32 volumes in and the destined day for which the Devil Bats have struggled is finally at hand. The deciding match between Sena and the true Eyeshield 21 to decide Japan’s best begins and for the Devil Bats, the result could mean the difference between victory and defeat. For team founders Hiruma, Kurita, and Musashi, the Christmas Bowl represents the culmination of all their hard work and dreams, but for their opponents it represents just another day on the field.
While the Devil Bats have managed to triumph by the skin of their teeth over many of Japan’s toughest players, they quickly find the Teikoku Alexanders to be in a league all their own. Said to be undefeatable, the Alexanders have won numerous Christmas Bowls in years past. Despite every effort to ready themselves, including training with former rivals, the Devil Bats can’t help but feel concerned when team catcher Monta unexpectedly quits.
Volume 32 of the long running football series contains numerous moments of drama both on the field and off the field. The series’ trademark humor is ever present though downplayed so as to allow for the emotional weight of the upcoming game to take full effect.
Whereas in the past, the Devil Bats have been able to exploit their enemies weaknesses despite overwhelming odds, that doesn’t appear to be the case here, with every member of the Alexanders being prodigious in their own right. Despite their best efforts, the Devil Bats are shut down in nearly every way leading in to the next volume.
Volume 32 was by far the best entry in the series since the game against Shinruji. There’s definitely an air of uncertainty as to the outcome of the game whereas in previous volumes it was almost guaranteed the team would succeed in their quest to make it to the Christmas Bowl. Now in the championship game, the Devil Bats face a team unlike any other and all hopes for victory seem shot, bringing the tension to a boil as the volume reaches its conclusion. If this truly is the finale, the series looks like it’s going out in style, maintaining its addictive nature and its place as one of the best shonen titles out there.