Manga adaptation by 8bit
Streaming on Crunchyroll
The Japanese national soccer team has yet to win a world cup. In a bid to create future champions, they take modern, drastic measures: putting 300 high school strikers into a building to decide who joins the under twenties team.
Euri’s verdict: Dangansoccer
Football fans have had no shortage of anime this year with shows like Futsal Boys!!!!!, Ao Ashi and Shoot! Goal to the Future showing up – one of which was actually good! So to see another one show up right as I’m coming to terms with Ao Ashi both existing as a rare good one of these and ending is an interesting feeling.
Blue Lock focuses on the football career of Isagi Yoichi, a 17-year old kid with big aspirations but without much in the way of success. His team is knocked out of the prefectural tournament when a teammate misses what should have been a free goal, and Yoichi can’t help but wonder what would have happened had he taken the shot himself. He’s then invited to the Blue Lock, a facility designed to take the 300 most promising youth strikers in Japan and whittling them down to five players, who will each have a place on the under-20s national team. This place is run by Ego Jinpachi, an unused Danganronpa villain who appears less interest in finding the striker with the best skills, and instead wants to foster a player with the biggest ego.
As you might be able to tell, this is not a conventional football anime, and as such Blue Lock was already leaving a good impression on me. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the traditional stories of high school kids trying to win the biggest tournaments available to them, but so few football anime dare do anything but that. On top of that, the show launches straight into a Kaiji-esque elimination game. Just with more football and less death.
After a bit of a slow start, the football tag game at the end really sets the mood for the show going forward. I don’t know how Jinpachi convinced 300 families to have their kids live in a building giving off huge ‘definitely a cult’ vibes, but they’re there, the kids are desperate for success and the mood is sinister. I have no idea where the show is going beyond moving from game to game, but even in this packed anime season I feel like this show is an easy keep. Hopefully it keeps it up, but even if it crashes and burns, we’ll still be left with a surplus of maniacal anime faces.