What is the Blue lock Manga?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is well underway. With football fever in the air, I decided to try the Blue Lock manga and it was awesome.
If you haven’t guessed it, Blue Lock is a sports manga written by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and illustrated by Yusuke Nomura. It began serialisation in Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine in August 2018, and has been collected into 21 tankōbon volumes so far (around 18 in English). There’s also an anime adaptation produced by Eight Bit that’s currently airing on Crunchyroll. It premiered in October 2022, just in time for the football season.
Blue Lock won the 45th Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category in 2021 and spawned a spin-off manga titled Blue Lock – Episode Nagi. The story is centred around Seishiro Nagi and began serialisation in June 2022 in Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine. Both Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yusuke Nomura wrote the story, while Kota Sannomiya illustrated it.
Last Striker Standing
In 2018 after failing to win the FIFA World Cup yet again, the Japanese Football Union sought the aid of eccentric coach and enigma, Ego Jinpachi. He is charged with scouting high school players that will ensure Japan wins the next world cup.
This is where things get battle Royale survival crazy as his plan is to lock hundreds of Japan’s finest players up in a prison-like institution called Blue Lock with intense training aimed at creating the world’s most fantastic striker. Unlike any ordinary programme, Blue Lock sees Jinpachi introducing a radical new training regimen to produce one super forward. Of the 300 young players, only one of them will succeed, while the losers will have their football careers terminated.
Enter our protagonist, Yoichi Isagi, a young high schooler who recently failed to make it into the Nationals and is now determined to work his way through Blue Lock to the top of Japanese football and a World Cup victory. Like many shonen manga, Isagi is joined by numerous other characters, players like him, with their own reasons for participating in the radical new programme.
There’s a lot of talk about ego, which is probably why Jinpachi is named Ego to begin with. He has worked out that Japan’s elimination in the World Cup is due to the absence of an egomaniac forward, which is why he is now dedicated to creating the world’s greatest egotist striker.
Plus & Minus
Sports manga have always been able to draw me into whatever discipline they’re about, instilling me with the same love and zeal for the game as the characters do. Considering I’m not a fan of football (shocked gasps), I do occasionally find myself caught up in all the hype, but not quite as much as the Blue Lock manga managed.
Yusuke Nomura’s art in the manga is reminiscent of Kubo Tite’s Bleach, with cool stylish character designs and adrenaline-fueled action scenes. It’s also great that the anime was able to adapt this art into the show, making it easy for fans to transition between the two without issue.
For a sports manga, Blue Lock happens to have all the key ingredients for a battle manga, like special abilities, camaraderie, great battles, training and growth. The duo of Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yusuke Nomura constantly play tiki-taka football with fan expectations, and the crowd keeps asking for more. So if you’re a fan of the genre, you’re in the right place.
The Blue Lock manga is a true shonen, so if you aren’t a fan of the genre, you should move on without delay. Otherwise, the usual tropes will eat at you as they’re littered all over the place.
If you’re a stickler for rules and realism, then Blue Lock is also not for you. Some of the skills that the players possess during matches are outrageous and bordering on super human.
So Blue Lock is like a death game story filled with bizarre challenges, putting football careers at risk instead of lives. It’s a World Cup manga that takes us on a wild adventure filled with adversity, betrayal, friendship and striving to be the best. What’s not to love? It’s also great how it ties into real world football.
I never thought I’d say this about a sports manga but the Blue Lock manga is an action-packed story filled with radical ideas that will have you excitedly flipping pages. The anime that began in November was able to get me hooked on the series and I look forward to watching all 24 episodes.
I also love how team Japan’s performance during FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has been compared to Team Z by football fans around the world. Using the power of anime and mangaka fanart, the national team has a boosted morale that has allowed them top Group E for now. Talk about a successful promotional campaign.
The 2022 Cup will run until December 18, so there’s still some time to see if team Japan can make it to the top. Will you be rooting for them?
There have been debates among fans of the genre regarding which is the better manga, Blue Lock or Ao Aashi. The latter is also a football story, but this content is more grounded in reality. Think Kuroko no Basket versus Slam Dunk. So if you’re looking for something less outrageous or removed from battle manga, then I recommend Ao Aashi. However, if you do love Blue Lock, then check out Kuroko no Basket for a basketball manga that will give just as strong vibes.
- Ao Aashi by Yūgo Kobayashi
- Blue Lock 1 – https://amzn.to/3Y0FPEu
- Kuroko’s Basketball – https://amzn.to/3XNMu4H
- Slam Dunk No 1 – https://amzn.to/3UqqFFw
Thanks for joining me on another episode of Lyfeblerd. I hope you enjoyed it and look forward to you joining me in the next episode. Don’t forget to rate and review on iTunes, Podchaser and anywhere else you get your podcasts.
See ya and hold your ego high.