Eyeshield 21 Author Discusses Football Manga's '18+' Rating in U.S.
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Eyeshield 21 manga author Riichirou Inagaki appeared as a guest on TBS Radio's late-night radio program Sandwichman no Shūkan Radio Jump (Sandwichman's Weekly Radio Jump) on Saturday. In the program, Inagaki discussed the manga's production from a behind-the-scenes perspective. Inagaki apparently visited the United States while conducting research for the manga.
When comedian Mikio Date of the Sandwichman duo asked about the American publication status of the American football manga, Inagaki replied that the series is being published with an "18+ label." As for the reason for the rating, Inagaki said, "There's a high school student that randomly shoots guns." He said that such a depiction can cause trouble in America while being viewed as a "gag" in Japan. The radio program's other host and half of the Sandwichman comedy duo Takeshi Tomizawa remarked that the the rating is the result of cultural differences. Date responded that the age rating is due to the status of America as a "gun society."
In the manga's story, Sena Kobayakawa is a scrawny boy who is always being picked on at school. However, being every bully's errand boy has made him fast and nimble on his feet. His high school's American football team drafts him as their secret star running back and hide his identity with a dark green visor. With a jersey number of 21, Sena is now "Eyeshield 21."
Yōichi Hiruma is a 17-year-old high school student in the series who expresses excitement in violent ways, such as shooting off large guns into the air. He also refers to fellow members of the Deimon Devil Bats with names beginning with "fucking" and has various vulgar and threatening mannerisms. The series' anime adaptation made some changes to the original manga to reduce swearing and references to guns and gambling.
News of the manga's American rating recently circulated on Japanese websites. The origin of Inagaki's confirmation of the manga's American rating as "18+" is unclear. Rating systems in Japan and America differ. However, Viz Media manga release is listed as "16+" in the United States, and Sentai Filmworks' release of the television anime adaptation is listed as "13+."
Viz Media published the 37th and last Eyeshield 21 manga volume in North America in October 2011. Sentai Filmworks began releasing the the series in 2010 after Crunchyroll streamed it in several countries outside Japan. The manga also inspired the Eyeshield 21: The Phantom Golden Bowl anime film in 2003.