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Manga / Area no Kishi

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Kakeru Aizawa is an energetic and dedicated eighth grader who serves as the manager for his school’s football team. Though he was well known for being a talented player the previous year, an accident during one of his games caused Kakeru to vow never to play competitively again. Still passionate about the sport, Kakeru dreams of one day becoming a professional football trainer so that he can work alongside his older brother Suguru, the ace of the school team who has represented Japan in international competition.

However, Suguru does not approve of his younger brother’s goal, calling Kakeru a coward for letting his fears hold him back. Further complicating matters is the return of a young woman and former childhood teammate named Nana Mishima, a.k.a. “Seven”, who Kakeru had a crush on years ago. Shortly thereafter, a challenge issued by a mysterious masked individual reminds Kakeru just how much he misses competing against others in the sport he loves.

Area no Kishi (lit. "Knight of the Area", i.e. of the penalty box) is a sports manga written by Igano Hiroaki and drawn by Tsukiyama Kaya. The manga was serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine from 2006 to 2017, and compiled into 57 volumes. An anime adaptation aired starting in January 2012.

Tropes used in Area no Kishi:

  • Achilles' Heel: Though Kakeru seems to be quite skilled and displays amazing instincts while playing football, he is at at an obvious disadvantage when he tries to use his left leg.
  • Amusing Injuries: Kota gets a few of them.
  • Battle Aura: Suguru displays the invisible type of battle aura, as shown in one practice exchange with a teammate in which Suguru rendered him unable to move with just a look.
    "What a terrifying aura! This is the power of Japan's U-15 Ace!"
  • Big Brother Instinct: Even though Suguru acts like an Aloof Big Brother to Kakeru, he cares about what happens to his little brother and wants him to live his dream. This comes into play pretty early when Suguru shields Kakeru from an oncoming truck.
  • Big Brother Worship: Kakeru adores his older brother and considers him to be an amazing soccer player.
  • The Chessmaster: Iwaki, you sly devil...
  • Childhood Friends: Suguru, Kakeru, Nana, and Hibino.
  • Cliffhanger: The anime ends just as Enoshima is about to face Yoin in the semifinals.
  • The Comically Serious: Oda.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The anime comes off as an abridged version of the manga. Most lines/scenes that aren't strictly necessary to the plot are cut. This is most apparent in the beginning arc, where nearly the entirety of the events of volume 3 are cut in order to rush to the main plot.
  • Cute Sports Club Manager: Nana. However, she's much more than just a pretty face...
  • Dead Star Walking: Suguru. Bonus points for actually being a soccer star.
  • Down to the Last Play: Suguru is known for these, even scoring a "magical" last minute shot to draw the game between the Japanese and Brazilian youth teams in the first chapter.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Kakeru was saddled with the title of "Mr. No Goal", due to his inability to effectively kick with his left leg making him predictable for the opposing team's goalie. At least this beats the one for Nakatsuka Kouta, a.k.a. "Mr. Sexual Harassment."
  • Festival Episode: Part of episode 21 takes place at a festival with Nana and Mai providing some Kimono Fanservice.
  • Genki Guy: Kakeru, who uses his love of football into working tirelessly first as manager for his high school football team, and later in the series to overcome obstacles in becoming a player himself.
  • Gratuitous English: The Americans in episode 9 cannot speak English properly.
  • Handsome Lech: Nakatsuka Kouta, an 8th grader on Kakeru's team who seems to spend more time chasing tail (and failing to catch it) than actually playing.
  • Hidden Depths: Nana isn't just the childhood friend love interest. She's also a genius soccer player known as the "Little Witch" who played professionally for an American team while she was in the U.S. She's one of the best players in the series; possibly the best among the main characters.
  • Instant Fan Club: Suguru is nearly always hounded by throngs of squealing fan-girls whenever he's at school.
  • Jerkass: Nishijima Shigeo is the bully of the team, never letting any of the other 8th graders live down their mistakes.
  • Love Triangle: Just as Kakeru began to realize his feelings for Seven when they were kids, he found her confessing to his older brother.
  • Mysterious Protector: After being chewed out by Suguru for holding himself back by remaining the team manager, Kakeru encounters a mysterious masked football player in a nearby park, who challenges him to a one-on-one night game. Though Kakeru was unsure of the player's identity after leaving, the challenge helped to re-awaken his love for playing the sport. In episode 4 "Grey" is revealed to be Seven, acting as Kakeru's training partner on Suguru's instructions.
  • One of the Boys: Seven was the only girl that played on Kakeru's football team in elementary school, and often dressed and acted like the other boys. Her appearance is noticeably more feminine when she returns in high school, however.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Imagine that your two sons are going together to soccer practice, not doing anything particularly reckless...When a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel, goes off the road, and boom, suddenly one of them is dead and the other is in critical condition.
  • Posthumous Character: Suguru. He dies very early in the series, but is continually developed throughout it through flashbacks and his diary.
  • Refusal of the Call: When an injury leaves the team a player short, Suguru uses his authority as Captain to order Kakeru to fill in for practice, which Kakeru initially refuses until he's given the ultimatum "play, or quit the team."
  • Right Behind Me: This happens to Nishijima while bragging about a goal he scored on one of the team's top defenders in a practice match (after Kakeru spent most of the match wearing him down.)
    Nishijima: "Suguru-san! Didn't I score a nice one today? The only forward on the team who can dodge Kunimitsu-san and score easily is me!
    Kunimitsu (while cracking his knuckles): "Dodge me easily, huh?"
    Nishijima: "Oooo owwow! Ouch!!"
  • Sacrificial Lion: Suguru was killed within the first few chapters and episodes, and he was one of the best soccer players in Japan, and is also Kakeru's brother. More significantly, he also was dealing with problems himself and was trying to convince his brother to get back on the team.
  • Seven Is Nana: Mishima Nana, a.k.a "Seven", was referred to by her elementary school football jersey number, which just so happened to be "7".
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The ridiculously peppy, upbeat music played during the Previously on… section sounds really out of place when it features the main character describing his older brother's death, and having said brother's heart transplanted into him.
  • Spoiler Opening: A relatively minor example Seven is shown wearing the Enoshima Highschool team jersey before they're even introduced in the On the Next at the end of episode 4
  • The Stoic: Though he is adored by his schoolmates and lauded as an up and coming Japanese national treasure, Aizawa Suguru most often seems to casually ignore all the attention he gets.
  • Tanuki: Araki gets compared to one due to being overweight in episode 9
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Araki lives this trope. His weight seems to fluctuate as the plot demands.
  • Unmoving Plaid: The skirts for the girls' school uniform suffers from this. It's especially noticeable when the focus is on Seven.
  • Unsound Effect: When Kouta gets especially irritated with Nishijima, a "Glare" sound effect is displayed in the panel.
  • Wingding Eyes: Sported by Kakeru after Kouta puts him through several wrestling holds trying to find out more about Kakeru's childhood friend, Seven.