Pros: football action and trivia; very interesting characters; teaches you about a lot of lessons in life; really funny; great animation
Cons: sports anime are not exactly everyone's cup of tea; teaches you about a lot of lessons in life; some characters are truly bizarre
No Bengals, no bears, and no browns. Just white knights, chameleons, and devil bats. This ain't the kind of football that's the world's most popular sports, it's the grid-iron Madden kind of football.
In Eyeshield 21, a high-school freshman named Sena has been bullied ever since he was little. During all that time, he either had to run away from bullies or run errands for them. His time spent running from here to there has given him the speed of an American football reciever, and that's just what captain of the Deimon High School Football team, Hiruma, sees in Sena. Now, Sena finds himself playing as the running back of Deimon High School's Football team, the Devil Bats, under the guise of Eyeshield 21.
What will first strike you with the force of a lineman's tackle is the stunning animation. The colors are bright, beautiful, and descriptive. The second great thing about E-21 is the huge amount of unique characters, from the big lovable teddy bear that is Kurita to the devilish, gun-toting quarterback Hiruma. The wide variety of characters and their different personalities make for not only some cool football action, but also some off-the-wall comedy that will have you ROTFLYAO.
Also, despite the wackiness of E-21, it gives you inspiring messages that will tell you to not give up on your dreams and the like. Sena's determination is so inspiring that it makes me want to go out and play football myself. Hey, if you don't even know the first thing about football, don't worry. The show includes trivia questions to teach you the basics of the sport.
The drawbacks in E-21 are that it's a sports anime, that it sometimes feel like you're watching an afternoon special, and that some characters are too weird. Since most people like their anime to have slashing swords, firing guns, use of magic, attractive women, monsters, and a bag of chips, some people may not think twice about sports anime. As for why it sometimes feel like an afternoon special, the show kinda makes the life lessons it tries to teach you a bit too obvious. And the strange characters are likeable, but they are very, very odd for their own good. They make you wonder, "Are they really high school teens?" Nonetheless, these setbacks don't really bring the show down much.
Eyeshield 21 manages to "Breakthrough" and "Be Free" (get it?) from the rest of the generic anime and become a highly enjoyable shounen sports anime.