!
  • Combination Attack: Their Shuttle Pass involved a great amount of teamwork: (1) all of the linemen used their muscle powers to stay steadfast and shield Homer; (2) Homer used his strong arm to throw a very long pass that flew all the way to the end zone; whilst (3) Watt ran at full speed and caught the pass.
    • Once Panther got to play, they immediately switch to the Moon Salto Formation; a play that is specifically made to give Panther all the running space he needed.
  • Consummate Professional: As noted by Sena, they were rather laid back and fun-loving off the field, but they got very serious once the football match began.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Until Panther finally got to play, they had one move, and it was the Shuttle Pass. They were incredibly good at it. But once it was out of the table, they couldn't score since they lacked any good runner and Homer had bad aim.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Notably, they inflicted one on the Frilled Lizards, an university football team.
  • Eagleland: Downplayed but present, such as Apollo's racism against blacks. Would be a straight Type 1 if you take the coach out: a strong team made of nice people who viewed each other as family and both respected their opponents on the field despite the wager and friendly outside the field towards strangers.
  • Five-Man Band: Well, the players are decent blokes, but thanks to Apollo...
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Once Panther got to play, they immediately reveal that they were practicing a formation specifically designed to take advantage of Panther's running abilities. They call it the Moon Salto Formation.
  • Human Aliens: These guys are 100% earthlings, but their space Motifs can evoke this.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The Aliens were a well-rounded football team, sporting decent offense in Homer and Watt's Shuttle Pass, fine defense thanks to the Gonzales Brothers, and pretty tough linemen in general.
  • Lovable Jocks: All of the players.
  • Meaningful Rename: Downplayed. Apollo changes the name of the team from the Nasa Aliens to the Nasa Shuttles to weasel out of the bet he made with Hiruma.
  • Monochrome Casting: Apollo had taken extra cautions to ensure his team was this, after having his career in the NFL ruined by a black guy thus developing a hatred towards blacks.
  • Mr. Fanservice: At least, Homer and the linemen thought of themselves as this.
  • Nice Guys: Everyone of them, except Apollo.
  • Opposing Sports Team: Downplayed in much the same way as the Naga example. Apollo, much like Agon, was a jerk and deserved to lose, but the team were mostly Nice Guys.
  • True Companions: All of the white players and Panther genuinely cared about each other. This is especially apparent when the whole team showed up to help their abused black friend to look for the sweatband Apollo threw away. They also did the Pose of Supplication in order to persuade Apollo to let Panther play during the Deimon-Nasa game.

    Patrick "Panther" Spencer 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_inline_nbggcomge71sz34oo.jpg
"Even if it's coach Apollo, he will use a black guy if he's really good! Someday, he'll acknowledge me for my skills."

A jovial young man who kept a positive attitude despite the many hardships he'd had to face, Panther dreamed of joining the NFL to improve his and his grandmother's living condition. At first, he was forced to be no more than a ball boy by his racist coach Apollo, but eventually won the latter over and became the Aliens/Shuttles' ace running back. With his superb running skills, Panther later secured a place in Team America as a member of the Pentagram. At the end, he was nominated the MVP in the World Cup and became a pro NFL player, attaining his dream.

  • Position: Ball Boy / Running Back / Free Safety
  • Jersey: 20
  • 40-yard dash: 4.5 seconds; later 4.1 seconds
  • Bench Press: 70 kg (154 lbs)
  • Height: 185 cm (6' 1")
  • Weight: 92 kg (205 lbs)
  • Nicknames: Panther; "The Boy With The Zero-Gravity Legs"; later "Fastest Man Above Ground"

  • The Ace: As the running back of Team America. Whilst the whole Pentagram are elite players, Panther is their best trump card: he can catch up to Sena, who can't do nothing if someone tackles him from the back; he easily get past Shin by using his slender arm to keep a gap open; and he can, on his own, blitz two quarterbacks doing the dragonfly.
  • Adorkable: Especially during the World Cup.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: The night before the Devil Bats vs Aliens game, Panther got so drunk he ran on the highway (together with Sena) and somehow ended up in a rubbish bin in the zoo.
  • All-Loving Hero: Kind and caring towards everyone? Check. Believing in the best of others? Check. Repaying cruelty with kindness and forgiveness? Check. Redeeming a bad guy with the Power of Friendship? Check. Let's face it, if this were a shonen adventure series, Panther would easily be The Hero.
  • Always Someone Better: Played out both ways for him. At first, despite his talent in running being hyped up, he was utterly crushed by Sena and Shin simply because of his lack of experience. However, under the training of Apollo, he later turned into the only person in the entire series that could run faster than Sena and Shin.
  • Animal Motifs: Panther.
  • The Apprentice: Became this to Apollo after the latter's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Reason he endured Apollo's abuse? Panther was that loyal as his fanboy. He even avenged Apollo by curb-stomping Morgan.
  • Badass Normal: Arguably the only "normal" person in the Pentagram.
  • Berserk Button: Messing with his sweatband. And presumably, messing with anything related to his grandmother.
  • Big Fancy House: Said to be living in one after he became a pro NFL player.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Inflicted one on Morgan, the former star running back who outed Apollo. He also did this to Shin during the World Cup. In the backstory, Panther's inflicting this on Yamato indirectly caused the latter to be run out of Notre Dame.
  • Determinator: No amount of Apollo's abuse could deter Panther from staying on the Aliens.
  • The Dragon: To Clifford and Mr. Don, during the World Cup Arc. Still a Token Good Teammate, though.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The best example in the whole series. Panther had to go through a lot before he was finally acknowledged by Apollo and became a pro NFL player.
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": He's always referred to as Panther, never by his real name Patrick. The only one who calls him by his real name is his grandmother.
  • Final Boss: To Sena, at least. He's the one whom Sena must face in the finals of the World Cup.
  • Flash Step: To show how much he Took a Level in Badass, Panther snatched the ball from Morgan's hand with almost minimal effort, all while Morgan was making a speech about how he'd "put Panther in his place" when Panther asked that Homer be put in Team USA's second string. Also notable as Panther was wearing a suit while Morgan was in full football gear. Everyone, including Morgan, was stunned at how fast Panther moved.
  • Fragile Speedster: Not as fragile as Sena, but he can be taken down relatively easily... provided you can even come close to touching him.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Towards pretty much everyone, but in particular Sena. At one point, Clifford even scolded Panther for being too nice towards his opponents.
    Panther (Smiling): Nishishi, Sena! The first round is my win! Barely, though...
    Clifford: Panther!
    Panther: Ah, sorry! (Thought) Damn, of course. If I say this kind of stuff, the referee will be angry. "Don't taunt the opponent!" Or things like that...
    Clifford (Death Glare): You're not nearly good enough at taunting. Don't say stuff like you barely made it!
    Panther (Sweating): Ohooooo!? That!? But it's the truth. It was really quite...
    Clifford: It doesn't matter! Leave a strong expression! Is there a point if a trump card doesn't show its strength to the enemy!?
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: From a ball boy to the fastest runner in the NFL.
  • The Gift: While they handwaved it as the natural talents of blacks, a flawless 4.1 40-yard dash was not something a highschooler could do just by being black. That's some polished gift.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Although it wasn't being an orphan that caused Apollo to warm up to him, there was no denying Panther was one.
  • Hero of Another Story: Panther could make a pretty good claim to being this. Starting as the ball boy of his team despite his amazing talent and abuses by his racist coach, he stick it out. Finally, his time came when the Aliens were backed up against the wall by the Devil Bats. After turning the game around and actually winning it for his team, he won his coach's grudging respect and a permanent spot on the reformed Shuttles. Under Apollo's tutelage, he became the top runner in the USA (at the highschool level, anyway) and joined the Pentagram for the World Cup, winning the NFL contract that Morgan offered. At the end, his dream came true.
  • Hero-Worshipper: The major reason why he put up with Apollo's abuses was that he idolized him when the latter was in the NFL, and vowed he would be as hardworking as Apollo was.
  • Improvised Training: Hardly surprising given his family background. For years, Panther had been training himself via running across rooftops, which gave him nigh inhuman agility.
  • Invincible Villain: By the end of the manga, his natural talents and hard work made him number one and Sena admitted that he will never be able to surpass him, only win partial victories. However, not only is he a Nice Guy and his villain status came solely from being on the other team, it's also part of Sena's final development: contenders always have a right to gun for number one.
  • Lovable Jock: Went hand-in-hand with Heartwarming Orphan and Nice Guy.
  • Manly Tears: Shed this when he was finally allowed to play. He also cried this when Apollo offered to make him the team's official running back.
  • Nice Guy: He's this at his core.
  • Noble Top Enforcer: To the Pentagram.
  • No-Sell: Thanks to his long and slender arms, he can parry the Trident Tackle with no effort. Add this to his speed Shin can't stop him.
  • The Pollyanna: Fortunately, this attitude paid off for him BIG TIME later in the series.
  • Pose of Supplication: Thanks to Watt, Panther had some hilarious idea about what this trope is supposed to be like. It was later played far more seriously when Panther spent half of the Devil Bats vs Aliens game doing the real Pose of Supplication to Apollo, to beg the coach to let him play.
  • The Power of Friendship: During the Devil Bats vs Aliens game, Panther's True Companions all knelt down together to beg Apollo to let Panther play, causing Apollo to soften.
  • Put Me In, Coach!: During the Devil Bats vs Aliens game. He even did the Pose of Supplication, just so that Apollo would put him in. Then the entire team did the same to support Panther.
  • Rags to Riches: See Big Fancy House and Earn Your Happy Ending above.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Specifically, just his grandmother.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: At first, Panther never had any field experience in football, but once he was allowed to play in the Devil Bats vs Aliens game, he proved to be so effective he easily became the team's ace player.
  • Signature Moves: His Gravity Zero Run. The Stiff Arm also counted.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: Initially. Whilst Panther had always been incredibly fast and agile, his lack of actual field experience meant he didn't really know how to defend against opponents.
  • Spirited Competitor: The reason he decided to go to Japan. Clifford also noted that Panther had "the eyes of a male beast" when he wanted to challenge Sena during the climax of the finals of the World Cup.
  • Super Speed: While he's no Flash he was one of the few people on Earth who could run 40-yard dash in 4.1 seconds. That wasn't really impossible - Deion Sanders did a 4.1 without stretching, though to this day it's the fastest 40 ever recorded at the NFL Combine.
  • Token Good Teammate: In The Pentagram, in which he played alongside Smug Snake Clifford, Combat Pragmatist Bud Walker, Jerk Jock Tatanka, and the monstrous Mr. Don.
  • Token Minority: Justified. Apollo, the coach of the Aliens, was racist, and only allowed him to be the ball boy at first. Apollo's racism drove away all the other black players. Only Panther stayed because he was a Determinator and was Apollo's biggest fanboy.
  • Took a Level in Badass: From a fast but unskilled runner to the totally unstoppable "Fastest Man Above Ground".
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Unbeknownst to him, he was the reason why Yamato got expelled out of Notre Dame. Mr. Don saw Yamato fail to catch him as he ran with a football, thus deeming that Yamato was unworthy of the title Eyeshield 21.
  • Worthy Opponent: To Sena, especially during the World Cup Arc.

    Homer Fitzgerald 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Homer_Fritzgerald_6085.jpg

Panther's best friend and teammate. Helped Panther endure Apollo's racism and generally looks out for him. Noted for having a powerful, but uncontrolled long pass.

  • Position: Quraterback
  • Jersey: 5
  • 40 yard dash: 4.75 seconds
  • Bench Press: 160 kg

  • Black Best Friend: Inverted. He's Panther's underdeveloped, white best friend.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: A muscle flexing, beer-loving man's man. He's also said to have the 3rd most friends out of the entire cast.
  • Butt-Monkey: His teammates will not let him flaunt, Watt openly state that his aiming sucks and when he says he is not the real team's ace they just say he never was considered the ace.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Homer has a really strong throwing arm and is able to heave the ball all the way to the endzone for a touchdown if his receiver catches it. However, his aim is really bad, thus he tends to overthrow the ball often and most receivers aren't good enough to calculate where his passes will go. Also, while he has great physical strength which allows him to throw a pass while being tackled, he's not agile enough to avoid blitzes, and when opponents start aiming for his arm instead of taking him down, then he'll be prone to fumbling the ball.
  • Drink Order: A can of Budweiser, despite being in high school. This isn't that unrealistic, but the writer probably assumed the drinking age was closer to 18 in the US.
  • Dumb Muscle: Despite the fact that the series' quarterbacks tend to be intelligent.
  • Fan Disservice: In-universe. It's stated that he likes to flex his muscles in front of girls and thinks of himself as Mr. Fanservice, but the girls seem to find it repulsive.
  • Implacable Man: A somewhat muted example, but it's there; he can throw the Shuttle Pass while being tackled, and he's pretty hard to take down in the first place.
  • Lovable Jock: Showboats a bit but he is Panther's best friend and act really friendly outside the field.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Fuzzy jawline, strong but unsure arm... Brett Favre, is that you?
  • Quick Nip: Unless he's on the field, he's usually shown with his Trademark Favorite Food, a can of Budweiser.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Manly Man to Watt's Sensitive Guy.
  • Straight Man: Is usually the one to question Watt's "knowledge" of Japanese culture or comment on Panther's naivety.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: See Fan Disservice above.
  • True Companions: One of Panther's.

    Jeremy Watt 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Jeremy_Watt_259.jpg

A well-meaning but very misinformed Japan-o-phile who often confuses both Japanese and Americans alike.

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • Jersey: 81
  • 40 yard dash: 4.8 seconds

  • Academic Athlete: He seems to be a smart kid. The anime shows that the Shuttle pass is such a success because he is good at estimating Homer's pass.
  • Black Best Friend: Inverted again with Panther.
  • Cloudcuckoo Lander: After seeing a skilled Japanese linebacker, he becomes fascinated with samurais. Nobody is able to figure out that train of thought.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Being an Occidental Otaku, he likes to use Japanese words.
  • Lovable Jock: Like the rest of the team. As a receiver he isn't built like the typical jock.
  • Occidental Otaku: Though unlike most, he's doesn't appear to be an anime otaku, and likes the culture as a whole. However, his ideas about Japanese culture are a bit... off.
  • Running Gag: One of the Aliens asks Watt some questions about Japanese culture. Then the supposed Japan expert says something ridiculously wrong. It's made funnier by the fact that Watt's answers are in general taken seriously.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Sensitive Guy to Homer's Manly Man.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Apparently the smartest guy among the Aliens, and the only one who wears glasses.
  • Teen Genius: It's obvious that he's a very bright kid when it comes to non-Japan related stuff - for instance, he does the legwork for the Shuttle Pass by calculating where it'll end up and being there to catch it.
  • True Companions: To Panther.

    The Gonzales Brothers (Nathan "Big Shit" Gonzales and Otto "Piss" Gonzales) 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Gonzales_Brothers_7409.jpg

Two linemen who are ridiculously muscular (even by the standards of the team), the older being the tallest on the team and the younger being the shortest. Both pride themselves on being "useful", which translate... oddly into written Japanese, to say the least.

Nathan:

  • Position: Centre / Guard
  • Jersey: 50
  • Nickname: "Big Shit"

Otto:

  • Position: Linebacker
  • Jersey: 70
  • Nickname: "Piss"

  • Bash Brothers: Real brothers to boot
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Complimentary to each other.
  • Dumb Muscle: They don't seem to get why people laugh at their tatoos.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Duh.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Are best known for having tattoos that say "big shit" and "little piss" by accident. They asked Watt about Kanji characters as tattoo, "Big and Useful" and "Little and Fast" respectively, and Watt showed them the character, but not the right placement.
  • Evil Counterpart: Not evil in the least, but are basically American versions of Kurita and Komusubi.
  • Gentle Giant: Nathan is the first lineman to rival Kurita in sheer strength (Banba had to use his posture and training) and he is also really supportive of his brother and suggested the whole team should meet Apollo and asks him to let Panther play.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The little guy can practically keep up with Sena and packs a lot of power.
  • Mighty Glacier: Nathan is the cornerstone of the NASA's muscle barrier, he leaves the side and speed to his little brother.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The younger Gonzales, who does NOT like being underestimated.
  • Token Minority: Either Leonard's racism does not include Latino or their family were Spaniards before moving to America.
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    Leonard Apollo 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Leonard_Apollo_1580.jpg

A former NFL player, Apollo's racial prejudice and mistreatment of Panther both trace back to the raw deal he received when he was a pro.

Position: Coach


  • Always Someone Better: He was edged out of his job by a black star player named Morgan, resulting in his hatred towards black people and vow to build a powerful football team composed only of whites.
  • Big Bad: During the Deimon-NASA game.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Towards Panther during the game with Deimon.
  • Eagleland: Arguably the most glaring one among the Aliens.
  • Evil Genius: To the Aliens. He trained them to play without huddles with codes.
  • Exact Words: He uses the same trick for two different reasons. Firstly, after promising that the NASA Aliens would never return to the USA if they didn't beat the Devil Bats by at least 10 points, he weasels his way out of it by changing the name of the team to the NASA Shuttles. Then, when Panther glumly resigns himself to keeping his promise to quit the Aliens if he failed to stop Eyeshield 21 in the game, Apollo agrees that Panther can never call himself an Alien again, then offers him the position of running back on the Shuttles instead.
  • Freudian Excuse: He's a racist and acts as a Jerkass towards Panther because a black player made him lose his dream.
  • Grumpy Bear: While he comes to respect Panther, he's never outright nice and is still a little racist.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: The lesson he learned from his days in the NFL and one of the reasons he keeps Panther off the team.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After the Deimon-NASA game.
  • Heel Realization: "Since when did I start to hate football...?"
  • Hypocrite: He called Hiruma's video immature only for him to go in a "no, you have a small dick" tirade with him on the same page.
  • Insult of Endearment: A good sign of his Heel–Face Turn is when Homer explained to him why Panther respected him so much he could only say what an unpleasant punk Panther is. Next page he jumps out of the bench and praise Panther's interception.
  • Jerkass: Much of his pre-Heel–Face Turn dialogue consists of statements that demean nonwhites or his opponents or both.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: It's arguable whether you say he has a heart of gold (maybe bronze...), but he does become a great mentor to Panther out of respect for his skill and work ethic. But as a person, he's still a blowhard and a bit racist.
  • Loophole Abuse: By renaming the team to the NASA Shuttles, he feels he technically lives up to the stipulation that the NASA Aliens wouldn't go back home.
  • The Mentor: Became this to Panther eventually.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: During his NFL days, he was skilled, hardworking, and determined enough that he was bound to get the starting position in his team. Unfortunately for him, the gifted and talented Morgan comes along, so he is pushed to the sidelines and all but forgotten. This caused him to have a prejudice against blacks.
  • Pet the Dog: When he puts Panther in the game and becomes a good coach and mentor to him.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He's racist towards both blacks and Asians.
  • Put Me In, Coach!: Unfortunately, Apollo's coach didn't listen, and he never got the chance to prove himself on the field.
  • Rich Bitch: Male version. His first appearance was him badmouthing the Japanese on a yacht.
  • Right-Hand Cat: In the anime, he has one named "Hilary".
  • Smug Snake: Initially played straight; he's utterly convinced of the superiority of his white American team over the Japanese. Hiruma accurately identifies him as NASA's biggest weakness. Subverted after his Heel–Face Turn when he became Panther's mentor, he turned out to be a damn good one.
  • Villainous BSoD: After discovering Panther had weathered his racist abuse because he was his biggest fan.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: He wears an American flag tie during the game with Deimon.
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