God-tier manga artist shows he can direct animation too.

It seems like every couple of months Yusuke Murata does something to show us he’s on a whole other level artistically. These days, he’s best known as the artist for One-Punch Man, but Murata’s first big break came in the form of football manga Eyeshield 21.

American football isn’t the most broadly played or understood sport in Japan, but between Murata’s incredible artwork and writer Riichiro Inagaki’s ability to break down the strategies, positions, and pathos of the game into easily digestible shonen action elements, Eyeshield 21 was a major manga success, running for seven years in Weekly Shonen Jump and filling 37 collected volumes.

Now, in honor of the 21st anniversary of Eyeshield 21’s manga debut, Murata and Inakagi are teaming up once again for a new one-shot commemorative manga chapter, and to build up the hype for that, Murata is directing a special “announcement anime,” and he’s shared a sneak peak through his Twitter account.

In less than a minute, we get an impressively large number of characters showing up on the field and sidelines. Obviously we start with main character Sena, both in his picked-on “Go get us some drinks!” and hidden-identity heroic “Go get us some touchdowns!” forms. In between the quick footwork cuts of Sena’s footwork are quick camera cuts to his first two teammates, massive but gentle Kurita and devilishly devious Hiruma (who you could argue is the true protagonist of the series). A whole lot of other major figures are shown to be watching from the sidelines, and the scene builds to a climax as Sena’s strongest rival, linebacker Shin, closes in to attempt a tackle.

“We’re making an announcement anime for the Eyeshield 21 special one-shot manga. We haven’t put voice or sound effects in yet, but I’m putting this up for now,” tweets Murata, explaining the silent nature of the video, which lists him as director in the credits. “Once the publishing date and magazine for the one-shot are set, I’ll be posting the finished version of the announcement anime,” he goes on to say in a follow-up tweet.

Murata’s wording doesn’t make it entirely clear if what he’s already posted is the entirety of the anime’s visuals, or if there’s more to come. Even if that’s the entire thing, though, it’s a happy moment for fans to see the Eyeshield 21 cast in motion again, especially since the series’ anime TV series adaptation (which only covered a part of the manga’s story) wasn’t much to look at. Who knows, between Murata’s perennially rising renown, his established interest in directing animation, and the current trend of reboots in the anime industry, maybe if we’re lucky Eyeshield 21 will get another chance at becoming a full-fledged anime series.

Source: Twitter/@NEBU_KURO via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@NEBU_KURO
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he still gets choked up thinking about Eyeshield 21 Volume 18.