Inazuma Eleven first started out as a sports role-playing game for the Nintendo DS. The manga was first published in the Shogakukan CoroCoro Comic and the anime series was produced by game developer Level-5. The anime aired in numerous countries around Asia and Europe. Additionally, there is also an animated film and guidebooks for the series.
The show follows the cheerful young goalkeeper, Endou Mamoru in his progress and journey with his fellow teammates. Through the trials and achievements of the games and the processes of understanding working together to win or save their club, the show extends an empowering representation of teamwork, passion, and talent.
As schools across Japan compete for the title of being the best soccer team in the country, Raimon Middle School’s soccer club, Inazuma Eleven works to get back into shape. Mamoru is the grandson of the first generation team’s goalkeeper and with his leadership and a little luck they press forwards with goals of achieving the winning title.
The Tide of Perseverance in the Passion of the Game
Bolstered with the odds stacked high against him, Mamoru risks failure in his belief of the team. Throughout the series, which aired from 2008 to 2011 over a course of 127 episodes, his character development sets the stage and tone for the lessons of patience and perseverance.
There is an earnest nobility in the message of working hard, making sacrifices and learning the price and path of success. He finds hope in the player Shuuya Gouenji, who has given up on football, but Mamoru is dedicated to mold him and his new recruits into a winning team.
From the pleasure of playing to fighting to save the world from world domination and playing against aliens, there is a full imaginative scope that goes beyond the initial premise of football, making this show a wonderfully captivating show even for viewers who aren’t interested or have knowledge of football.
The Saga Continues with Alternative Narratives: Ares & Orion no Kokuin
In 2018 Ares debuted as a sequel to Inazuma Eleven and outlines a continuation of the events that take place in the first season of the team’s victory at Football Frontier, leaving out the alien attack of the second season. The team members disassemble and move across the country to join various different teams in hopes of strengthening Japan’s teams at a national level. The series predominantly follows Asuto Inamori, who is a forward, and his team, Inakuni Raimon, which consists of players from the remote Inakunijima Island.
Afterwards, an additional sequel show was released and picked up where Ares finished. It consisted of 49 episodes. Orion no Kokuin which translates to “The Seal of Orion, is about the team Inazuma Japan, which comprises the best players of the previous Inazuma Eleven installments.
They will act as a Japanese NAtional team and will face other teams around the world. The story focuses on Inamori Asuto, Haizaki Ryouhei, Nosaka Yuuma, and the new character Ichihoshi Hikaru.
The Future of the Game and The Evolution of the Players
10 years have passed since the original series timeframe and FFI. There is noticeable darkness as people are shifting away from playing soccer as they sink into losing hope. The protagonist Matsukaze Tenma soon realizes the nature of football has changed after trying out to play on the Raimon team.
We find out that football and it’s games are being controlled by an organization called Fifth Sector and is led by one called the “Holy Emperor” also known as Ishido Shuuji. The games are controlled, manipulated and no longer what they once used to be; as teams are ordered whether or not to lose purposefully or not.
Tenma, with the help of his teammates, works to free soccer so everyone can play freely again. They embark on a rebellion against the Fifth Sector in the dark uncertain times for the hope of a better future. Though they are not alone, alongside them fighting are the Resistance organization that aims to replace the Holy Emperor as well as help from previous characters of the original Inazuma Eleven anime.
The scope of how the series and its respective sequels showcase the morals of sports and teamwork offer not only a thrilling and exciting adventure through prevailing uncertainty, chaos and ultimately to a unified goal and meaningful fight for equality. Especially within the narrative of, Go the themes can be carried over and seen through the lens of a metaphor beyond football. It speaks upon freedom, control, independence and uplifting one another. This is a great show with an amazing message of the hero’s journey accessible for people who both watch and don’t watch sports.