With the FIFA World Cup 2022 ahead, the hype around football is at its peak. And after the latest success to Ao Ashian anime about football, sports fans were left wanting more.
It is there Blue lock enters, with his strange approach to the genre.
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Blue lock is set in a realistic world and time, while the Japanese Football Association complains about the national team’s failings. They are convinced that the reason behind this is the lack of a world-class striker. To make up for it, they begin a risky and unprecedented training program called Blue lock.
The program is essentially a state-of-the-art training facility that puts 300 of Japan’s most promising young forwards behind closed walls and whittles them down with training regimes until the absolute best forward in the country remains. And among those up front is our hard-working and righteous protagonist, Yoichi Isagi, who dreams of representing his nation internationally.
The biggest problem with Blue lock is how selfishness is concerned. The very first agenda it pushes forward is that football is not a team sport, but rather is based on the egos of the teams’ strikers. The brain behind the Blue Lock Project, aptly named Ego, believes that the striker is the most important player on the pitch, and being the best striker outweighs the importance of being a team player.
However, this is a strange concept because anyone who has ever touched a football knows that the game, or any team sport, does not work like that. It also raises a question about the creator’s knowledge of the game, which seems dangerously low so far.
However, it is unlikely that the series will take a different direction anytime soon, especially since the whole point of the program is to pit the heads against each other in a battle royale-like setting.
Even then, the anime tries to sprinkle in some realism by mentioning legendary icons like Pele, Messi and Ronaldo, and showcasing their achievements. But because of the constant shifts in tone, it doesn’t achieve much beyond mere lip service.
That is not to say Blue lock is downright terrible on all fronts. Although it establishes an “every man for himself” narrative, certain rounds require the self-centered cast to work together to achieve their selfish goals. This puzzle works especially well since it explores the mentality of each player in a high-stakes, high-reward situation.
Speaking of high stakes, Blue lock is full of them. Behind every match and elimination round is a looming fear, because anyone who drops out of the facility – whether by choice or design – must renounce their dreams of playing professional football forever.
The anime itself looks amazing. It sticks to the outstanding art style of the manga it’s adapted from, giving the show an intense and dynamic feel during battles. Character close-ups and facial animations help characterize the diverse cast and drive home the darker side of the show.
Blue lock is an anime that must be taken with a grain of salt. While it has the potential to be quite fun and exciting, you should definitely look no further if you’re looking for a faithful depiction of football.
Ayaan is obsessed with organizing spreadsheets. Send him well-formatted bullet point emails at [email protected]