Blue Lock

TV (24 eps)
2022 - 2023
Fall 2022
4.343 out of 5 from 5,751 votes
Rank #102

After a disastrous defeat at the 2018 World Cup, Japan’s team struggles to regroup. But what’s missing? An absolute Ace Striker, who can guide them to the win. The Football Association is hell-bent on creating a striker who hungers for goals and thirsts for victory, and who can be the decisive instrument in turning around a losing match…and to do so, they’ve gathered 300 of Japan’s best and brightest youth players. Who will emerge to lead the team…and will they be able to out-muscle and out-ego everyone who stands in their way?

Source: Kodansha

The first repisode received an advance premiere at Anime Expo on July 2.

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Why We Watch Shounen The shounen subgenere/demographic of anime is characterized by continually building on what came before, and inspiring people with unforgettable moments of character growth. It isn't always the best, nor most artistic column of anime out there, and it's rarely, if ever, revolutionary. But when you think of Anime that are simply fun to watch, designed to give you a feeling of excitement that you can watch with your friends and make a night out of it, you'll likely think of a shounen. Blue Lock fulfils all of these requirements for being a good memorable shounen while also being revolutionary in its own genre to some degree, and most importantly, it reminds us why we watch this kind of anime. To see a character we love do something extraordinary, to see a cool idea play out, to explore a world different from our own, to see a wild out-there premise go as far as it can. Sports shounen especially, for the past... um... forever... have been stricken by formula more than perhaps even battle shounen have. You have an underdog who is talented go up against several opposing teams and try to be the best, while developing relationships with their teammates and discovering the joy of winning, the pain of losing, and most importantly of all, the power of friendship and the importance of teamwork. Eaugh... alright, I'm good. Just had to try not to throw up for a second. Even the most lauded sports anime still fall victim to this formula, like Haikyuu and Kuroko. But Blue Lock breaks the mold in a new way, introducing a premise that flies in the face of, even mocks those formulae. In Blue Lock, we learn that focusing on teamwork is holding you back. In Blue Lock, we learn that crushing your enemies and surpassing your teammates is the point of sports. In Blue Lock, we learn that losing is unacceptable. We learn that talent, being a genius, innate ability, and everything we thought was staightforward goes a lot deeper than you think, and what actually creates a true pro is much different. The only way to win, to REALLY be a winner in a sport like football, is to have a massive ego, be selfish, and be on top. Its slightly messed up philosophy as well as how it grounds it and forces it to mesh with a team-play sport is delightfully intriguing, and, holds a degree of truth that the viewer can't fully dismiss. Most importantly, it holds these values to distinguish itself from all its contemporaries while also having a realistic argument for its case, that the best football players in history have been massive egoists. Indeed, it seems like all famous athletes have a degree of this. That isn't all. To add to the intrigue, the premise itself is much bigger than just a philosophy, it's also a bit of a death game that exists to prove its own point. Blue Lock is a facility in which a bunch of soccer players will be devided up into teams where they will battle each other, and the top scorer will move on, while the bottom scorers and teams will be kicked out of the program, and never be able to play football for Japan again. So it's high stakes. They also all have to play and live in this prison-like building. So it's a bit of squid games/typical death game setup as while as being a sports shounen. The show spends quite a few episodes developing this premise and focusing on it, but when you finally get it and it's shaken off anybody who doesn't accept the premise, that's when it starts getting juicy. That's when we start really exploring the characters, who are Blue Lock's biggest strength, both in design and character arcs. "Did you see that shiz?" The animation is gloriously good, and the music is fantastic, ranging from tame melancholy jams to epic guitar solos perfectly befitting their respective scenes. This show's character moments are where its strength lies, especially here in season one. Like the moment Isagi, the main character, realizes that his talent is more of a support role, but also at the same time realizes the exhilaration of destroying his own opponents' careers. Or the moment Chigiri escapes his own mental restrictions that came with a former career injury that have been keeping him from putting his all into the sport for years. Sometimes the best value you can get out of entertainment is just watching a character doing something amazing while the visuals and music are cranked up to 11 and blue lock has that in spades. These moments are what make Blue Lock, Blue Lock, and also are great for reminding me why I love shounen in the first place. It isn't that it's the most revolutionary thing ever, but the way it builds on sports shounen to such a satisfying degree, and the way it sets up such exciting and incredible scenes, really inspires me to make something similar. Another of its strengths lie in its ability to make every member of its ensemble cast feel valuable and not only focus on three or four of them all the time. It has episodes where it feels perfectly paced and yet they highlighted the character arcs and cool talents of like seven people in a row, and it feels perfectly satisfying and inspirational at the same time. If not for that inspirational value, like if that does nothing for you, it still has a ton of value as just a fun watch. Or, just watch it because of how pretty the characters (Chigiri) are. Whatever you want. 10/10


3S Review no. 76 (short, simple and salty/sweet/spicy) I just want an anime about football that is not awful, is that too much to ask for? Well, yeah, apparently it is. Sports anime are such a weird case, they either have a terrible grasp of the sport, a terrible rom-com aspect to them or terrible presentation. Usually two of those things are terrible, and the last one that is left is carrying the whole show. Most often than not, the presentation and the sport get the short end of the stick and the rom-com does the carrying, on some rare cases, the presentation is good as well and along with the rom-com make the show very successful. This show on first glance one might think that it does a good job at all 3, but in reality only its presentation is good, and that only because most of the sport shows look like shit. But let’s get more specific. Story, a once in a life genius, a never before seen masterminds comes up with this plan, we gonna get 300 forwards, stick them in a facility, and the last man standing will be the player that will lead Japan to the world cup (also we’ll have them wear tight suits like they are dorky super spies). I shit you not, that is the story. This is so stupid that I’m actually lost for words. Let’s ignore the realistic aspects of the parents, the media, the society accepting such a stupid thing, even the players had no logical reason to accept this, but apparently they did after the genius that came up with the plan went on a monologue that didn’t even made the slightest sense. So, leave the social or ethical aspect aside, or the funnier thing which is that Japan actually has 300 players with the potential to be the best striker in the world, when in reality it wouldn’t even have three. So, how the fuck does that make sense in football terms? Well, it doesn’t, cause let’s say we accept the aforementioned, we just judge and test strikers that score goals, against other strikers. Wouldn’t it be better if we make the practice, and test them against defenders that are actually good at defending, or you know, goalkeepers that don’t stand still unable to stop a shot cause it is the first time they ever wore goalkeeping gloves? Is that too unreasonable? But you know, ok, it is fiction, all these happen for it to be exciting, it is over the top, it is anime’s duty to make everything exciting and crazy right? Well, yeah… but… but… why?? Football is the most exciting sport, probably the most exciting spectacle on the planet, and that is not subjective, there are numbers and money backing this up, there is absolutely no reason to turn into a social experiment, a battle royal, a high stakes games, a mind game fest, a SAW about football when it is already all the above in itself. You just tear it apart, then get all the parts, and build it into something worse, for the sake of reinventing the wheel, you discover a wheel that doesn’t even turn, that is not creativity, that is not originality, that is pure stupidity. I could keep bashing it more but to keep this short, story is stupid in its conception, it conveniently plays out for the sake of suspense, it is nonsensical, it sacrifices decent narration and football logic without showing up anything in return. Now, the rom-com aspect of the sports shows comes from the characters, so what do we have here, well, in actuality nothing, just a bunch of annoying self centered cunts that take more personality turns than a fan working at full speed. How is that appealing you say? Well, cause what we also have is a bunch of hot male athletes fighting and sweating playing football, and the whole homoerotic tension tension that comes with any team sport. Oh, and a lot of feet, plus tight body suits, now, that might not have the slightest appeal to me, but I bet my sweet ass that is very appealing for a lot of folks out there. Oh and lets not forget the mastermind behind all this, that is such a great character that every time he opened his mouth I wanted to tear off my arm so I have something to throw at the screen. Animation while it is not amazing if you are being strict, for how difficult it is to animate such highly populated sport scenes, and if compare it with other football shows, then it is great. The character designs are kinda boring and uninspiring because all them were made in order to be hot. Sound is ok, nothing really stands out, voice acting is fine as well. So, is it worth a watch? No, fuck no. It is unnecessarily stupid and nonsensical for the sake of suspense, it makes zero football sense yet if you view it as a last man standing show then it is equally worthless since there are way more better shows out there about that. It offers nothing to a fan that maybe wants to get into football and even less to someone who is already in it. I was really disappointed in the Aoashi, the previous football show we got, yet it was still better than this pile of shit. UPDATE: (light spoilers) I swear the writer of the show created the character of Jinpachi EGO (the mastermind behind Blue lock) specifically to make me fuckin furious everytime he appears on the screen. Like this guy hadn't spouted enough bollocks already, now he appeared, and said that the goals that the team we are following scored are useless, garbage, cause they can't be reproduced, and the best strikers in the world are the ones that can reproduce their goals, that is what makes them great. My guy, do you even know what fuckin shape a football has? Well, judging from you not knowing what shape the goalposts have, cause you know, they are not rectangular, they are cylindrical, i would assume no. All the professional strikers in the world that compete in the top level can reproduce their goals, not just the top 3 or top 5 or top 10 whatever, what makes them great is exactly what you deemed as garbage, cause the best of the best can reproduce their goals and on top of that create or score these magical goals that can not be reproduced, cause there are so many variables in any given momment in football that what can be reproduced will not only be inneficient or ineffective, it will be simply impossible at times. You see while practicing and honing one thing can be a great weapon, it is also repeatitive and predictable, and that is where probably the most important aspect of the game of football comes in play, strategy, tactics and preperation, something completely brushed aside in this so called show about football. Anyway, apart from that, we also have our protagonist, who you know, SINCE he LACKS technique and skill (and he specifically said that), decided that his weapon will be direct shots without even controlling the ball, the most difficult shot that REQUIRES THE MOST SKILL AND TECHNIQUE. Fuck me man, just fuck me, i swear this show was simply created to insult me, or any intelligent football viewer for that manner. Also the so called plot twist, if you can name it as such, i suspected it was the case for a while, but i just didn't want to believe it cause you know, the math does't quite work out, allas, we already flipped a giant middle finger in the face of logic, we wouldn't let math stand in our way.  Oh oh, and something else i forgot, we have very skilled mechanical goalkeepers, well, not mechanical, projections but with some touching mircohips bollocks scientific explanation, whatever, we do have those, but for the whole first let's say arc, we decided not to use them, and let some strikers who have never worn goalkeeper's gloves in their lives decide the outcome of the macthes? Really, we couldn't just use those from the start? Except for this making much more sense, wouldn't it also not require to have that poor guy playing goalkeeper every game like a fucking plot puppet? Am i asking too much here by saying that 1+1=2???

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