Eyeshield 21

Kobayakawa Sena as the titular Eyeshield 21

American Football is not an unknown sport in Japan, in fact there is a yearly high school championship called The Christmas Bowl. Hiruma Yoichi, in his last year as captain of Deimon High School’s team, has just one last chance to get his team to that storied event. There’s just one problem…he has nowhere near enough players to fill all the positions necessary for such a specialized sport. Things begin to turn around when he meets Kobayakawa Sena, a gifted Running Back. Sena has trained his feet after years of being bullied, but even though he is lacking confidence, Hiruma convinces Sena to join the team under the disguise of the legendary player known only as Eyeshield 21.

This anime features classic Shounen elements: a ragtag group with bizarre abilities meeting to accomplish a goal, named attacks, rivals who become friends, each arc featuring a bigger shark to jump, among others. Each highschool that Deimon must face has its own theme that guides that team’s strategy; part of the fun of this series is discovering what wacky highschool they’re going to face next. Eyeshield 21 also features an education segment were the rather arcane rules of American Football are discussed in ways that make the sport understandable.