Ok, so for a review on this anime. As far as sports-driven themed anime series, Eyeshield 21 does not disappoint its audience. In a nutshell, Eyeshield 21 is the story of Kobayakawa Sena and his rise from a scared little kid to a full-fledged ace running back that looks down linebackers and defensemen 20x (no joke) his size.
The story is pretty simple. Our protagonist team (Deimon) wants to make it to the championship game (in Japan known as the Christmas Bowl) and needs to make it this season because all of the seniors will be retiring the season after. The anime does a good job on giving a lot of background information on each of the characters as well as the characters on the other teams Deimon faces. And the good part is that they don't give it away all at once, but in bits and pieces which wets your appetite a little more each time, in a good way.
Characters: The strongest point of Eyeshield 21, the characters. Every character has something to like, something to hate, or something that will at least make you FEEL for that character. Whether it is a positive or negative feeling, it is much better to feel negative towards a character than to simply not care. You will most likely find one character that you can relate to in every situation. Also, before we go into this any more, Hiruma will end up being your favorite character. You will see why as the show progresses, but just know and be prepared. Anyway, every character has some sort of different trait that makes them different from any other character. Sena, for instance, has the Shonen persistence that every main character seems to have. That always present drive to get better, get stronger, get faster, what ever the situation. Kurita has more compassion than his weight in Valentine's Day chocolates. Mamori has the motherly caring and protective instincts (especially towards Sena). That is why every character in Eyeshield is so great. Every character, from the main character Sena to a supporting character like Taki, has something there. There are no wasted characters. While some shows like Bleach have a large cast but don't do anything with half of them, Eyeshield uses it's large cast perfectly. Just when you think they have forgotten about Taki, he catches a pass for a 13 yard gain. Just when you think the Devil Bats will never throw a pass in this game, they throw a touchdown. Nothing is left wasted, and anyone can put themselves in any other characters shoes.
ART: The art was done wonderfully. Yes, it could have been better - but for an anime about a sport that most people assume isn't played in Japan, it's very good. I don't know who the animators are, but they did a very good job with this series.
SOUND: I loved all of the OPs and EDs, well except for the two songs used in the last match against Oujou - but the themes were very well done, for the most part. My personal favorite, lyric-wise, would be "Blaze Away," and I have to admit that it's probably the best ED ever in terms of lyrics because you can hear the emotion behind them. In terms of actual sound and melody, I'd prefer "A Day Dreaming..." any day. However, all the themes were wonderfully performed - even if they wouldn't all fit everyone's taste, anyone who watches the series and actually listens to the theme music will be able to pick at least one that they like. The BGM was beautifully done too, although it's a shame you never hear the lyrics to "Midnight Sunshine" in the actual series because the vocalists (the seiyuus for Sakuraba, Shin, Takami, Otowara, and Wakana - I believe, although I'm not sure if Wakana was really featured) did an amazing job on it, but "Be Survivor" and the other songs featured throughout the series were quite entertaining as well.
Teams - Yes, they're getting their own section. The Deimon Devil Bats are the main team in this series, and the most developed one. You see their growth from the original two (Kurita and Hiruma) to almost full team. You can't help but sympathize with them most of the time, and the producers made it hard for fans to not side with them for each and every game. The second most-developed team is obviously the Oujou White Knights. It's clear, throughout the whole series, that the creators intend for most, if not all, of the viewers to fall in love with both Oujou and Deimon - possibly because they knew the anime series would end where it did and wanted to make it a bit more climactic. Kyoshin Poseidon were there mostly to raise the self-confidence of the "Deimon Chibis" since almost all of the starters were 2 meters tall. Shinryuji was there to show how a hard-working team like Deimon can beat even the 'strongest' team in Kanto by focusing all of their strength on winning. Bando was there mostly to show how Musashi was necessary for Deimon to actually guarantee any kind of winning game; they also helped Sena gain the confidence to tell everyone who's behind the Eyeshield 21 mask. The other teams mainly helped Sena to grow as a football player
Overall this anime, just hearing that this anime is a sport anime about football, don't let that put you off! This is an incredible anime, having everything an entertaining anime of this genre needs. I HIGHLY recommend anyone and everyone to watch this anime, even if you are not a big fan of anime of this genre (in case you have no options.)