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So, I’ve been finishing Eyeshield 21… and my favorite character finally got his own episode. Ever since they picked this guy up, he has been the show’s butt monkey. He was helpful exactly ONCE prior to episode 85, in that episode he showed the might and power of a Tight End. (Please stop snickering, I’m having serious football talk here.) That episode, everyone forgot about him and so Hiruma could throw a pass to him… it was their awesome wishbone formation, with 2 decent receiver targets and the main character running back. They’ve used it once so far.

The rest of the time he has been on screen, he’s spun around and declared himself to be beloved by the Gods, awesome, etc… then he laughs his “A Ha Ha!” laugh and proceeds to get dominated in a hilarious fashion while screaming that this simply could not be happening… episode 85 is when that really starts to get to him. He blocks this MVP amazing fellow… for all of 3 seconds. The time he delayed the MVP was enough for the main character to slip by and score a touchdown though… but he stops and thinks about it for a bit.

“… he just threw me aside… I… I thought I was better than that.”

The main character notices his teammate’s doubt and tries to plaster over personal issues with positive reinforcement. “You held him long enough for me to score. I couldn’t have done it without you. That touchdown was all you.”

Taki is renewed! Of course that touchdown was entirely his doing! He is the man beloved by the Gods, after all! Why wouldn’t he be going around and making touchdowns happen?! He is going to show that MVP guy what for, what five even!

Then he gives an offside penalty in his haste… then he accidentally knocks his entire line, gets personally fed dirt by the MVP and causes the other team to score a touchdown. When his team’s quarterback sends him to the bench, he wavers for a moment…

“You… you’re joking, right? I… I’m the man beloved by the Gods… surely… you can’t do this without me…”

But no one is saying “Yeah, we need you, man!”… there is only a deafening silence. Taki walks to the bench… sits… shivers… “this can’t be happening… this can’t be happening… this can’t be happening…” Tears begin forming in his eyes… and he runs away. He runs to the locker room, climbs in a locker, assumes the fetal position inside and weeps quietly to himself…


But wait! His sister and the egghead followed him, looking for him! Now they will have a conversation outside the locker about how much the team really needs him… and here is the team out on the field wondering why he ran away, when they need him so much! It is like they weren’t the ones who kicked him out! No! They just wanted him to cool his head for a second on the bench… surely not 3 or 4 entire plays.

Ah, but then they find him, from the sound of his tears. The badass kicker enters. He says “Compared to the MVP, you suck at power, speed and technique. You aren’t a man favored by the Gods… you are just a B-rate athlete.”

And Taki stops crying.

“As I thought… it’s true isn’t it… I was only really thinking of my own feelings… I thought, no matter what, I had to be someone special…. but I’m no one special. I’m just a guy. I’m just an ordinary man.”

He stands up. He ties back his hair.

Then he goes out, gets back in the game, grabs the MVP and beats him, simply because he has the flexibility to not fall down when pushed back. All his more rigid teammates would be tossed around, but he is pliable enough to roll with the punches. He holds the MVP, uncooling clinging around his belly, while his teammates score a touchdown. Everyone praises him and he slips the mask back on.

“Of course I could do it! This is, after all, my amazing full strength!”

Credits roll.

I have a feeling the next episode isn’t going to be about him. After all, he isn’t the star of the show. He doesn’t appear as frequently as the linemen, who block for every play… he doesn’t appear as frequently as the main receiver or the quarterback. Lord knows he appears less than the guy the show is named after… but still, he will appear on the show to dance his second on the screen and get blown away to show the situation is serious.

I liked episode 85, though… I was initially upset that his eventual “power-up” episode was so down… but in my heart, I knew this was the way it had to be. Guys like Taki and me, we aren’t the type of guy who struggles at something he has dedicated his life to until eventually all his efforts and toil break through into some meaningful revelation… we are the type of guy who occasionally stops a moment and thinks “I’m never going to be the best in the world… but maybe… maybe I can do this.” Then we get it done in a way that is a lot less cool than we would like… or we get thrown down into the dirt. Either way, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, laugh and say:

“Of course I can do it. I am, after all, the man beloved by the Gods.”

And somewhere behind our smiling mask… we beg our hearts to believe it.



  1. I watched episode 86. He was in 7 shots. He had one line and it was the middle of a collective train of thought that everyone was thinking while blocking. He wasn’t in the collective “YEAH WE KICK ASS!” picture at the end, where everyone on the team (except him) celebrates their victory… and I noticed.

  2. I will be the man that one day surpasses God.

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